Apache Indians

Apache Indians

Tribal Origin: Apachean Family

Also known as: ápachu, means ‘enemy’

Native Name: N’de, Dĭnë, Tĭnde and Inde, means ‘people’

Home Territories: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and the Great Plains

Language: Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Plains Apache, Mescalero and Western Apache

Enemies: Spanish, Mexicans and Americans

The Apache tribes are Native North Americans of the Southwest composed of six culturally related groups.

They speak a language that has various dialects and belongs to the Athabascan branch of the Nadene linguistic stock, and it is thought their ancestors entered the Southwest area about 1000 to 1100 AD.

Other Athabaskan-speaking people in North America reside in an area from Alaska through west-central Canada, and some groups can be found along the Northwest Pacific Coast. Linguistic similarities indicate the Navajo and Apache were once a single ethnic group.

The Navajo, who also speak an Athabascan language, were once part of the Western Apache; other groups east of the Rio Grande along the mountains were the Jicarilla, the Lipan Apache, and the Mescalero Apache groups.

In western New Mexico and Arizona, the Western Apache included the Chiricahua Apache, the Coyotero Apache (San Carlos Reservation and White Mountain Apache of the Fort Apache Reservation), and the White Mountain Apache.

The Kiowa Apache in the early southward migration attached themselves to the Kiowa, whose history they have since shared.

Subsistence in historic times consisted of wild game, cactus fruits, seeds of wild shrubs and grass, livestock, grains plundered from settlements, and a small amount of horticulture.

The social organization involved matrilocal residence, a rigorous mother-in-law avoidance pattern, and the husband working for the wife’s relatives.

Historically, the Apache are known principally for their fierce fighting qualities. They successfully resisted the advance of Spanish colonization, but the acquisition of horses and new weapons, taken from the Spanish, led to increased intertribal warfare.

The Eastern Apache were driven from their traditional plains area when (after 1720) they suffered defeat at the hands of the advancing Comanche Indians.

Relations between the Apache and the white settlers gradually worsened with the passing of Spanish rule in Mexico. By the mid-19th century, when the United States acquired the region from Mexico, Apache lands were in the path of the American westward movement.

The futile but strong resistance that lasted until the beginning of the 20th century brought national fame to several of the Apache leaders—Cochise, Geronimo, Mangas Coloradas, and Victorio. 

Today the Apache, numbering some 50,000 in 1990, live mainly on reservations totaling over 3 million acres in Arizona and New Mexico and retain many tribal customs. Cattle, timber, tourism, and the development of mineral resources provide income.

In 1982 the Apaches won a major Supreme Court test of their right to tax resources extracted from their lands. In 1995, after much debate, the Mescalero Apache agreed to build a nuclear-waste storage site on their New Mexico reservation.

Apache History

Entry into the Southwest

Archaeological and historical evidence seem 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, although substantial progress has been made in recent years in dating and in identifying their dwellings and other forms of material culture.

They also left behind a simpler set of tools and material goods. This group probably moved into areas that were concurrently occupied or recently abandoned by other cultures.

Other Athabaskan speakers, perhaps including the Southern Athabaskan, adapted many of their neighbors’ technology and practices in their own cultures.

Thus, sites where early Southern Athabaskans may have lived are difficult to locate and even more difficult to firmly identify as culturally Southern Athabaskan, although recent advances have been made in the regard in the far southern portion of the American Southwest.

There are several hypotheses concerning Apachean migrations. One posits that they moved into the Southwest from the Great Plains.

In the early 16th century, these mobile groups lived in tents, hunted bison and other game, and used dogs to pull travois loaded with their possessions. Substantial numbers and a wide range were recorded by the Spanish in the 16th century.

The Coronado Expedition 1540–1542

In April 1541, while traveling on the plains east of the Pueblo region, Francisco Coronado called them “dog nomads.” He wrote:

“After seventeen days of travel, I came upon a rancheria of the Indians who follow these cattle (bison). These natives are called Querechos.

They do not cultivate the land, but eat raw meat and drink the blood of the cattle they kill. They dress in the skins of the cattle, with which all the people in this land clothe themselves, and they have very well-constructed tents, made with tanned and greased cowhides, in which they live and which they take along as they follow the cattle.

They have dogs which they load to carry their tents, poles, and belongings.”

The Spaniards described Plains dogs as very white, with black spots, and “not much larger than water spaniels.” Plains dogs were slightly smaller than those used for hauling loads by modern northern Canadian peoples.

Recent experiments show these dogs may have pulled loads up to 50 lb (20 kg) on long trips, at rates as high as two or three miles per hour (3 to 5 km/h).

This Plains migration theory associates Apachean peoples with the Dismal River aspect, an archaeological culture known primarily from ceramics and house remains, dated 1675–1725 excavated in Nebraska, eastern Colorado, and western Kansas.

Although the first documentary sources mention the Apache and historians have suggested some passages indicate a 16th century entry from the north, archaeological data indicate they were present on the plains, long before this first reported contact.

Another competing theory posits migration south, through the Rocky Mountains, ultimately reaching the American Southwest by the 14th century or perhaps earlier. An archaeological material culture assemblage identified in this mountainous zone as ancestral Apachean has been referred to as the Cerro Rojo complex.

This theory does not preclude arrival via a plains route as well, perhaps concurrently, but to date the earliest evidence has been found in the mountainous Southwest.

Only the Plains Apache have any significant Plains cultural influence, while all tribes have distinct Athabaskan characteristics.

The descriptions of peoples such as the Mountain Querechos and the Apache Vaqueros are vague and could apply to many other Plains tribes; the specific traits of these groups do not seem particularly Apachean.

Additionally, Harry Hoijer’s classification of Plains Apache as an Apachean language has been disputed. When the Spanish arrived in the area, trade between the long established Pueblo peoples and the Southern Athabaskans was well established.

They reported the Pueblos exchanged maize and woven cotton goods for bison meat, hides and materials for stone tools. Coronado observed Plains people wintering near the Pueblos in established camps.

Later Spanish sovereignty over the area disrupted trade between the Pueblos and the diverging Apache and Navajo groups.

The Apache quickly acquired horses, improving their mobility for quick raids on settlements. In addition, the Pueblo were forced to work Spanish mission lands and care for mission flocks, thus they had fewer surplus goods to trade with their neighbors.

In 1540 Coronado also reported that the modern Western Apache area was uninhabited, although some have argued that he simply did not see them.

Other Spaniards first mention “Querechos” living west of the Rio Grande in the 1580s. To some historians this implies the Apaches moved into their current Southwestern homelands in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Other historians note that Coronado reported that Pueblos women and children had often been evacuated by the time his party attacked these dwellings and some dwellings had been recently abandoned as he moved up the Rio Grande.

This might indicate the semi-nomadic Southern Athabaskans had advance warning about his hostile approach and so they were not seen and reported by the Spanish.

Archaeologists are finding ample evidence of an early proto-Apache presence in the Southwestern mountain zone in the 15th century and perhaps earlier. Their presence on both the Plains and in the mountainous Southwest indicate that there were multiple early migration routes.

Conflict with Mexico and the United States

Apache Wars

In general, there seemed to be a pattern between the recently arrived Spanish who settled in villages and Apache bands over a few centuries. Both raided and traded with each other.

Records of the period seem to indicate that relationships depended upon the specific villages and specific bands that were involved with each other. For example, one band might be friends with one village and raid another.

When war happened between the two, the Spanish would send troops, after a battle both sides would “sign a treaty” and both sides would go home.

The traditional and sometimes treacherous relationships continued between the villages and bands with the independence of Mexico in 1821.

By 1835 Mexico had placed a bounty on Apache scalps (see scalping) but some bands were still trading with certain villages.

When Juan José Compas, the leader of the Mimbreño Apaches, was killed for bounty money in 1837, Mangas Coloradas or Dasoda-hae (Red Sleeves) became principal chief and war leader and began a series of retaliatory raids against the Mexicans.

When the United States went to war against Mexico, many Apache bands promised U.S. soldiers safe passage through their lands. When the U.S. claimed former territories of Mexico in 1846, Mangas Coloradas signed a peace treaty, respecting them as conquerors of the Mexican’s land.

An uneasy peace (a centuries old tradition) between the Apache and the now citizens of the United States held until the 1850s, when an influx of gold miners into the Santa Rita Mountains led to conflict.

This period is sometimes called the Apache Wars. The United States’ concept of a reservation had not been used by the Spanish, Mexicans or other Apache neighbors before.

Reservations were often badly managed, and bands that had no kinship relationships were forced to live together.

There were also no fences to keep people in or out. It was not uncommon for a band to be given permission to leave for a short period of time.

Other times a band would leave without permission, to raid, return to their land to forage, or to simply get away. The military usually had forts nearby.

Their job was keeping the various bands on the reservations by finding and returning those who left. The reservation policies of the United States kept various Apache bands leaving the reservations (at war) for almost another quarter century.

The warfare between Apachean peoples and Euro-Americans has led to a stereotypical focus on certain aspects of Apachean cultures that are often distorted through misperception as noted by anthropologist Keith Basso:

“Of the hundreds of peoples that lived and flourished in native North America, few have been so consistently misrepresented as the Apacheans of Arizona and New Mexico. Glorified by novelists, sensationalized by historians, and distorted beyond credulity by commercial film makers, the popular image of ‘the Apache’ — a brutish, terrifying semihuman bent upon wanton death and destruction — is almost entirely a product of irresponsible caricature and exaggeration. Indeed, there can be little doubt that the Apache has been transformed from a native American into an American legend, the fanciful and fallacious creation of a non-Indian citizenry whose inability to recognize the massive treachery of ethnic and cultural stereotypes has been matched only by its willingness to sustain and inflate them.”

The Bascomb Affair – The Bascom Affair is considered to be the key event in triggering the 1860s Apache War. The Apache Wars were fought during the nineteenth century between the U.S. military and many tribes in what is now the southwestern United States.

The triggering incident took place in 1861 in the area known as Arizona and New Mexico.

Battle of the Mimbres River – The Battle of the Mimbres River was a surprise attack launched by a troop of American militia against an encampment of Chiricahua Apaches along the western shore of the Mimbres River.

 On December 4, 1860 a force of 30 armed miners attacked at sunrise, in retaliation for large amounts of stolen livestock. The surprised Apaches, led by Mangas Coloradas, were quickly defeated in a short close quarters action.

Four warriors were killed and an unknown number were wounded. The settlers’ casualties are unknown, if any at all.

Thirteen women and children were captured and several warriors fled, leaving their families behind. Mangas Coloradas survived. The Americans recovered some of their livestock.

Battle of the Diablo Mountains – The Battle of the Diablo Mountains was an early engagement of the Apache Wars. A small force of Mounted Rifles attacked a much larger force of Lipan Apaches at the base of the Sierra Diablo Mountains, commonly referred to as the “Diablos” in southwestern Texas.

Setting out from Fort Inge in South Texas on October 1, 1854, Captain John G. Walker in command of around 40 men of the Mounted Rifles, headed for the Diablo Mountains region along the Rio Grande border with Mexico.

Among the 40 enlisted men was the future American General; Eugene Asa Carr. Their mission was to investigate the reports from local settlers of stolen livestock, taken by Apache warriors.

On the third day out, in the morning of October 3, 1854, Captain Walker and his men encountered well over two-hundred Lipan Apache warriors near a herd of captured farm animals. Immediately Walker ordered an attack which surprised the Apaches significantly.

A brief skirmish ensued and the Apaches quickly fled, leaving most of the stolen livestock. Casualties are unknown, except for Second Lieutenant Eugene Asa Carr who was wounded by an arrow and subsequently commended by General Persifor F. Smith for his “gallantry and coolness” and promoted to first lieutenant.

This was the future general’s first combat action.

Battle of Ojo Caliente Canyon or Battle of Ojo Caliente – This was fought during the Apache Wars on April 8, 1854. The combatants were Jicarilla Apache warriors and the United States Army.

The skirmish was fought as result of the pursuit of the Jicarilla after the Battle of Cieneguilla over a week earlier. General Sturgis was in the battle of Ojo Calienta, serving under Colonel Cooke.

Battle of Cieneguilla – The Battle of Cieneguilla was an engagement fought between a group of Jicarilla Apaches and the U.S. 1st Cavalry Regiment on March 30, 1854, near what is now Pilar, New Mexico and was one of the most famous battles of the apache wars.

Companies F and I, regiment of the First Dragoons camped at Cantonment Burgwin, an army post 10 miles southeast of Taos.

While on patrol 60 dragoons engaged in an unauthorized attack on the Jicarilla Apache encampment near Pilar, then known as Cieneguilla after First Lieutenant John Wynn Davidson exceeded the orders of his superior Major Blake.

A combined force of Apaches and Utes, about 250  in number, laid an ambush for the U.S. dragoons.

In his report two days after the battle, Davidson stated that “[He] came upon the Apaches near Cieneguilla who at once sounded the war whoop.”

According to Private James A. Bennett, (aka James Bronson) a sergeant who survived the ambush, the battle lasted for about four hours. It started around 8 a.m. and ended when the dragoon regiments retreated at 12 p.m. to Ranchos de Taos.

The Apache warriors used flintlock rifles and arrows.Of the 60 dragoons present, the U.S. suffered twenty-two killed and a further thirty-six wounded, along with a loss of twenty-two horses and much of the troops’ supplies.

Another version of the fight presents the view that Davidson and his troops were not ambushed, but rather were taunted by the Apaches into attacking a superior force, one that also employed superior tactics. This modern version also has the duration of the fight being closer to two hours than the four that Davidson and Bennett were to claim.

Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke of the Second Regiment of Dragoons at once organized an expedition to pursue the Jicarilla. With the help of Pueblo Indian and Mexican scouts under Captain James H. Quinn and with Kit Carson as the principal guide.

After a winter pursuit through the mountains, Cooke caught and defeated them April 8th, at their camp in the canyon of Ojo Caliente. Dispersing in small bands, the Jicarilla evaded further pursuit but many died from the harsh cold weather.

Much of the blame for the loss of life was put on Lt. Davidson. Lt. David Bell accused Davidson of risking the lives of his soldiers when he could avoid the ambush.

However, Brig. Gen. John Garland praised Davidson when stated that  “The troops displayed a gallantry seldom equalled in this, or any other country and the Officer in Command, Lieut. Davidson, has given evidence of soldiership in the highest degree creditable to him.”

“To have sustained a deadly control of three hours when he was so greatly outnumbered, and to have retired with the fragment of a company, crippled up, is amazing and calls for the admiration of every true soldier.”

On March 10, 1856, John Garland called a court of inquiry to meet at Taos, New Mexico.

After many witnessing declarations, the court declared that Davidson could not have avoided the confrontation and “that in the battle he exhibited skill in his mode of attacking a greatly superior force of hostile Indians; and prudence, and coolness, and courage, throughout a protracted engagement; and finally, when he was obliged to retire from the field, owing to the great odds opposing him, the losses he had sustained, and the scarcity of ammunition; his exertions to bring off the wounded men merit high praise.”

Forced Removal

In 1875, an estimated 1,500 Yavapai and Dilzhe’e Apache from the Rio Verde Indian Reserve were removed from several thousand acres of treaty lands promised to them by the United States government.

Indian Commissioner L.E. Dudley and U.S. Army troops made the people, young and old, walk through winter-flooded rivers, mountain passes and narrow canyon trails to get to Indian Agency at San Carlos, 180 miles (290 km) away.

The trek resulted in several hundred lives lost. There they remained in internment for 25 years while white settlers took over their land. On their release, only about 200 were able to return to their lands.

Last Apache Defeat

Most American histories of this era say the final defeat of an Apache band took place when 5,000 troops forced Geronimo’s group of 30 to 50 men, women and children to surrender on September 4, 1886 at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona.

This band and the Chiricahua scouts who tracked them were all sent to military confinement in Florida at Fort Pickens and, subsequently, Ft. Sill, Oklahoma.

Apache Social Issues

In the post-war era, many Apache children were taken for adoption by white Americans, who didn’t teach them anything about their previous culture, and over the ensuing generations, much tribal knowledge was lost. Today there are laws that give relatives and tribal members first preference in adoptions.

Jicarilla Apache Indians

Tribal Origin: Athapascan tribe

Native Name: Jicarillo Apache, means ‘little basket’

Home Territories: Colorado and New MexicoLanguage: Southern Athabaskan

Enemies: Mescaleros and Navajo

Apache Treaties
Famous Apache
Apache Legends
Apachean Languages

Jeff Smith, slave of Geronimo



Article Index:

Names of Apache Tribes

Many of the historical names of Apache groups that were recorded by non-Apache are difficult to match to modern-day tribes or their subgroups. Over the centuries, many Spanish, French and/or English-speaking authors did not differentiate between Apache and other seminomadic non-Apache peoples who might pass through the same area. Most commonly, Europeans learned to identify the tribes by translating their exonym, what another group whom the Europeans encountered first called the Apachean peoples. Europeans often did not learn what the peoples called themselves, referred to as their autonyms.

While anthropologists agree on some traditional major subgrouping of Apaches, they have often used different criteria to name finer divisions, and these do not always match modern Apache groupings. Some scholars do not consider groups residing in what is now Mexico to be Apache. In addition, an Apache individual has different ways of identification with a group, such as a band or clan, as well as the larger tribe or language grouping, which can add to the difficulties in an outsider comprehending the distinctions.


In 1900, the U.S. government classified the members of the Apache tribe in the United States as Pinal Coyotero, Jicarilla, Mescalero, San Carlos, Tonto, and White Mountain Apache. The different groups were located in Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.

In the 1930s, the anthropologist Grenville Goodwin classified the Western Apache into five groups (based on his informants’ views of dialect and cultural differences): White Mountain, Cibecue, San Carlos, North Tonto, and South Tonto. Since then, other anthropologists (e.g. Albert Schroeder) consider Goodwin’s classification inconsistent with pre-reservation cultural divisions. Willem de Reuse finds linguistic evidence supporting only three major groupings: White Mountain, San Carlos, and Dilzhe’e (Tonto). He believes San Carlos is the most divergent dialect, and that Dilzhe’e is a remnant, intermediate member of a dialect continuum that previously spanned from the Western Apache language to the Navajo.

John Upton Terrell classifies the Apache into western and eastern groups. In the western group, he includes Toboso, Cholome, Jocome, Sibolo or Cibola, Pelone, Manso, and Kiva or Kofa. He includes Chicame (the earlier term for Hispanized Chicano or New Mexicans of Spanish/Hispanic and Apache descent) among them as having definite Apache connections or names which the Spanish associated with the Apache.

In a detailed study of New Mexico Catholic Church records, David M. Brugge identifies 15 tribal names which the Spanish used to refer to the Apache. These were drawn from records of about 1000 baptisms from 1704 to 1862.

    • Apache, current usage generally includes six of the seven major, traditional, Apachean-speaking groups: Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Plains Apache, and Western Apache. Historically, the term has also been used for Comanches, Mohaves, Hualapais, and Yavapais.

    • Arivaipa (also Aravaipa) is a band of the San Carlos local group of the Western Apache. Schroeder believes the Arivaipa were a separate people in pre-reservation times. Arivaipa is a borrowing (via Spanish) from the O’odham language. The Arivaipa are known as Tsézhiné (“Black Rock”) in the Western Apache language.

    • Carlana (also Carlanes) is an Apache group in southeastern Colorado on Raton Mesa. In 1726, they had joined with the Cuartelejo and Paloma, and by the 1730s, they were living with the Jicarilla. It has been suggested that either the Llanero band of the modern Jicarilla or James Mooney’s Dáchizh-ó-zhn Jicarilla division are descendants of the Carlana, Cuartelejo, and Paloma. The Carlana as a whole were also called Sierra Blanca; parts of the group were called Lipiyanes or Llaneros. Otherwise, in 1812, the term was used synonymously with Jicarilla. The Flechas de Palo might have been a part of or absorbed by the Carlana (or Cuartelejo).

    • Chiricahuaare one of the seven major Apachean groups, ranging in southeastern Arizona.
        • Chíshí (also Tchishi) is a Navajo word meaning “Chiricahua, southern Apaches in general”.[10]

    • Ch’úúkʾanén (also Č’ók’ánéń, Č’ó·k’anén, Chokonni, Cho-kon-nen, Cho Kŭnĕ́, Chokonen) refers to the Eastern Chiricahua band identified by Morris Opler. The name is an autonym from the Chiricahua language.

    • Cibecue is one of Goodwin’s Western Apache groups, living to the north of the Salt River between the Tonto and White Mountain groups, consisting of Ceder Creek, Carrizo, and Cibecue (proper) bands.

    • Coyotero usually refers to a southern division of the pre-reservation White Mountain local group of the Western Apache. But, the name has also been used more widely to refer to the Apache in general, Western Apache, or an Apachean band in the high plains of southern Colorado to Kansas.

    • Faraones (also Paraonez, Pharaones, Taraones, Taracones, Apaches Faraone) is derived from Spanish Faraón “Pharaoh”. Before 1700, the name was vague without a specific referent. Between 1720 and 1726, it referred to the Apache between the Rio Grande in the east, the Pecos River in the west, the area around Santa Fe in the north, and the Conchos River in the south. After 1726, Faraones was used only to refer to the peoples of the north and central parts of this region. The Faraones were probably part of the modern-day Mescalero or had merged with the Mescalero. After 1814, the term Faraones disappeared and was replaced by Mescalero.

    • Gileño (also Apaches de Gila, Apaches de Xila, Apaches de la Sierra de Gila, Xileños, Gilenas, Gilans, Gilanians, Gila Apache, Gilleños) was used to refer to several different Apachean and non-Apachean groups at different times. Gila refers to either the Gila River or the Gila Mountains. Some of the Gila Apaches were probably later known as the Mogollon Apaches, a subdivision of the Chiricahua, while others probably coalesced into the Chiricahua proper. But, since the term was used indiscriminately for all Apachean groups west of the Rio Grande (i.e. in southeast Arizona and western New Mexico), the reference in historical documents is often unclear. After 1722, Spanish documents start to distinguish between these different groups, in which case Apaches de Gila refers to the Western Apache living along the Gila River (and thus synonymous with Coyotero). United States writers first used the term to refer to the Mimbres (another subdivision of the Chiricahua). Later they used the term to refer to the Coyotero, Mogollon, Tonto, Mimbreño, Pinaleño, and Chiricahua, as well as the non-Apachean Yavapai (then also known as Garroteros or Yabipais Gileños). The Spanish also used Apaches de Gila to refer to the non-Apachean Pima living on the Gila River (whom they sometimes called Pimas Gileños and Pimas Cileños).

    • Jicarilla (from Spanish meaning “little gourd”). One of the 7 major Apachean groups, the Jicarilla Apache live in northern New Mexico, southern Colorado, and the Texas Panhandle.

    • Kiowa-Apache. See Plains Apache.

    • Llanero is a borrowing from Spanish meaning “plains dweller”. The name was historically used to refer to several different groups who hunted buffalo seasonally on the Great Plains, also referenced in eastern New Mexico and western Texas. (See also Carlanas.)

    • Lipiyánes (also Lipiyán, Lipillanes). A coalition of splinter groups of Nadahéndé (Natagés), Guhlkahéndé and Lipan of the 18th century under the leadership of Picax-Ande-Ins-Tinsle (Strong Arm), who fought and withstood the Comanche on the Plains. This term is not to be confused with Lipan.

    • Lipan (also Ypandis, Ypandes, Ipandes, Ipandi, Lipanes, Lipanos, Lipaines, Lapane, Lipanis, etc.). One of the 7 major Apachean peoples. They once travelled from the Pecos River in eastern New Mexico to the upper Colorado River, San Saba River and Llano River of central Texas across the Edwards Plateau southeast to the Gulf of Mexico, were close allies of the Natagés, therefore it seems certain that they were the Plains Lipan division (Golgahį́į́, Kó’l kukä’ⁿ– “Prairie Men”), not to be confused with Lipiyánes or Le Panis (French for the Pawnee). They were first mentioned in 1718 records as being near the newly established town of San Antonio, Texas.)

    • Mescalero. The Mescalero are one of the 7 major Apachean groups, generally living in what is now eastern New Mexico and western Texas.

    • Mimbreños is an older name that refers to a section of Opler’s Eastern Chiricahua band and to Albert Schroeder’s Mimbres and Warm Springs Chiricahua bands[11] in southwestern New Mexico.

    • Mogollon was considered by Schroeder to be a separate pre-reservation Chiricahua band, while Opler considered the Mogollon to be part of his Eastern Chiricahua band in New Mexico.

    • Ná’įįsha (also Ná’ęsha, Na’isha, Na’ishandine, Na-i-shan-dina, Na-ishi, Na-e-ca, Ną’ishą́, Nadeicha, Nardichia, Nadíisha-déna, Na’dí’į́shą́ʼ, Nądí’įįshąą, Naisha) all refer to the Plains Apache (see Kiowa).

    • Natagés (also Natagees, Apaches del Natafé, Natagêes, Yabipais Natagé, Natageses, Natajes). Term used 1726–1820 to refer to the Faraón, Sierra Blanca, and Siete Ríos Apaches of southeastern New Mexico. In 1745, the Natagé are reported to have consisted of the Mescalero (around El Paso and the Organ Mountains) and the Salinero (around Rio Salado), but these were probably the same group, were oft called by the Spanish and Apaches themselves true Apaches, had had a considerable influence on the decision making of some bands of the Western Lipan in the 18th century. After 1749, the term was used synonymously with Mescalero, which eventually replaced it.

    • Navajo. The most numerous of the 7 major Apachean-speaking groups. General modern usage separates the Navajo people culturally from the Apache.

    • Pelones (Bald Ones, lived far from San Antonio and far to the northeast of the Ypandes in the Red River of the South country of north central Texas, although able to field 800 warriors, more than the Ypandes and Natagés together, they were described as less warlike because they had fewer horses than the Plains Lipan, their population were estimated between 1,600 to 2,400 persons, were the Forest Lipan division (Chishį́į́hį́į́, Tcici, Tcicihi – “People of the Forest”, after 1760 the name Pelones was never used by the Spanish for any Texas Apache group, the Pelones had fled for the Comanche south and southwest, but never mixed up with the Plains Lipan division – retaining their distinct identity, so that Morris Opler was told by his Lipan informants in 1935 that their tribal name was “People of the Forest”)

    • Pinal (also Pinaleños). One of the bands of the Goodwin’s San Carlos group of Western Apache. Also used along with Coyotero to refer more generally to one of two major Western Apache divisions. Some Pinaleño were referred to as the Gila Apache.

    • Plains Apache. The Plains Apache (also called Kiowa-Apache, Naisha, Naʼishandine) are one of the 7 major Apachean groups, generally living in what is now Oklahoma. In historic times, they were found living among the (unrelated) Kiowa. The term has also been used to refer to any supposed Apachean tribe found on or associated (usually culturally) with the North American Plains.

    • Ramah. A group of Navajos currently living in the Ramah Navajo Indian Reservation in New Mexico. (The Navajo name for Ramah, New Mexico is Tłʼohchiní meaning “wild onion place”).

    • Querechos referred to by Coronado in 1541, possibly Plains Apaches, at times maybe Navajo. Other early Spanish might have also called them Vaquereo or Llanero.

    • San Carlos. A Western Apache group that ranged closest to Tucson according to Goodwin. This group consisted of the Apache Peaks, Arivaipa, Pinal, San Carlos (proper) bands.

    • Tonto. Goodwin divided into Northern Tonto and Southern Tonto groups, living in the north and west areas of the Western Apache groups according to Goodwin. This is north of Phoenix, north of the Verde River. Schroeder has suggested that the Tonto are originally Yavapais who assimilated Western Apache culture. Tonto is one of the major dialects of the Western Apache language. Tonto Apache speakers are traditionally bilingual in Western Apache and Yavapai. Goodwin’s Northern Tonto consisted of Bald Mountain, Fossil Creek, Mormon Lake, and Oak Creek bands; Southern Tonto consisted of the Mazatzal band and unidentified “semi-bands”.

    • Warm Springs were located on upper reaches of Gila River, New Mexico. (See also Gileño and Mimbreños.)

    • Western Apache. In the most common sense, includes Northern Tonto, Southern Tonto, Cibecue, White Mountain and San Carlos groups. While these subgroups spoke the same language and had kinship ties, Western Apaches considered themselves as separate from each other, according to Goodwin. Other writers have used this term to refer to all non-Navajo Apachean peoples living west of the Rio Grande (thus failing to distinguish the Chiricahua from the other Apacheans). Goodwin’s formulation: “all those Apache peoples who have lived within the present boundaries of the state of Arizona during historic times with the exception of the Chiricahua, Warm Springs, and allied Apache, and a small band of Apaches known as the Apache Mansos, who lived in the vicinity of Tucson.”

    • White Mountain. The easternmost group of the Western Apache according to Goodwin. Consisted of Eastern White Mountain and Western White Mountain.
New lawsuit against Yale Skull and Bones Society regarding Geronimo’s bones

The great grandson of Geronimo says he wants to know whether Skull and Bones secret society at Yale University has the remains of the famous Apache chief and shaman. He’s filed a lawsuit to find out.

The Apaches after the Mexican-American War

At the start of the Mexican-American War in 1846, many Apache bands promised U.S. soldiers safe passage through their land. When the U.S. claimed the former frontier territories of Mexico in 1848, Mangas Coloradas signed a peace treaty, respecting them as conquerors of the Mexicans’ land.

An uneasy peace between the Apache and the now citizens of the United States held until an influx of gold miners into the Santa Rita Mountains of present day Arizona, led to conflict. In 1851, near the Piños Altos mining camp Mangas was attacked by a group of miners who tied him to a tree and severely beat him. Similar incidents continued in violation of the treaty, leading to Apache reprisals. Another significant incident was the Battle of Cieneguilla in 1854. The battle of Cieneguilla resulted in the Battle of Ojo Caliente Canyon during the same Apache campaign. Later in 1854, a small U.S. Cavalry force defeated an overwhelming force of Lipan Apaches at the Battle of the Diablo Mountains in southern Texas.

In December 1860, thirty miners launched a surprise attack on an encampment of Bedonkohes Apaches on the west bank of the Mimbres River. According to historian Edwin R. Sweeney, the miners “…killed four Indians, wounded others, and captured thirteen women and children.” Retaliation by the Apache again followed, with raids against U.S. citizens and property.

In early February 1861 a band of unidentified natives stole cattle and kidnapped the stepson of rancher John Ward near Sonoita, Arizona and Ward immediately sought redress from the nearby U.S. Army. Lieutenant George N. Bascom was dispatched and John Ward accompanied the detail. Bascom set out for a meeting with Cochise near Apache Pass and the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach station to secure the cattle and Ward’s son. Cochise was unaware of the theft and kidnapping, but offered to seek those responsible.

Bascom was unsatisfied and accused Cochise of personal involvement. Bascom then falsely imprisoned Cochise and a group of family members that accompanied him to the negotiations inside his tent. Cochise was angered by the accusations and his imprisonment and slashed his way from the tent and escaped. Cochise decided upon an equivocal response and took a member of the stage coach station hostage after an exchange of gunfire during further failed negotiations.

Bascom remained unwilling to conduct an exchange and Cochise and his party opted to kill the members of a passing Mexican wagon train. An unsuccessful ambush was then made on a Butterfield Overland stagecoach. Negotiations between Bascom and Cochise remained at an impasse, while Bascom sent for reinforcements. Cochise, realizing the situation was becoming untenable, decided to kill his remaining captive from the Butterfield Station and abandon negotiations. Upon the advise of military surgeon Dr. Bernard Irwin, Bascom replied by killing the Apache hostages in his custody. The short incident became known as the “Bascom Affair” and while a small affair, initiated another eleven years of open warfare between American settlers, the U.S. and C.S. Armies and the Apaches.