The Apache Indians


The Apache Indians

In Search of the Missing Tribe

Helge Ingstad
Translated by Janine K. Stenehjem

188 pages
24 photographs, map


December 2012


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About the Book

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.

Author Bio

After practicing law for four years, then selling his practice for “fear of becoming rich,” Helge Ingstad (1899–2001) became a self-taught ethnographer, historian, and world-renowned explorer. He is the author of the best-selling Land of Feast and Famine and coauthor (with Anne Stine Ingstad) of The Viking Discovery of America: The Excavation of a Norse Settlement in L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland. Benedicte Ingstad is the daughter of Helge Ingstad. Thomas J. Nevins is a PhD candidate in anthropology at the University of Virginia.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations  vii
Preface by Benedicte Ingstad  ix
Introduction by Thomas J. Nevins  xvii
1. The Long Migration  1
2. San Carlos  11
3. White Mountain  21
4. Glimpse of the Old and the New  35
5. Dance and Prayer  45
6. Apache Cowboy Life on the White Mountain Reservation  59
7. An Expedition Is Planned  77
8. South into Mexico  91
9. Through the Western Sierra Madre  103
10. Nacori Chico  119
11. Through the Heart of the Sierra Madre  129
12. Dramatic Christmas  147
13. Cave Country  155
14. Prisoners from the Wilderness  171
Notes  183
Bibliography  187