A British man living in South Wales who has lived as an Apache Indian for the past 20 years under the name Mangas Colaradas will be allowed to keep badger paws and Eagle wings in his home. Colaradas, who was charged under the Protection of Badgers Act and the Wildlife and Countryside Act over the badger and eagle relics, was informed court proceedings had been discontinued according to a Crown Prosecution Service representative.
According to Colaradas, who was born in Wales, close to 6,000 miles from the Apache tribal nation and has appeared in court wearing a ceremonial head dress, tasseled jacket, suede moccasins and a snake’s head necklace to deny charges by the Swansea magistrates court said in an article by the United Kingdom based Daily Mail, “It’s been a big waste of money and a dreadful thing to have hanging over me. But I was always confident I would clear my name.”
Colaradas who refuses to reveal his original name and only answers to his Native name Mangas Colaradas presumably after the Apache Chief Mangus Coloradas said of the dropped charges, “Common sense should have come into it far sooner but they just don’t understand my Native way of life.”
Though several UK-based news publications are lauding the efforts of Colaradas as a bit of a success story, Apache tribal members in the United States aren’t as impressed with the outcome or the situation.
According to Fort Sill Apache Chairman Jeff “Haozous” Houser and Tribal Historian Michael Darrow, who are both great-great grandsons of the actual Apache Chief Mangus Coloradas, the entire matter is a bit of an embarrassment.
“Mangus was my great-great grandfather,” said Haozous, who then added, “This is not really appropriate.”
Fort Sill Apache Tribal Historian Michael Darrow also added, “This is embarrassing and it gives people the impression that being Native American is a lifestyle rather than a nationality. Tribes have treaties with the United States. Being Apache is not just a matter of a personal choice.”
Darrow also commented on the fact that Colaradas was trying to move to the U.S. and live on what UK publications are calling “red reservations.”
“Based on the images I’ve seen, he wouldn’t be too picky about which reservation he could live on. It is unfortunate he is going with the fantasy and popular cultural version of an Apache’ rather than being careful of how he is representing our culture,” said Darrow.
Darrow also commented on the courts dropping the case against Coloradas who will still be keeping animal parts he collected while living in a teepee in Spain.
“I don’t know the laws of that area, but I wonder if they were dropping the case because they are accepting his explanation of his American Indian culture,” Darrow said that if this was the case, than the courts were basing their decision based on a particular lifestyle only.
“If they dropped it because of a lifestyle, than he is getting away with more than American Indians can get away with,” he said.
As far as living in a teepee, Darrow says the embarrassment is not toward the Apache people, “The embarrassment felt is for him.”