Apache Warrior Critical Context - Essay

David C. Cooke

Critical Context

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

In modern times, it has become clear that Native Americans of many tribes were victims of inappropriate expansionist policies, rather than being bloodthirsty savages. Consequently, a desire to compensate past abuses has developed. One tribe that has not benefited from this feeling, however, is the Apaches. Seen mostly in films and Western novels, they continue to be viewed as vicious savages.

In describing Mangus Colorado, Mimbreno Apaches, and Apaches in general, Apache Warrior changes the image of these Native Americans, which does young readers the service of showing the Apaches as another group of Native Americans overrun by the avalanche of expanding white culture. The book is particularly valuable because it fits the plight of the Apaches into the broad collage of the disregard for civil rights of minorities that was blatantly widespread at that time and still persists in less obvious ways.

Apache Warrior is also useful because it points out that misunderstanding and poor communication between people or groups will continually escalate violence. If there had been some way for Apaches and whites to sit down and talk in a meaningful way, Cooke argues, then the innocents on both sides of the Apache War might have been spared. Therefore, the book not only exposes the plight of Apaches but also serves as a valuable educational tool for students, helping them to realize the importance of good communication and the futility of violence when other courses of action are possible.