Valley filmmaker brings insider's eye to tale of Geronimo
Filmmaker Dustinn Craig has tried to bring out some of the complexity of this tale in Part 4 of "We Shall Remain," a five-part PBS special that looks at Native American history.
Craig, who grew up on the Fort Apache and Navajo reservations, lives in the Valley. His work includes "Home: Native People of the Southwest," part of an exhibit at the Heard Museum, and a film on the Apache creation story for the Apache Cultural Center and Museum at Fort Apache. He learned to make films by recording friends skateboarding.
"That was my film school," Craig said.
Sarah Colt co-produced the Geronimo film. "We Shall Remain" is part of PBS' American Experience series, a large operation for an independent filmmaker to walk into, Craig said. He enjoyed the experience, though putting Geronimo's iconic persona on film was frustrating at times.
"That icon was not created by our people," Craig said at a promotional event for the film at the Heard Museum. "What you really see is what outsiders have decided is important about us. . . . People yell 'Geronimo!' when they jump into the pool, and they don't even know who he was or where he came from."
People died as a result of Geronimo's actions. Some Apaches believed the sooner the Indian wars ended, the better, and there was no shortage of Apache scouts who volunteered--and risked their lives--to search for him.
But making the decision to help U.S. troops hunt Geronimo was not easy. At first, many of the scouts were Western Apache, a separate group from the Chiricahua.
In the end, a number of volunteers were Chiricahua. After Geronimo was captured in 1886, they were shipped off to a prison in Florida with him. This was one of many injustices of the wars, a complexity that is often overlooked.