July 24, 2023
Cochise: A Re-Imagination
"Cochise: A Re-Imagination" by Prof Arthur Scott, the story of Apache leader is published by Dominican University.
According to the author, this is a fictionalized work that looks at Cochise’s life, through a series of imagined scenarios.
My intention in writing this was to provide an intimate venue by which he not only comes alive as an extraordinary warrior and sage archetype, but as a human being who struggled with doubt, loss, and fear. Leadership, honesty, and honor are important themes that Cochise’s life exemplified. Though soft spoken, he imparted volumes on leadership to his people and enemies through his spiritual, emotional, and physical presence.
Cochise was greater than most of his Apache contemporaries, as every warrior was free to choose the leader he wished to follow. In general, warriors followed leaders who brought them success and protection. To Cochise’s credit, he was the last Apache who generated a groundswell of support from a wide field of prima donna leaders including Victorio, Nana, Lozen, Geronimo and Juh. Cochise embodied the best of both strategic and tactical leadership that even his mentor, Mangas Coloradas, hesitated to question him.
After his death in 1874, no one was able again to hold the different Chiricahua Bands together. This inability to unite fragmented the Apache response and allowed leadership to pass into the hands of the wild Chiricahuas or hesh-kes like Juh and Geronimo leading the Apaches on self-destructive paths until Geronimo and Naiche, Cochise’s son, finally surrendered to Nelson A. Miles at Skelton Canyon in 1886.
The Cochise story is a narrative about the Chiricahua Apaches’ heroic struggle to retain their way of life. They have much to teach in matters of guerrilla warfare or counterinsurgency. They were masters of the landscape, blending imperceptibly into the desert floor, or vanishing into the crevices of mountains. Their warrior qualities of endurance, stamina, courage, and patience were universally respected by their enemies.
Another dimension of the story places Cochise and the Chiricahua People into a global framework. Their struggle against American expansion was not an isolated event occurring within the Arizona and New Mexico Territories but rather, part of a much larger story of global European Imperialism characterized by nationalism, racism, colonialism, industrialism, and materialism.
What happened to the Chiricahuas was soon mirrored in Sudan, South Africa, India, Latin America, China, Philippines, and Southeast Asia. By 1870, Western Europe flexed its technological and material prowess, and set about spreading its version of Civilization to peoples of color throughout the world. Western Imperialism became immortalized by Rudyard Kipling’s “White Man’s Burden” in which he urged America to take on the burden of civilizing Filipinos during the Spanish-American War of 1898-1901.
The Apache Wars were a prelude to American global expansionism into the Caribbean and Pacific which marked the onset of the American Empire beginning with the Spanish-American War.
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