Western Apache Valued Qualities and Le Jeunes Report Written Assignment

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Objective: Gain comparative perspective on some of the enigmas in Le Jeune’s report by learning about Western Apache valued qualities of mind and indirect discourse.

Step 1: Read Keith Basso’s beautiful essay, “Wisdom Sits in Places: Notes on a Western Apache Landscape,” pp. 58 bottom-83 (excerpt of longer chapter); don’t miss pp. 64-65. Please note that the first words “The foregoing thoughts” refer back to a section of the essay (about the philosophy of place) that is not in our excerpt.

Step 2: As you read, pay attention to Apache ideas about anger and the importance of highly indirect and respectful ways of voicing criticism of another person. Also, try to understand the qualities of mind that Apache value and some persons cultivate. (Think about how these ideas contrast with ones you may be familiar with from your own upbringing, suggesting that speakers should speak clearly and forthrightly in order to be fully understood, and they should get troubling things off their chest, not pull punches, and speak their mind honestly.)

Step 3: Write answers to the following questions (aim for about three-quarters single-spaced page, in total): 1. How does Dudley Patterson manage to comment instructively to Talbert Paxton about his immoderate drinking and inappropriate sexual overtures to women, without expressing heated emotion or giving cause for insult? How would you describe this as a general speaking technique? 2. What are the three main qualities of mind that Apache cultivate as a practice of wisdom? Write a sentence of explanation for each.

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