Apache 8May 15th, 2013 | By rwinn | Category: 24-4: Language Revitalization, Media Reviews
Directed by Sande Zeig
Review by Ryan Winn
This documentary illuminates the inspiring story of the White Mountain Apache Tribe’s all-woman firefighter crew that overcame gender barriers to achieve national attention for their tenacity, fortitude, and dedication to their work and their people. More than three decades of the Apache 8 crew’s history are told in this film, and the stories of the crew and the realities of firefighting are inherently compelling.
Without a doubt the archival press coverage and news footage of fires the crew faced and tamed are enthralling, but the four firefighters who tell their personal narratives are what make this film so potent. These women discuss how their culture and ceremonies prepared them for their work, how the sacrifices of their families allowed them to achieve greatness, and how their lives did not escape challenges and tragedies simply because they were successful. Twenty-first century America uses the word “hero” too loosely, but applying that term to the women of Apache 8 is fitting.
Ryan Winn is the humanities department chair at College of Menominee Nation in Keshena and Green Bay, WI.