Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars by actor, director, screenwriter and author Ethan Hawke and illustrator Greg Ruth has been an instant success, and has spent six weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Hawke, who told the Chicago Tribune he was inspired by Native history and gained much inspiration from camping trips with his father in the Plains and from visiting reservations, gave a respectful nod to the Apache tribe in his novel’s intro, labeled “An Apache Forward,” written by Douglas Miles (Apache) of Apache Skateboards.
Miles writes, “For decades American popular culture has attempted to speak for us (Apache) via films, books, and television. Often these stories converge on a road to stereotype, tragedy, pity, savagery, or exploitation. In this book, researched by Ethan Hawke and Greg Ruth, the story of the Chiricahua Apache fighting for independence is told again, but from a rare Apache point of view, making this book unique in its creation and process.
“Indeh comes to life in the fluid brushstrokes that capture the immediacy of the Apache plight, painting a vivid portrait of a people upended and forced to be bold, driven, and wholly at war, yet still remaining human.”
Miles told ICTMN that he didn’t want the public’s response to the book to be so much about Ethan Hawke as it was about Apache history. He also expressed appreciation as well for the friendship that had been created with Hawke and Ruth in the course of the book’s research by Hawke and Ruth.
“Ethan’s son is riding around on one of my Indeh Apache Skateboards as we speak!” he said.
Hawke, who has contributed to the film world with such projects as Dead Poet’s Society(1989) White Fang (1991) Gattaca (1997) Training Day (2001) and Boyhood (2014), told the Chicago Tribune Indeh is a project he had been working on for six years and that Geronimo was a compelling figure.
“The word, “Indeh,” meaning the dead, has always haunted me,” he said. “When I drive around and visit some of the locations of the Apache wars, so many of the people who live there don’t even know that the ground they’re walking on, or the property they own — they don’t even know the magic things that have happened there, the history of that land. These wars were fought over reservations broken, treaties abandoned, on property that anybody hardly lives on anymore. It was a lot of arbitrary murder and death, but the (Native American) culture could have been treated with so much more respect…so I was inspired to make some kind of art about it.”
Stay tuned for an interview with Ethan Hawke and Greg Ruth in an upcoming article with ICTMN.