Who is the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma?
Also known as the Plains Apache, the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma consider themselves as having always been a distinct linguistic and cultural group. The Apache Tribe of Oklahoma are descendants of Athabascan-speaking Apache groups who have inhabited the Plains since the 15th century. They are members of the Eastern Apache branch which includes the Lipan, Jicarilla and Mescalero Apache tribes.
The Anglo theory is the Apache Indian migrated to the Southwest from Northern Canada in the 1500's. The Apache indian history says it was the other way around, that most of the Athapaskan speaking people migrated to the North and a few stayed in their homeland. In any event, it is generally agreed that about 5,000 Apaches lived in the Southwest at the end of the 1600's. The Apache people say they were always there.
Official Tribal Name:
Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
Address: P.O. Box 1330 Anadarko, OK 73005
Phone: (405) 247-9493 Toll Free: 1 (800) 246-2942
Fax: (405) 247-2686
Official Website: http://www.apachetribe.org/
Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning
Most Apaches prefer to call themselves Inde, their autonym, meaning "Apache, person" in the language of the Mescalero Apaches. Known historically as the Ka-ta-kas,
Common Name and Meanings: Apache
The word Apache entered English via Spanish, but the ultimate origin is uncertain.
The first known written record in Spanish is by Juan de Oñate in 1598. The most widely accepted origin theory suggests Apache was borrowed and transliterated from the Zuni word a·paču meaning "Navajos" (the plural of paču "Navajo").
The Spanish first used the term "Apachu de Nabajo" (Navajo) in the 1620s, referring to people in the Chama region east of the San Juan River. By the 1640s, they applied the term to southern Athabaskan peoples from the Chama on the east to the San Juan on the west.
Alternate spellings / Mispellings:
Name in other languages:
Another theory suggests the term comes from Yavapai ačə meaning "enemy". The Zuni and Yavapai sources are less certain because Oñate used the term before he had encountered any Zuni or Yavapai. A less likely origin may be from the Spanish word mapache, meaning "raccoon."
Other sources say the word "apache" comes from the Yuma word for "fighting-men" and from the Zuni word meaning "enemy."
The fame of the tribes' tenacity and fighting skills, probably bolstered by dime novels, was widely known among Europeans. In early 20th century Parisian society, the word Apache was adopted into French, essentially meaning an outlaw.
Region: Great Plains
Apachean peoples formerly ranged over eastern Arizona, northern Mexico, New Mexico, west and southwest Texas and southern Colorado.
During the mid-19th century, the United States federal government made a number of treaties with the Southern Plains tribes. In 1865, the unratified Treaty of the Little Arkansas assigned the Kiowa Apache, Cheyenne, and Arapaho to a common reservation. However, settlers continued to pour into tribal lands, with the Medicine Lodge Treaty of 1867 further reducing the tribal domain. Reservation lands were opened for allotment during the late 19th century, with most of their lands passing into non-Indian hands.
Land Area: The Apache Tribe of Oklahoma jointly owns 7,592.61 acres of federal trust land in Caddo County with the Kiowa and Comanche Tribes. The 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty established a reservation in the southwestern corner of Indian Territory for the Kiowa Apache, Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Comanche. Allotment severely diminished the reservation during the early 20th century. Today, 274,312.53 allotted acres supplement the joint tribal land base.
Tribal Headquarters: Anadarko, Oklahoma
Population at Contact:
Registered Population Today:
Tribal Enrollment Requirements:
Phone: (405) 247-1090
Apache Addresses, Enrollment and Blood Quantum Requirements
The Apache Tribe of Oklahoma incorporated in 1972, adopting a constitution and bylaws in accordance with the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 and the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936.
Name of Governing Body:
A Business Committee, composed of a chairman, vice-chairman, secretary/treasurer, and two members, serves as the tribe’s elected governing body.
Number of Council members: 2
Dates of Constitutional amendments:
Number of Executive Officers: 3
Committee members serve two year terms, with elections occurring every two-years in March.
Language Classification: Na-Dene -> Nuclear Na-Dene -> Athapaskan-Eyak -> Athapaskan -> Apachean (Southern Athapaskan) -> Plains Apache
The Apache and Navajo tribal groups of the North American Southwest speak related languages of the Athabaskan language family. Other Athabaskan-speaking people in North America reside in a northern range from Alaska through west-central Canada, and some groups are found along the Northwest Pacific Coast. Linguistic similarities indicate the Navajo and Apache were once a single ethnic group.
Archaeological and historical evidence seems to suggest the Southern Athabaskan entry into the American Southwest was sometime after 1000 AD. Their nomadic way of life complicates accurate dating, primarily because they constructed less-substantial dwellings than other Southwestern groups.
Number of fluent Speakers:
Bands, Gens, and Clans
The plains Apache traded buffalo meat and hides to the Pueblos of the Rio Grande Valley in exchange for corn, beans, cotton blankets, turquoise and ceramics.
Because of their alliance with the more numerous Kiowa Tribe, the Plains Apache were known historically as the Kiowa Apache.
Spanish and Mexican peoples
Ceremonies / Dances:
Apache ceremonies are invariably called "dances." Among these are the rain dance, a puberty right, the sunrise dance for young women, a harvest and good crop dance, and a spirit dance. Members maintain the ceremonial focus of tribal identity today through the Blackfeet Dance, and children are introduced into Apache society through the receiving of an Apache name and the performance of the Rabbit Dance.
Modern Day Events & Tourism:
Legends / Oral Stories:
Art & Crafts:
The arrival of the horse around 1680 transformed the Apache into highly mobile hunters and raiders.
At the time of contact, the primitive dress of the apache men was a deerskin shirt, leggings, and moccasins. They were never without a loin-cloth. A deerskin cap with attractive symbolic ornamentation was sometimes worn. The apache woman's clothing consisted of a short deerskin skirt and high boot top moccasins.
In the 1800's, many Apache men began to wear white cotton tunics and pants, which they adopted from the Mexicans, and many Apache women wore calico skirts and dresses. The Apaches wore moccasins or high moccasin boots on their feet. An Apache lady's dress or warrior's shirt was often fringed and beaded for decoration.
The basic shelter of the Chiricahua was the dome shaped wickiup made of brush.
Most Apache dwellings consisted of a dome shaped frame of cottonwood or other poles, thatched with grass. The house itself was termed, "Kowa" and the grass thatch, "Pi".
According to the Ndee from the beginning Is dzán naadleeshe', Changing Woman lived alone. One day she received inspiration to go up on a hill and build a wickiup with four poles, where the first rays of the sun would strike in the morning. Is dzán naadleeshe' went inside and lay there and as the sun came up, the sun shone between her legs. One of his rays went into her. This caused her first menstrual period. After that she became pregnant. She conceived a son and called him Nayé nazgháné; (Slayer of Monsters). Four days later she was impregnated by Water- Old Man and gave birth to Túbaadeschine (Born of the Water-Old Man). These were the first Apache people.
Later, after the Apache aquired the horse, some tribes who traveled great distances to hunt buffalo, adopted the tipi used by other Plains Tribes. A tipi is a wood pole frame covered with animal skins.
The Ka-ta-kas, or Plains Apache were plains hunters who followed the great southern bison herd across the grasslands of western Texas, Oklahoma and eastern New Mexico. Buffalo represented the centerpiece of Apache life, providing meat, clothing, tools, weapons and shelter.
Today, tribal members work in a variety of professions in the Anadarko and Fort Cobb areas, and tribal identity and tradition flourish.
Religion & Spiritual Beliefs:
The Apache are devoutly religious and pray on many occasions and in various ways. Recreated in the human form, Apache spirits are supposed to dwell in a land of peace and plenty, where there is neither disease or death. They also regarded coyotes, insects, and birds as having been human beings.
Education and Media:
Why do people yell Geronimo?
Wives and burial place of Geronimo
Words spoken by Goyathlay (Geronimo)
Geronimo and the apache culture of his youth
Apache marriage and burial customs and the family of Geronimo
Where is Geronimo buried?
Warpath of Geronimo
Geronimo lost his whole family in the massacre of Kaskiyeh
Autobiography of Geronimo: Varying fortunes of the bedonkohe apaches
Skull and Bones society at Yale University has Geronimo's skull
Jeff Smith, slave of Geronimo
Geronimo tells of the apache - mexican wars
Geronimo goes on the warpath with the Mexicans
The Apache and the coming of white men
Geronimo's Mightiest Battle with the Mexicans
Apache tribal amusements, manners, and customs as explained by Geronimo
US Flag with Geronimo
Geronimo autobiography - the early years
Subdivisions of the Apache Tribe as Explained by Geronimo
Varying fortunes of the bedonkohe apaches
The Warpath of Geronimo
Apache childhood, farming practices and medine men
The Warpath of Geronimo: raids that were successful
Geronimo Painted on Goat Hide
Congress petitioned for return of Geronimo's remains
Geronimo flip top lighter
New lawsuit against Yale Skull and Bones Society regarding Geronimo's bones
Geronimo: I fought with my tribe 5x7 Wisdom Quote
Eskiminzin, Aravaipa Apache War Chief
Other Famous Contemporary People:
During the 18th century, French and Spanish traders brought guns, horses and disease to the Kiowa Apache. The latter drastically reduced the tribe’s population. Reservation years brought epidemics and an assault on the Apache way of life by the Indian Service.
In the News: