The Apache Indians

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The Apaches, like most Native Americans, have no written history other than that written by white men. But the story of the Apaches did not begin in the American Southwest but in the northwestern corner of North America, the western Subarctic region of Alaska and Canada. The Apache Indians belong to the southern branch of the Athabascan group, whose languages constitute a large family, with speakers in Alaska, western Canada, and American Southwest. The fact that the Apaches originated in the western mountainous Subarctic region makes their nomadic behavior after the arrival in the American Southwest more comprehensible; the tribes of the Southwest were highly mobile and moved from place to place depending on availability of food. They seemed unwilling to farm and settle into a permanent community as did many of the other tribes of the Southwest. . The Apaches went by numerous names. Because of their nomadic nature, it seems probable that several names were used to identify the same band or tribe. Some other names of the Apache were Limita, Conejero, and Trementia. The Apaches however, referred to themselves as the Inde or Dine, meaning “the people.” The Apaches were nomadic people, constant moving about in small bands subsisting almost completely off the buffalo, active roots and berries and on spoils captured in raids on other Indians, wagon trains and settlers. They dressed in buffalo skins and lived in tents made of tanned and greased hides, which they loaded on to dogs when they moved with the herds. They were among the first Indians, after the Pueblos, to learn to ride horses. Learning from runaway or captured Pueblos, the Apaches quickly adapted to their use of horses. Formally peaceful trade relationships with the Pueblos deterioted, however, as the Spanish discouraged trade with the Apaches and forced the Pueblos to work their farms. When the Pueblos became unwilling or unable to trade with the Apaches, the nomadic Indians their equestrian skills to raiding for horses and supplies. They continued to established rancherias, where they built huts and tended fields of maize, beans, pumpkins, and watermelons. This attempt to improve their source of food was a major cause of their defeat by the Comanches. Twice a year, during planting, and then again during harvesting, the Apaches were tied to their fields. As a result, the Comanches knew where to find ... ... middle of paper ... ...trangers or others to whom special respect id due. Do not speak unless invited to do so at gatherings where Elders are present. In traditional Apache culture, women gathered food, wood and water, while men went out to hunt and raid. Most family units lived in wickiups- domeshaped brush huts erected by the women- or in buffalo hide tepees. Western Apache tribes were matrilineal, which means that they traced heritage through their mothers. Polygamy was practiced when economic circumstances permitted; marriage could be terminated easily by either party. Religion was fundamental part of Apache life. Among the best-known supernatural beings were the ga’ans, protective mountain spirits represented in religious rites such as girls puberty ceremony, still performed by Western Apaches. In 2000, individuals claiming to be of the Apache descendant numbered 57, 073, with many living on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Farming, cattle herding, and tourist-related business are important economically; nevertheless, unemployment is high. Present-day culture is a mixture of traditional Apache beliefs, such as witchcraft, and contemporary United States Elements.

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