Chiricahua Apache Women and Children
Safekeepers of the Heritage
Native American Studies - Western History
6.125 x 9.25, 136 pp.
32 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 03/01/2000
Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest
  cloth
Price:        $24.95

978-0-89096-921-2
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Published by Texas A&M University Press
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Chiricahua Apache Women and Children

Safekeepers of the Heritage

By H. Henrietta Stockel

White Painted Woman appears in ancient myths of the Chiricahua Apaches as the virgin mother of the people and the origin of women’s ceremonies. Such Chiricahua myths and traditions have closely prescribed the roles of women in relation to their husbands and children, to relatives and extended families, and to the band or tribe. One of those roles is to safeguard and hand on to the next generation the lore and customs of the people. In this way, Chiricahua women have served as safekeepers of a heritage that is now endangered. For more than a decade, H. Henrietta Stockel has moved with remarkable freedom and intimacy among the Chiricahuas, especially in the women’s friendship circles. With their permission and even blessing, she has observed and recorded aspects of their traditional culture that otherwise might be lost to history.Chiricahua Apache Women and Children, written in a familiar, personal style, focuses on the duties and experiences of historical Chiricahua Apache women and the significant influences they have exerted within the family and the tribe at large.After beginning with a look at creation myths, Stockel turns to family patterns and roles. She describes in detail the puberty ceremony she has repeatedly witnessed, a ceremony little known by those outside the band. Stockel looks also at the alternative lifestyle, also culturally prescribed, of four women warriors. She concludes with Mildred Cleghorn, a contemporary “woman warrior” who was chairperson of the Fort Sill Chiricahua/Warm Springs Apache Tribe in Oklahoma for nearly twenty years and who was also Stockel's close friend and “Apache mother.” Beautifully complemented with thirty-two black-and-white illustrations of women, children, and family life, Chiricahua Apache Women and Children offers a vivid glimpse into traditional Chiricahua Apache women’s lifestyles.

H. Henrietta Stockel is a researcher who works part-time on special projects for Cochise College in Sierra Vista, Arizona. She has written seven books about the Chiricahua Apaches and other Native Americans, including Geronimo’s Kids: A Teacher’s Lessons on the Apache Reservation, co-authored with Robert S. Ove and published by Texas A&M University Press.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Henrietta Stockel is known for her research on the Apaches, particularly Apache women, and this manuscript certainly falls within her expertise. I feel this is a well-written, valuable little book. I like her approach and the easy, informal writing. I learned several things from it and I believe both historians and the general public will benefit from it. This isn’t traditional history and Stockel obviously doesn’t mean it to be. For what it is, it is a fine work.”--David LaVere, Associate Professor of History, UNCL

“Henrietta Stockel is known for her research on the Apaches, particularly Apache women, and this manuscript certainly falls within her expertise. I feel this is a well-written, valuable little book. I like her approach and the easy, informal writing. I learned several things from it and I believe both historians and the general public will benefit from it. This isn’t traditional history and Stockel obviously doesn’t mean it to be. For what it is, it is a fine work.” --David LaVere, Associate Professor of History, UNCL

“Tales of White Painted Woman and the creation of the puberty ceremony open this engaging book. Stockel poignantly relates how many of the Apaches’ cultural traditions survived only in memories after their children were sent to Carlisle Indian Training School in Pennsylvania. . . . Chiricahua Apache Women and Children. . . enhanced with historic photographs [is] must reading for all who want to hear the Apaches recount their history and describe their rich heritage in their own words.” --The Journal of Arizona History

“Stockel’s brief, well-written, informative book contains valuable insights into past and contemporary Chiriahua Apache life.” --CHOICE

“Since most writing about Apaches stresses warmaking by men, Stockel’s book is particularly important and timely.” --David Remley

“A fascinating book, meticulously researched and well written, it is a must for any scholar, writer, or general reader.” --Amarillo News-Globe

“The book is an interesting combination of historical research, interviews, and the author’s participatory experiences. The depth of the research, evident in the extensive notes accompanying the work, is artfully combined with the first-hand knowledge she gained in her over ten years of close interaction with Chirichua women and girls. In the introduction to the work, H. Henrietta Stockel justifies in advance her participation in the story she is telling; and perhaps that intimacy with the subject allows her access to information not readily available to the ethnohistorian. . . . Stockel hits a high note with Chiricahua Apache Women and Children: Safekeepers of the Heritage. The research and narrative are complemented and enhanced by the presence of 32 black and white photographs that touchingly illustrate Chiricahua women during good times and bad. . . . The work is interesting, enlightening, and a worthwhile read for anyone interested in Native American women.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“. . . an interesting combination of historical research, interviews, and the author’s participatory experiences. The depth of the research, evident in the extensive notes accompanying the work, is artfully combined with the first-hand knowledge she gained in her over ten years of close interaction with Chiricahua women and girls. . . . The research and narrative are complemented and enhanced by the presence of 32 black and white photographs that touchingly illustrate Chiricahua women during good times and bad . . . The work is interesting, enlightening, and a worthwhile read for anyone interested in Native American women.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“One of the most remarkable aspects of Stockel’s book is her methodology. Although a non-native woman, she has gained the trust of Chiricahua Apache women (and men), who have given her access to many sources unavailable to other scholars. . . .Combining a sincere interest in and concern for the Chiricahua Apaches with a willingness to take risks, Stockel read extensively on her subject, attended all the tribal gatherings she could, developed personal friendships with her subjects, and maintained a sense of humility throughout her research and writing. . . .Stockel’s inclusion of her own personal interactions with Apache women enlivens this book. . . .Stockel has contributed a worthy book on a little-covered subject and modeled an ethical approach to research.” --The American Indian Quarterly

“. . . a very interesting and informative book. . . . This is a short book, but it packs a great deal of information between its covers. It is rich with pictures from the present and the past. . . . The book is well written and well documented with an ample supply of notes and a bibliography that should allow anyone interested in the Chiracahua to continue his/her studies.” --Journal of the West

“Stockel masterfully weaves the historical record, oral history, and personal experiences to create an important work. . . . The chapters follow logically and provide the reader with a balanced understanding of Apache women from their own perspective, supported by monographs, articles, interviews, unpublished manuscripts, correspondence, newspapers and pamphlets, and federal documents. Her synthesis of this material will be well received by women’s historians who search for an effective model upon which to study other Native women’s experiences. This monograph should be considered for use in many history courses ranging from Native American, western women, ethnic, and oral history courses.” --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

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