Chasing Shadows

I’ve been reading “Chasing Shadows” by Shelley Bowen Hatfield. It’s the *other* Apache book by a Bowen. It’s about the Apaches and Yaquis along the USA-Mexico border between 1876 and 1911.

It’s pretty fascinating. With the Mexican and USA governments trying to “pacify” and “suppress” the Indian Menace, it seems clear, with 125 years hindsight, that there’s no good guys in this story. The Indian people are forced off of their land, often into starvation. They respond by turning to raids and crime to feed their families, and the governments attack them and slaughter them by their thousands. For a long time, there was a per-scalp bounty for any indian scalp. That kind of brutality is hard for me to imagine, particularly given that it happened so very recently. And, yes, I consider 125 years to be very recent. I know, we’ve done more horrible things a lot more recently.

What’s particularly interesting is how a few thousand Apaches outwitted tens of thousands of federal troops for 30 years, and how those troops persisted in thinking of themselves as superior beings. It’s amazing to me how folks can block inconvenient things like facts from their minds when they are determined to believe a particular thing.

Anyways, I highly recommend this book.

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