On the third day of my captivity, I saw several Pima pointing at me. Some laughed. Others looked sad when my eyes met theirs. My captors painted their faces and began their war dance.
The whole village danced around me. The men threatened me with spears and war clubs. The women threw dirty rags, and the children spat. An enemy captive was quite a prize—even if it was a mere sobbing child. Everyone I knew and loved was gone. We stopped at a house, where I was led into a dark storeroom. There was a boy in the room the same size as myself. His eyes would not leave mine. When I kicked my foot up, he did the same.
I raised my arm, and he followed. I turned my head, and his gaze stayed on me. I made a face, and he imitated the move. I was so angry at this boy that I jumped up, ready to fight. At that very moment, he disappeared. Years later, I realized the boy who had mimicked me was a mirror—the true reflection of me. He no doubt posed in this garb as Wassaja still thought of himself as Apache.
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Many of the photographs in this book were taken by Gentile. African American slavery had been abolished in the United States after the Civil War but the enslavement of native people remained. Some were forced into manual labor or domestic service. Many of these Native American slaves were taken during raids.
I was dragged through the town until they met a man who called himself Mr. Carlo Gentile. While I could not understand what any of the other men said, I knew Mr. It was only later that I learned he had come to America from Italy and crossed the vast Atlantic Ocean for adventure, art, and gold. I thought the box was a gun, and it frightened me until I learned of its magic.
He called his box a camera. Gentile had no need for a dirty little boy, but he paid thirty silver dollars for me anyway and bought my life. One of my captors purchased a coat with the money, and Mr. Gentile took a picture of him. I grabbed some meat but quickly dropped it because of the taste of onion. Next, I was given beans.
I nibbled on them for a bit. They were good. Then I dipped my hands into the bowl and carried a handful of beans to my mouth. Before I finished, I was covered from head to toe in beans. The next morning, Mr.
Gentile dunked me into the town well and gave me a bath. Then he cut my long hair and fitted me for shoes, socks, long shirts, and pants. Gentile tried to comfort me. He heard of a man who owned two young Indian girls and thought it might help if I visited them. Wassaja and His Two Sisters This picture was taken a few weeks after the capture of Wassaja and his sisters, Cow-wow-se-puchia and the elder, Ho-lac-ca. We traveled 50 miles 80 kilometers in a horse and wagon to meet with the girls. They waited for us in front of a white farmhouse. Both wore colored dresses and sunbonnets, and I did not recognize them.
They were my two sisters.
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I will never forget that day! We held hands and talked about the nice things we received. But thoughts of our parents and of our being prisoners forever crushed our spirits. Gentile took a picture of us. After two or three more visits, we left my sisters behind and I never saw them again. These ruins are actually prehistoric dwellings made by the Sinagua people during the twelfth century. Halls of Montezuma Carlo Gentile took many pictures when he traveled. The child wearing a hat in the middle of the picture is believed to be young Carlos Montezuma.
Gentile knew none of my language. But I soon learned that I could feel safe with my new father. I knew I would not be treated as a slave. Gentile was a religious man and as his new son, I was baptized. I was also given a new name to fit my new life. My first name, Carlos, was after Mr. And, my last name, Montezuma, was taken from the Montezuma ruins near my boyhood home.
I would never forget Wassaja, as my real name. He spoke of an iron horse that would take us anywhere we wanted. We stood on a wood platform and waited for the iron horse to arrive. Others also waited, and I could not understand how we could all fit on its back. I had never seen a horse like this.
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It looked like a large arm pulling wheels that spat out hot, curling, dark smoke. I knew that nothing living was that strong and this great monster must eat horses to move as it did. The iron horse took us across the land much faster than any horse and wagon ever could. We traveled to Denver in the West; Washington, D. All the while, Mr. Gentile took pictures of the people and the countryside. Gentile allowed Carlos to keep his hair long at times. I quickly became the young Apache captive, Azteka, child of Cochise. It was my job to race through the aisles and threaten another actor with my arrows and shouts.
My performance delighted the crowds. It was standing room only at the opera house! Gentile was hired to take souvenir pictures, or carte-de-visites, for everyone. After three weeks, we left the famous scouts and other actors behind. Gentile was sure new adventures awaited us. In many ways, we were both strangers in this land. Gentile found that all the traveling was hard on me. After almost a year together, we settled in Chicago. It was there that I was enrolled in my first public school. From time to time, Mr. Gentile would leave me behind with friends while he continued on his trips.
He was a photographer, after all, and needed to take pictures that would sell in his photo art studio. Nevertheless, his friends were kind and took great care of me. I made friends of my own. I also found a job as a newsboy. Early on Sunday mornings, I was to separate and deliver two newspapers, the Times and the Tribune. From our early morning jobs, my friends and I would walk to Sunday school.
I looked forward to each meeting just to hear the people sing. Gentile did not believe in violence but did teach his son to defend himself. He graduated from college at the age of seventeen. Few students of that day accomplished as much at such an early age. We plowed the fields in the summer and did winter chores before and after school. There was little free time, but I was treated kindly.
Leon Speroff (Author of Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility)
Gentile wrote to me often. He concerned himself over my health, as well as my mind and education. He took great pride in me, and some would think that he spoiled me. In she began working in private practice. Susan treated everyone and was a huge advocate for better health care. Later she founded a reservation hospital, which was named in her honor. La Flesche Picotte died in Cogan, Frances B. DeJong, David Diffendal, Anne P. January Journal of the West. Fe del Mundo. Hoxie, Frederick Mathes, Valerie Sherer American Indian Quarterly.
Morantz-Sanchez, Regina Markell Impeccably researched and rich in detail, Carlos Montezuma, M. Taken from his family as a boy by Pima Indian warriors and sold to an itinerant Italian photographer, Montezuma found himself deposited into vastly foreign surroundings at a very young age.
In late nineteenth-century Chicago, he was presented with opportunities, both educational and social, that had previously been unavailable to his people. Leon Speroff paints a full and well-rounded picture of the life and times of this remarkable man. Skip to: Content. Log In. My Account. Remember to clear the cache and close the browser window. Search For:.
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