4. They Live in Lonesome Dove

English in Indigenous Places

  1. M. Eleanor Nevins

Published Online: 31 MAR 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118426470.ch4

Lessons from Fort Apache: Beyond Language Endangerment and Maintenance

Lessons from Fort Apache: Beyond Language Endangerment and Maintenance

How to Cite

Nevins, M. E. (2013) They Live in Lonesome Dove, in Lessons from Fort Apache: Beyond Language Endangerment and Maintenance, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118426470.ch4

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 31 MAR 2013
  2. Published Print: 23 MAY 2013

Book Series:

  1. Wiley-Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture

Book Series Editors:

  1. James M. Wilce

Series Editor Information

  1. University of California, Los Angeles, USA

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118424230

Online ISBN: 9781118426470



  • Apache language;
  • community mediation;
  • English language;
  • lonesome dove;
  • mass media discourse


In an essay that ranges from the linguistics of Leonard Bloomfield to the cultural anthropology of Roy Wagner, Vizenor poses the question of how Native identities might be recognized. In his usage, “chance convergence in language” are voices not immediately accessible but whose implicit, lingering traces invite acts of imagination. This chapter addresses just this sort of chance convergence in language by attending to relations between two ways of naming places on the Fort Apache reservation. It traces additional contours of that ongoing history of differentiation, one in which the concern with boundaries drawn between English and Apache languages are germane, but are taken up and obviated as they are put to use in yet another joking genre. It demonstrates that the relation between language and culture is more complex and dynamic. Place names provide another vantage point from which to reflect upon language programs as forms of community mediation.