New PDF release: Apaches: A History and Culture Portrait

New PDF release: Apaches: A History and Culture Portrait

By James L. Haley

Apaches: A background and tradition Portrait, James L. Haley’s dramatic saga of the Apaches’ doomed guerrilla warfare opposed to the whites, was once an intensive departure from the strategy via earlier histories of white-native clash. Arguing that "you can't comprehend the historical past except you recognize the culture," Haley first discusses the "life-way" of the Apaches - their mythology and folklore (including the well-known Coyote series), spiritual customs, daily life, and social mores. Haley then explores the tumultuous many years of alternate and treaty and of betrayal and bloodshed that preceded the Apaches’ ultimate army defeat in 1886. He emphasizes figures that performed a decisive position within the clash: Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, and Geronimo at the one hand, and Royal Whitman, George criminal, and John Clum at the different.

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Example text

Our misunderstanding of this owes to the fact, I think, that much of today's Anglo sympathy for the plight of the Indian has degenerated to the subjective and insipid; many of us have abandoned Indians in favor of what I could only call Indian Chic. Of course, enough material has been produced recently positing the degree to which this view by the New School is a product of our own postwar guilt and self-hatred, that the point need not be too finely made here. Anyone's view of the past is affected by his perception of himself and his society, but to force the subject of one's history to wallow in a pit of contemporary social demonology, and then present the surprised and blinking tarbaby as a historical reexamination, strikes me as scholarship that will not bear the test of time.

Even as I was preparing this volume for publication, Eve Ball was preparing her Indeh: An Apache Odyssey (1980), a history recorded from interviews with descendants of prominent Apache participants. Predictably, big differences exist between some of their accounts and what has become standard history. For example, according to Juh's descendant, Ace Daklugie, John Clum's famous "capture" of Geronimo quite simply never happened. Ball wrote that while she had great respect for Daklugie, he was a vituperative individual whom she did not particularly like, and she did not endorse one claim over another.

The suggested conclusion is that white civilization, having pretended to enlightenment, should have been enlightened enough to see conquest as immoral; for Indian to fight Indian was all right because they didn't know any better. Why should this be so? Putting aside the obvious qualm that this conclusion expresses liberal arrogance at its most tasteless, its usefulness is still limited because it leads to a logical irony that approaches non sequitur. It says that a culture may permissibly grow and expand and progress (and by historical reality, consume other cultures' lands and lives and selected traits) without obligation, until it attains a state in which it Page xvii realizes that it has committed tortious horrors and has to give back as much of what it has taken as its conscienceor the litigating conquereddemand.

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