Deni J. Seymour – “The Great Battle of 1698 on the San Pedro River”
Perhaps the greatest historical event to have occurred in the region happened along the San Pedro River in the vicinity of Fairbank on Easter Day in 1698. This was the battle at Santa Cruz de Gaybanipitea when 500 Apache and their allies attacked the still-sleeping Sobaipuri-O’odham village of 80. This was a village visited by the Jesuit Father Eusebio Kino in the 1690s. Against all odds, the Sobaipuri-O’odham won. The story is remembered because it was retold and recorded by a number of Spaniards, including by Padre Kino, but fresh understandings are now available that make the story even more important. Seymour corrects the historical record with new translations of historic battle-related documents. She moves beyond what the Spanish conveyed about the battle to include results of archaeological investigations at the site and application of O’odham-specific cultural information that explains a number of problems including why Kino was delayed in his inspection of the battlefield. The reasons for the battle are discussed and long-held questions are answered including the role of the Spaniards, routes of retreat, evidence of ritualized site cleansing, how we can be certain we have the correct location, and where specifically the Sobaipuri went after the battle. A newly identified battlefield signature is discussed, as are the archaeological signatures of the various ethnic groups involved: the Jocome, Jano, Manso, Suma, and Apache.
Seymour will also talk about new findings since “A Fateful Day” was published and about her novel on the battle.