Working With Tribal People

Previous posts have described, to some degree, my assignment to head up a special research study of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and Reservation for the US Congress in the 1972-74 time frame.  As part of the effort, my team hired the temporary services (over about three months)  of  Tribal members to help us with interviewing and interpretation.  About thirty people, all female — no males applied — were hired and trained intensively.  And they trained us!  We worked with small groups, as it turned out not all spoke the same dialects and many were affiliated with different rival clans.  Here we see a training session, led by Loyal, my psychologist and anthropological researcher with the assistance of ____ (darn it; can’t recall his name; he was the ex-Special Forces guy who could speak Vietnamese and Cambodian, and was comfortable trying to speak unfamiliar languages).

One of my duties was to participate in Tribal Council meetings, and advise the Apache leaders of my study’s status and progress.   (Every two weeks, if I recall.) They were particularly interested in the process and results of the lengthy questionnaire and interviews that were being administered by these Apache workers.  I came to learn that negotiating Tribal politics could be … tricky.   Working with my Apache ladies and other Tribal officials was certainly the most unusual and memorable aspect of the project.

[negatives dated 1973 originally found, scanned and published on 2/19/2016]

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