Historical-Period Apache Occupation of the Chiricahua Mountains in Southeastern Arizona: An Exercise in Collaboration

by Nicholas Clinton Laluk

Institution: University of Arizona
Year: 2015
Keywords: Collaboration; Multivocal; Apache; Anthropology
Record ID: 2058200
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10150/347313


Despite more than one hundred and twenty five years of exile, descendants of Chiricahua, Mescalero, and Western Apache tribes still retain significant and powerful ties to their former homelands in what is now southeastern Arizona. However, due to the high mobility of historical-period Apache tribes in the U.S. Southwest and near invisibility of Apache archaeological sites on the ground surface, much is still to be learned about historical-period Apachean life-ways. Moreover, beyond material signatures much is to be learned about the Apache past and present in reference to U.S. colonial policies regarding the lasting sociocultural, political, physical, and cognitive affects resulting from these policies and actions. These lasting impacts as a result of colonial policies and actions are still very much felt and critically affect contemporary Apache communities. This dissertation presents the results from collaborative archaeological fieldwork conducted in various areas of the Chiricahua Mountain range with Apache cultural experts representing communities with ongoing and ancestral associations to lands now managed by the Coronado National Forest. Beyond the material remains representing Apache culture and history it is necessary for non-Apache collaborators to critically self-reflect and examine their own research goals and agendas to better address issues and concerns of extreme importance to Apache tribal communities today. By addressing the various challenges encountered during the collaborative research processes, and modifying paternalistic thought processes and misunderstandings in reference to American Indian communities, researchers can conduct archaeological-anthropological research that creatively and critically responds to the needs of contemporary American Indian communities.