The Apache Indians of North America prospered for years throughout Kansas, New Mexico, and Arizona. They were a religious society who believed in a ‘giver of life’;. As any complex society today, The Apache had many inter-tribal differences, although the tribe as a whole was able to see through these conflicts. Women and the extended family played an important role in the society and also in the lives of young children. Groups of different extended families, called bands, often lived together and functioned democratically.
The Apache also evolved as the coming of the white man changed their lives. These Indians became adept at using horses and guns, both introduced to them by the coming settlers. As with most Indian tribes in North America the lives of the Apache were destroyed as their life-blood, the buffalo were slaughtered by the whites. The Apache were forced into surrender after years of struggle. One leader, Geronimo, was especially hard for the whites to capture. After years of evading white soldiers Geronimo was taken to Florida and treated as a prisoner of war.
Government sponsored assimilation saw English forced upon the Apache robbing them of their culture. In 1934 The Indian Recognition Act helped establish the Indian culture as a recognized way of life. This act gave the Apache land, which the Apache in turn used for ranching. The destruction of the Apache culture was not recoverable and saw the Apache lose much of their language. The documentary on the Apache was very well done. The Indians of North America series, produced by Chelsea House, seems to be a very well thought-out series and the film on the Apache was no exception.
The film moved quickly throughout the life and times of the Apache. This film, as no surprise, is a great educational tool. I felt that the life of Geronimo, the best-known Apache throughout history, could have been examined a little more carefully. The Cherokee The story of the Cherokee Indians was probably the most disturbing of any we have seen so far. The Cherokee were the most unfortunate of the North American Indian solely because the lived on the Eastern half of the United States.
Their geographical location left them to be the first major tribe to come in contact with the white men. The Cherokees saw one man, Andrew Jackson, as a sole enemy. Jackson, ignoring, a treaty President Washington had signed, waged war on the Cherokee. Jackson brought some 300 Cherokee to help him at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. After the struggle Jackson turned on the Cherokees once he no longer needed their help. The initial aim of the United States Government was to move the Cherokee west of the Mississippi River.
In the 1820’s the most impressive cultural change was made as an actual written language derived from the Cherokee spoken word was created. In 1832 the Supreme Court of The United States found the Cherokee people to be a Nation. This ruling was a massive victory for the Cherokee. Jackson, acting against the Cherokee and The Supreme Court, ignored this ruling. The Cherokees are then herded into concentration-type camps and are eventually forced onto was would later be known as ‘The Trail of Tears’;.
Andrew Jackson was successful in his war against the Cherokee and eventually turned many Cherokee people against their own leader and against themselves. The film on the Cherokee was the most heart-breaking thus far. This documentary was presented with much more emotion than the films by Chelsea House. I never knew what an absolute monster Andrew Jackson actually was. I am truly disgusted that this man is viewed as a nation hero. This film was excellently presented in a factual manner that let the audience draw their own conclusions.