National Anthropological Archives

MS 1082 Prayerboard with Liturgy Written in Spanish and Salinan, Handwritten Ink on Paper Pasted on Wood Board

Collection ID:
Pieras, Miguel, - approximately 1795
Sitjar, Buenaventura, 1739-1808
Cabot, Pedro, 1777-1836
Juan Batista Sancho
Physical Description:
1 Item

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The prayer board is signed by P. Cabot, believed to be Father Pedro Cabot of the San Antonio Mission.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
The recent rediscovery of a rare Indian-Spanish prayer board in the National Anthropological Archives has engendered much interest and research on the part of various scholars in early Spanish-American history. The board is about eight inches wide by twelve inches high and has a handle at the bottom. There are prayers and songs (with musical notation) written in the Salinan Indian language of southern California and in Spanish and Latin. On the front of the board is a "Brief act of Charity and Prayer" and a "Brief Prayer." On the reverse is pasted Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity in Salinan and Spanish. Prayer boards such as this were used by Franciscan priests to teach Native Americans the fundamentals of Roman Catholic practice and belief through standardized prayers and songs. The prayer board was prepared by two Franciscan missionaries, Father Pedro Cabot and Father Juan Batista Sancho of the San Antonio Mission in the year 1817. This particular prayer board is a rare find not only because there is only one other of its kind known to us, but also because the Salinan language is long dead. There were only about 1200 Salinan Indians in the 1760s, and by the beginning of this century only about forty natives carried on that culture. The Salinan-Spanish prayer board was used in hearings before the Senate and House appropriation sub-committees March 1973 to demonstrate the great benefits realized from the modest increases in funds provided by the Congress in recent years to the National Museum of Natural History for additional personnel and resources to support the work of our scientific staff. JMW 4/24/73

Digital Content

Using the Collection
Manuscript 1082, National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution

More Information
Local Numbers
Local Numbers
NAA INV 09067000
NAA MS 1082

Exhibitions Note
Exhibitions Note
The prayer board was on exhibit in the Museum of History and Technology (now called the National Museum of American History) in the "Hall of Every Day Life in the American Past," in a special section entitled," Character of the Old West."

Local Note
Local Note
Salinan added to title 2/24/2012.
Local Note
Handwritten Ink on paper pasted on Wood Board

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Language and languages -- Documentation Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
San Antonio de Padua Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Works of art Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
San Antonio Mission Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Indians of North America -- California Cultural Context Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Anthropological Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland, Maryland 20746