In 1887, more than three hundred Apache prisoners of war were incarcerated at Mount Vernon Barracks, a US Army post just north of Mobile, Alabama, where they would remain for seven years. This essay considers how the Apache presence influenced perceptions of “Indianness” in the Jim Crow South. It suggests that local and touristic interest in the Apache internees contributed to the erasure of southern Indigenous communities, most notably a group of Native people (known today as the MOWA Choctaws) who lived in the immediate vicinity of the barracks. The essay argues that the Apaches’ imprisonment and relocation contributed to white perceptions of their authenticity as Indians, while MOWA avoidance of removal hindered their community’s assertions of indigeneity. It also encourages historians interested in both the South and the West to reverse their gaze by considering westerners in the South, not just southerners in the West.


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pp. 80-102
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