- The Second Poem in my Native American Series -
"When I was young I walked all over this country, east and west,
and saw no other people than the Apaches.
After many summers I walked again,
and I found another race of people had come to take it.
How is that?”
Cochise, Chiracahua Apache
Less than two hundred years ago
In a land of hidden canyons and parched desert days
Lived the brave young son of an old Apache shaman
He was known in his native tongue as Too-ah-yah-say
As this young man sat alone near the top of Sacred Mesa
He contemplated the words his elder father had just said,
“Too-ah-yah-say, the Blue Coat soldiers will soon return,
They are going to enslave us, or they will kill us all dead.”
Since Too-ah-yah-say was a fearless Apache warrior
He had begged his father to let him stand and fight
Instead the old shaman had instructed him to prepare everyone
For his people would travel again - this time southward in the night
“But Father, this canyon is our peoples’ sacred tribal homeland,
Given to us by The Creator - it is here that we should make our stand.”
That’s when the wise old shaman had very patiently explained to his son,
“It is time you knew that in a far different place, is where our life had begun.”
“Long, long ago, even before my great great grandfather’s time on this ancient earth,
Our people had lived in the vast frozen northland – far too many of them without mirth.”
“Winters there were almost unbearable, and the animals we hunt very, very few,
So one of our wise ancient ancestors brought our people here - to start our life anew.”
“You see, my son, the Creator did not give anyone this ancient and sacred desert land,
And it is much better for Apaches to live another day, than to die here in our last stand.”
So as the brilliant red desert sun began to set again on Sacred Mesa that astonishing day,
This small group sadly left their homeland - and vanished before dawn’s early morning rays
And even today, on the Apache Reservations in the states of Arizona and New Mexico,
The people still tell the Legend of the Ghost Band of Brothers – who escaped so long ago
©2005, Ed Kostro
The Apache People, who lived and prospered for centuries in America’s great southwest, are related to native inhabitants of the northwest coast of Canada and Alaska, and they speak a dialect of the same language known as Athabascan.
On a marvelous trip we took several years ago, my wife, who is part Mescalaro Apache from New Mexico, had the opportunity to meet some of her distant relatives - in Alaska.
And the Legend of the ‘Lost Tribe’ of Apaches who outfoxed the U.S. Cavalry, and who simply vanished into the vast and rugged Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico, lives on today.
If this legend is true , these resilient Apache people have traversed the entire North American continent, from north to south, over countless centuries, in their efforts to survive.
The young warrior, Too-ah-yah-say, and his shaman father, Nah-ka-yen, are two of the historically accurate characters in my western novel, Gold River Canyon.
“There is one God looking down on us all.
We are all the children of one God,
We are all connected in the circle of life.
And the sun, the darkness, and the winds
Are all listening to what we have to say.”
Geronimo, Bedonkohe Apache