American Indians •  Biography and History

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Apache Voices: Their Stories of Survival as Told to Eve Ball

Sherry Robinson

In the 1940s and 1950s, long before historians fully accepted oral tradition as a source, Eve Ball (1890-1984) was taking down verbatim the accounts of Apache elders who had survived the army's campaigns against them in the last century. These oral histories offer new versions--from Warm Springs, Chiricahua, Mescalero, and Lipan Apache--of events previously known only through descriptions left by non-Indians.

A high school and college teacher, Ball moved to Ruidoso, New Mexico, in 1942. Her house on the edge of the Mescalero Apache Reservation was a stopping-off place for Apaches on the dusty walk into town. She quickly realized she was talking to the sons and daughters of Geronimo, Cochise, Victorio, and their warriors. After winning their confidence, Ball would ultimately interview sixty-seven people.

Here is the Apache side of the story as told to Eve Ball. Including accounts of Victorio's sister Lozen, a warrior and medicine woman who was the only unmarried woman allowed to ride with the men, as well as unflattering portrayals of Geronimo's actions while under attack, and Mescalero scorn for the horse thief Billy the Kid, this volume represents a significant new source on Apache history and lifeways.

"Sherry Robinson has resurrected Eve Ball's legacy of preserving Apache oral tradition. Her meticulous presentation of Eve's shorthand notes of her interviews with Apaches unearths a wealth of primary source material that Eve never shared with us. " Apache Voices is a must read!"--Louis Kraft, author of Gatewood & Geronimo

"Sherry Robinson has painstakingly gathered from Eve Ball's papers many unheard Apache voices, especially those of Apache women. This work is a genuine treasure trove. In the future, no one who writes about the Apaches or the conquest of Apacheria can ignore this collection."--Shirley A. Leckie, author of Angie Debo: Pioneering Historian


Sherry Robinson is a journalist and freelance writer living in Albuquerque.


"Robinson has done some excellent homework and editing to make the accounts . . . live with thorough footnoting, explanation, anecdote and insight."


Journal of the West



MultiCultural Review

". . . this very readable book . . . adds to the body of knowledge available about the Apache people."


Denver Westerners Roundup

"This is an exciting book to read. It contains short 'true adventure' stories (frequently tragic). . . ."



"Sherry Robinson's Apache Voices is a significant new source for Apache history. . . .Robinson masterfully arranges these untold Apache stories into four parts and provides illuminating chapter introductions."


The Journal of Arizona History

"This collection provides a vivid, compelling portrait of Apache history and life as seen from the Apache perspective and is a valuable addition to the study of oral history."


Library Journal

"Ball's original books were important for providing at least a portion of a more balanced account. Robinson has improved that balance even more with her additional research and corrections."


Southwest BookViews

6 x 9 in. 288 pages 23 halftones, 1 map