jack_lasseter_cropJack Lasseter is a speaker originally from the East who adopted, embraced and now helps us to understand the history of the Southwest.

Lasseter came to the Southwest from Detroit when he was only 5 years old, grew up in Tucson and went to the University of Arizona for both undergraduate and law schools.  He served four years in the Air Force as a JAG officer and practiced law in Tucson for next 36 years.

Now retired, Lasseter exploits his love of history by conducting research and examining in depth topics that include cowboys, ranchers, outlaws, pioneers, miners, frontier women, frontier soldiers, Apaches, Navaho, the Spanish – and that’s just the short list.  His popular talks are sellouts on the speaking circuit he normally covers – parks, museums, book fairs, art centers, community centers and public radio.

His talk at the Arizona Senior Academy – set for 3:30 next Thursday (Jan. 30) – will focus on the fascinating story of the “Chiricahua Apaches, the Phantoms of the Southwest,” who successfully avoided defeat by the Spanish, who resisted the American for 25 years, who could survive in this hard desert land and who could disappear at will into the mountains.  He will talk about where they came from, how they lived, what they ate, how they raised their children, and how they prepared their young men to become warriors.

In 1861 the Bascom Affair (an apparent kidnapping of a settler’s son by Native Americans) ignited the pioneer route through this part of Arizona into an inferno of Apache depredations, as Cochise went to war against the United States.  Not until 1886, with Geronimo’s surrender, did peace finally return to the area. This defining episode in the Apache story has often been inaccurately rendered, especially in Western movies.  So Lasseter tries to make clear what really happened to the people on whose land we live today.

Submitted by Brack Brown, Academy Village Volunteer

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Get Better Acquainted with the Chiricahua Apaches: Jan. 2014