The Apache Reservation

University of Oklahoma Magazine 10 (February 1, 1922):15.

By Ruth Margaret Muskrat


Up in the mountains of New Mexico,

Away from the dreary brown desert below,

Out of the reach of the thorny mesquite,

Leaving the glare and the dry, stinging heat

     That scorches the desert plain;

Where the breezes blow full of invigoration,

There lies an Indian reservation,

Here is the agency of the Apache,

Home of Kenoi, Kannseah, Ballache,[1]

     Here is the Indian's domain.


Far to the North, and South, and West,

Towers of high peaked mountain crest;

Green as the valley's emerald green,

Touched with the fairies' glistening sheen;

     When the blue of dusk creeps in:

Lit with the light of a thousand fires

From the stars that come, as the day expires,

And hang in festoons o'er the mountain's rim

As the pine trees murmur their evening hymn

     To the maker of mountains of men.


Out of the deepest and darkest ravine

Spirals of white, curling smoke can be seen,

Teepees are standing in grey somber rows,

Tent casings flap when the slightest wind blows,

     And papooses shout in their play:

Dressed in her blanket of purple or red,

Wearing a gay colored shawl in on her head,

The old squaw is bending over her beads

Or making her basket of grasses and reeds

     All through the wearisome day.


Town of Mescalero,[2] all painted in yellow,

Tint of the sunset, soft-toned and mellow,

Nestled so snug in this queen of all valleys,

As the wild lily nestles the bee in its chalice

     And holds it in loving delight,

You hold in your hand a tragedy old,

And throbbingly yearn for the tale to be told

Of a race that is dying, to whom any chance

Is pregnant with love, and with life and romance,

     And a future of promises bright. 

[1] Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States.  Home of Kenoi, Kannseah, and Ballache refer to these Apache peoples who formerly ranged over eastern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, New Mexico, and parts of Texas and the Great Plains.

[2] Mescalero (or Mescalero Apache) is a Native American tribe of Southern Athabaskan heritage currently living on the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in south central New Mexico.