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The Apache tribe is the general name given to a group of Native American tribes from the southwestern United States that are culturally related to each other. Historically, the many branches of the Apache tribe controlled land that extended from central Texas through central Arizona and from northern Mexico to the southern Great Plains. Apache tribes now occupy land only in parts of Oklahoma, Arizona, Texas and New Mexico. There are more than 50,000 members of the Apache tribe, and they are divided into six regional groups: Mescalero, Jicarilla, Chiricahua, Lipan, Plains Apache and Western Apache. In addition to having similar cultures, these groups are tied together by speaking a common language, southern Athabaskan.
Mescalero Apache tribe members live on a reservation located in southeastern New Mexico. The Jicarilla Apache tribe also lives in New Mexico primarily on its own reservation in the northwestern part of the state. Chiricahua Apache tribe members inhabit the New Mexico and Arizona border region. Most of the Chiricahua live on the Mescalero Reservation, but a small band moved to Oklahoma after the tribe was released from being prisoners of war in the 19th century and is now known as the Fort Sill Apache tribe.
The number of members of the Lipan Apache has been decreasing, and the few that remain live either on the Mescalero Reservation or in Texas. Plains Apaches reside mostly on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma. Western Apaches live on several reservations and are the only group of Apaches still living within the boundaries of Arizona.
Even though the tribes' members are U.S. citizens, each of the Apache tribes has its own laws, government and police and runs its own services. In the past, Apache bands were led by a chief chosen by a tribal council. In modern times, most of the Apache tribes still govern themselves through a system of tribal councils. Almost all Apaches speak English, but many continue to speak their native language as well. Although most tribe members live in modern apartments or houses, some live in modified traditional housing because their religious beliefs require houses to be burned down and rebuilt following a death in the family.
Economic support for the Apache tribes comes from a variety of sources. The development of mineral resources, tourism, cattle and timber provide sources of income for the tribes. Gaming from casinos is another major source of income and jobs creation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are the Apache people, and where did they originally live?
The Apache people are a group of culturally related Native American tribes, historically known for their fierce warrior culture and significant resistance against European colonization. They originally inhabited areas in the Southwestern United States, including what is now Arizona, New Mexico, and parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Their homelands also extended into areas of northern Mexico.
What are some of the cultural characteristics of the Apache Tribe?
The Apache Tribe is known for its rich cultural heritage, which includes a strong oral tradition, spiritual practices that are deeply connected to the land, and social organization based on matrilineal descent. They are also recognized for their skills in hunting, gathering, and raiding, which were vital for their survival in the arid regions they inhabited. The Apache hold ceremonies such as the Sunrise Ceremony for girls coming of age, which is a significant part of their cultural identity.
How did the Apache Tribe adapt to their environment?
The Apache Tribe adapted to their harsh environment through a nomadic lifestyle, which allowed them to follow seasonal food sources. They were adept at living in diverse terrains, from deserts to mountains. Their shelters, called 'wickiups,' were made of brush and were easily constructed and abandoned as they moved. They also developed intricate knowledge of local plants and animals, which they used for food, medicine, and materials.
What was the Apache Tribe's relationship with other Native American tribes and European settlers?
The Apache Tribe had complex relationships with neighboring tribes, often marked by competition for resources. They engaged in trade and conflict with other Native American groups, such as the Navajo and Pueblo peoples. Their relationship with European settlers was largely adversarial, as they fiercely resisted Spanish, Mexican, and later American expansion into their territories. This resistance led to a series of conflicts known as the Apache Wars, which lasted from the 1860s until the late 1880s.
What is the current status of the Apache Tribe?
Today, the Apache Tribe consists of several federally recognized tribes, including the Fort Sill Apache Tribe, the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and the White Mountain Apache Tribe, among others. They continue to maintain their cultural traditions and have made strides in economic development, education, and self-governance. The Apache people are actively involved in efforts to protect their sacred lands and rights, ensuring the preservation and continuation of their heritage.