the apaches (in english)
Apache (play /əˈpætʃiː/; French: [a.paʃ]) is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan (Apachean) language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan speakers of Alaska and western Canada. The modern term Apache excludes the related Navajo people. Since the Navajo and the other Apache groups are clearly related through culture and language, they are all considered Apachean. Apachean peoples formerly ranged over eastern Arizona, northern Mexico, New Mexico, west and southwest Texas and southern Colorado. The Apachería, consisted of high mountains, sheltered and watered valleys, deep canyons, deserts and the southern Great Plains.
The Apachean groups had little political unity; the major groups spoke seven different languages and developed distinct and competitive cultures. The current division of Apachean groups includes the Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apache). Apache groups live in Oklahoma and Texas and on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.
Some Apacheans have moved to large metropolitan areas. The largest Apache urban communities are in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego and Los Angeles. Some Apacheans were employed in migrant farm labor and relocated to the central agricultural regions of Southern California, such as the Coachella, Imperial and Colorado River valleys, where now tens of thousands of Apacheans live.
The Apachean tribes were historically very powerful, opposing the Spanish and Mexican peoples for centuries. The first Apache raids on Sonora appear to have taken place during the late 17th century. In 19th-century confrontations, the U.S. Army found the Apache to be fierce warriors and skillful strategists.
Contemporary Apache groups
Young Jicarilla Apache boy, New Mexico, 2009
Apachean tribes ca. 18th century: WA – Western Apache, N – Navajo, Ch – Chiricahua, M – Mescalero, J – Jicarilla, L – Lipan, Pl – Plains Apache
The following Apache tribes are federally recognized:
Apache Tribe of Oklahom
Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona
Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
Jicarilla Apache Nation, New Mexico
Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico
San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation, Arizona
Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona
White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation, Arizona
Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation, Arizona
Jicarilla are headquartered in Dulce, New Mexico while the Mescalero are headquartered in Mescalero, New Mexico. The Western Apache, located in Arizona, is divided into several reservations, which crosscut cultural divisions. The Western Apache reservations include the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, Yavapai-Apache Nation, Tonto-Apache Reservation, and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.
Present-day primary locations of Apachean peoples
The Chiricahua were divided into two groups after they were released from being prisoners of war. The majority moved to the Mescalero Reservation and form, with the larger Mescalero political group, the Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Apache Reservation, along with the Lipan Apache. The other Chiricahua are enrolled in the Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, headquartered in Apache, Oklahoma.
The Plains Apache are located in Oklahoma, headquartered around Anadarko, and are federally recognized as the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma.
Name and synonyms
The word Apache entered English via Spanish, but the ultimate origin is uncertain. Most Apacheans prefer to call themselves Inde, their autonym, meaning "Apache, person" in their language of Mescalero.
The first known written record in Spanish is by Juan de Oñate in 1598. The most widely accepted origin theory suggests Apache was borrowed and transliterated from the Zuni word ʔa·paču meaning "Navajos" (the plural of paču "Navajo").
Another theory suggests the term comes from Yavapai ʔpačə meaning "enemy"] The Zuni and Yavapai sources are less certain because Oñate used the term before he had encountered any Zuni or Yavapai. A less likely origin may be from Spanish mapache, meaning "raccoon"
The Spanish first used the term "Apachu de Nabajo" (Navajo) in the 1620s, referring to people in the Chama region east of the San Juan River. By the 1640s, they applied the term to southern Athabaskan peoples from the Chama on the east to the San Juan on the west.
The fame of the tribes' tenacity and fighting skills, probably bolstered by dime novels, was widely known among Europeans. In early 20th century Parisian society, the word Apache was adopted into French, essentially meaning an outlaw.
Difficulties in naming
Essa-queta, Plains Apache chief
Many of the historical names of Apache groups that were recorded by non-Apache are difficult to match to modern-day tribes or their subgroups. Over the centuries, many Spanish, French and/or English-speaking authors did not differentiate between Apache and other seminomadic non-Apache peoples who might pass through the same area. Most commonly, Europeans learned to identify the tribes by translating their exonym, what another group whom the Europeans encountered first called the Apachean peoples. Europeans often did not learn what the peoples called themselves, their autonyms.
While anthropologists agree on some traditional major subgrouping of Apaches, they have often used different criteria to name finer divisions, and these do not always match modern Apache groupings. Some scholars do not consider groups residing in what is now Mexico to be Apache. In addition, an Apache individual has different ways of identification with a group, such as a band or clan, as well as the larger tribe or language grouping, which can add to the difficulties in an outsider comprehending the distinctions.
In 1900, the U.S. government classified the members of the Apache tribe in the United States as Pinal Coyotero, Jicarilla, Mescalero, San Carlos, Tonto, and White Mountain Apache. The different groups were located in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
In the 1930s, the anthropologist Grenville Goodwin classified the Western Apache into five groups (based on his informants' views of dialect and cultural differences): White Mountain, Cibecue, San Carlos, North Tonto, and South Tonto. Since then, other anthropologists (e.g. Albert Schroeder) consider Goodwin's classification inconsistent with pre-reservation cultural divisions. Willem de Reuse finds linguistic evidence supporting only three major groupings: White Mountain, San Carlos, and Dilzhe’e (Tonto). He believes San Carlos is the most divergent dialect, and that Dilzhe’e is a remnant, intermediate member of a dialect continuum that previously spanned from the Western Apache language to the Navajo.
John Upton Terrell classifies the Apache into western and eastern groups. In the western group, he includes Toboso, Cholome, Jocome, Sibolo or Cibola, Pelone, Manso, and Kiva or Kofa. He includes Chicame (the earlier term for Hispanized Chicano or New Mexicans of Spanish/Hispanic and Apache descent) among them as having definite Apache connections or names which the Spanish associated with the Apache.
In a detailed study of New Mexico Catholic Church records, David M. Brugge identifies 15 tribal names which the Spanish used to refer to the Apache. These were drawn from records of about 1000 baptisms from 1704 to 1862.
List of names
The list below is based on Foster and McCollough (2001), Opler (1983b, 1983c, 2001), and de Reuse (1983).
Apache, current usage generally includes six of the seven major, traditional, Apachean-speaking groups: Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Plains Apache, and Western Apache. Historically, the term has also been used for Comanches, Mohaves, Hualapais, and Yavapais.
Arivaipa (also Aravaipa) is a band of the San Carlos local group of the Western Apache. Schroeder believes the Arivaipa were a separate people in pre-reservation times. Arivaipa is a borrowing (via Spanish) from the O'odham language. The Arivaipa are known as Tsézhiné ("Black Rock") in the Western Apache language.
Carlana (also Carlanes) is an Apache group in southeastern Colorado on Raton Mesa. In 1726, they had joined with the Cuartelejo and Paloma, and by the 1730s, they were living with the Jicarilla. It has been suggested that either the Llanero band of the modern Jicarilla or James Mooney's Dáchizh-ó-zhn Jicarilla division are descendants of the Carlana, Cuartelejo, and Paloma. The Carlana as a whole were also called Sierra Blanca; parts of the group were called Lipiyanes or Llaneros. Otherwise, in 1812, the term was used synonymously with Jicarilla. The Flechas de Palo might have been a part of or absorbed by the Carlana (or Cuartelejo).
Chiricahua are one of the seven major Apachean groups, ranging in southeastern Arizona.
Chíshí (also Tchishi) is a Navajo word meaning "Chiricahua, southern Apaches in general"
Ch’úúkʾanén (also Č’ók’ánéń, Č’ó·k’anén, Chokonni, Cho-kon-nen, Cho Kŭnĕ́, Chokonen) refers to the Eastern Chiricahua band identified by Morris Opler. The name is an autonym from the Chiricahua language.
Cibecue is one of Goodwin's Western Apache groups, living to the north of the Salt River between the Tonto and White Mountain groups, consisting of Ceder Creek, Carrizo, and Cibecue (proper) bands.
Coyotero usually refers to a southern division of the pre-reservation White Mountain local group of the Western Apache. But, the name has also been used more widely to refer to the Apache in general, Western Apache, or an Apachean band in the high plains of southern Colorado to Kansas.
Faraones (also Paraonez, Pharaones, Taraones, Taracones, Apaches Faraone) is derived from Spanish Faraón "Pharaoh". Before 1700, the name was vague without a specific referent. Between 1720 and 1726, it referred to the Apache between the Rio Grande in the east, the Pecos River in the west, the area around Santa Fe in the north, and the Conchos River in the south. After 1726, Faraones was used only to refer to the peoples of the north and central parts of this region. The Faraones were probably part of the modern-day Mescalero or had merged with the Mescalero. After 1814, the term Faraones disappeared and was replaced by Mescalero.
Gileño (also Apaches de Gila, Apaches de Xila, Apaches de la Sierra de Gila, Xileños, Gilenas, Gilans, Gilanians, Gila Apache, Gilleños) was used to refer to several different Apachean and non-Apachean groups at different times. Gila refers to either the Gila River or the Gila Mountains. Some of the Gila Apaches were probably later known as the Mogollon Apaches, a subdivision of the Chiricahua, while others probably coalesced into the Chiricahua proper. But, since the term was used indiscriminately for all Apachean groups west of the Rio Grande (i.e. in southeast Arizona and western New Mexico), the reference in historical documents is often unclear. After 1722, Spanish documents start to distinguish between these different groups, in which case Apaches de Gila refers to the Western Apache living along the Gila River (and thus synonymous with Coyotero). United States writers first used the term to refer to the Mimbres (another subdivision of the Chiricahua). Later they used the term to refer to the Coyotero, Mogollon, Tonto, Mimbreño, Pinaleño, and Chiricahua, as well as the non-Apachean Yavapai (then also known as Garroteros or Yabipais Gileños). The Spanish also used Apaches de Gila to refer to the non-Apachean Pima living on the Gila River (whom they sometimes called Pimas Gileños and Pimas Cileños).
Jicarilla (from Spanish meaning "little gourd"). One of the 7 major Apachean groups, the Jicarilla Apache live in northern New Mexico, southern Colorado, and the Texas Panhandle.
Kiowa-Apache. See Plains Apache.
Llanero is a borrowing from Spanish meaning "plains dweller". The name was historically used to refer to several different groups who hunted buffalo seasonally on the Great Plains, also referenced in eastern New Mexico and western Texas. (See also Carlanas.)
Lipiyánes (also Lipiyán, Lipillanes). An uncertain term, probably of Athabascan origin, that may have been a synonym of Llanero or Natagés. This term is not to be confused with Lipan.
Lipan (also Ypandis, Ypandes, Ipandes, Ipandi, Lipanes, Lipanos, Lipaines, Lapane, Lipanis, etc.). One of the 7 major Apachean peoples. They once lived in eastern New Mexico and Texas to the southeast to the Gulf of Mexico. This term is not to be confused with Lipiyánes or Le Panis (French for the Pawnee). They were first mentioned in 1718 records as being near the newly established town of San Antonio, Texas.
Mescalero. The Mescalero are one of the 7 major Apachean groups, generally living in what is now eastern New Mexico and western Texas.
Mimbreños is an older name that refers to a section of Opler's Eastern Chiricahua band and to Albert Schroeder's Mimbres and Warm Springs Chiricahua bands in southwestern New Mexico.
Mogollon was considered by Schroeder to be a separate pre-reservation Chiricahua band, while Opler considered the Mogollon to be part of his Eastern Chiricahua band in New Mexico.
Ná’įįsha (also Ná’ęsha, Na’isha, Na’ishandine, Na-i-shan-dina, Na-ishi, Na-e-ca, Ną’ishą́, Nadeicha, Nardichia, Nadíisha-déna, Na’dí’į́shą́ʼ, Nądí’įįshąą, Naisha) all refer to the Plains Apache (see Kiowa).
Natagés (also Natagees, Apaches del Natafé, Natagêes, Yabipais Natagé, Natageses, Natajes). Term used 1726–1820 to refer to the Faraón, Sierra Blanca, and Siete Ríos Apaches of southeastern New Mexico. In 1745, the Natagé are reported to have consisted of the Mescalero (around El Paso and the Organ Mountains) and the Salinero (around Rio Salado), but these were probably the same group. After 1749, the term was used synonymously with Mescalero, which eventually replaced it.
Navajo. The most numerous of the 7 major Apachean-speaking groups. General modern usage separates the Navajo people culturally from the Apache.
Pinal (also Pinaleños). One of the bands of the Goodwin's San Carlos group of Western Apache. Also used along with Coyotero to refer more generally to one of two major Western Apache divisions. Some Pinaleño were referred to as the Gila Apache.
Plains Apache. The Plains Apache (also called Kiowa-Apache, Naisha, Naʼishandine) are one of the 7 major Apachean groups, generally living in what is now Oklahoma. In historic times, they were found living among the (unrelated) Kiowa. The term has also been used to refer to any supposed Apachean tribe found on or associated (usually culturally) with the North American Plains.
Ramah. A group of Navajos currently living in the Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. (The Navajo name for Ramah, New Mexico is Tłʼohchiní meaning "wild onion place").
Querechos referred to by Coronado in 1541, possibly Plains Apaches, at times maybe Navajo. Other early Spanish might have also called them Vaquereo or Llanero.
San Carlos. A Western Apache group that ranged closest to Tucson according to Goodwin. This group consisted of the Apache Peaks, Arivaipa, Pinal, San Carlos (proper) bands.
Tonto. Goodwin divided into Northern Tonto and Southern Tonto groups, living in the north and west areas of the Western Apache groups according to Goodwin. This is north of Phoenix, north of the Verde River. Schroeder has suggested that the Tonto are originally Yavapais who assimilated Western Apache culture. Tonto is one of the major dialects of the Western Apache language. Tonto Apache speakers are traditionally bilingual in Western Apache and Yavapai. Goodwin's Northern Tonto consisted of Bald Mountain, Fossil Creek, Mormon Lake, and Oak Creek bands; Southern Tonto consisted of the Mazatzal band and unidentified "semi-bands".
Warm Springs were located on upper reaches of Gila River, New Mexico. (See also Gileño and Mimbreños.)
Western Apache. In the most common sense, includes Northern Tonto, Southern Tonto, Cibecue, White Mountain and San Carlos groups. While these subgroups spoke the same language and had kinship ties, Western Apaches considered themselves as separate from each other, according to Goodwin. Other writers have used this term to refer to all non-Navajo Apachean peoples living west of the Rio Grande (thus failing to distinguish the Chiricahua from the other Apacheans). Goodwin's formulation: "all those Apache peoples who have lived within the present boundaries of the state of Arizona during historic times with the exception of the Chiricahua, Warm Springs, and allied Apache, and a small band of Apaches known as the Apache Mansos, who lived in the vicinity of Tucson."
White Mountain. The easternmost group of the Western Apache according to Goodwin. Consisted of Eastern White Mountain and Western White Mountain.
Entry into the Southwest
The Apache and Navajo tribal groups of the North American Southwest speak related languages of the Athabaskan language family. Other Athabaskan-speaking people in North America reside in a northern range from Alaska through west-central Canada, and some groups are found along the Northwest Pacific Coast. Linguistic similarities indicate the Navajo and Apache were once a single ethnic group.
Archaeological and historical evidence seems to suggest the Southern Athabaskan entry into the American Southwest was sometime after 1000 AD. Their nomadic way of life complicates accurate dating, primarily because they constructed less-substantial dwellings than other Southwestern groups. Since the early twenty-first century, substantial progress has been made in dating and distinguishing their dwellings and other forms of material culture.They left behind a more austere set of tools and material goods than other Southwestern cultures. The Athabaskan-speaking group probably moved into areas that were concurrently occupied or recently abandoned by other cultures. Other Athabaskan speakers, perhaps including the Southern Athabaskan, adapted many of their neighbors' technology and practices in their own cultures. Thus sites where early Southern Athabaskans may have lived are difficult to locate and even more difficult to firmly identify as culturally Southern Athabaskan. Recent advances have been made in the regard in the far southern portion of the American Southwest.
There are several hypotheses concerning Apachean migrations. One posits that they moved into the Southwest from the Great Plains. In the early 16th century, these mobile groups lived in tents, hunted bison and other game, and used dogs to pull travois loaded with their possessions. Substantial numbers of the people and a wide range were recorded by the Spanish in the 16th century.
The Coronado Expedition 1540–1542
In April 1541, while traveling on the plains east of the Pueblo region, Francisco Coronado referred to the people “dog nomads.” He wrote:
"After seventeen days of travel, I came upon a 'rancheria' of the Indians who follow these cattle (bison). These natives are called Querechos. They do not cultivate the land, but eat raw meat and drink the blood of the cattle they kill. They dress in the skins of the cattle, with which all the people in this land clothe themselves, and they have very well-constructed tents, made with tanned and greased cowhides, in which they live and which they take along as they follow the cattle. They have dogs which they load to carry their tents, poles, and belongings."
The Spanish described Plains dogs as very white, with black spots, and “not much larger than water spaniels.” Plains dogs were slightly smaller than those used for hauling loads by modern Inuit and northern First Nations people in Canada. Recent experiments show these dogs may have pulled loads up to 50 lb (20 kg) on long trips, at rates as high as two or three miles per hour (3 to 5 km/h). The Plains migration theory associates the Apachean peoples with the Dismal River culture, an archaeological culture known primarily from ceramics and house remains, dated 1675–1725, which has been excavated in Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and western Kansas.
Although the first documentary sources mention the Apache, and historians have suggested some passages indicate a 16th century entry from the north, archaeological data indicate they were present on the plains long before this first reported contact.
A competing theory posits their migration south, through the Rocky Mountains, ultimately reaching the American Southwest by the 14th century or perhaps earlier. An archaeological material culture assemblage identified in this mountainous zone as ancestral Apachean has been referred to as the "Cerro Rojo complex". This theory does not preclude arrival via a plains route as well, perhaps concurrently, but to date the earliest evidence has been found in the mountainous Southwest.
Only the Plains Apache have any significant Plains cultural influence, while all tribes have distinct Athabaskan characteristics. The descriptions of peoples such as the Mountain Querecho and the Apache Vaquero are vague and could apply to many other Plains tribes. The specific traits of these groups do not seem particularly Apachean. Additionally, Harry Hoijer's classification of Plains Apache as an Apachean language has been disputed.
When the Spanish arrived in the area, trade between the long established Pueblo peoples and the Southern Athabaskan was well established. They reported the Pueblo exchanged maize and woven cotton goods for bison meat, and hides and materials for stone tools. Coronado observed the Plains people wintering near the Pueblo in established camps. Later Spanish sovereignty over the area disrupted trade between the Pueblo and the diverging Apache and Navajo groups. The Apache quickly acquired horses, improving their mobility for quick raids on settlements. In addition, the Pueblo were forced to work Spanish mission lands and care for mission flocks; they had fewer surplus goods to trade with their neighbors.
In 1540 Coronado reported that the modern Western Apache area was uninhabited, although some scholars have argued that he simply did not see the American Indians. Other Spanish explorers first mention "Querechos" living west of the Rio Grande in the 1580s. To some historians, this implies the Apaches moved into their current Southwestern homelands in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Other historians note that Coronado reported that Pueblo women and children had often been evacuated by the time his party attacked their dwellings, and that he saw some dwellings had been recently abandoned as he moved up the Rio Grande. This might indicate the semi-nomadic Southern Athabaskan had advance warning about his hostile approach and evaded encounter with the Spanish. Archaeologists are finding ample evidence of an early proto-Apache presence in the Southwestern mountain zone in the 15th century and perhaps earlier. The Apache presence on both the Plains and in the mountainous Southwest indicate that the people took multiple early migration routes.
Conflict with Mexico and the United States
Further information: Apache Wars
In general, the recently arrived Spanish colonists, who settled in villages, and Apache bands developed a pattern of interaction over a few centuries. Both raided and traded with each other. Records of the period seem to indicate that relationships depended upon the specific villages and specific bands that were involved with each other. For example, one band might be friends with one village and raid another. When war happened between the two, the Spanish would send troops, after a battle both sides would "sign a treaty," and both sides would go home.
The traditional and sometimes treacherous relationships continued between the villages and bands with the independence of Mexico in 1821. By 1835 Mexico had placed a bounty on Apache scalps (see scalping) but certain villages were still trading with some bands. When Juan José Compas, the leader of the Mimbreño Apaches, was killed for bounty money in 1837, Mangas Coloradas or Dasoda-hae (Red Sleeves) became the principal chief and war leader. He conducted a series of retaliatory raids against the Mexicans. By 1856, authorities in horse-rich Durango would claim that Indian raids (mostly Comanche and Apache) in their state had taken nearly 6,000 lives, abducted 748 people, and forced the abandonment of 358 settlements over the previous 20 years.
When the United States went to war against Mexico in 1846, many Apache bands promised U.S. soldiers safe passage through their lands. When the U.S. claimed former territories of Mexico in 1846, Mangas Coloradas signed a peace treaty with the nation, respecting them as conquerors of the Mexicans' land. An uneasy peace (a centuries-old tradition) between the Apache and the new citizens of the United States held until the 1850s. An influx of gold miners into the Santa Rita Mountains led to conflict with the Apache. This period is sometimes called the Apache Wars.
The United States' concept of a reservation had not been used by the Spanish, Mexicans or other Apache neighbors before. Reservations were often badly managed, and bands that had no kinship relationships were forced to live together. No fences existed to keep people in or out. It was not uncommon for a band to be given permission to leave for a short period of time. Other times a band would leave without permission, to raid, return to their homeland to forage, or to simply get away. The military usually had forts nearby. Their job was keeping the various bands on the reservations by finding and returning those who left. The reservation policies of the United States produced conflict and war with the various Apache bands who left the reservations for almost another quarter century.
The warfare between the Apachean peoples and Euro-Americans has led to a stereotypical focus on certain aspects of Apachean cultures. These have often been distorted through misunderstanding of their cultures, as noted by anthropologist Keith Basso:
"Of the hundreds of peoples that lived and flourished in native North America, few have been so consistently misrepresented as the Apacheans of Arizona and New Mexico. Glorified by novelists, sensationalized by historians, and distorted beyond credulity by commercial film makers, the popular image of 'the Apache' — a brutish, terrifying semi-human bent upon wanton death and destruction — is almost entirely a product of irresponsible caricature and exaggeration. Indeed, there can be little doubt that the Apache has been transformed from a native American into an American legend, the fanciful and fallacious creation of a non-Indian citizenry whose inability to recognize the massive treachery of ethnic and cultural stereotypes has been matched only by its willingness to sustain and inflate them.]
In 1875, United States military forced the removal of an estimated 1,500 Yavapai and Dilzhe’e Apache (better known as Tonto Apache) from the Rio Verde Indian Reserve and its several thousand acres of treaty lands promised to them by the United States government. At the orders of the Indian Commissioner, L.E. Dudley, U.S. Army troops made the people, young and old, walk through winter-flooded rivers, mountain passes and narrow canyon trails to get to the Indian Agency at San Carlos, 180 miles (290 km) away. The trek resulted in the loss of several hundred lives. The peoples were held there in internment for 25 years while white settlers took over their land. Only a few hundred ever returned to their lands.