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The Family by Apache artist Carrie Reede.
Created to honor the deceased Apache women of Aravaipa.
In the Apache world view, there is a way of understanding the intercourse of man and the natural world known as igoya i goz aa sikaa. It has been roughly translated as wisdom sits in places.
To the Apache this means that the geological and biological processes of the earth have an effect on man, and likewise that the human events that take place on the earth leave an indelible imprint on the land.
On a cholla-covered mesa in Arizonas Aravaipa Canyon lie the remains of one hundred and twenty woman and children, murdered over 130 ago. As a psychic wound on the land, Aravaipa Canyon is a place where the earth must be healed.
Because there is an Apache tradition of not mentioning the names of the dead or talking of tragic events past, it has been in the literature of scholars outside the Apache community that the memory of what has been called the Camp Grant Massacre has been kept alive. (see resources)
Nevertheless, in recent times, many have come to see the importance of preserving the land and its history, as a reminder to humankind about the danger of allowing hatred to flourish between peoples.
In recent meetings of the landowners, a general consensus and common vision for the future of this land has slowly evolved. This can be summarized as follows:
The Apaches of Aravaipa Canyon, a non-profit 501(c)(3), was formed in 2008 to help organize these first steps towards the healing the land, through its restoration, protection and interpretation.
- That the descendants of Capitan Chiquito will maintain ownership of the land and honor the graves of their ancestors.
- That efforts should be made to restore the Aravaipa land to its former state of pristine beauty through the replanting of native species, soil conservation efforts and river purification.
- That efforts should be made to protect the site from intruders such as artifact collectors, hunters and cattle.
- That landowners should work in alliance with Aravaipa neighbors, such as Arizona Central Community College and the Arizona Park Rangers, to protect the gravesite of the victims.
- That the gravesite should be protected and sealed to prevent further desecration, and repatriation efforts be made to recover remains stolen from the site.
- That consideration should be given to the creation of an Interpretive Center at the site to tell the Apache story of the events that took place where the big sycamore is standing there.
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