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Portraits of the white men by the Western Apache

Uploaded by apollo_crash on Mar 27, 2005

Basso, Keith H., 1979. Portraits of “The Whiteman”: Linguistic Play and Cultural Symbols among the Western Apache. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Portraits of “The Whiteman” is about the cultural understandings that Western Apache have of Anglo-Americans. Since many of these portraits are expressed in joking imitations, this book is a kind of humorous ethnography in reverse. In your essay, describe the images of Anglo-Americans that are contained in Western Apache jokes. What do these jokes tell us about Western Apache culture? And what do they tell us about Anglo-American culture?

The Western Apaches are aboriginal inhabitants of North America. The Apache people are distinguished from other Native Americans by their Athabascan language, the Western Apache reside in the geographic region of Arizona and this area includes the White Mountain, Cibecue, San Carlos and Northern and Southern Tonto bands. The Indian population is distributed fairly evenly among nine exogamous settlements; (Basso, 1970) Whiteriver, Canyon Day, East Fork, North Fork, Seven-mile, Turkey Creek, Carizzo, Cedar Creek, and Cibecue. The ethnography Portraits of “The Whiteman” is written concerning the Western Apache of Cibecue. An Anglo-American is an inhabitant of the United States whose language and ancestry are of English decent. There are many images of Anglo-Americans used in Western Apaches jokes. I will focus on the images that I consider to be the most relevant and describe each item with examples as well as making inferences about what it tells us about Western Apache and Anglo-American culture.
The images of Anglo-American’s in Western Apache jokes are often seen as boisterous, fast-talking individuals whom repeat themselves and state the obvious. Apaches speak in a phlegmatic and amiable manner and only raise their voices when angry according to Basso (1979). They have trouble coming to terms with the volume and speed at which Anglo-Americans converse. “White men make lots of noise” (Basso, 1979). This can be a source of amusement for the discerning Apache when encountering an Anglo-American. “White men are angry even when they are friendly” (Basso, 1979). In Apache culture it is considered impolite to repeat oneself and this is learned through implicit knowledge. Apaches believe that Anglo-Americans do this frequently, it can be misinterpreted that they are in a hurry or are even indignant. Anglo-Americans also have a bizarre tendency to state the obvious “look who’s here” when everybody can see that...

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Uploaded by:   apollo_crash

Date:   03/27/2005

Category:   Social Issues

Length:   7 pages (1,464 words)

Views:   3656

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