Mission to Arizona, 1916-1940: Father Augustine Schwarz, O.F.M.


Mission to Apachería: Whiteriver


photograph
LAB MSS-153/28:134

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LAB MSS-153/28:136


Father Augustine has marked the location of both the Catholic and Lutheran churches and other buildings in his photograph of the government agency at Whiteriver. The Apache wickiup in the foreground usually consists of Yucca strips lashed tightly over a round framework of cottonwood branches; a covering of canvas or hide was always added to the windward side.


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LAB MSS-153/28.138


Arnold Schwarz, O.F.M., Augustine's younger brother, is pictured second from the left. He spent some time in Arizona after his ordination in 1922, and left a number of photographs which are included in this collection. The Schwarz brothers very likely found quite a contrast between the Apache homeland in the verdant northern forest and the Papago lifestyle in the saguaro forests of the arid south.


Father Justin Deutsch began building the Catholic church, St Francis Mission, of local tufa stone soon after he arrived about 1919. Father Augustine was able to complete construction in time for its dedication by the most Reverend Daniel J. Gerke in 1924. A 2002 photograph shows a building that has been lovingly cared for over the years, and except for a fine paint job and an addition to the bell tower, the building appears little changed.


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LAB MSS-153/28:141


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LAB FILM S119:1

Father Schwarz wrote that the Apaches were gathering along the river for the “Devil Dance” in 1923. More commonly known as the Mountain Spirit Dance, a group of four masked dancers impersonate the mountain spirit or gan in order to prevent epidemics, ward off evil, or diagnose and cure illness.


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LAB FILM S113:15


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LAB MSS-153/28:142

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LAB MSS-153/28:137

We do not know how long Father Arnold served in W
hiteriver but he photographed the wedding of a pair of his parishioners at Fort Apache in 1924.

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LAB MSS-153/28:139


Later that year, he took the band to Tempe, where it played at the foot of what was later known as Hayden Butte.

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LAB MSS-153/28:140


Father Arnold also had a fine traveling car, shown near what is now known as Papago Park, which is a few miles north of Tempe.


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