“These Apaches see things we can’t.”

by chiodoesque

apache scouts digitalgallery nypl org

Two White Mountain Apache scouts were also in the circle-Corporals Big Sharley and B-25, veterans of the Geronimo campaign with General Pershing in Arizona Territory, some thirty years before.
They wore slightly tattered US Army uniforms, but whatever military bearing they displayed was canceled out by their brooding glare, dark weathered skin, and long black hair.
B-25 seemed interested in Callie, but remained taciturn. His friend spoke instead. ”He likes you. He thinks you pretty.”
“Well, tell him thank you.”
Big Sharley continued. “He wonders why you out here, with the soldiers. Me too.”
These remarks were drawing snickers from the two male reporters. Callie put her pencil down. “I work for a newspaper, like these men. I write about what the soldiers and Pancho Villa are doing, so that people back home will know what is going on.”
“And maybe write about us too?”
“Of course.”
“I’m Big Sharley. He’s B-25. He’s lookin’ for a wife.”
“Tell him I’m married.”
Big Sharley whispered the news to his friend, who nodded.
“Why is he named B-25?”
“Nobody knows.” They both got up and left. Callie wrote some notes.
“Now I heard you were a single gal,” said Terrazzo, of the Tribune.
“I thought it would make things less complicated if they thought I was married.”
“Smart move, miss. These Apaches are still half savage. But I’ll look out for you.”
“Thank you, sir, but I can look out for myself. And I don’t agree with that opinion. What white men call savage is really naturalness-the native peoples are keenly sensitive to their environment, unlike white folks, who have become stiff and clumsy. These Apaches see things we can’t. Why do you suppose the Army hires them as scouts? We’d be lost without them.”
“But, Miss, these Indians have no conception of goals or purpose-they live in the moment.”
“And isn’t that wonderful?” Callie exclaimed. “I believe that the Apache, the Comanche, and a few other tribes who haven’t been ruined by our civilizing efforts, still regard the world as their ancestors did-the past, present and future are all the same. Like this.” She grabbed a stick and drew a circle in the sand. “Circular, not linear. The way a child sees things, before they too are civilized.”
The men looked at her like she was mad. Floyd shook his head. “That’s a foolish philosophy, young lady.”
“But it‘s mine, sir, and I‘ll keep it.”

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