This article is a compilation of our most interesting facts about the Apache tribe. First, discover how this group’s name, language, and territory have changed over time. Next, find out more about the Golden Age of the Apache tribe and how European settlers have impacted them since they first arrived in North America. Finally, learn about the ties between this Native American civilization and modern culture today!
We hope you enjoy reading these fun facts as much as we enjoyed compiling them!
List of Fun Facts About Apaches:
- The Apaches call themselves Inde or Ndeh (“The People”).
- The Apaches are a group of culturally related Native Americans. Today, they are most commonly known as the Apache Tribe, based in the Southwestern United States. However, they were originally divided into several groups, including the Western Apache, Chiricahua Apache, and Mescalero Apache.
- There are approximately 15,000 Apaches living in the United States today. Semi-nomadic people, they live with their extended family groups in small houses with dirt floors and no windows. They have no electricity or running water and have to use outhouses to relieve themselves. Many travel around on horseback for transportation as well as for hunting and gathering food.
- “Apache” is derived from a Zuni word meaning “Enemy.” The Spanish referred to them as the “Apaches de Nabajo,” or “enemy of the water” because many were skilled in underwater combat.
- In the early stages of their history, Apaches were a peaceful group. They lived in small villages with related families and had a system of local government that was headed by a chief with two assistants. Their culture was a combination of tribal practices and elements from other Native American people they had contact with.
- The Apache Tribe historically grew corn, beans and squash. They also hunted for deer, turkey, rabbit and quail. The Indians did a lot of trading with other tribes in the area for buffalo robes, potatoes and corn. They did not use horses or cattle.
- Their history includes a period of bitter struggles against the Spanish and Mexicans that was called the “Apache Wars.” These conflicts created enmity between the Apache Indians and settlers from Spain and Mexico. In 1849, their territory was annexed to Mexico by forces from Sonora under Governor Jose Maria Pino. In 1872, the United States took over Arizona from Mexico in a treaty signed at Washington D.C. This treaty also gave the Apaches citizenship of the United States.
- In 1873, a band of Chiricahua Apaches led by Cochise, his son Naiche and Geronimo started a period called Apache Wars. During this time, they frequently raided Mexicans and Americans for supplies. However, by June 1876, Geronimo and about 200 other Chiricahua Apaches surrendered to American troops in Arizona. They were sent to Florida and eventually became prisoners of war at Fort Pickens in Alabama and Fort Marion in St. Augustine until 1886 when President Grover Cleveland ordered them moved to what is now Mescalero, New Mexico as prisoners of war.
- The Chiricahua Apaches established their own government for a short time (1873-1878). They negotiated with the United States to become U.S. citizens under the Dawes Act of 1887, which required them to leave their homelands and settle in several Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) reservation schools. However, in 1893 they established their own government again and six years later (in 1900), Cochise was recognized by the United States Senate as Chief of the Chiricahua Apache Tribe.
- Apaches no longer live on reservations. They own their own businesses on the reservations, such as gas stations and convenience stores, and some work for the tribe or Navajo country. The majority of Apaches live on Ft. Apache Indian Reservation in eastern Arizona, the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in southeastern Arizona, the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation in south central New Mexico, and Gila River Indian Reservation in southwestern-central Arizona.
- Nowadays most Apaches are either Catholic or Presbyterian Christians. Western Apaches are known to have unique religious practices derived from ancient Old World religions of their ancestors.