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First Posted: Mar 6, 2011
Feb 6, 2012

Apache Native Americans

Total population: 56,060 (self-identified
Regions with significant populations: Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma
Languages: Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan Apache, Plains Apache, Mescalero, Western Apache
Religion: Native American Church, Christianity, traditional shamanistic tribal religion Related ethnic groups: Navajo, Athabaskans



Geronimo

Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the American Southwest. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan (Apachean) language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan speakers of Alaska and western Canada. The modern term Apache excludes the related Navajo people. However, the Navajo and the other Apache groups are clearly related through culture and language, and thus are considered Apachean. Apachean peoples formerly ranged over eastern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, New Mexico, Texas and the southern Great Plains.

There was little political unity among the Apachean groups. The groups spoke seven different languages. The current division of Apachean groups includes the Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apache). Apache groups live in Oklahoma and Texas and on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.

Some Apacheans have moved to large metropolitan areas. The largest Apache urban communities are in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego and Los Angeles. Some Apacheans were employed in migrant farm labor and relocated to agricultural regions of Southern California, such as the Coachella, Imperial and Colorado River valleys, where now tens of thousands of Apacheans live.

The Apachean tribes were historically very powerful, opposing the Spaniards and Mexicans for centuries. The first Apache raids on Sonora appear to have taken place during the late 17th century. In 19th-century confrontations, the U.S. Army found the Apache to be fierce warriors and skillful strategists.

For More Information:

Apache Indian Factsheet
Apache Tribal Nation
Apache Indians

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