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Apache Nation


The Apache call themselves
N'de, Dišn, Tišnde, or Inde, `people.'

"The people have prevailed."

Mescalero Apache Nation

Hon Dah....
Apache for Welcome

Apache Leaders



Black Knife

The Apache Indians are divided into six sub-tribes:



Chihenne....Chi-hen-ne,(Ojo Caliente),
(Hot Springs)Apaches

Chiricahua Apache


White Mountain Apache

Da go Te'....
An Apache Hello

History of the Apache

Apache (probably from Apachu, 'enemy,' the Zuni name for the Navaho, who were designated "Apaches de Nabaju" by the early Spaniards in New Mexico). A number of tribes forming the most southerly group of the Athapascan family. The name has been applied also to some unrelated Yuman tribes, as the Apache Mohave (Yavapai) and Apache Yuma.

Being a nomadic people, the Apache practiced agriculture only to a limited extent before their permanent establishment on reservations. They subsisted chiefly on the products of the chase and on roots (especially that of the maguey) and berries. Although fish and bear were found in abundance in their country they were not eaten, being tabued as food. They had few arts, but the women attained high skill in making baskets. Their dwellings were shelters of brush, which were easily erected by the women and were well adapted to their arid environment and constant shifting. In physical appearance the Apache vary greatly, but are rather above the medium height. They are good talkers, are not readily deceived, and are honest in protecting property placed in their care, although they formerly obtained their chief support from plunder seized in their forays.

Apache Games

Apache Medicine Dance

Apache Photo Gallery

How the Apache Began

Information Concerning

Industries and Ceremonies

No group of tribes has caused greater confusion to writers, from the fact that the popular navies of the tribes are derived from some local or temporary habitat, owing to their shifting propensities, or were given by the Spaniards on ac count of some tribal characteristic; hence some of the common names of apparently different Apache tribes or bands are synonymous, or practically so; again, as employed by some writers, a name may include much
more or much less than when employed by others.

The Apache are divided into a number of tribal groups which have been so differently
named and defined that it is sometimes difficult to determine to which branch writers refer.

The most commonly accepted divisions are the Querechos or Vaqueros,
consisting of the Mescaleros, Jicarillas, Faraones, Llaneros, and probably the Lipan; the Chiricahua;
the Pinalenos; the Coyoteros, comprising the White Mountain and Pinal divisions; the Arivaipa;
the Gila Apache, including the Gilenos, Mimbrenos, and Mogollones; and the Tontos.

The word "Apache" comes from the Yuma word for "fighting-men". It also comes from a Zuni word meaning "enemy". The Zuni name for Navajo was called "Apachis de Nabaju" by the earliest Spaniards exploring New Mexico. Their name for themselves is N'de, Inde or Tinde ("the people"). The Apaches are well-known for their superior skills in warfare strategy and inexhaustible endurance. Continuous wars among other tribes and invaders from Mexico followed the Apaches' growing reputation of warlike character. When they confronted Coronado in 1540, they lived in eastern New Mexico, and reached Arizona in the 1600s. The Apache are described as a gentle people; faithful in their friendship.

They belong to the Southern Athapascan linguistic family. The Apache are composed of six regional groups: the Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Kiowa Apache. On marriage, men customarily take up residence with their wives' kin. Maternal clans exist among the Western Apache, who depend more on cultivation than did other groups. All Apache rely primarily on hunting of wild game and gathering of cactus fruits and other wild plant foods. The Western Apache (Coyotero) traditionally occupy most of eastern Arizona and include the White Mountain, Cibuecue, San Carlos, and Northern and Southern Tonto bands. The Chiricahua occupy southwestern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, and adjacent Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora. The Mescalero (Faraon) live east of the Rio Grande in southern New Mexico, with the Pecos River as their eastern border. The Jicarilla (Tinde) range over southeastern Colorado, northern New Mexico, and northwest Texas, with the Lipan occupying territory directly to the east of the Jicarilla. The Kiowa Apache (Gataka), long associated with the KIOWA, a Plains people, range over the southern plains of Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Apache Divisions

Arivaipa Apache
Chiricahua Apache
Faraon Apache
Gila Apache
Jicarilla Apache
Lipan Apache
Mescalero Apache
Pinal Coyotero
Tonto Apache
Yavapai Apache

White Mountain Apache Clans


The Apache attained their greatest fame as guerrilla fighters defending their mountainous homelands under the Chiricahua leaders Cochise, Geronimo, Mangas Coloradus, Victorio, and Juh. Today the Apache occupy reservations in New Mexico and Arizona, with some Chiricahua, Lipan, and Kiowa Apache in Oklahoma. In 1680 the Apache population was estimated at 5,000; in 1989 it was estimated at about 30,000, of whom most live on reservations. While accommodating to changed economic conditions, the Apache on reservations have maintained much of their traditional social and ritual activities. Their invincible spirit is still shown today by an energy and fire that makes them a strong and hardy people in modern day society.

The Jicarilla are part of the Apache people. The name Jicarilla means "little basket," deriving from the expertise of their women in making baskets of all sizes, shapes, and colors. Within recent times, they make their homes in southeastern Colorado and northern New Mexico, though a few groups went to Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Originally they came from northwestern Canada among the migration of Athapascan language tribes, then along the eastern flank of the Rocky Mountains. When first met by explorers in the 1540s, they were called the Vaqueros by the Spanish. Though the Spanish established a mission for Jicarillas in 1733 near Taos, New Mexico, it did not succeed. Later, in 1880, the government set aside a reservation for the Jicarillas in the Tierra Amarilla region of New Mexico. Today they live on their reservations in Arizona and in Rio Arriba and Sandoval Counties, New Mexico.

Apaches have always been inherently aware of earth and sky spirits. From their early morning prayers to the Sun-God, through their hours, days, and their entire lives--for them every act has sacred significance.


Naiyenesgani went around looking in vain for monsters.
When he failed to find any he started off in this direction, toward the Mescalero country.
He climbed to the top of White Mountain and looked about in all the different directions in vain.
There were no monsters. Then he threw away his staff.

"You will get your living by means of this," he said, and
right where he threw it, it became a yucca.
Then he washed from his hands the pollution from the killing of the monsters
and threw it in different directions. "With this you will live," he said, referring to the Mexicans.

That is why sheep and cattle have a bad odor.
The dirt he washed from his hands became cattle and sheep.
All the monsters were gone. The Mescalero live upon the staff which he threw away,
the Mexicans live upon the cattle and the sheep.
That is why Mexicans have many sheep and cattle. He spoke to them this way.

Other Stories

An Apache Medicine Dance
Apache Creation Story
Apache Fox Stories

Apache Creation Stories
Apache Creation Story
Apache Creation Story 1
Apache Men
Apache Meets a Texan
Apache Women
Arrows Fail on the Hunt
Captive Woman Attempts to Make Peace
Deer Hunt
Duel Between Scouts
Fight With the Enemy on the Arkansas River
Horses of the Apache Are Stolen by the Navajo
Horses of the Ollero are Stolen
Hunting Elk
Leader of the Birds
Pesita Is Shot
Successful Hunt
Turkey Makes The Corn And Coyote Plants It
Ute is Saved by his War-Medicine
War with the Americans


Beaver and the Old Man
Coyote Secures Fire
Coyote Secures Fire. (Second Version)
Culture Heroes and Owl
Fight With The Enemy On The Arkansas River
First War
How the Buffalo Were Released on Earth
Killer-of-Enemies at Taos and His Departure
Killing of the Bear
Killing of the Monsters.
Naiyenesgani Rescues the Taos Indians
Man Who Helped the Eagles
Man Who Traveled With the Buffalo
Monster Fish
Monster Fish (Second Version)
Naiyenesgani Removes Certain Dangers
Naiyenesgani Takes His Leave
Naiyenesgani Takes His Leave (Second Version)
Releasing the Buffalo
Releasing the Buffalo. (Second Version)
Origin of Corn and Deer
Origin of Corn and Deer (Second Version)
Origin of Sheep and Cattle
Slaying of The Monsters
Supernatural Person in the Lake
Swallowing Monster
Traveling Rock
Winning of Daylight

More Stories

Chiricahua Texts

A Girl Is Lost
A Prayer Addressed to the Mountain Spirits
A Visit to the Mountain Spirits
Coyote and the Money Tree
Coyote and the Rock Rabbit
Coyote and the Rolling Rock
Coyote Holds Up the Sky
Coyote Misses Real Rabbit
Coyote Obtains Fire
Why the Bat has Short Legs

Jicarilla Apache Coyote Stories

The coyote cycle is a series of tales or episodes involving the travels and adventures of the trickster, Coyote.
For any one story-teller, these tales or episodes had a fixed order in respect to one another,
though another story-teller's account might run somewhat differently.
The manner of organizing these episodes seemed to depend more or less on family lines,
since the young of a given family group drew their inspiration from some venerable
relative and carried on his version of the proper way to relate the antics of Coyote.

Coyote and Beaver
Coyote and Beaver Exchange Wives
Coyote and Beaver Play Tricks On Each Other
Coyote and Bobcat Scratch Each Other
Coyote and His Mother-in-Law
Coyote and Porcupine Contend For a Buffalo
Coyote and the Mexicans
Coyote and the Two Running Rocks
Coyote Apes His Hosts
Coyote As Eye-Juggler
Coyote Burns His Children
Coyote Comes to Life Four Times
Coyote Dances with the Prairie Dogs
Coyote Deceives a Woman
Coyote Gets Rich Off The White Men
Coyote Insults The Rock

Coyote in the Underworld;
The Origin of the Monsters;
The First Emergence

Coyote is Disobeyed by Turkey
Coyote is Revenged on Wildcat
Coyote Kills His Own Child Instead of the Turkeys
Coyote Kills His Wife and Carries Her Body
Coyote Kills the Prairie Dogs
Coyote Loses His Bow and Arrows to Antelope
Coyote Loses His Eyes
Coyote Marries His Own Daughter
Coyote Marries Under False Pretences
Coyote Obtains Fire
Coyote Plays Tricks on Owl; the Vomit Exchange
Coyote Proves Himself a Cannibal
Coyote Secures Fire
Coyote Secures Fire II
Coyote Steals a Man's Wife
Coyote Steals Another Man's Wife
Coyote Takes Arrows From Owl
Coyote Tries to Make His Children Spotted
Coyote Visits Buffalo
Coyote Visits the Red Ants
Race around the World
Rabbit Escapes

Rabbit Fools Coyote
Rabbit Scares Coyote Away

Jicarilla Texts

Chiricahua and Mescalero Apache Texts

An Apache Medicine Dance
An Expedition To The Adobe Walls With Kit Carson
An Unsuccessful Expedition Led By Maxwell
Antelopes Take Arrows from Coyote 1
Antelopes Take Arrows from Coyote 2
Apache Medicine Dance
Ceremony For Buffalo
Death of the Great Elk
Destruction of the Bear
Fox and Deer
Fox and Kingfisher
Fox and Mountain Lion
Fox and Porcupine
Fox and Rabbit
Fox and Wildcat
Jicarilla Genesis
Legend of the Apache Tear
Old Beggar
Origin Of Corn
Origin Of Curing Ceremonies
Origin of Fire
Origin of the Animals

Two Blind Old Women
Why the Bat Hangs Upside Down

Myths and tales of the Jicarilla Apache

Mescalero Texts

Coyote and Beaver
Coyote and Blue Bunting
Coyote and Owl
Coyote and Quail
Coyote and the Creation
Coyote and Turtle
Dahteste - (pronounced ta-DOT-say)
Deer Hunting in the Mescalero Country
Mescalero Beg For Meat

White Mountain Apache

Abandoned Children
Badger Carries Darkness:

Big Owl Chops off His Manhood
Coyote and Bobcat Scratch Each Other
Coyote Gets Rich Off The White Men
Coyote proves himself a Cannibal
Coyote Reads the Letter As He Sits
Coyote Steals Abert Squirrel's Fire
Coyote Steals Sun's Tobacco
Coyote Steals Wheat
Coyote Trots Along
Coyote's Daughter [Becomes] His Wife
Gray Fox Steals Wheat: Coyote's Feces Under His Hat
Ga-n Becomes Raven Old Man's Son-In-Law
Grasshopper loses His Leg
He Goes To His Father Slaying Of Monsters
Her Brother Becomes Her Husband


Creation Story

Coyote fights a lump of pitch
Coyote Steals a Man's Wife
Coyote Takes Arrows From Owl
Antelopes Take Arrows From Coyote
Antelopes Take Arrows From Coyote. (Second Version.)
Coyote Tries to Make His Children Spotted
Coyote Kills His Own Child Instead of the Turkeys
Coyote and Porcupine Contend For a Buffalo
Coyote Loses His Eyes
Coyote Kills the Prairie Dogs
Coyote is Revenged on Wildcat
Coyote and Beaver Play Tricks On Each Other
Coyote Apes His Hosts
Coyote is Disobeyed by Turkey
Coyote is Shot With a Pine Tree
Coyote Insults the Rock
Coyote Marries Under False Pretences
Mosquito Marries Under False Pretences
Coyote Deceives a Woman
Coyote and the Mexicans
How Mole Won the Race
Frog Wins From Antelope in a Footrace
When the Birds Were Chiefs
Woodpecker Describes Himself
Flicker Describes Himself
Lewis Woodpecker Describes Himself
Owl Describes Himself
Panther, the Great Hunter
The Governor, Old Woman White Hands

Apache Mountain Spirit Dance

The Mescalero Apaches, descendants of Geronimo and his warriors,
perform the Crown Dance, (video) also known as  the Mountain Spirit Dance, around the 4th of July. 

They carry painted yucca swords, with lightening bolts  emitting from them and give out loud Hoot Owl cries.  the headdresses give rise to the anglo name for the dance, looking much like a large ornate crown.  They dance to ward off evil and disease causing spirits from the people and the lands they live on, which are the beautifully pine forested Sacramento mountains of South Central New  Mexico.

(An Apache Legend)

Apache mythology describes the adventures of ancient gods, humans and animals to help describe the Creation of the World, and how it operates. Although each Apache tribe has it’s own unique stories, three cultural heroes are common to all Apache mythology: White-painted Woman, Killer of Enemies and Child of the Water. One myth explains how, long ago, Child of the Water made the earth safe by killing four (4) monsters who preyed on human beings. In the beginning, White-painted Woman and Killer of Enemies, who was either her brother or son, lived together on the earth. They were tormented by cruel monsters, especially by Owl-man Giant, who stole the deer meat shot with bow and arrow by Killer of Enemies. One day, when White-painted Woman was praying for the monsters to leave them alone, the spirit known as Life Giver came to her in the form of rain and lightning. Life Giver told her she would have a child, who would be called Child of the Water. Life Giver warned White-painted-Woman that she must protect the child from Owl-man Giant. Through her skill and cunning, White-painted Woman kept the child safe.

One day, while he was still a boy, Child of the Water told his mother that he was ready to leave her to kill the monsters. White-painted Woman fashioned him a wooden bow and grama-grass arrows. She let him venture out to hunt deer with trusted Killer of Enemies. After they had killed their first deer, Owl-man Giant came to steal the meat away. But, Child of the Water refused to give it up! The opponents agreed to a duel. Each would be allowed to shoot four arrows. Owl-man Giant was to shoot first. But before he began, magical lightning flashed all around them. A brilliant blue rock appeared at the feet of Child of the Water. The blue rock spoke, saying that Child of the Water should pick it up, and use it as a protective charm. Child of the Water did and waited for Owl-man Giant to shoot his four dangerous arrows. They were made of sharp, large pointed logs.

The first arrow flew over Child of the Water’s head. The second landed at his feet. The third and fourth arrow missed him on each side. He was still ALIVE! Now, it was Child of the Waters turn! Owl-man Giant wore four coats of flintstone to protect his chest. He also picked up a rock, to try to deflect the arrows, like Child of the Water had done. But, the first three arrows that Child of the Water shot, knocked off the coat of protective flint. The fourth, and fatal, arrow pierced Owl-man Giant’s evil heart. The child warrior was victorious! Killer of Enemies and Child of the Water returned victoriously to White-painted Woman, who danced and sang with happiness. Child of the Water went out again on further hunts. He killed the Buffalo Monster. Then, the Eagle Monster. And, finally, the Antelope Monster. The earth was now SAFE! The human population began to grow and prosper. Thus, the Apache regard Child of the Water, with his blue stone (turquoise), as their divine ancestor.

Other Apache Home Pages

Apache Stories
Apache Tears
Ebarb Choctaw-Apache Tribe
Indians of Texas
Letters on the Texas Missions
The Children of Changing Woman
Apache Photo Album

Homage to Mildred I. Cleghorn

Geronimo's Song

Lipan Apache
Lipan-Karankawas Park
Lipan Lands Bee County, Texas
Apache Indians - Texas History
Lipan Apache Lands
My Apache Heritage
Lipan Apache Historical & Academic References


Chiricahua and Mescalero

"A Chiricahua Apache account of the Geronimo Campaign of 1886",
Morris Opler, New Mexico Historical Review October, 1938, Vol. XIII, No. 4. Narrated by Samuel E. Kenoi.

"Myths of the Jicarilla Apaches", Frank Russell,
The Journal of American Folklore Vol XI, No. XLIII, 1898, pp. 253-271.
Narrated by Laforia, translated by Gunsi.

"The Jicarilla Genesis", James Mooney, American Anthropologist Vol. XI,
No. 7, 1898, pp. 197-209. Translated by Tsisti,
whose English name is "Ed. Ladd" and narrated by his father.

"An Apache Medicine Dance", Frank Russell, American Anthropologist Vol. XI,
No. 12, 1898, pp. 357-372. Based on description of the ceremony provided by Gunsi.

Chiricahua and Mescalero

"The Raid and Warpath Language of the Chiricahua Apache",
Morris Opler and Harry Hoijer, 1940.

Myths and Tales of the Chirichua Apache Indians, Morris Opler, 1942.

"The Creative Role of Shamanism in Mescalero Apache Mythology",
Morris Edward Opler, 1946. narrated by Charles Smith

Western Apache

Myths and Tales from the White Mountain Apache, Pliny Earle Goddard, 1919.
Myths and Tales of the White Mountain Apache, Grenville Goodwin, 1939.
Myths and Tales from the San Carlos Apache, Pliny Earle Goddard, 1918.
"Notes upon the Gentile Organization of the Apaches of Arizona", John G. Bourke, 1890.
"Notes on Apache Mythology", John G. Bourke, 1890.
"Slender-maiden of the Apache", Pliny Earle Goddard, 1925.


"A Jicarilla Expedition and Scalp Dance", Morris Edward Opler, 1941.
narrated by Alasco Tisnado

Myths and Tales of the Jicarilla Apache Indians, Morris Opler, 1942.

"Mythology and folk belief in the maintenance of
Jicarilla Apache tribal endogamy",
Morris Opler, 1947.Lipan

Myths and Tales of the Lipan Apache Indians, Morris Opler, 1940.

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