Ancient history

Apaches (America)

Last updated:2022-07-25

The Apaches are a group of North American Indian tribes living in the southwestern United States and sharing the same language. The Navajos speak a very similar language.

Nomads and hunters, fierce warriors attacking the farming peoples and later opposing the Spanish colonists, then the Mexicans and the Americans, they were finally defeated and decimated by the latter at the end of the 19th century and their few descendants live today. in reserves.

When dancing, the Apaches wore costumes symbolizing the Spirits of the Mountain. They healed the sick by warding off bad luck. They adorn themselves with body paint, skirts, masks in dark colors. The Apaches recognized many supernatural hosts but believed in a supreme deity named YASUN.

Their most famous leaders were Cochise and Geronimo.

The Apaches and the Spaniards

In the memoirs of the expedition of the conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (16th century), there is a description of the Apaches:“These Indians derive their subsistence from the bison because they do not cultivate corn. With his skin they make their homes; with his skin, they dress, put on shoes and weave ropes. They use its fleece as wool. With its tendons, they make thread which they use to sew their clothes and their tents [...]"

During the first half of the 18th century, Spanish settlers tried to expand their territory to the north, but were prevented by the Tohono O'odham and Apache tribes. Mexico ordered that the latter be exterminated in 1784:it was a question of massacring any Apache over the age of seven. Governor Juan de Bautista works to bring the Comanches and the Utes together, in order to divert their force against the Apaches. He distributes to each commanche warrior a card on which he can note each Apache killed.

Deportation to the reserves

In 1872, after having resisted the invader, a peace treaty was signed between Tom Jeffords (remarkable Broussard who became in 1870, during a sacred ceremony, the Blood Brother of Chief Cochise), Chief Cochise and the General Olivier O. Howard.

Following the peace treaty, 2,500 Apaches were deported to the Chiricahua reserve (8,000 km² in the heart of Apache country).

1,500 Apaches (the other thousand having "disappeared") were again deported in 1876 to the San Carlos reservation.

Among these deportees, Tahza, hereditary clan chief, eldest son of Chief Cochise and father of Niño Cochise, arranges for his own clan of 38 people to disappear en route.

Among these people are Nod-Ah-Sti, his wife (affectionately nicknamed Niome by Thomas Jefford), Niño Cochise his son and Dee-O-Deet the shaman. They never appeared again on the registers of a reserve. They were therefore not tattooed either. They called themselves the "nameless".

Thaza died two months later of pneumonia on his way to Washington for an interview with President Grant. When the news reached the San Carlos reservation, Naiche, the youngest son of Cochise fled to take the warpath. This was the beginning of the "wars of Geronimo" which was not to end until September 1886.

The rest of the "nameless" whose leader was now Niño Cochise lived hidden but free for more than 40 years in the mountains of Sonora in a place called Pa-Gotzin-Kay!!![3]

The Apache myth

Their reputation for bravery and violence has inspired many films, and they have been named after them for young thugs in early 20th-century Paris, a model of a helicopter gunship, and more. (see Apache). The Apaches are above all nomadic warriors, placed under the direction of a chief; most live in huts built by the women using willow poles tied together with fibers taken from the yucca tree. They are covered with bushes or thatch in summer, skins in winter. Apaches wear leather clothing, high moccasins, jewelry and sometimes eagle feathers.

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