Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The White Mountain Apache Tribe

The White Mountain Apache tribe are a native tribe of Arizona, and who's territory also used to extend throughout New Mexico and Texas. They are now however mainly located in Arizona in a historic park and reservation area known as the White Mountains.

The website of the White Mountain Apache tribe (WMAT) greets us as though we are old friends. It introduces itself with "Dago Te", the native tongue for hello, and immediately treats us as though we are looking to buy a property. We are informed that the white Mountain Apache reservation "offers something for everyone" (more details of this are included in the "Recreation"tab on the left) and by clicking on the History/Culture tab, we can learn a little bit more about the tribe themselves. For example, it now consists of approximately 15,000 members, many of them now living on the reservation itself which, according to the website covers a total area of 1.67 million acres (over 2,600 square miles. This section treats the description of the reservation with great romance and homage, compiling a list of flattering adjectives that treat it like a fairytale. It if it can be said, the word "members" almost treats it like an exclusive club.

The website describes the fact that the tribe itself appears to have evaded elimination by surrendering to cavalry when they discovered that they were to be attacked.
It lists that the most prominent threat came in July 1869 when the U.S. 1st cavalry, led by Brevet Colonel (Major) John Green, were given orders to "exterminate the whole village" and instead of recieving retaliation, were welcomed by white flags and willing workers to cater for their needs.

The way that this particular section concerning the suppression of the Apache people is presented appears to treat the surrender as a moment of glory. I cannot help but think that if this segment were by a devoted Apache tribe member then the way in which it is portrayed would be somewhat darker and possibly with a hint of grimace. Instead it uses quotes from the man who may have been considered a tyrant, speaking his surprise at how delighted the tribe were to be conquered.

This website surprised me because I did not expect the history and portrayal of this tribe to be presented in this way. I feel as though I have been booking a holiday on a travel website, not looking into the culture of a native indian tribe.

White Mountain Apache Tribe website: http://www.wmat.nsn.us/
Other websites of interest: http://www.wmonline.com/attract/ftapache.htm /

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