“Indian” A History of Native Arizona


A History of Native Arizona

Program Time: 144 minutes in three parts
Host : Bill McCune
Original Music Score by Jay Steinberg

This three hour, three part series, is without question the most comprehensive examination of southwesern Indian tribes ever produced. Presented here without commercials, it is comprised of three 48 minute segments (totalling 144 minutes) covering the people of Arizon’a twenty three tribal communities – from their prehistoric roots to modern day issues.


travels from 13,000 BC and Arizona’s earliest known prehistorics – Cochise Man – to the year 1519 AD when Hernan Cortez and his Conquistadores arrived to conquer the Aztec, Inca, Mayan, and Toltec cultures. It details each existing tribe and traces their roots by language group, territory, date of arrival and movements.

The segment reviews prehistoric arts (pottery, baskets, textiles, jewelry and tools), and dicusses the foundations of native American spirituality. Also included are examples of negative stereotyping of Indians in movies and literature and observations about that from Indian and non-Indians.



in a phrase, deals with the “Indian Wars”. But unlike most presentations, it is not confined to “the 7th Cavalry coming to the rescue”. Considerable time is spent addressing the often ignored history of inter-tribal warfare. (The Quechan, for example, were in armed conflict with certain other tribes for hundreds of years.) Light is shed on the practices of economic raiding, ritual warfare, dream-inspired and boredom inspired (or endemic) warfare.

Significant attention is paid to the conflict with soldiers and missionaries of new Spain early on, and with Mexico after 1821.

Of course, attention is also paid to combat with the Anglo-Americans who began to arrive in greater numbers after 1849. Only one-third of Arizona’s tribes were ever “at war” with the US military. All such cases are covered, including the most prolonged hositility with the Chiricuaha Apaches, concluding with the final surrender of Geronimo in 1886.



follows the Indian story “after the wars”, when they suffered further defeats at the hands of the Congress, real estate agents, lawyers, judges and government in general.

Attention is given to the Dawes Act (that took much of their reservation land) , legal battles over water rights, and often changing federal experiments with tribal government. The ongoing policies aimed at changing Indians into “white men” are explored. Of particular importance to that cause was the operation of off-reservation boarding schools, reviewed by various alumni. The role of southwestern Indians in the US military – especially their participation in World War II is covered also.

Finally we examine the current day issues and concerns of health, employment, economic development, tribal government and law, and sovereignty.

Featured Participants:

Mrs. Billie Earley – age 104
Peterson Zah, President Navajo Nation
Bill Hastings, Theodore Roosevelt School, Ft. Apache, AZ
Emil Haury, PH.D. Anthropologist, University of Arizona Professor Emeritus
John Martin, Ph.D. Anthropologist, Arizona State University
Ralph Camerson, Phoenix Indian School alumnus and WWII veteran, (Maricopa)
Alberta Tippeconic, Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona (Navajo)
Edgar Perry, Apache Historian
Radford Quamahongnewa, Hopi Educator
Dr. Donald Bahr, Anthropologist, Arizona State University
Emaory Sekaquaptewa, Hopi Lexicographer, University of Arizona
Clara Lee Tanner, Ph.D. Anthropologist, University of Arizona Professor Emeritus
Bernard Fontana, Ph.D. Anthropologist/Historian, University of Arizona
Mark Santiago, Arizona Historical Society
James Officer, Ph.D. Anthropologist/Historian, University of Arizona
Jay Van Orden, Arizona Historical Society
Don Dedera, Historian
Lori Davisson, Arizona Historical Society
Rod Lewis, Tribal Attorney, Gila River Indian Community
Paul Bender, former Dean ASU College of Law, US Deputy Solicitor-General
Kermit Smith, MD, Indian Health Services (Assiniboine Tribe)
Ernest Victor, Jr. San Carlos Apache Tribal Council