Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Review and Interview: Hutton, The Apache Wars. American Book Awards Announced.

Review: Paul Andrew Hutton. The Apache Wars. The Apache Wars. The Hunt For Geronimo, The Apache Kid, And The Captive Boy Who Started The Longest War In American History.
NY: Crown, 2016.  ISBN: 9780770435813

Michael Sedano

Paul Andrew Hutton in his backyard

Watching the seven and half minute video  (click here) of Standing Rock Sioux versus the mega pipeline you’ve never heard of, sets off a strong sense of historic reocurrence. Cast as protestors when they defend their land, the caravan drives up to a checkpoint. They are armed only with their volition and indignation. They deliver themselves willingly into the maw of the lumbering beast. Inevitably to be arrested, they’ll view from jail cells as earth-moving machines gouge a pipeline’s path scross Indian land.

It’s a modern-day view of what those final years of the Apacheria looked like at the end of the longest war fought on US soil. The video sent my thoughts to comparable history accounted in Paul Andrew Hutton’s The Apache Wars, such as when Geronimo agrees to a meeting with the pursuing cavalry.

Arizona rural big cities bespeak the standards of the robustly acquisitive English-speaking culture. A prolonged war with the Apacheria is winding down in favor of the United States. Northern Mexico remains vastly unpopulated. In Arizona and New Mexico, people are laying claims and parceling government land into ranches and farms. Indian reservations, into a second generation, have emerged as internal colonies, administered by Indian Agents and the U.S. Army, with meetings and commerce between the occupying government and the Indians normalized.

When Geronimo, who has gone AWOL from his reservation, agrees to meeting the leader of an opposing force, he’s used to collaborative exchanges with US forces. The forces meet the Animas Valley of New Mexico. Saying “Geronimo meets” is wild synecdoche. He’s not alone.

Eight warriors, twenty-two women and children travel with their leader. The band has captured a hundred horses and more cattle on the other side of the US-Mexico border. A reader’s visual cortex goes into high gear, imagining the scene of orderly rows of tents and armed men in company formation. La palomilla of mounted warriors accompanied by wives and children and several hundred head of livestock filter into the terrain. Following a river, drawn to the campfire smoke, guided by indian scouts who are U.S. soldiers, Geronimo and his families wend their way to the meeting point, thirty souls stepping willingly into the dragon’s mouth and all those soldiers.

From there, the Army leader, one Lt. Britton Davis, wants Geronimo to speed the march back to the San Carlos reserve by shedding the livestock. Davis warns the indian that the Mexican rancheros would come looking for their ganado, and the Army and Geronimo would have a bloody time of it. Davis’ orders were to protect Geronimo from any attack or threat.

Geronimo laughs off the fear appeal. It’s a colorful exchange that underlines the political dynamic and cultural flux coming into being in the region, and is a hallmark of an arrestingly captivating book.

“Mexican! My squaws can whip all the Mexicans in Chihuahua,” he exclaimed. “We don’t fight Mexicans with cartridges,” he noted with contempt. “Cartridges cost too much. We keep them to fight your white soldiers. We fight Mexicans with rocks.”    336

The moment of swashbuckling should give a reader pause, in a history. Such is the stuff of fiction, or highly creative non-fiction. Interesting as the moment appears, it's fact. Hutton cites three sources for the quotation. An article by Lt. Davis from the Army and Navy Journal published in 1885, and two third party resources, a memoir from the period, and a 1976 biography.

Hutton doesn’t make a point of it, but in an interview, the author declares the Apaches spoke Spanish, and many spoke bilingual in native Apache language and Spanish. Lt. Davis is a fluent Spanish-speaker. Some readers will be disappointed Hutton couldn’t share more details on the linguistic situation. The key anglo character in the history is a kidnaped white boy adopted into his captor tribe. He becomes a native Apache language speaker whose rudimentary English and good Spanish make him an interpreter and a Sergeant Major—the highest enlisted rank, a patriarch in an Army unit.

Geronimo and the pantheon of Apache leaders make up the book's most interesting characters. That captured-at-eleven half-Irish half-Mexican Apache joins with the US Army. He becomes an indian scout, the government's indian police force, skilled in hunting down and fighting  Indians unhappy enough to leave the confines of reservation land.

The role of indian scouts make interesting speculation as to their motives. In fact, some readers would welcome investigations on the psychology of the indian scouts, vendidos with a vengeance. But then, such an investigation might be a new research project, or might better be told in a novel.

Extensive documentation makes The Apache Wars a useful resource beyond the book. As an academic historian, Hutton puts himself through the paces to maximize authenticity and reliability of his eye-opening, often colorful, stories and conversations. The author derives his detail from four classes of written information: manuscript collections, journal articles, memoirs, and a host of books, most from University presses.

Non-academic readers will be pleased the extensive notes don’t intrude upon the flow of the narrative. No superscript numbers dot the page demanding attention across the 424 pages. Instead, there’s a page-sequenced list at the end providing over 50 pages of documentation linking the narrative to primary and key secondary sources.

Click here to view the video at Standing Rock Sioux reservation, blockading pipeline equipment.

The Dakotas. Now that Congress and government land speculators have given away land rights in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, Indian people announced their willingness to die for their land. It's a classic "American" value, and the fate of so many indios who fought in their time.

Dying may be Standing Rock's fate one day. For now, unlike the heavily armed Army and money-grubbing indian agents of Geronimo’s era, uniformed police work like automatons when they take a prisoner defending her sovereignty. A view is overjoyed that the scene doesn't play out like so many cop-murders of people in custody.

The cops separate her from the protest scene on the blacktop and take her out of sight behind an SUV. Several large uniforms surround her; one keeps his hand on her all the while.

Physical and vocal intimidation doesn’t silence her, the prisoner continues to call out to her fellows. While a giant woman officer pats-down the handcuffed woman, the prisoner calls to her fellows, “Don’t let them cross our land. This is our land!” As the officer slides open the SUV the prisoner uulates with a defiance and fervor that echoes back to the 1880s and Geronimo's band of dying Apache people, making a show of it as they migrate--surrender--into the Army camp.

Jesus Treviño and Paul Andrew Hutton
In an interview, Hutton observes on the inevitability of the defeat and the ongoing extinction of Apache gente and cultura. When the US moved West, it was a steamroller. Today, when US private interests want to pipeline across indian land, and major rivers, indian rights and the idea of a reservation disappear. When something as precious as ones homeland is ripped out of your grasp, it will never come back. Realizing it is a lethal blow.

“But not every visitor was smitten with Geronimo. One observed the famous Apache was ‘about as mild mannered a man as ever scuttled a ship or cut a throat and for that matter butchered defenseless women and children.’
. . . .
The army had put the Apaches to work building cabins and laying out roads. A school was built so that the children could be educated at Mount Vernon and not have to be sent away to Carlisle . . . Many ended up adjusting quite well to their new home, including Geronimo, but one holdout refused to be reconstructed.

Old Nana encouraged the people to believe that it was only a matter of time until they would be returned to their homeland. One day a lady philanthropist visited . . . to write a report on the conditions there. Nana told her that the people did not want to stay there but wished instead to go back to their homeland. The lady had brought a small globe with her and handed it to Nana. She told him that people were coming from all over the globe to America, that the country was becoming crowded. The Apaches could no longer roam over the vast territory that once was their land.

Nana stared at the globe, shaken to the core. . . After that visit, Nana slipped into a deep depression from which he never recovered. He now understood that he and his people would never go home.” 418-19

Latinopia Publishes Interview with Apache Wars Author Hutton

Latinopia and La Bloga share a history and purposes of supporting, reporting, analyzing, celebrating Chicana Chicano, Latina Latino arts, literatures, music, cultura, and history. Y más.

Recently Michael Sedano and Jesús Treviño trekked to Albuquerque to interview Rudolfo Anaya. During our stay, Paul Andrew Hutton kindly invited us to his home to talk about a book Treviño discovered in his ever-continuing research for material to populate the already extensive latinopia archives.

In this interview video, Hutton sets the backgrounds of the Apache war, the relatively peaceful first contact, the factors that changed everything. And the story of that Anglo kid who, some say, is the reason for the war.


Jesus Treviño, Paul Andrew Hutton, Michael Sedano

Before Columbus Foundation announces
Winners of the Thirty-Seventh Annual

La Bloga Congratulates Jesús Salvador Treviño
Jesús Treviño addresses UCR "A Day of Latino Science Fiction”
From Press Release:
The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. 

There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. 

The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

The 2016 American Book Award Winners are:

Laura Da'
Tributaries (University of Arizona)
Susan Muaddi Darraj
Curious Land: Stories from Home (University of Massachusetts)
Deepa Iyer
We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future (The New Press)
Mat Johnson
Loving Day (Spiegel & Grau)
John Keene
Counternarratives (New Directions)
William J. Maxwell
F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature
(Princeton University)
Lauret Savoy
Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (Counterpoint)
Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette
The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry (Lawrence Hill Books)
Jesús Salvador Treviño
Return to Arroyo Grande (Arte Público)
Nick Turse
Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa (Haymarket Books)
Ray Young Bear
Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear (Open Road Integrated Media)
Lifetime Achievement:
Louise Meriwether
Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award:
Lyra Monteiro and Nancy Isenberg
Andrew Hope Award:
Chiitaanibah Johnson

The 2016 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 30th from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public. 

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