Apache use of a sacred site. Oral history of Apache Elders.

Author(s): Nanebah Nez

Year: 2015


The area known as Fossil Creek in Central Arizona is of significant cultural importance to the Western Apache people. It is known to them as Tu’dotłiz (TWO DOE CLIZ), or "blue water." Tu’dotłiz is associated with the Dilzhę́’é (Tonto Apache) creation story, and a clan origin location imbued with ancient placenames. It is a venue for ceremonies, home of the Gảản (Apache mountain spirits), a source of holy water and herbs, and place where prominent Apache historical figures once lived. As one elder put it, "Tu’dotłiz is a important as it gets." With a growing awareness in Indian Country regarding the need to take proactive measures to protect sacred sites, this work represents the efforts of Apache historians and tribal advocates to utilize oral history to increase awareness of tribal affiliations to holy landscapes. To support a Traditional Cultural Property nomination, historical documentation and ethnographic testimony document historic and contemporary use of Tu’dotłiz as a venue for prayer, healing, ceremony, and the collection of natural resources for subsistence, ceremonial, and medicinal use.

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Cite this Record

Apache use of a sacred site. Oral history of Apache Elders.. Nanebah Nez. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397443)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -115.532; min lat: 30.676 ; max long: -102.349; max lat: 42.033 ;