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Chapter 1-8

ANTH 2051 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1-8: Indian Reservation, Wigwam, Spirit Warrior

Course Code
ANTH 2051

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Thunder Rides a Black Horse
Chapter 1: Time and the Mythic Present
Perhaps there may be a fewa very fewApache people wo could step into the Hollywood and
oelists’ stereotypes ad fid the fit a ofortale oe, ut I do ot ko the; the…
Apaches, especially those of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in south-central New
Mexico, are like any other ethnic group of people:
o Some are skinny and some chubby
o Some are short and some tall
o There are good ones, some of whom are friends for life, and some who you need to watch
your back around.
The reservations with which Claire Ferrer is familiar with (all in SW or W states) have buckskin and
Ultrasuede, finely bred horses and 4x4 Broncos, TV w/ satellite, and older relatives with the real
stories. Wonder bread and fry bread.
Reseratio Idias atted to eah other, to TV stories, ad to the people i narrative, whether
those people are the stuff of what mainstream Americans call everyday life or label as legend,
folklore, or mythology.
For the Indians I know on several reservations in the American West and Southwest, life is lived in
hat I ter the mythic present. What aistrea Aerias osider to hae happeed log
ago, if it happened at all, is real and present during everyday life on reservations.
There is a co-presence of events in which the Warrior Twins engaged and those taking place around
a dinner table; this is the mythic present.
The mythic present includes those who have gone before and who are remembered today.
The ethographi preset is the ter that athropologists use for suh a ollapsig of tie.
o All events are related in the present tense, even when they happened some time ago.
Edward T. Hall (1967, 1969, 1977, 1983) has discussed this issue of time in several books. His terms
polychroni tie (several things occurring at the same time) and monochroni tie (when one
things at a time in sequence) are useful.
o Native American people operate on polychromic time.
The purpose of this book is to allow non-Indians some insight into what it is like to live on a
contemporary Indian reservation.
Most Native North American people live simultaneously in two cultures: their own, Native one and
the one of the larger, mainstream American society.
Chapter 1 Notes
A synodic cycle, or a synodic month, is that tie fro a e oo through eah of the oo’s
phases and back to a new moon again; it takes 29.530588 days: 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 2.9
Aglo is a term used in the Southwestern US by Indians and non-Indians alike. It means non-
Indian, non-Hispanic, non-African-American. Most Southwestern people find it a preferable term to
whiteman, or any other designation.
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Chapter 2: Arriving
In the Apachean conception of creation, Creator took four days to provide people with the world
that we know.
o First came the separation of Sky and Earth with the appearance of Light and Water, as well as
other natural phenomena.
o Next, on the second day, came the plants and tiny animals.
o On the third day, Creator made what Bernard always referred to as the four-leggeds, the
larger animals.
o Finally, on the fourth day of creation, Creator made peoplespecifically the Apache people.
Rather than being the epitome of creation, as in the biblical Genesis, people are the weakest
link in the entire chain of being, for we require all that preceded us in creation in order to live.
o They (deer, elk), too, remind me of the beginningtime when creation occurred. It is said that
at that time people and animals could talk to each other.
So, when a hunter must take the life of an animal to provide meat for a family, a prayer is always
addressed to the spirit of the animal; the prayer explains that the animal must die for the people to
The belief is that, if the aial is addressed properl ad respetfull, the aial’s spirit will
communicate with the other animal spirits and they will be willing to be reborn.
Should a hunter fail in his duty to the animals, they will withhold themselves from him, and his
family will suffer for his ignorance in thinking that he was somehow better than the four-leggeds.
Or I see Indian bananas, the pikle-shaped pods of another cactus that, when ripe, taste
remarkably like tropical bananas.
These smells and their information are not magical or mystical. They are simply the result of living
i touh ith oeself ad oe’s surroudigs.
Rain: all depends on rain.
As I ate, Lauren told me of an old lady who had befriended me several years before who was now
in a nursig hoe. Betty, that one like The-Three-Who-Went-Together, that one is now in Roswell.
The sa she is like a hild o ad at reeer ee her o kids.
Yes, Betty had lived like The-Three-Who-Went-Together, for Betty was a co-wife in a sororal
polygynous family. She and her sister had shared a husband, in the old Apache way. (sororal
polygynous means the cowives are sisters)
o Two sisters fell in love with same man. Man married both women. Things were good.
o When one had, all had; when one laughed, all laughed; when one was sad, all were sad.
o Husband got sick, sisters brought him soup. When away from him, they both wept, for they
knew his spirit would leave is body and for the first time in over fifty winters they would not
be the-three-who-traveled-together.
o But their sorrow was for nothing. Creator, hearing their muffled sobs, came to themall three
of themone night in a shared dream. Creator reminded them of their earlier unselfishness,
of their willingness to share everything. Right then, at that very moment, Creator took all
three of them, together.
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o There, in the eastern summer sky, just two hand spans above the horizon was a new set of
starsthree of them in a row. The shaman immediately realized they were the two sister-
wives and their husband. There they are today, The-Three-Who-Went-Together.
One summer it became apparent to me that the stars making up the constellation
Tainashka?da/the-Three-Who-Went-Together are, in English, Capella plus eta and iota Aurigae:
three stars in the constellation Auriga, itself a part of Taurus.
Considered extremely impolite for family members, in particular, to have to ask for anything. What
one has is simply offered. Even the act of passing food is different than mainstream Americans
expet. The host/hostess sas, I’ offering offee ad fr read, for eaple. The guest, fail or
not, will not ask for honey/jam, because people always offer what they have to share.
Apahes speak of their Four Laws—what might be considered right and proper conduct.
Generosity is primary, for it is the most important of the four; it is the highest virtue. Following
closely behind are bravery, honesty, and pride i oeself ad oe’s people.
Reciprocity is the Anglo term for what Mescalero Apache people come to expect as natural and
normal. Reciprocity is often delayed, but it occurs nonetheless.
Time was collapsed into the present from the long ago and, simultaneously, the present was
inexorably linked with the long ago: what was meaningful long ago is still meaningful now.
Wickiups, or arbors, as they are more generally called at Mescalero, are common camp-out
structures that do not vary with ethnicity.
There are actually three ethnic divisions of Apaches who live on the contemporary Mescalero
Apache Indian Reservation: Mescalero Apaches, Chiricahua Apaches, and Lipan Apaches.
o Distinguished by certain lexical items (words or pronunciation of words), preferences for
particular colors in body painting or in bead decoration on clothing, and other minor
variations in everyday lifestyle.
o However, they all share in common the dome-shaped wickiup/arbor
The wickiup in which we (Ferrer) sat was one of the old-fashioned variety, bereft (lacking) of canvas
tarp or plastic sheeting, for Fernando is a fine craftsman.
In a matrilineal society, such as the Mescalero one, only sisters and brothers, or those family
members in the ascending generations, chastise or discipline children; providing discipline is
considered to be inappropriate for the father, who has a strong emotional link with his children but
who is in a different family. Fathers are sources of emotional and financial support and are not
authoritarian toward their children.
“hilaa-/ silig (literally, my hand, with the -n indicating that a person was intended)
One only talks about things in context; the beginning-time stories are recounted throughout the
four nights of the puberty ceremonial and so I thought it would be a time when I could fill in
information or gather some new things he had not told me previously.
Perhaps it was because the sky was becoming cloudy and there was rain to the west or perhaps it
as eause it as a stor I’d ot heard efore in quite the way he was to tell it this day or perhaps
it was because Jay was present or perhaps it was in order to be sure to call the rain to the
Reservation. Whatever the reason, he told Jay and me the following story
Bernard says:
o In our sorrows, it puts happiness back in us. When the land itself is sad, we are sad with it and
the it oes right ak ad it sas, Do ot e sad,  hildre. For e are its hildre. It
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