Indian Children (1955)

The narrative follows the daily routines of two Tohono O’odham children, their family and their community. Includes cooking, tending their fields, water gathering, picking prickly pairs and attending bible study and church.

Opening titles and “A film based on the life and customer of present day Indian American Children” superimposed over a close-up image of a woven tapestry; field of saguaros below a mountain with rocky peaks; a Tohono O’odham (T/O)/Papago girl walks out of a small, square adobe home in a desert landscape over to a woman seated on the ground weaving baskets, a boy walks around in the background; the boy joins them his dog (gogs) walking alongside; closer view of the group; close-ups of the boy (Cochise) and girl (Conca), and then of the mother as they talk; Conchise walks off and Conca walks over and picks up two metal buckets and walks off into desert; Conchise runs alongside his dog across patches of desert; he sits to pet his dog, then they keep moving; closer view of their legs as they pass cacti; closer view of the mother weaving, and then getting up to gather wood which she puts into an outdoor wood-burning cooking stove; close-up of her face attentive to her work; another T/O woman places flat bread on a long paddle into an adobe oven near an adobe and wooden home; back to the mother at her stove; close-up of her stirring a pan of light-colored beans, she then checks something in the stove’s oven; she walks over to her weaving and picks it up again; close-up of her hands working; saguaro field, and close-up of one; Cochise and his dog walk into a corn (hu:ñ) field where his father is farming ('oidag-cikpan) and joins him in hoeing; closer views of the boy working; the dog resting in the shade beneath a tree; Conca walks carrying her buckets to a well made out of a tree limb cross-beam structure; a wood tree limb fence behind her; she begins lowering a wooden bucket on a rope down into the water hole; closer views of the rectangular hole and her pulling up the bucket and filling her metal buckets; she walks back to a dirt road cutting through a saguaro field; she returns and hands the buckets to her mother; Conca then sits and picks up the weaving her mother had been working on; close-up of her hands working; Conchise and a smaller girl playing catch with a floppy cloth object outside an adobe structure; various shots of a big group of T/O and other Native children playing keep-away in possibly a school or recreation yard with poles; three teenaged girls and a boy carrying a super long T-shaped pole walk through a desert patch to a saguaro; shots of the boy tapping the top of the cactus with the pole to knock down prickly pears from the very top; close-up of the boy laughing as he tries, and then of the girls laughing as they watch; close view of the fruit falling and a girl catching in a metal bucket; close-up of the girl showing them in her bucket; various shots of Conca, Conchise and two other boys around his age gather buds (to'olvadaj) from a cholla cactus; close-ups of Conchise’s hands pick the thorn-ridden fruit; Conca picks thorns from her hands; Conchise and three other boys walk up an incline past cacti and mesquite trees (kui); various shots of the four as they dig, play, and chat; close-ups of little children’s faces as they laugh, smile, and subdued as they look at the camera; back to the Conca and Conchise’s home where their mother still weaves; different view of their house (or another) where people stand in the yard in a group; various views of Taos Pueblo — a multi-story, multi-dwelling adobe structure; two mud ovens, or kivas, with the openings propped shut; up shot of a cliff wall and pan down to a Navajo/Diné hogan below; closer views of the hogan and its wooden joints; view of the sky from inside the hogan through the sun roof; two Diné girls gather wood and carry it back to another hogan; one Diné girl sits with a dog and a sheep while an other one walks toward the flock of sheep; the older girl walks over and picks up a lamb; closer view of the same; back to Conca and Conchise’s home where people sit beneath the porch sun shade; closer views of a medicine man shaking a rattle and feather and blowing/chanting over a boy laying on the ground while the two children, their parents, another woman, and the dog look on; back to a closer view of the sick boy and the rattle shaking over him, then of the medicine man working; close-up of Conchise watching, then his father, then Conca and her mother; then back to the group as they look on as the medicine gets up and walks away leaving the boy on the ground; closer view of the woman friend and then the family seated; Conchise hoeing in the field; the dog resting under the tree nearby; closer shot of the corn plants; back to the boy hoeing; an adult white woman and white man holding a bible stand next to a pick-up truck while they talk to the two children and ten more; closer views of the children listening; views from behind the children as the man addresses them; close-ups of Conchise and Conca listening, then of other children’s faces; shots of Conchise and his father as they rest next to their crop and chat; cars parked and people milling about outside an adobe building (perhaps a health center?); a young (perhaps Native) doctor gives a small boy a shot as two girls look on; the white missionary walks from his truck to Conchise’s and Conca’s where their father comes out to shake his hand; children and mother follow; closer view of a young Native man sits and prays with a group of small boys in chairs outside against a wall; close-up of their bowed heads; Conca and Conchise’s family walk through a gate into a yard; reverse shot of them walking towards the First Papago Baptist Church where the missionary man stands at the door greeting a woman and boy as they enter; the man greets their family too as they enter. End credits: “The End, A Broadman Films Production.”