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Abstract

In the mid to late nineteenth century, two Indigenous groups of New Mexico territory, the Mescalero and the Chiricahua Apaches, faced violence, imprisonment, and exile. During a century of settler influx, territorial changeovers, vigilante violence, and Indian removal, these two cousin tribes withstood an experience beyond individual pain best described as ethnotrauma. Rooted in racial persecution and mass violence, this ethnotrauma possessed layers of traumatic reaction that not only revolved around their ethnicity, but around their relationship with their home lands as well. Disconnected from the ritual resources and sacred geographies that made up every day Apache living, both groups faced a profound and uphill struggle to maintain their community and very identity in the wake of immense and collective psychological distress. This essay emphasizes the role that geography plays in both the immediate impact of exile trauma and in the healing possibilities that this sacred connection to place has to offer Indigenous communities, even in the midst of exile.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1911-9933.10.1.1279