Don't Let the Sun Step Over You: A White Mountain Apache Family Life, 1860-1975 / Edition 1

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When the Apache wars ended in the late nineteenth century, a harsh and harrowing time began for the Western Apache people. Living under the authority of nervous Indian agents, pitiless government-school officials, and menacing mounted police, they knew that resistance to American authority would be foolish. But some Apache families did resist in the most basic way they could: they resolved to endure. Although Apache history has inspired numerous works by non-Indian authors, Apache people themselves have been reluctant to comment at length on their own past. Eva Tulene Watt, born in 1913, now shares the story of her family from the time of the Apache wars to the modern era. Her narrative presents a view of history that differs fundamentally from conventional approaches, which have almost nothing to say about the daily lives of Apache men and women, their values and social practices, and the singular abilities that enabled them to survive. In a voice that is spare, factual, and unflinchingly direct, Mrs. Watt reveals how the Western Apaches carried on in the face of poverty, hardship, and disease. Her interpretation of her people’s past is a diverse assemblage of recounted events, biographical sketches, and cultural descriptions that bring to life a vanished time and the men and women who lived it to the fullest. We share her and her family’s travels and troubles. We learn how the Apache people struggled daily to find work, shelter, food, health, laughter, solace, and everything else that people in any community seek. Richly illustrated with more than 50 photographs, Don’t Let the Sun Step Over You is a rare and remarkable book that affords a view of the past that few have seen before—a wholly Apache view, unsettling yet uplifting, which weighs upon the mind and educates the heart.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Her voice is a pleasure to listen to—kind, observant, with a this-too-shall-pass quality." —Los Angeles Times"Readers will find her unaffected honesty as enlightening as it is refreshing." —San Diego Union-Tribune"This outstanding account of an Apache woman remembering her family stories is a gem." —CHOICE Magazine“Her voice rings so clearly in the stories about three generations of her family that reading her words is almost as good as sitting at her kitchen table.” —Western Historical Quarterly
Eva Tulene Watt, a White Mountain Apache born in 1913, tells what it was like growing up and living with wrenching social change. In 200 hours of interviews, she told of the persons she knew or who touched her life, cultural characteristics, travels, daily life, and the Apaches' relationship with the government and church. She recounts events, including many homey family happenings, that shed light on the culture. Especially interesting are her stories of the boarding schools, those problematical institutions that tore at the fabric of Indian life and acclimated them to the white world. Readers will be taken aback at the level of poverty endured when a caretaker bureaucracy failed, and will be warmed by the resilience of a people who overcame much and are still with us. This book comes close to letting the voice of an Indian person be heard, a difficult thing for many scholars. An excellent addition to Native American and biography collections. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Univ. of Arizona Press, 340p. illus. notes. bibliog. index., Ages 15 to adult.
—Edna Boardman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780816523917
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Western Apache Pronunciation Guide xi
Introduction xiii
Part 1 "We Sure Did Travel All Over" (1860-1929)
Chapter 13
Chapter 245
Chapter 377
Chapter 4107
Chapter 5127
Part 2 "A Really Good Place" (1930-1944)
Chapter 6149
Chapter 7164
Chapter 8184
Chapter 9200
Chapter 10222
Part 3 "Leaving Home Was Hard" (1945-1975)
Chapter 11251
Chapter 12271
Last Words 289
Acknowledgments 291
Family Genealogy 294
Chronology of Important Events 297
Notes 301
Glossary of Apache Terms and Expressions 321
References Cited 325
Photograph Credits 331
Index 335
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