Apache is the unified name for the culturally linked groups of Native Americans who speak a common Southern Athabaskan language. However, the origin of the name Apache is anonymous, though some consider that it may have originated from the Yavapai word epache, which means people.

They were a mighty tribe who primarily wandered over southeastern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The Apaches had many classes like Arivaipa, Chiricahua, Faraone, Llanero, Coyotero, Gileno, Mescalero, Mimbreno, Tchishi.Mogollon, Tchikun and Naisha.

The Apache and Navajo tribal groups spoke the common language of Athabaskan. However, the Apache and Navajo are two separate groups although linguistic similarities suggest that they were once united as a single ethnic group.

History tells us that the Apaches were fiercely defensive people who always had a rift with the Europeans. The Mexicans and the Apaches had rivalry in the 1820s till the 1830s. The Apaches also came in conflict with the Americans after 1950’s.

The Apaches eventually surrendered to the United States after a long period of enmity with them over its expansionist’s policy. This was actually brought about when the Chiricahuas, the division involved underwent military imprisonment. But one thing, which was clearly evident even to the U.S Army, was that they were extraordinary fighters.

The American Indian tribe, which spoke southern Athabaskan language perhaps made their journey into the Southwest from the Great Plains. For shelter they made tents, used dogs to pull travois and hunted bison as well. Though some evidence suggest that the Southern Athabaskan peoples may have visited the Southwest as early as the 13th century AD, scientists believe they must have had reached only some decades before the Spanish.
The nomadic way of life of the Southern Athabaskans make it difficult to picture all the possible places where they may have lived.

In the mid 16th century, trade between the Pueblo and the Southern Athabaskans became rampant and prosperous. By the 17th century, Southern Athabaskans had seized all the areas the Pueblos had abandoned centuries ago.

Amongst the chief modern Apache groups are the Mescalero and Jicarilla of New Mexico, the Western Apache of Arizona, the Chiricahua of the Arizona-New Mexico border area, the Plains Apache of Oklahoma and the Lipan Apache of southwestern Texas. The Apache group, which hails from Arizona are called Western Apaches. The group is segregated into a number of divisions or reservations namely White Mountain reservations, the Fort Apache, the Yavapai-Apache reservation, the San Carlos reservation, the Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache reservation and the Tonto-Apache reservation.

Thus, it is quite evident that the Apache Indians were not only courageous but they were tenacious as well. They have a rich cultural history. And it also goes without saying that the Apaches were excellent strategists and incredible warriors.

Joseph Paige © 2006

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