Travels In Time: Mescalero

Yesterday was probably the most intense shooting schedule we’ve yet experienced in our travels for Platicas. Not just because it ended up being a 13-hour day for myself and the crew – Troy Sr., Troy Jr. and Kent – but also because of the variety of interviews we captured and the moving ceremonial moments in which we were lucky enough to take part.

I had begun to have my doubts about the quality of information we would be receiving for the episode on the Chiricahua Apache. Mainly because our main point of contact – and the very first interview we did – was the highly opinionated author Henrietta Stockel. She’s a very nice lady, if also a bit demanding, but her viewpoint is heavily skewed toward the role of women in the Chiricahua society and a vehement dislike for any mention of violence of any kind. Which makes it a bit difficult to provide a well-rounded picture of a people whose very existence has been irrevocably scared by attempted genocide.

The interviews we captured yesterday give me hope for a very powerful and less whitewashed portrayal. Multi-generational confessions from a respected elder (who sang a song he had composed in Apache and recited a traditional Apache prayer), a modern working woman and the tribe’s medicine man – along with his two young acolytes – shed a lot of light on the plight of these people, past and present. Add to that some promising B-roll (the jury’s out until we can see what we got), to intercut with the testimonials and I think we’ve got a lot to work with.

The ceremonial teepee of Mescalero medicine man Joey Padilla, where tradition and culture are nurtured for the future. Photo by Troy Scoughton Jr.

Even better, we ended the day by taking part in an inspirational ceremony, in which the medicine man, Joey, blessed our crew individually with sage and pollen in his teepee, then bestowed upon us the distinct honor of an invitation back to visit anytime we like. We were very moved and excited by the possibilities now inherent in this episode. It will be difficult to edit it all down to 26 minutes, but we’re now toying with an idea to create a much longer documentary from the material we have been gathering. One less skewed toward Henrietta and more toward the people themselves. If, that is, we can find the time.

With a potentially accelerated production schedule (based on the desire by KRWG producers to get new episodes aired by the Fall, rather than next year) and the need to get the anthology series into pre-production as soon as possible – not to mention the reshoots on a short film we’re interested in acquiring and development of the script for a new sci-fi short we’d like to shoot this year – I’m not going to have a lot of time to do much more than keep on top of things here. The idea to create a larger documentary will just have to be shelved for a while.

Hopefully not too long…

2 thoughts on “Travels In Time: Mescalero

  1. David,

    SO thrilled to learn of this project! Will get to see my first program tonight. Where does a person find the previous episodes? Are they available to view online?

    WOuld love to see you! Do you ever take a coffee break?

    MUCH LOVE, barb

    1. Yes, I do owe you a coffee break, though they are few and far between these days. The accelerated schedule for the next season has forced us to put several other projects on hold until we can guarantee we’ll meet the Fall deadline. They’re very eager to get the new and vastly improved episodes out there. Past episodes can be found at, but KRWG told us recently that they intend to re-broadcast the first season again, once this initial run ends.

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