Wisdom from the past . . . hope for the future . . .
In 1945 the hot wind from a nuclear explosion at Trinity Site on a nearby missile range raged across the Mescalero Apache Reservation in south-central New Mexico, killing hundreds of head of livestock and causing sickness among the descendants of some of the most famous Apache heroes in American history. In many ways, this disaster typified what these Apaches had come to expect from the federal government: attention was often accompanied by undesired results.
Four thousand Apaches of the Mescalero, Chiricahua, and Lipan bands now live on this reservation. In twelve remarkable oral history interviews, three generations of Mescalero, Chiricahua, and Lipan Apaches reflect on the trials of the past, the challenges of the present, and hope for the future. A common thread among all of the interviewees is a collective memory of their people as formidable enemies of the U.S. government in the not-too-distant past.
Author and ethnographer H. Henrietta Stockel has structured these interviews to encompass three groups of Mescalero Apache society: the elders, the “warriors” (middle-aged), and the “horseholders,” or young apprentices.