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The Apache Indians
(Apache means "enemy" in the language of their Zuni neighbors.)
Southwest North America
Late 1300s to Present
Note-taking Directions
Throughout their history, the Apache
effectively used and adapted their unique
environment and its natural resources in order
to survive.
As you watch this PowerPoint, list examples
of the ways they
Used natural resources to help them survive
Changed their environment to help them survive
Developed technologies to help them survive
Early Apache Indians
Athapascans (The Apache
and Navajo Indian Tribes)
are generally believed to
have been among the last
peoples to have crossed the
land bridge between Siberia
and Alaska.
Exactly when the Apaches
and Navajos began their
migration southward is not
known, but it is clear that
they had not arrived in the
Southwest before the late
Where are the Apache?
The Apache Indians are perhaps one of
the best-known tribes in America.
The Grand Apacheria, as it was
known, the homeland of the
Apaches, was a vast region
stretching across much of modern
day central Arizona, New Mexico,
southwestern and central Texas,
and northern Mexico, and the high
plains of Colorado.
This region was divided between
Eastern and Western Apaches
Eastern Apaches were Plains
Western Apaches lived primarily
on the western side of the
Continental Divide in the
Much of the area inhabited by the Apache was arid, with few
trees and more limited resources than areas further north or in
coastal regions.
Everyday Life The Apaches were typically nomadic,
meaning they traveled around, never quite settling in one place.
Note meat drying in
The dry climate and available
resources of the SW dictated
the clothing that the Apache
wore. Women wore buckskin
skirts, men wore breechcloths.
In the winter, added animal
skins were applied as needed.
Knee length moccasins were
Eventually skin clothing was
replaced with European style
cotton clothing.
Everyday Life
Apache men hunted buffalo, deer, antelope, and
small game, while women gathered nuts, seeds,
and fruit from the environment around them.
Meat was boiled in skin pouches with hot stones
dropped in as the heat source, baked in clayformed vessels, or roasted over a fire.
Mass kills of buffalo allowed them to preserve
the meat by drying, for use in the winter when
less game was available.
They cured hides with the brain of the animal,
and utilized every part of the BUFFALO for
shelter, utensils, weapons, clothing, glue, bowbacking, saddle frames, etc.
In war, the Apache men used bows and arrows.
or fought with long spears and buffalo-hide
Everyday Life
The Apache probably made
and ate “pemmican,”
which was a combination of
dried, chipped particles of
meat; dried, flaked berries
or fruit; and fat or tallow.
Once dried these were
stored in bags until needed.
Later, they also ate corn,
which they got by trading
with the Pueblo tribes and
the Spanish, or by
capturing it during raids.
Making Pemmican
The buffalo was essential to Apache survival. It was most
essential as meat for food, hides for clothing and for
shelter. But how else did the Apache use the buffalo?
BUFFALO RAWHIDE: Containers – Shields – Buckets –
Moccasins – Drum Heads – Splints – Mortars; Cinches –
Ropes – Sheaths/Quivers - Bull Boats – Masks – Parfleche –
Ornaments – Lariats; Straps – Head Coverings – Quirts –
Tipis – Snowshoes - Shrouds BUFFALO CHIN BEARD:
Ornamentations (everyday and spiritual) – Dolls - Mittens
BUFFALO TEETH: Ornamentation (everyday/spiritual) –
game pieces
BUFFALO BLADDER: Pouches - Medicine Bags – Water
BUFFALO TENDONS: Sinews – Sewing – Bowstrings –
BUFFALO GALL: Yellow Paints
Wait—We’re not done!
BUFFALO HORNS: Arrow Points– Headdresses– Cups- Fire
Carrier – Powderhorn – Spoons; Ladles – Signal Horns – Toys Medication
BUFFALO BUCKSKIN (treated leather): Cradles – Moccasins –
Robes – Bedding – Shirts; Belts – Leggings – Dresses – Bags –
Quivers - Tipi Covers - Tipis Liners – Reins/Halters; Backrests –
Tapestries – Sweat Lodge Covers
BUFFALO BLOOD: Soups – Puddings - Paints
BUFFALO FAT: Tallow–Soaps - Hair Grease - Cosmetic Aids
BUFFALO TAIL: Medicine Switch-Fly Brush–Decorations– Whips
BUFFALO HAIR: Headdresses – Pad/Pillow Stuffing – Ropes –
Ornaments - Hair Pieces; Halters – Bracelets - Medicine Balls Moccasin Lining - Doll Stuffing
BUFFALO MEAT: Sausages – Roasts - Cached Meat - Jerky –
Pemmican ingredient
Still some more!
BUFFALO BONES: Fleshing Tools – Pipes – Knives – Arrowheads –
Shovels – Splints; Sleds - War Clubs – Scrapers – Quirts – Awls –
Paintbrushes - Game Dice - Tableware
BUFFALO HOOFS, FEET & DEWCLAWS: Glue – Rattles - Spoons
BUFFALO LIVER: Tanning Agents – Food – Medicine
BUFFALO STOMACH LINER: Water Containers - Cooking Pots
BUFFALO PAUNCH LINER: Wrappings – Buckets - Collapsible Cups –
Basins – Canteens
BUFFALO SCROTUM: Rattles - Containers
BUFFALO SKULL: Spiritual significance in Sun Dances - Medicine
Prayers - Other Rituals
BUFFALO BRAIN: Hide Preparation (Tanning) - Food
BUFFALO MUSCLES: Glue Preparation – Bows – Thread – Arrow Ties Cinches
BUFFALO CHIPS (EXCREMENT): Fuel - Diaper Powder – Toys Jewelry
The Apache Housing
The Eastern Apache lived in
Tipis made of buffalo hides.
Most of the Apache lived in
wickiups. These were oval
huts made of brush, with
earthen floors scooped out to
enlarge the living area. As
the season changed so did the
covering of the wickiups. In
the summer, leafy branches
were draped over the branch
frame. In the winter, animal
hides provided insulation.
Some believe that the Apache were one of the first
tribes to learn how to ride and use horses.
Technology & Art
They used willow
shoots, and yucca
fibers to make
baskets. Sometimes
they lined their
baskets with clay.
They made hide
bags and pouches
used for storage
and cooking – some
were decorated
with beadwork.
They used clay to
make pottery which
they fired to
Apaches lives have been disrupted by
conflicts, first with the Spanish, then with
the Comanche, and later with the U. S.
Trouble with the Spanish
By 1598 that Apaches had to
adjust to the presence of
Europeans within their
The Spanish began to
confiscate their trade
surpluses, thereby disrupting
their trade.
The Apaches were enslaved by
Spanish explorers and settlers
from Mexico in the 1700s. They
were forced to work on ranches
and in mines.
Migration of the Comanche Nation
The southward migration of the
Comanche Nation, beginning
around 1700, was devastating for
the Eastern Apaches.
By about 1725 the Comanche's
had established authority
throughout the whole of the
Southern Plains region, pushing
the Eastern Apaches into the
mountains of the front range of
the Rockies in New Mexico.
Denied access to the buffalo
herds, the Apaches turned to
Spanish cattle and horses for
Conflict with the United States
The start of the Mexican
War with the United
States in 1846 disrupted
the peace of the Apache
By the time the United
States moved into the
Southwest at the
conclusion of the Mexican
War in 1848, the Apaches
posed an almost
unsolvable problem.
Americans defeat the Apache
The Americans, lacking both
Spanish diplomatic skills and
Spanish understanding of the
Apaches decided to handle the
Apache by military means.
The United States finally
achieved victory after the final
surrender of Geronimo's band in
1886 .
Some Apaches became prisoners
of war, shipped first to Florida,
then to Alabama, and finally to
Oklahoma. Others entered a
period of difficult reservation life
in the Southwest.
Apaches Today
There are still several
Apache tribes today. The
Apache tribes: include the Plains
Apache (Oklahoma), the Lipan
Apache (Texas), Western Apache
(Arizona), Chiricahua Apache
(Arizona/New Mexico), Jicarilla
Apache (New Mexico), and the
Mescalero Apache (New Mexico).
As of 1990, the U.S.
Census Bureau reported
that 53,330 people
identified themselves as
Apache, up from 35,861 in
Apache Acculturation
Today Apache are holding on to their culture, while being
adaptable at the same time.
Approximately 70 percent of the modern Apaches still
practice the traditional Apache religion.
In 1978, at least one-half of the residents of the reservation
still spoke Jicarilla (Native Apache Language), and onethird of the households used it regularly. Jicarilla children in
the 1990s, however, prefer English.
Today Jicarilla's are demonstrating a new pride in
traditional crafts. Basketry and pottery making, which had
nearly died out during the 1950s, are now valued skills once
Many Apaches say they are trying to have the best of both
worlds, attempting to survive in the dominant culture while
still remaining Apache.
A Strong People
•For the Apaches, the family is the primary
unit of political and cultural life
•The Apache are one of the most well
known tribes throughout history. Even
though they are remembered for their
conflicts with others, today they are
thriving in our modern world without
compromising their priceless culture.