Apache (apachu of "enemy" language zuñi1) is a generic name given to various Indian tribes of North America living in the southwestern United States and northern Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora, forming the Apacheria territory and sharing the same Southern Athapaskan (near northern Athapaskan languages spoken by the Indians of Alaska and western Canada). Navajos speak a language very close and share the same culture, they are often considered Apaches.
Nomads and hunters in a semi-arid environment, the Apaches were fierce warriors attacking peoples farmers whose Pueblos and other tribes settled in the region. They later opposed the Spanish colonists and Mexicans and European settlers. They were defeated and decimated by the latter to the late nineteenth century and their descendants now live in some reserves.
When dancing, the Apaches wore costumes symbolizing the spirits of the mountain. Seeking to heal the sick away bad luck, they adorned themselves with body paint, skirts, dark-colored masks. The Apaches believed in many supernatural guests but especially in a supreme deity called Yasun.
Their leaders are the most famous Mangas Coloradas, Cochise and Geronimo.
The current distribution includes Apache tribes Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua's, the Mescaleros, the Jicarillas the Lipans, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apaches called).
There was little political unity among the different tribes who spoke seven distinct dialects. Each band was independent, which does not preclude alliances during plundering expeditions to the presidios Mexican or Indian tribes sedentary villages (Pueblos, Pima, Tohono O'odham - Papagos appointed by the Spanish), or in the If the defense of their territory against the European invaders.
Apaches and Spaniards
Distribution of Apache tribes: Ch - Chiricahuas, WA - Western Apache, N - Navajos, M - Mescaleroso, J - Jicarillas, L - Lipans, Pl - Plains Apache (eighteenth century).
In the memoirs of the expedition of the conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (sixteenth century), we find a description of the Apaches: "These Indians make their living bison because they do not grow corn. With the skin, they make their houses with their skin, they dress,'s Shoe and weave strings. They use it as a fleece wool. With tendons, they wire they use to sew their clothes and tents [...] "
From the seventeenth century, the Apaches liked guns they obtained from the whites, and horses introduced by the Spanish in the Southwest at the same time. The horse and the gun made Apache bands more mobile and more formidable, allowing them to continue raids more distant and more fruitful, and increasing their capacity to resist invasion which threatened them.
The Apaches were not slow to launch raids on the Spanish presidios to seize cattle, horses and weapons they want. For their part, the Spanish villages apache attack and capture women and children to sell as slaves in Mexico. The Spanish governors prices start Apache scalps, including those of women and children. Whites provide alcohol to Apaches whenever they can to better deceive and kill them. Attempts to Christianize the Apaches know little success. This situation lasted until almost the end of the eighteenth century.
During the first half of the eighteenth century, Spanish settlers trying to expand their territory in the north, but are prevented by the Tohono O'odham and Apache tribes. Mexico orders that it exterminates them in 1784: it's all Apache massacre of more than seven years. Governor Juan Bautista de Anza efforts to reconcile the Comanches and Utes to divert their strength against the Apaches. It distributes to each Comanche warrior a card on which he will record each Apache killed.
The Apache people lived historically a region called Apacheria covering eastern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, New Mexico, and parts of Texas and the Great Plains.
Deportation to reservations
In 1872, a peace treaty was signed between the Chief Cochise, Tom Jeffords (bushman who became remarkable in 1870, during a sacred ceremony, the blood brother of Cochise) and General Oliver O. Howard. Following the Treaty, 2500 Apaches are Chiricahua prisoners in the reserve (8000 km2 in the heart of the country apache). 1500 Apaches (one thousand "disappeared") will be deported again in 1876 in San Carlos Reservation.
Among those deported, Tazha, hereditary chief of the clan, the eldest son of Cochise and father Nino Cochise, arranges for his own clan of 38 people disappeared en route.
The clan is led by his wife, Nod-Ah-Sti (affectionately known Niome by Thomas Jefford), accompanied by her son, Nino Cochise, and a shaman, Dee-O-Det. They never figured out more records a reserve and were not tattooed. They dubbed the "no name".
Tazha died two months later of pneumonia when he went to Washington for a meeting with President Grant. When the news reached the San Carlos Reservation, his brother Naiche, the younger son of Cochise, fled to take the warpath. This was the beginning of "Geronimo wars" that were to expire in September 1886.
The "unnamed", whose leader was now Niño Cochise, lived hidden but free for over 40 years in the mountains of Sonora, in a place called Pa-Gotzin-Kay.
Apache tribes now live in Oklahoma and Texas and in the reserves of Arizona and New Mexico. Navajos reside mainly in a reserve them for 16 million acres (65,000 km2) located in the Four Corners area.
Religion and rituals
Apache religion combines supernatural spirits to animals, plants, minerals, weather, and mythological figures.
The most important of these spirits is Usen, the creator god, the "giver of life". Gaan are the guardian spirits associated with anthropomorphic mountains.
The character of the coyote - in this very religious stories - is a trickster: he often has inappropriate behavior does not comply with propriety, humans wrong but also suffers the consequences of his mistakes. The coyote, like other animals (owl, bear, snake) is considered harmful and can cause diseases.
The myth apache
The Apaches were primarily nomadic warriors, under the leadership of a chief. Most lived in huts built by women with willow poles connected with fibers from yucca. The huts are covered with bushes or stubble in summer and winter skins. The Apaches are a leather garment, high moccasins, jewelry and sometimes eagle feathers.
Their reputation for bravery and violence has inspired many films and novels (such as Karl May's fictional series featuring the character Winnetou).
Their name was taken to describe young thugs Paris of the Belle Époque, an attack helicopter and a cruise missile.