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The Apache for AP U.S. History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Mar 8

2

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The Apache are an illustrative example of the Native American Societies before European Contact topic in Period 1 of AP U.S. History. You could reference this example on your AP U.S. History test.



Apache chief
Essa-queta, a Plains Apache chief/public domain


The Apache, a Native American tribe renowned for their resilience and adaptability, have a long and storied history in the Southwestern United States. Originating from the Athabaskan-speaking peoples who migrated southward from Alaska and Canada over millennia, the Apache settled in the region around the 12th century CE. They established their presence primarily in what is now Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, and parts of Oklahoma.


Apache daily life was deeply rooted in their intimate connection with the land. They lived in semi-nomadic communities, moving seasonally to follow game and forage for food, although some Apache tribes farmed and others raided other villages for food. As skilled hunters and gatherers, they relied on buffalo, deer, rabbits, and various plants for sustenance. Women played pivotal roles, responsible for gathering food, crafting clothing and tools, and managing household affairs.


Architecture among the Apache was pragmatic and adaptable. They constructed dwellings called wickiups, using materials readily available in their environment, such as branches, mud, and grass. They also used teepees when traveling. These structures were made of animal skins stretched over poles and allowed for easy relocation as they moved throughout their territories.


Social structures within Apache communities were based on kinship ties, with extended families forming the core units of society. Leadership roles were earned through acts of bravery, wisdom, and skill in hunting and warfare. Elders held respected positions, contributing to decision-making and conflict resolution.


Religion played a central role in Apache life, emphasizing a spiritual connection to nature and the land. Rituals, ceremonies, and dances were performed to honor the spirits and seek guidance from the divine.

Trade was vital for the Apache, both among different Apache groups and neighboring tribes. They engaged in extensive networks of exchange, trading goods such as hides, pottery, and agricultural produce. The Apache were renowned for their horse breeding and trading skills, acquiring horses from Spanish settlers and incorporating them into their culture.


The Apache people utilized various technologies to navigate their environment. To hunt with precision, they relied on bows and arrows, with arrowheads made from rocks expertly chipped down to sharp points. Bow strings were fashioned from the tendons of animals. Moreover, the Apache used a tool known as a travois pulled by dogs for traveling. This sled-like contraption allowed them to carry teepees and other essentials by loading them onto the travois, facilitating their nomadic lifestyle.


The Apache faced significant challenges with the arrival of European settlers. Ultimately, many Apache bands were forcibly relocated to reservations, disrupting their traditional way of life and causing immense suffering and loss of cultural heritage. Despite these hardships, the Apache people endure, maintaining their cultural identity and traditions in the face of adversity.


Printable Reading Passage on the Apache


The Apache FREE Reading Passage


Do you want to watch a video about the Apache?



Native American Societies Before European Contact


Period 1


AP U.S. History


the Apache for US History

Cate O'Donnell

2 min read

Mar 8

2

0

0

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