For centuries they were fierce warriors, adept in wilderness survival, who carried out raids on those who encroached on their territory. Religion was a fundamental part of Apache life.
The Apache tribe was a nomadic group, and their lives revolved around the buffalo. They wore buffalo skins, slept in buffalo-hide tents, and ate buffalo for their sustenance. They were one of the first Indian tribes to learn to ride horses, and they quickly began using horses in order to hunt the buffalo.
Once the Apache had moved to the Southwest, they developed a flexible subsistence economy that included hunting and gathering wild foods, farming, and obtaining food and other items from Pueblo villages via trade, livestock hunts, and raiding.
Apache is pronounced “uh-PAH-chee.” It means “enemy” in the language of their Zuni neighbors. The Apaches’ own name for themselves was traditionally Nde or Ndee (meaning “the people”), but today most Apache people use the word “Apache” themselves, even when they are speaking their own language.
In addition to using beads to decorate items of clothing, beads were also used to decorate moccasins, buckskin pouches and knife cases, necklaces, and women’s hair ornaments. Today, the craft of beadwork remains strong in Apache culture.
They’re known as Apaches, and they don’t just live in the United States. They have homes and communities in the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Sonora, northern Durango, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. That, although in Mexico, Apaches do not officially exist.
The religion and beliefs of the Apache tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains rocks etc have souls or spirits. The Gila Monster was important and its symbol was to signify preservation and survival.
The Comanches, known as the “Lords of the Plains”, were regarded as perhaps the most dangerous Indians Tribes in the frontier era. The U.S. Army established Fort Worth because of the settler concerns about the threat posed by the many Indians tribes in Texas. The Comanches were the most feared of these Indians.
The Apaches referred to themselves as Inde or Diné, meaning “the people.” The Apaches arrived in the Southwest between A.D. 1000 and 1400.
Horses come to America. Apache soldiers became excellent riders, much better riders than most Spanish soldiers. Horses let the Apache catch and kill more bison than they had before, and also helped them win battles with the Pueblo people and with the Spanish settlers.
Geronimo (1829-1909) was an Apache leader and medicine man best known for his fearlessness in resisting anyone–Mexican or American—who attempted to remove his people from their tribal lands.
The Apache ate a wide variety of food, but their main staple was corn, also called maize, and meat from the buffalo. They also gathered food such as berries and acorns. Another traditional food was roasted agave, which was roasted for many days in a pit. Some Apaches hunted other animals like deer and rabbits.
Today most of the Apache live on five reservations: three in Arizona (the Fort Apache, the San Carlos Apache, and the Tonto Apache Reservations); and two in New Mexico (the Mescalero and the Jicarilla Apache). About 15,000 Apache Indians live on this reservation.
The most sacred of all symbols in all Native American cultures is the circle, however, which for the Apache is most potently embodied in its chief symbol, the sacred hoop.
Apache boys and girls played games that kept them fit. Archery was an important competition sport, as the bow and arrow was their main weapon. Apache kids also played toe and toss games to develop coordination, balance, and strength.
The Apache call their main god Ussen but they also recognize spirits that inhabit the mountains, moon, sun and Earth.