2013 Verde Pride Awards: Lifetime Achiever -- Apache Elder Vincent Randall
Vincent Randall is still doing the thing he loves most. He always loved being an instructor, both to students in grade school as well as to adults.
“I come from the perspective, that you have to know where you came from to know what direction you want to take,” explained Randall, this year’s Verde Pride Lifetime Achiever recipient.
“All people like to know things. I am called upon by a lot of non-tribal groups that want to know more about our people, and from there, they have a better perspective of themselves.”
He continues: “There are just a lot of things I can share. I have been around and seen a lot of changes in the Verde Valley. There are a lot of Verde Valley stories, not just about our people, but also interactions among pioneer families. A lot of those pioneer families have deep roots to this land as well.”
For 73 years, Elder Vincent Randall has watched the cycle spin and the seasons change. He was born less than 100 feet from where he lives today, overlooking the Verde River. His mother told him the family moved to the land in 1911.
Vincent was educated in Clarkdale schools and went on to the Arizona State Teachers College in Flagstaff. Even before graduating from what today is Northern Arizona University, Randall did a teaching internship in Clarkdale and then was chosen its math and science teacher when that position opened. He was a respected coach of the boys basketball team that won five state championships. He went on to eventually coach girls basketball at Mingus Union High School when his daughter was on the team.
Vincent has served as Yavapai-Apache Tribal Chairman, historian and today is manager of the Apache Cultural Resource Center. He is an ethnobotanist and expert on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
“My own people have honored my by giving me a job where I can share what I know with them.”
“The Yavapai and the Apache are two groups of people that have lived together for a long time,” said Randall.
Though there are different cultural traditions, some of the stories are shared.
“Both tribes have stories of emerging from Montezuma Well, but our language is so different. The Yavapai and the Apache speak a language that is just as different as Chinese and French.
The common language is English today, but in the old days most people spoke both languages. A lot of our people are quadra-lingual, speaking Yavapai, Apache, Spanish and English.
Randall is the Elder statesman of the Nation’s water team and instrumental in the Nation’s water negotiations.
Randall was worked with APS to decommission the Childs and Irving Power Plants and return Fossil Creek to its full flow. Indian workers had helped to build the plant in 1908 and 1909.
Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens nominated Vincent Randall for Lifetime Achiever, saying: “It is enlightening to see how much Elder Randall has accomplished for his community through hard work, determination and tenacity. He is a great mentor and example for all of us.”