Posts Tagged ‘American Indian’


April 30, 2012

 Fort Bowie provides insight into a clash of cultures between a young nation in pursuit of manifest destiny and the Apache society fighting to preserve its existence. For more than thirty years, Fort Bowie was a focal point of military operations which eventually culminated in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886. It was the site of the Bascom Affair, a wagon train massacre, and the battle of Apache Pass, where a large force of Chiricahua Apaches under Mangus Colorados and Cochise fought the California Volunteers. Hostilities were triggered by the Bascom Affair which began on January 27, 1861, when Apaches raided John Ward’s ranch, stealing livestock and kidnapping Ward’s twelve-year-old stepson Felix Ward. Ward complained about the raid to Lieutenant Colonel Pitcain Morrison, the commandant of Fort Buchanan, Arizona, who directed Lieutenant George N. Bascom and a party of infantry to attempt to recover the boy. Bascom determined that the raid was done by Chiricahua Apaches and Morrison ordered Bascom to use whatever means necessary to recapture the boy. Bascom, Ward, and fifty-four soldiers arrived at Apache Pass on February 3, 1861. Bascom convinced Cochise to meet with him. Cochise brought several members of his family to the meeting where he claimed he knew nothing of the affair. Bascom tried to imprison Cochise and his family, but Cochise slit the tent and escaped with a leg wound. On February 5, 1861, Cochise pleaded with Bascom to release his family, but Bascom told Cochise that they would be set free when the boy was released. The next day, Cochise and his Apaches attacked a group of Americans and captured three hostages, offering them in exchange for his family. Bascom insisted that he would accept nothing other than the return of the boy and cattle. On February 7, 1861, Cochise and his men attacked Bascom’s soldiers while they were watering their mules. Cochise fled to Mexico. On the way, he killed his American prisoners and several days later, Bascom hanged Cochise’s brother and nephews.

The historic hike to the Fort Bowie Visitor Center from the trailhead is one and a half miles and crosses the Butterfield Overland trail, passes the post cemetery, the remains of the Chiricahua Apache Reservation Indian Agency building, the Apache Pass Battle site and Apache Spring. Interpretative plaques explain the historic events that took place along the way.

Until Fort Bowie was designated as a national historic site, visitors scavenged the site for relics. In 1958, two brothers from Arkansas searched for relics with their metal detectors and found a rusty cannon ball near the building which once served as a residence for the hospital steward. In 2002, one of the brothers sent it back to Fort Bowie with a letter saying that he had it for forty-four years and that it belonged back at Fort Bowie. The cannon ball, probably fired during the Battle of Apache Pass in 1862, is on display at the Visitor Center. It is the only unexploded cannon ball that was fired during the historic battle between General James Carleton’s California Column and the Chiricahua Apaches led by Cochise. A mountain howitzer typical of the type used in the Battle at Apache Pass is on display on the porch of the visitor center.  Other items on display include a copper water pitcher, a dental molar extractor, a bayonet, pistol, padlock, historic uniforms guns and a dress helmet plate. The walls of the visitor center feature photographs of military personnel who served as Fort Bowie and images of Apache scouts.  Memorabilia of Apache life include a cradle, moccasins and a wickiup.

Fort Bowie Historic Site, 3203 South Old Fort Bowie Road, Bowie, AZ 85605

Tel: 520-847-2500, Fax: 520-847-2221, Web Site:




July 29, 2011

In the 14th century, an ancient people found a home along the Little Colorado River. These people, the Hisat’sinom (Anasazi), farmed the rich flood plain before continuing joining people living on the mesas, known as the Hopi. Homolovi is Hopi for “Place of the Little Hills” — the traditional name for Winslow, Arizona.

The Hopi people of today consider Homolovi to be part of their homeland. Broken pottery and stones are now part of the land, and are mute reminders that the Hopi continue to follow the true Hopi way. Migrations ended when the people settled at the center of the world, the Hopi Mesas north of Homolovi. However, when the Diné (Navajo) and later the Europeans arrived, the Hopi saw the newcomers destroy their ancient homes while digging in sacred sites for curios.

To protect lands from further desecration, the Hopis supported the creation of Homolovi Ruins State Park. This park was established in 1986 and it opened in 1993. Homolovi Ruins State Park now serves as a center of research for the late migration period of the Hopi from the 1200s to the late 1300s. While archaeologists study the sites and confer with the Hopi to unravel the history of Homolovi, Arizona State Parks provides the opportunity for visitors to visit the sites.

The Homolovi Visitor Center features exhibits explaining the archaeology of the ancient people of Homolovi. Exhibits describe the continuing tradition of Hopi pottery, carving and other art forms. The work of various artists, including the art of Hopi children, is incorporated in a changing exhibit. The First Works exhibit is a collection of children’s art work. In addition, the park maintains a collection of returned artifacts from within the Winslow area. These pieces include prehistoric pottery wares, stone and bone tools. There are also historical art works by Fannie Nampeyo, Charles Loloma, Paqua Naha (First Frog Woman) and Helen (Feather Woman) Naha dating from the late 1880s to the late 1960s.

Homolovi’s gift shop is operated by the Homolovi Chapter of the Arizona Archaeological Society. They offer books on the natural and cultural history of northeastern Arizona, including unusual and rare books. The shop has an excellent selection of Hopi and Navajo artwork.  Suvoyuki in the Hopi language means to accomplish work through a joint effort. The annual Suvoyuki Days event in July starts with an open house day at the park that celebrates the partners who have helped to protect and save Homolovi area archaeological and cultural sites from destruction. The event features corn roasting, a morning
run, archaeological information, and artist demonstrations. The next day, the event moves into the community at Sipaulovi Village where visitors can see meet artists and learn more about the Hopi tribe.

Hiking Homolovi provides the visitor with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of the ancients. Nusungvö which means “Place of Rest” in the Hopi language is a 1.2 miles primitive hike across high prairie grasslands. Tsu’vö which means Path of the Rattlesnake in Hopi, is a half mile loop trail between the twin buttes within the park. It is a nature trail and an archaeological trail where the visitor can see milling stone areas and petroglyphs.

Diné is a one and a half mile trail that goes to Diné Point. The Homolovi I trail is an easy quarter mile stroll on an old dirt road. The Homolovi II Trail is a half mile paved trail that is wheelchair accessible. The 100-yard trail allows access to the largest of the Park’s archaeological sites and contains an estimated 1,200 to 2,000 rooms.

Homolovi Ruins State Park, HCR 63, Box 5, Winslow, AZ 86047

Tel: 928-289-4106  Web site:

Arizona Military Museum

December 2, 2010

The Arizona Military Museum is housed in an adobe building, which served as a National Guard arsenal until World War II, when it was converted into a maintenance shop for German prisoners of war. Its military exhibits include a large weapons display and an Army Combat Helicopter (gunship) flown in Vietnam along with more than twenty-five displays of everything from uniforms to weapons to armored vehicles. The exhibits are arranged chronologically so the visitor can follow Arizona participation in the nation’s military history.

            The Spanish arrived in what is now Arizona during the 16th century. Conquistadors and Spanish Colonial Period 1528-1848: The Spanish conquistadors came to the New World in search of gold. This period covers the year 1739 with the discovery of the Arizonac mine, which gave Arizona its name, and extends to the arrival of American troops in Tucson in 1856. In 1821 when much of present-day Arizona was New Spain, Mexico secured independence from Spain.

            Mexican-American War 1846-1848:  The war with Mexico was the first war driven by Manifest Destiny; the belief that it was America’s destiny to expand the country’s borders from the Atlantic seaboard to the Pacific Ocean. Mexico’s Revolution in 1821 had bankrupted the treasury, and so the United States acquired the land from the Gila River to its present boundary with Mexico under very favorable terms under the Gadsden Purchase. Now U.S. troops would protect the gold seekers on their way to California gold rush.

            Mormon Battalion: The Mormon Battalion, the only religiously based unit in United States military history, served during the Mexican-American War. The battalion was a volunteer unit of approximately five hundred Mormon men commanded by regular U.S. army officers. During its service, the battalion marched almost 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California. This remains as the longest single military march in U.S. history.

            The Civil War in Arizona exhibit describes the three Civil War skirmishes fought on Arizona soil. Both the Union and the Confederacy wanted California because of its rich mineral resources; its vital access to the Pacific Ocean; and the conquest would help the Confederacy gain European recognition. Carleton’s California Volunteers established Camp Lowell in Tucson in 1862, Fort Bowie near Apache Pass and Fort Whipple near Prescott.

            Indian Wars in Arizona Territory: In 1864 the U.S. War Department authorized Governor John Noble Goodwin of Arizona to raise five companies of Arizona Volunteers. Many were Mexicans, Blacks, Tohono O’odham and Maricopas. Shortly after the Civil War on July 28th, 1866, Blacks were allowed to serve in the regular army. Six regiments, two of Cavalry and four of infantry were authorized. After the Civil War the military protected western settlements, explored the West and built roads.

            In the Rough Riders exhibit the visitor learns about the Spanish American War when the USS Maine was blown up in 1898. Arizona provided two troops, which became famous as the rough riders under Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.

            The Mexican Civil War is described in the On the Border exhibit. In 1916, during the Mexican Revolution, Pancho Villa’s men killed seventeen Americans in Columbus, New Mexico.  President Wilson sent General John “Black Jack” Pershing into Mexico with an expeditionary force to kill or capture Villa.

            Both World War I and World War II saw great technological advances in military warfare. Men and women of color participated in World War II. Arizona’s 158th Infantry Regiment was sent overseas in 1918 where it served as honor guard and provided an honor band for President Woodrow Wilson during his residence in France. After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the 158th Infantry Regiment Division trained in jungle warfare in Panama. General Douglas MacArthur requested that the Bushmasters, who took their name from the deadly bushmaster snake, be sent to his command in the Southwest Pacific Theater. The Navajo code talkers and the Hopi tribe helped in the communications coding efforts during World War II.

            The Arizona National Guard retained the 158th Infantry until the unit converted into Military Police and Transportation Corps units on December 7, 1967. Numerous Arizona Army Air Corps training fields were scattered throughout Arizona. After the war Major General (Ret.) Barry M. Goldwater was instrumental in the creation of the Air National Guard.  Arizonans have answered their nation’s call to arms during Korea, Viet Nam, Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, and Operation Iraqi Freedom wars. The Tet Offensive in 1968 describes one of the most controversial periods in U. S. military history. In the early morning hours of January 31, 1968, the first day of the Vietnamese New Year or Tet, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army troops and commandos attacked virtually every major town and city in South Vietnam hoping that large sections of the urban populace would rise up in revolt. These attacks were a military failure, but Walter Cronkite inaccurately suggested that America was defeated by the Tet Offensive. The Tet Offensive hoping to give a death-blow to the Saigon Government was a major military failure. Hanoi would conquer Saigon two years after U.S. combat troops left Viet Nam on April 30, 1975.

            Other exhibits include the Israeli–Palestinian conflict which is an ongoing dispute between the State of Israel and the Palestinians and is part of the wider Arab–Israeli conflict.     Operation Enduring Freedom began in October, 2001 in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. These are but a portion of the exhibits that tell about Arizona’s place in the national military.

            The Arizona Military Museum Library has a collection of books, periodicals, historical records, videos and written memorabilia, official military histories, specialized encyclopedias, copies of military orders and maps. All of the 1865-1866 muster roll records of the 1st Arizona Volunteer Infantry have been put on microfiche. They were volunteer Mexicans, Maricopa, and Pima Indians who were Arizona’s first defense force. 

Arizona Military Museum 5636 East McDowell Road Phoenix, Arizona 85008 Tel: 602-267-2676 or 602-253-2378 Fax: 602-253-3342

Web Site:

The Amerind Foundation

August 16, 2010

Founded in 1937 by William Shirley Fulton, the Amerind Foundation is a private anthropological and archaeological museum and research center dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Native American cultures and their histories. Fulton’s home in the spectacular Texas Canyon in southeastern Arizona became the Amerind. Its exhibitions tell the story of America’s first people from the Alaska to South America, from the last ice age to the present.

            A permanent exhibition Images in Time and Place is installed in the principal gallery of the Museum. “Time” includes objects from prehistoric, historic, and contemporary contexts, and “Place” encourages the visitor to think about the environment of the cultures represented. The exhibition presents rich figurative designs in textiles, organic fibers, clay, stone, wood, ivory, metal, beads, and leather.

            A hallway, connecting the two galleries on the first floor, contains exhibit cases showing a time-line of prehistoric human occupation in the Southwest. Here visitors see artifacts from the time of the Paleo-Indians, the Archaic period, and three primary cultural areas of the early farmers: Hohokam, Mogollon, and Ancestral Pueblos (formerly “Anasazi”).

            The Archaeology Room showcases the archaeological work done by the Amerind over the years, including Fulton’s early explorations on the Amerind property, and his work at Painted Cave with archaeologist, Emil Haury. Excavations by Charles Di Peso, director from 1952 to 1982, include his work at Casas Grandes in Chihuahua, Mexico, and his excavations along the San Pedro and the Santa Cruz rivers. This room contains items dating between 800 to1600 years ago, including baskets, sandals, cordage of human hair, and cloth, which were left in a dry cave with superior preservation properties.

            The main gallery upstairs, the Ethnology Gallery, contains items from different Native groups. Part of the room is dedicated to the Apache culture, and on display are baskets, a bow made and signed by Geronimo, a set of Apache rawhide playing cards, along with information and interpretation about the different Apache tribes and groups, Geronimo’s surrender, and the resulting confinement of the Chiricahua Apaches.

            The Navajo are represented with a small collection of jewelry and an exhibit of concho belts. The Ethnology Room contains examples of beadwork by various Native people along with fetishes, cradle boards, pipes, and Santos and other religious artifacts, mostly from northern New Mexico.

            The Hopi drawings on Paper exhibit features art by various Hopi artists, including many works by Otis Polelonema.  Hopi paintings on paper started when archaeologist Jesse Walter Fewkes, who was researching katsinas (or, kachinas) at the end of the 1800s, asked several Hopi men to draw pictures of katsinas.  Around 1915, two young Hopi students, Fred Kabotie and Otis Polelonema were invited to participate in the after-school art classes in Santa Fe, provided by Elizabeth DeHuff. She provided paper and supplies and encouraged them to draw whatever they wanted. Polelonema returned to his village in 1921, and although he continued painting, fulfilling his responsibilities in his community was more important to him. Kabotie remained in Santa Fe and pursued a career in art, returning to Hopi in 1937 to establish the Hopi Silvercraft Guild as well as an art program at the Oraibi Day School. The exhibit also includes works by Waldo Mootzka, Raymond Naha, and others.  Katsinas carvings are also on display.

            Traditions in Clay is an exhibition of Pueblo pottery ranging from late prehistoric ancestral ceramics to modern pieces. The prehistoric pottery ranged from simple utility jars to intricately textured and painted wares. The art form was revived with the arrival of the railroad and tourists in the 1880s. Contemporary pueblo potters still use centuries-old techniques and are inspired by pottery designs a millennium or more old.

            The Mata Ortiz Gallery contains two exhibits. The Potters of Mata Ortiz: Inspired by the Past and Creating Traditions for the Future. The first exhibit explores the connection between the pottery of the prehistoric town of Casas Grandes in Chihuahua, Mexico, and the contemporary pottery tradition of the village of Mata Ortiz. The second exhibit illustrates Amerind’s early involvement with the community of Mata Ortiz. In 1978, Spencer MacCallum  asked Charles Di Peso, Amerind’s director, if the Foundation would be willing to support a competition for the potters of Mata Ortiz. Di Peso agreed and Spencer brought several truck-loads of pots, while Di Peso selected the judges. The judges picked the winners and Spencer returned with ribbons and prizes to award the winners at a community festival. The exhibit features photographs from the judging and the awards ceremony, along with pots by some of the winners.

            A Maker of Wagons, A Maker of Memories exhibit shows the work of Tohono O’odham folk artist, Matias Chihuahua Gomez from Caborca in Sonora, Mexico. Matias, recently deceased, made delightful miniature wagons from mesquite and other woods which resemble the wagons from his childhood.

            The Fulton-Hayden Memorial Art Gallery houses the Fulton family’s art collection. Rose Hayden Fulton, the wife of William Shirley Fulton, collected the fine art that now fills the gallery. One area is dedicated to changing exhibits of Native American artists including Harrison Begay, Beatien Yazz and other Navajo artists. Other artists who have exhibited in this space include Mike Chiago and the late Leonard Chana, Tohono O’odham artists; Melanie Yazzie (Navajo); Mike Zillioux (Akimel O’odham); Terrol Dew Johnson (Tohono O’odham); Bunky Echo-Hawk (Pawnee/Yakima) and more recently, Our People, Our Land, Our Images, an exhibit of work by twenty-six international indigenous photographers.

            The And Then, There Were Horses! exhibit showcases paintings done between 1940-1970 by Navajo and Apache artists, including Allan Houser. The remaining rooms in the art gallery are filled with works by William Leigh, Carl Oscar Borg, and Frederic Remington and many others. The portrait room exhibits paintings of the Fulton family.

            The non-circulating Fulton-Hayden Memorial Art Gallery & Library is home to a 22,000 volume collection of books and professional journals. The library’s strength is in anthropological and archaeological literature, as well as titles that provide information on the Amerind’s ethnographic object collection. Researchers need to make an appointment to use the library’s resources. The library has a wireless internet connection for scholars with their own laptops.

            The Amerind Museum Store carries only authentic, museum-quality American Indian made arts and crafts. The store sells books on Native American culture, archaeology, and the Southwest, fine art posters and music CDs from Native American artists. A picnic area is available for visitor use.

The Amerind Foundation, P.O. Box 400,2100 North Amerind Road, Dragoon, AZ 85609 Tel: 520.586.3666, Fax: 520.586.4679, Web site: