S-ko:mag Mashath

December 21, 2018


Huhugam Heritage Center 



S-ko:mag Mashath means the “gray, foggy, unclear month” in our Akimel O’otham Ñeok, and refers to the desert plants that go dormant during the winter months and the fog that comes and goes making our mountain scenery unclear. 


This annual occurrence leaves our jeved various shades of s-ko:mag, (gray, foggy, and unclear)…Not this year!  October 2018 went down as one of the wettest ever recorded in our Sonoran Desert.  Due to the added rainfall we received from Tropical Storms Rosa and Sergio we get to witness a remarkable occurrence in nature.


Desert plants that normally bloom in spring and summer are now in bloom. 


Two plants, Thoavsh (White Brittlebush) and Kuavol (Wolfberry) have been observed by many Community members to be in full bloom.  In earlier articles we have written about both plants and their importance to Akimel O’otham and Pee-Posh.  Thoavsh provides us with chewing gum and the resin can also be used as a sealer.  Thoavsh is the alternate name for Ban (Coyote) as mentioned in our Creation Story. 


The other plant Kuavol has already flowered and now many plants throughout the community have produced berries.  This is a real treat for wildlife and the birds that spend the winter in our community.  


During this month we also observe the Winter Solstice and watch the sun take its most southerly travel before turning back north.  It’s during this time of year that we appreciate our Creation Stories that reminds us of our strong ties to our natural environment and our Himthag. 


Another day we all look forward to is Jiosh Alithag Ma:sig Thash (The Birth of God’s Son) as we gather together to spend time with family and friends.  Vechij Aithag (New Year), normally our O’otham New Year starts in the month of June.  O’otham have come to accept and celebrate the Western Society New Year on January first.  This month’s word match will focus on items found during the Klishmas season, especially those around the Klishmas Kwi. 


From all of our families here at your Huhugam Heritage Center, we wish everyone a S-he:kig Jiosh Alithag Ma:sig Thash ch heg Vechij Aithag!