Apache Tribe Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Alison Gu
The Apache are Native Americans that have a long and rich history. Ancient Apache were fierce warriors, family oriented, and a people who didn't get stuck in one place for too long. In this lesson, learn about their origin, their culture, and where they are today.

Who Are the Apache?

You might have heard of cowboys and Indians or seen them in your favorite cartoon battling it out in the old west, but did you know that there are 562 Indian tribes in the United States? Most people don't say Indian to describe these native peoples anymore. Today, they are called Native Americans, and one of the most interesting tribes is called the Apache.

The Apache are a Native American tribe that originated around 850 CE in Canada and the surrounding lands. In 1000 CE, they moved to the Southwestern United States where they settled in Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. That's a long trip!

Apache Warriors

Apache Name & Language

The name Apache comes from another Native American tribe called Zuni. The Zuni used the word apachu or 'enemy' to describe the Apache. The Apache usually call themselves inde or dine which means 'the people.'

Ancient Apache spoke Athapaskan, which is a language that many Native American tribes spoke. It's also very hard for English speakers to pronounce because they have a different way of speaking that uses your nose! Today, some Apache still speak Athapaskan; however, English is spoken by nearly all.

Early Apache Life

Before Western Europe occupied North America, the Apache lived in wickiups. A wickiup is an oval hut that was covered in grass or straw with a wood frame.

a medicine man outside a wickiup

The Apache kept their houses simple so they could move around a lot. They did this to follow the buffalo, which were their main food source. The Apache also used buffalo skin for clothing and to cover their wickiups when they got cold. People that move around to follow food sources are called nomadic.

The Apache were big on family! Most of their groups consisted of family and extended family. The men were the warriors and hunters. Only men were allowed to be chiefs or political leaders. The women stayed home to tend to the children and be ready to move the camp when they needed to.

Apache Warriors

The Apache were famous for having some of the fiercest warriors in North America. Although men did most of the fighting, women and children were trained how to use guns, protect the family, and ride horses.

Geronimo with his rifle

Geronimo is the most famous of all the Apache warriors. He was an Apache chief that fought to keep their native lands from the U.S. government for over 10 years. After the United States government promised a tract of land to his father-in-law Cochise and then refused to give it to the Apache, Geronimo fought against the government. Eventually Geronimo surrendered, and he died in Oklahoma in 1909.

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