Upcoming Talk: Building on Basso: Apache Identity, Power Negotiation and Perpetual Misconception

Building on Basso: Apache Identity, Power Negotiation and Perpetual Misconception

October 14, 12:00pm, Giddings 212
Presented by: Nicholas Laluk, Postdoctoral Research Associate in Anthropology - Native American Studies


In his seminal work Wisdom Sits in Places Keith Basso discusses Ndee (Apache) moral and social connections to the land base and how these connections/reminders can be brought to life through stories, language and songs. Ndee landscape knowledge and association to place and the environment are defined by an inherent and long established connection to topographical features throughout the Southwest U.S. These connections continue to define contemporary existence and act upon Ndee individuals in many ways including long-established Ndeeidentity. However, Basso’s work did have limitations in reference to not fully considering changes over time, and the continued diminishment and curtailment of Ndee communities from traditional homelands and associated environments in various forms. All of which, have had considerable and lasting affects on Ndee communities. Ranging from continued misrepresentation and non-Ndee interpretation of Ndee pasts and present to community level realities of language loss, land restrictions, and substance abuse these issues are constantly adversely impacting Ndee communities. Such issues can “act upon” Apache identity beyond solely land-based associations and not only perpetuate misconceptions about Apache culture and history, but contribute to ongoing stereotypes that the general public refuses to relinquish.

 However, better understandings of the Ndee past can be highlighted by understanding Ndee landscape associations, ongoing importance of place and tribally-derived conceptions of the harmonious balance of living right with the land base and inclusive Ndee values that define Ndee reality. Through such cultural tenets of respect and avoidance, Ndee communities can assert their sovereignty in reference to their own identity and overall management of their own past which is critical for continued overall community well being.

Bio: Nicholas Laluk is a member of the White Mountain Tribe in east-central Arizona. He completed both his M.A. and Ph.D degrees in anthropology from the University of Arizona. He worked for ten years for Coronado National Forest splitting his duties with tribal relations and archaeology. Before coming to Brown he was working as a consultant for his tribes Historic Preservation Office.