The Apache Indians: In Search of the Missing Tribe

The Apache Indians: In Search of the Missing Tribe

The Apache Indians: In Search of the Missing Tribe

The Apache Indians: In Search of the Missing Tribe

Synopsis

Available in English for the first time, The Apache Indians tells the story of the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad’s sojourn among the Apaches near the White Mountain Reservation in Arizona and his epic journey to locate the “lost” group of their brethren in the Sierra Madres in the 1930s.

Ingstad traveled to Canada, where he lived as a trapper for four years with the Chipewyan Indians. The Chipewyans told him tales about people from their tribe who traveled south, never to return. He decided to go south to find the descendants of his Chipewyan friends and determine if they had similar stories. In 1936 Ingstad arrived in the White Mountains and worked as a cowboy with the Apaches. His hunch about the Apaches’ northern origins was confirmed by their stories, but the elders also told him about another group of Apaches who had fled from the reservation and were living in the Sierra Madres in Mexico. Ingstad launched an expedition on horseback to find these “lost” people, hoping to record more tales of their possible northern origin but also to document traditions and knowledge that might have been lost among the Apaches living on the reservation.

Through Ingstad’s keen and observant eyes, we catch unforgettable glimpses of the landscape and inhabitants of the southwestern borderlands as he and his Apache companions, including one of Geronimo’s warriors, embark on a dangerous quest to find the elusive Sierra Madre Apaches. The Apache Indians is a powerful echo of a past that has now become a myth.

Excerpt

Benedicte Ingstad

When my father, Helge Ingstad, died on March 29, 2001, he was 101 years old. Born on the day before New Year's, 1899, he had lived in three centuries. But that was only one of his achievements.

He grew up in the Norwegian town of Bergen, from the Middle Ages an old Hanseatic seaport located between high mountains. His father, Olav Ingstad, was an engineer, and his mother, Olga, was the daughter of a school principal from Tromsø, in northern Norway. Together with his elder sister, Gunvor, and his younger brother, Kaare, he grew up in a home with plenty of love and few worries in spite of a World War brewing farther south in Europe. Outdoor activities, especially skiing, played an important role in the life of this family, and when the children needed new skis the father would cut down a tree in the garden and make them himself.

As a teenager Helge spent his summer holidays on the mountain plateau Hardangervidda together with a friend. They would take off for weeks with a tent and a fishing rod and live on what they were able to fish from the many lakes, where trout were plentiful. Here he would also encounter large herds of wild reindeer. This is where his dreams about exploring the wilderness were born.

After finishing high school he told his father that he would like to travel. But his father, whom he held in high regard, managed to convince him to get an education first, so he went off to Oslo to enroll in the university, which was at that time the only one in the country. His grandfather was a professor of law, and Helge decided to follow in his footsteps. After finishing his law degree he established a law practice in Levanger, a town in the middle part of Norway. However, after a few years he got restless. He sold his practice, bought a boat ticket to Canada, and set off to explore what were then unknown . . .

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