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Apache Tribe
by Todd Underwood

The word "apache" comes from the Yuma word for "fighting-men" and from the Zuni word meaning "enemy." The Apache tribe consists of six subtribes: the Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan and Kiowa. Each subtribe is from a different geographial region. It is possible, due to their nomadic nature, that several names were used to identify the same tribe.

The Apaches are commonly known for their incredible endurance and warfare skills. First arriving in the Southwest sometime between A.D.1000 and 1400, the Apaches carved out a home on the south side of the Rocky mountains. As early as 1540, the Apaches confronted Coronado in eastern New Mexico and were called "vaqueros." By the 1600's, they were also living in Arizona. Between 1656 and 1675, the Apaches continuously raided Spanish Settlers and Pueblo Indians in what is now known as New Mexico. In 1680, their population was approximately 5000. In 1692, the Spaniards reconquered New Mexico and the Apaches were starting to make enemies. In 1723 the Comanche defeated the


Cochise - Apache Chief

Apache in a nine-day battle forced the Apache to move farther south. The most famous battles with the Apache happened between 1862 and 1873 when the Apache fought a bloody war against the confederate and U.S. armies. In 1873 a peace treaty was signed and the U.S. government wanted to move the Apaches to reservations. Some Apaches went peacefully but others did not.

Small factions broke out with leaders like Geronimo (goyathlay - picture left), Naiche and Victorio. In 1886, Geronimo and his followers were finally taken into captivity and most of the Apache renegades were moved to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where they were considered prisoners of war until 1913. Today there are over 40,000 Apaches living in reservations.

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