Keith H. Basso Essay

1683 Words7 Pages
Keith H. Basso

It is rare to find a book that is as informative as a textbook but reads as easy as a short story. But Keith H. Basso is successful in creating an interesting ethnography about the Western Apache culture by using two usually overlooked topics, geography and oral history. Geography and the location of places is usually forgotten or seen as just topography, but Basso proves that geography is more than a location. It is the forgotten history of the name of a place that makes the locality more important than it seems. While whitemen (a term frequented by the Apache to describe White European culture) has constantly renamed places for convenience and prove of colonization, Basso overturns this ignorant and offensive
…show more content…
The background of the author is very important because it provides the basis in which the reader will understand the information presented as of the experience and the reasons why the anthropologist wrote such an ethnography. We must also remember that Basso is also a linguist, an anthropologist whose focus is on the language of societies and how different words and contexts convey different meanings. But in Wisdom sits in places, Basso takes on the role of the observer and foreigner when approaching his consultants. (Note: the word consultant is now used instead of informants or subjects because these natives are there to work for the ethnographer, to be consult when questions arise). In a way, Basso is considered as a child when doing the interviews with the retired horsemen because in Apache culture, children are not born with the three conditions of the mind required to learn the wisdom of the culture. The three conditions are: smoothness of them mind, resilience of the mind and steadiness of the mind. Smoothness of the mind conveys the sense of having the mind free of obstructions and to be open to new ideas. The resilience of the mind combats against external distractions while the steadiness of the mind combats against the internal factors of distraction. Instead, they must pay attention and observe the words and actions of older people (in Basso's

More about Keith H. Basso Essay

Get Access