By the Ones We Left Behind

The Apache Indians are divided into six sub tribes. To one of these, the Be-don-ko-he, I belong.

Our tribe inhabited that region of [Arizona and New Mexico] mountainous country which lies west from the east line of Arizona, and south from the head waters of the Gila River.
East of us lived the Chi-hé-nné (Ojo Caliente), (Hot Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with them. Victorio, their chief, was always a friend to me. He always helped our tribe when we asked him for help. He lost his life in the defense of the rights of his people. He was a good man and a brave warrior. His son Charlie now lives here in this reservation with us.
North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches. They were not always on the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom had any war with them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-á-í-la, personally, and I considered him a good warrior. Their range was next to that of the Navajo Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo Indians. However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them.
To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-á-hen Apaches. They had two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah. They were friendly, but not intimate with our tribe.
South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua) Apaches, whose chief in the old days was Cochise and later his son, Naiche. This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with us. We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, who was my companion in arms, is now my companion in bondage.
To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ní Apaches. Their chief was Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa. They were our firm friends. The land of this tribe lies partly in Old Mexico and partly in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought side by side as brothers. My enemies were his enemies, my friends his friends. He is dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for me.
Still the four tribes (Bedonkóhe, Chokónen, Chihénné, and Nední), who were fast friends in the days of freedom, cling together as they decrease in number. Only the destruction of all our people would dissolve our bonds of friendship.

We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or Ussen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.
For each tribe of men Ussen created He also made a home. In the land created for any particular tribe. He placed whatever would be best for the welfare of that tribe.
When Ussen created the Apaches He also created their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked them. He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand.

Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created for the other by Ussen himself. When they are taken from these homes they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said, there are no Apaches?”


Photograph by E. Rinehart, 1898

—by Chief Geronimo, as taken down by S.M. Barrett



Estonia and Sofi Oksanen | Russian Colonialism, and the Privilege of Having Been Occupied by Both Nazis and Communists

[Russia has never been “an overseas kind of empire”, she adds, rather a state that’s sought to exploit and colonise its European neighbours. Oksanen says that, growing up in Finland, she learned about the country’s past at school. But she was taught nothing of Estonia and had to fill in the gaps from oral history. Her mother’s family has lived in western Estonia, near Haapsalu, since the 15th century; she emigrated to Finland in the 70s, and when Sofi was a child, she would travel to Soviet Estonia to see her grandparents.

Her family reflects Estonia’s 20th‑century divisions, she says. Her grandfather joined the Forest Brothers, a partisan group that fought against Soviet rule during and after the war. He accepted amnesty following Stalin’s death. “He was always reminded of his past. He became a very silent man,” Oksanen says. One of her grandfather’s brothers was deported to Siberia. Another carried out the deportations. He was subsequently hailed as a communist war hero.

“It’s a typical Estonian story. The Baltics were doubly occupied, so these stories were common. There were victims of the terror sitting around the same table with people who had been tools of that terror.” Oksanen says ethnic Russians who resettled in Estonia after 1945 had no idea they were living in a once-sovereign country. Estonia had vanished. Of her collaborating great-uncle, she says: “He wasn’t a nice person.”]  Read the full article | THE GUARDIAN


Who Speaks Wukchumni? | The Unbearable Ligthness of Indigenous Languages

This Op-Doc tells the story of Marie Wilcox, the last fluent speaker of the Wukchumni language, and the dictionary she has created. I met her through the Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival, an organization that encourages the revival of languages like Wukchumni. Through training and mentorship, it has supported Ms. Wilcox’s work for several years. Ms. Wilcox’s tribe, the Wukchumni, is not recognized by the federal government. It is part of the broader Yokuts tribal group native to Central California. Before European contact, as many as 50,000 Yokuts lived in the region, but those numbers have steadily diminished. Today, it is estimated that fewer than 200 Wukchumni remain.

Read the full article | The New York Times

Native American Stories About Creation | The Navajo (Dine’) |


Native American Stories About Creation | The Navajo (Dine’) |

[Late in the autumn the people heard the distant sound of a great voice calling from the east. They listened and waited, and soon heard the voice nearer and louder than before.

Once more they listened and heard it louder still, very near. A moment later four mysterious beings appeared. These were White Body, Blue Body, Yellow Body and Black Body…]   — from Native American Encyclopedia