Vincent Randall talks about Dilzhe’e clans
By Don Decker, YAN News
Vincent Randall was special guest of the San Carlos culture department on February 19, Tuesday. About 100 community members attended this meeting which was held at the old council chambers next to the new administrative center.
The meeting centered around clans and how the clan names are associated with the geographical locations of where the families lived.
To this day, Apaches recognize and acknowledge each other through the clan system said Mr. Randall. There is an extensive clan system with all of the Apache population and families recognize each other through the specific names of the clans. Mr. Randall talk about the K’aichiidn clan who are located at Star Valley (near Payson) who are associated with the Dilzhe’e people.
The Dizhe’e were once known as ‘Tonto’ but that name has been rejected now. Another clan that Mr. Randall named was the Nagozugn clan (marks on the ground people and also referred as crooked water for the east Verde river) who originate from Weber Canyon north of the East Verde River north of Payson.
Other clans from the Payson include the Tegotsugn people who are essentially all from Payson area. One of the well-known clans were the Dzilt’aadn or the ‘foot of the mountain people’ according to Mr. Randall. These people lived below the Mogollon Rim and Christopher Creek and Tonto Creeks. Promontory Butte is a butte the Apaches say that identifies them.
The Che hii chiin were from the Red Rock country.
Another prominent group in the Camp Verde area are the Yago hiigain clan ( spreading expanse of white spreads down). Tu’dotl’izn clan are from the Fossil Creek area east of Camp Verde.
Mr. Randall also mentioned many other clan groups of the Dilzhe’e people which kept the audience very attentive.
All of this was for the benefit of the Gilson Wash people of San Carlos who live in a specific area of the reservation known as a ‘district’. At the turn of the century, when the Yavapai and Apaches began to return to Verde Valley and other clan regions many of these clans mentioned remained in San Carlos and established a neighborhood in Gilson Wash. Since these people were originally from Camp Verde, some of the older people gave the name of ‘Camboodie’ (after Camp Verde) to this new area.
Mr. Randall’s father, Mark Randall, was from Dilzhe’e and many people know him by his clan name of K’ai chet’it;iian (red willows growing out of rocks people) and his mother Lula Randall was a Yuane’ or ‘over the top people’, a Dilzhe’e who lived into the mid 1998 at the age of 98 years old.
Mr. Randall also told about the story of the hummingbird emerging from what is now Montezuma’s Well. This appropriate story for the winter was a moral story about “holy beings praying together and planting a grape seed which allowed the underworld people to begin their journey in the next level of the world and then the people began to multiply and move about to explore the land and wherever they settled they acquired those clan names from the geographic place names” -Mr. Randall.
Mr.Randall was very thorough in his presentation as he covered other topics about the dislocation of the Yavapai and Apache as they were removed from Verde Valley to a basically concentration camp in old San Carlos. Mr. Randall spoke about the bronze statue in front of YAN culture building which shows a man carrying his wife in a willow basket during the relocation of the Yavapai and Apache people. “One of the medical doctors who came on the march described how this man carried his wife for 180 miles. That’s the kind of people we are. We’re people with a strong heart to survive,” said Mr. Randall about the Yavapai and Apaches of Verde Valley.
And it was the eventual return at the turn of the century which began to shape the present boundaries of the Nation’s lands and promoting a different perspective on life in the Verde Valley for the Yavapai and Apache according to Mr. Randall.