Marc Simmons: Report looked at Apache culture
"In our state's Spanish archives preserved at Santa Fe can be found a couple of documents signed by Antonio Cordero. At the time he wrote and sent them to New Mexico, in 1808, he was the interim governor of Texas.

Twelve years earlier, however, Lt. Col. Don Antonio Cordero had been commander at the royal presidio in El Paso, which was then within the limits of New Mexico.

From a young age, he had been employed in military service, being assigned to various garrisons as a presidial soldier on the northern frontier of New Spain (Mexico).

It was written that Cordero had fought the Apaches for many years, learned to speak their language, and through close contact with them had become well-versed in their culture and habits.

For that reason, regional commander Gen. Pedro de Nava at Chihuahua City in 1796 ordered him to compile a descriptive report of the Apache people, which could be used by government and military officials.

After two centuries, the Spaniards were still at a loss as to how to deal with the tribe. As one of them phrased the problem: "The Apaches are nothing but a constant and disastrous peril, who have never been led to Christianity."

"Savages in their primitive form, they invade and wipe out our territory in devastating and continuous war. And we have no hope of destroying them either by means of arms or preaching.""

Get the Story:
Marc Simmons: Trail dust: Spaniard offered insights on Apaches (The Santa Fe New Mexican 7/11)

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