A Special Mountain Place and Sunrise Ceremony for Apache Students

  • Mary Stokrocki Arizona State University


In this case study I document several visits to the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona, but describe/interpret in detail one special class when we asked the children to draw and share their “Special Mountain Home.” I analyzed their artwork according to the emerging categories of subject matter, themes, scenes, and symbols that I discovered in my previous study of Apache children (Stokrocki & Buckpitt, 2002). Dominant findings in this new study were that participants’ drawings included their sacred mountain, animals, and the Sunrise Ceremony that included traditional dancers, dwellings, female regalia, and part of a young maiden’s “coming of age” ritual. Apache girls tend to draw feminine content of social experiences, care and concern, and domestic life. Boys depict male thunder god dancers for protection, and fishing and hunting scenes. No symbols of violence were noted. Apache cultural symbols seem to be slowly changing, indicated by the inclusion of graffiti in the community, a school painting of Jesus dressed as a Mescalero Apache, and a pickup truck, drawn by a female.


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