Shiwea san (Grandmother),

As I sit here thinking about the vast differenes between our worlds, I realize how fortunate I am to have been born at the time that I was. This was the last era of the true Ndee bi' atee', (the Apache way of life).

My Grandmother Nellie, your daughter Ma'a ya ha, was a great example to me in the beginnings of my life. The people with whom I associated, who were my Dikohe (Apache wisdom) teachers, are all gone now. As I reflect on this past life of true Ndee (Apache) living, it pains me to see that the ways of our old people, Apache men and women, are gone. The outside influences of colonization have been tragic, as I am sure you can see.

Today, people not native to our lands who came to our world believe we were wiped out. The history books talk of our people and glorify us and say what magnificent tribes we were. It makes one wonder why we have not been brought out in the eyes of the American public as the people we have become.

Our valuable beliefs and culture were taken from us. If our beliefs, culture, and traditions been respected, maybe our history would be different today. As an Ndee, my Dikohe teachings give me pride in who and what I am. I feel it is time to educate the public and tell our story from our point of view.

To understand the true Ndee bi' atee' is the only way that one can comprehend what life meant and means today. From childhood, I was taught about Is dzán naadleesche', (Changing Woman) and her creation of our people, that through her and her blessing of Ndee women, she bestowed her willpower and blessings on each female to continue life and good health for the Ndee and for their posterity. Through this blessing and the power of the Ndee women to bless and care for their progeny is what has blessed my life.

The power and knowledge passed on to me by my Dikohe teachers and the love for my people is what gives me the desire to fight and endure to the end.

-Ernestine Cody


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