Table of Contents
- Who are the Apache?
- Apache Tribe: Facts and History
- Apache Culture
- Apache Tribe: Related Groups
- Lesson Summary
The Apache tribe are North American Natives of the Southwest region of the United States and parts of Northern Mexico. The tribe encountered various accounts of migration over the course of their history for different reasons. They dealt with incursions from the Spanish, Mexicans, and then Americans. Like many other native tribes between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, most Apaches migrated during the nineteenth century to reservation allotments in modern-day New Mexico and Oklahoma. The number of Apache descendants was estimated around 100,000 at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
The name "Apache" comes from the Pueblo-Zuni word, "Apachu," meaning "enemy". The name was then widely used by other groups to describe the Apache people while the Apache people called themselves many different names including: "Inde," "Tinde," and "Tinneh," all meaning "the people." Europeans and Americans most often referred to the Apache Natives as 'Apache Indians," which was the dominant terminology well into the twentieth century. Efforts have since been made to push names like "Native American" or "Indigenous American" as opposed to "American Indian," but some native groups still accept or prefer the "Indian" descriptor to identify themselves.
Originally, the Apache people were believed to have originated from southwestern Canada as they shared many linguistic and cultural similarities with other tribes from the region. They then traveled to areas in the modern-day U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas, as well as the Northern Mexico states of Chihuahua and Sonora between 1,000-1,500 C.E. The Apache mostly remained in the aforementioned lands until contact with Europeans in the early sixteenth century and are considered as belonging to the Southwest Native American cultural group of North American tribes. Apache lands were mostly located in very dry, hot, desert regions that received little rainfall. Eventually, due to encroachment by white settlers and government relations, the majority of Apache bands were relocated to reservations within Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
The Apache tribe are a diverse group of people with a complicated history. They are, and were, composed of many smaller bands or groups that all share a similar history and culture. The bands were usually comprised of familial units, extended family, and nearby family units.
Some of the most well-known Apache bands include:
The Apache are believed to have originated from northern U.S.and southern Canada areas. They migrated south between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries to lands within the southwest and plains regions of North America.
Apache bands migrated several times over their long history in North America. They first arrived to the American Southwest region circa 1,100 C.E. from more northern areas. Large groups of Apache moved to the plains, the modern-day state of Kansas, in 1600. However, by 1750, due to increased reliance on horse-back, raiding grew as a more significant threat from enemy tribes like the Comanche. The Comanche eventually pushed many of the Plains Apache bands to the south and west. Various Apache bands would face even more migration to come, as they were forced from their territories by outside groups.
Key events involving the Apache during the Spanish Colonial era include:
Key events between the Apache and Mexico:
Key events between the Apache and the United States:
Some influential Apache leaders included:
The Apache shared many cultural traits with neighboring tribes, but also had their own distinctive culture. They were overall known for being a very strong, proud, and warrior-like people with a close connection to the natural world. Apache bands interacted with many other groups during times of trade, migration, raids, and battle.
The Apache people were both nomadic and sedentary depending on the band. Traditionally, most Apache natives were nomadic hunter-gatherers. The Plains Apache moved with buffalo populations as they were their main livelihood. Other Apache bands moved frequently due to food, weather, and encroachment. Most Apache bands lived in wickiups, or brush shelters, which could be built and taken down quickly. The homes were made with a wooden frame and then covered with materials like leaves, grasses, and hides.
The Apache primarily used bows and arrows, clubs, knives, and spears for weaponry. They also used rifles, once introduced to them by Europeans. The people wore animal skin clothing, cloth, leather, and boot-like moccasins. Men usually wore their hair down and maybe a simple cloth headband, while women wore cotton or deerskin dresses, tunics, and turquoise jewelry; their hair was typically long and braided. The Apache had special, colorful, and highly decorative dress for special occasions or ceremonies.
Like most other Native American tribes at the time, the Apache adhered to animism beliefs and believed in various nature spirits. They had many ritualistic ceremonies and dances related to their animism beliefs and coming of age celebrations. They often traded for what they needed with other bands and tribes as well as white settlers, but some bands were also known to conduct raids to take what they needed. Raiding was not considered as an act of war by the Apache, but rather the means to get what they needed.
Apache foodways largely depended on where any one band was located at a given time.
The most common Apache foods included:
Apachean languages are considered to be of the Southern Athabaskan language family. They were and still are spoken throughout Apache and Navajo tribes. Their language is related to some of the more northern tribes of North America.
The Apache lived in bands of familial groups along with extended family, and sometimes other local bands, which could also be called "clans." At the head of the individual tribes or bands was a powerful and worthy male, selected to lead the band. Some bands joined under a single leader, and the role of chief was usually earned rather than being hereditary. There was no central governing authority over the Apache. They were often divided into various groupings of bands that differed a bit culturally. These included the Eastern Apache bands, Western Apache bands, and Northern and Southern bands.
Apache bands were closely related to other tribes of the Southwest region when it came to culture and way of life. They traded and interacted with the Pueblo, whose interaction sometimes included raids. The Comanche and Pima were enemy tribes of the Apache and often warred with them. Comanche bands were even known to have worked with Spanish forces to fight against the Apache. Some Apache groups were known to be at war with a tribe that may be at peace with another Apache band, complicating overall relations.
The Apache often traded with the Navajo tribe, who were considered to be especially close with the Western Apache band. The Navajo lived a more sedentary life, along with other Western Apache bands. Both tribes were very similar, with origins in southwestern Canada and a shared language base, but they had enough differences to be referred to as separate tribes.
The Apache were mostly a nomadic tribe, consisting of many bands which originated from Southern Canada.. Apache tribes had several names to describe them, such as "Inde," meaning "the people." They moved to the Southwest U.S. and parts of Northern Mexico between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries C.E. A main source of food, resource, and clothing, for many Apache was the buffalo.
The Apaches' overall relationship with the Spanish, Mexicans, and Americans, depended on particular tribes, as some remained at peace while others were at war with the same group. The Apache of the Plains, Kansas-region, fled from the enemy Comanches tribe circa 1750. Geronimo was a famous Apache leader who fought bravely against the U.S. in the Apache Wars; Victorio and Cochise were other notable Apache leaders and fighters. Many bands of Apache fought the U.S. in the Apache Wars, but lost by 1886. Most Apache relocated to reservations in modern-day New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma.
To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account
The Apache tribe was forcibly relocated to reservations after the urging of outside groups and skirmishes/warfare. Their descendants mostly reside in or around reservations in modern day New Mexico and Oklahoma.
The Apache tribe is known for their proud and warrior-like people. Bands of the Apache put up a formidable fighting force against the Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. governments.
The Apache tribe could mostly be found in the southwest native cultural region of the U.S. in modern-day states of New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. They could also be found in a few Northern Mexican states.
According to present-day data, there appear to be four federally recognized Apache tribes in Arizona. They have designated reservation land in the state.
The Apache had many celebrated traditions. They had coming of age ceremonies, ritualistic dances, and festivals during certain times in the year.
Most Apache bands were nomadic in order to follow their food, like the buffalo. They also ate small game, beans, corn, squash, roots, and herbs.
Already a member? Log InBack
I would definitely recommend Study.com to my colleagues. It’s like a teacher waved a magic wand and did the work for me. I feel like it’s a lifeline.