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ERIC Number: EJ841791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Pages: 28
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0095-182X
Western Apache Oral Histories and Traditions of the Camp Grant Massacre
Colwell-Chanthaphonh, Chip
American Indian Quarterly, v27 n3-4 p639-666 Sum-Fall 2003
The Camp Grant Massacre remains a salient moment for contemporary Western Apache peoples. Although a difficult part of their history, it continues to instruct Apaches and non-Apaches about the sacrifices of those who have gone before and the circumstances that have shaped the modern world. The story of the massacre was first preserved by personal histories and has since been maintained in part through Western Apache oral traditions. Apache narratives are vital for better understanding the massacre, not so much because they necessarily constitute a more factual version, but because they afford alternative, even complementary, accounts. To write about the Camp Grant Massacre from the perspective of the Apache people empowers those voices that have previously been quieted and offers a much more intricate knowledge of the event because it spins another strand in the web of histories. In this paper, six Western Apache versions of the Camp Grant Massacre will be considered not to deduce one "true" account, but rather to extend an alternative viewpoint of the events preceding and following the terrible morning of April 30, 1871. While the murder and captivity of Western Apache men, women, and children in this instance does not discount the violence various Apache groups perpetrated throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, it does help people better comprehend the broader context in which these mutual hostilities occurred. Apaches were not the nomadic brigands represented in dime novels, but longtime residents of the desert Southwest who experienced a deep and complex affinity to the landscape that American colonialism radically threatened. The narratives presented in this paper are distinct from non-Indian accounts in the same way that William Kessel, in analyzing oral traditions of the Battle of Cibecue, discerned that, "White and Apache accounts differ significantly with regard to specific details and with respect to the interpretation of the meaning of these events." The author argues that it is precisely these discrepancies that bring new insight. These Apache stories, first experienced and then retold through the generations, consequently remind one that history is not only multivocal and multifaceted, but also a living part of who we are today. (Contains 4 figures, 2 tables, and 39 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A