The Apache

In honor of Native American Heritage


Leilani Llamas, Staff Writer

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, November 1-30, The Cardinal will be featuring stories on prominent figures and historical information.

The Apache tribe are made up of a group of American Indian tribes that are similar in culture and speak the same language. There are six tribes that make up the Apache: the Chiricahua, Jicarillo, Lipan, Mescalero, Western Apache, and Kiowa. The Apache traditionally lived in the Southern Great Plains including Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. They are closely related to the Navajo Indians.

The Apache lived in two types of traditional homes; wikiups and teepees. The wikiup, also called a wigwam, was a more permanent home. Its frame was made from tree saplings and formed a dome. Teepees were a more temporary home that could be moved easily when the tribe was hunting buffalo. Both types of homes were small and cozy. They also gathered food such as berries and acorns. Some Apaches hunted other animals like deer and rabbits. To hunt, the Apache used bows and arrows. Arrowheads were made from rocks that were chipped down to a sharp point. Bow strings were made from the tendons of animals.

The Apache social life was based around the family. Groups of extended family members would live together. A number of extended families would live near each other in a local group which had a chief as the leader. The chief would be a man who had earned the position by being the strongest and most capable leader. In the late 1800s the Apaches fought a number of battles against the United States government. They were trying to fight back from the aggression and takeover of their land. Several great Apache leaders arose such as Cochise and Geronimo. In 19th-century confrontations during the American-Indian wars, the U.S. Army found the Apache to be fierce warriors and skillful strategists. They fought with ferocity for decades, but finally had to surrender and were forced into reservations. Today many of the Apache tribes live in reservations in New Mexico and Arizona. Some also live in Oklahoma and Texas.