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History Comes Alive for San Carlos Students

By John Hartman

There are few students that have the honor of meeting the authors of their textbooks, but this is exactly what took place for the history class of San Carlos High School recently. Glen Lineberry has worked hard to make his Freshman and Junior history classes interesting and relevant to his Apache high school students.

Two of the textbooks used for his classes are Shadows at Dawn by Karl Jacoby of Columbia University and Big Sycamore Stands Alone by Ian Record of the University of Arizona. These books explore the story of the Apaches at Aravaipa Canyon and the US Army post there, which both played such a vital role in the establishment of the San Carlos Indian Reservation. These books researched the cultural conflict and crisis that took place in the 1870's when the Apache, Pima, Anglo and Mexican peoples fought over a prime piece of real estate in Arizona Territory.

The two authors of these books joined the students for an Aravaipa Apache history week at San Carlos High School to allow the students to ask them questions about their books and Apache history. Both of these books were published in 2008 and contain many interviews with Apache elders with their memories of distant times.

On May 3rd the authors accompanied the students on a Field Trip to Aravaipa Canyon, south of Winkleman, to show the students the setting of the story, a place once loved and cherished by the Apache people. In spite of the difficulties presented by the electrical outage, twenty freshman and fifteen junior history students made the trip back in time. They were shown the site of old Fort Grant, and also some Indian trust land still owned by the descendants of Apache Chief Capitan Chiquito. It is a magical place, haunted by tragedy, but still blessed by countless years of each season's bountiful harvest.

At the invitation of some local ranchers, the students traveled further up the canyon to a beautiful site once farmed on Aravaipa creek by the Apache people. Here they ate their sack lunches, explored the rocky canyon and waded in the clear stream waters. Also present on the outing was Seth Pilsk, a botanist with BIA Forestry who has worked with the elder's council for many years. Seth took the students on a plant identification and educational walk and spoke of the natural habitat of the plants, and the names by which the elders knew them. This is the third year that professor Glen Lineberry has made this Field Trip with his students to help to bring to life a time and place that he feels should not be forgotten.

Youth from San Carlos are given the opportunity to explore Aravaipa Canyon, while learning about its history from scholars Karl Jacoby and Ian Record, botanist Seth Pilsk and high school history teacher Glen Lineberry.

“Everything on this earth is meant for something, but now we don't all know about it. The old timers knew.”

Wallace Johnson. Quoted in Big Sycamore Stands Alone, by Ian Record.