THE PLAINS APACHE by John Upton Terrell


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Terrell, who's written more books than an Indian has arrowheads, here takes on, in scattershot fashion, some of the disparate Apache bands of the Southwest--Padoucas, Lipan, Teyas, Faron and Jicarilla--described by 17th century missionaries and treasure hunters as a ""people very fiery and bellicose, and very crafty in war."" Not that their ferocity and nomadic lifestyle did them much good: today ""the Jicarilla are the only Plains Apache who still occupy land in close proximity to the region in which they were first discovered by white men."" Less vulnerable and docile than their neighbors the Pueblos with whom they had extensive trade links, they incurred the special enmity of the Spaniards because of their stubborn refusal to yield to the blandishments of Christianity. The Spanish conquest of New Mexico is relayed episodically (and confusedly) but it's clear enough that it was their rapaciousness which destroyed the ancient economy and trade of the area and that both the Spanish and the French, with the help of the Comanches, dirtied their hands in the slave trade. There are the usual pathetic interludes of a once-invincible people reduced to beseeching protection from their tormentors. But Terrell is only a middling storyteller and in his hands the story quickly becomes monotonous as ""tribe after tribe succumbed to the insuperable forces"" of the Spanish with their guns and religious medallions.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1975
Publisher: T.Y. Crowell