Apache history- Native American History
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Apache History

West Texas
West Texas

Sometime around 1300 AD, some of the Atha-baskans, the ancestors of the Apache and Navajo people, left their homes in what is now western Canada and slowly travelled south to what is now Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas. This may have been because of the climate change known as the Little Ice Age. The Navajo people settled to the west, and the Apache to the east. When the Apache arrived in the Southwest, they began to trade with the Pueblo people who were their new neighbors. The Apache learned many new things from the Pueblo people.

Apache house
Apache house and tools

But the Apache did not begin to farm, as the Pueblo and Navajo did. Instead, they seem to have continued their own culture of hunting buffalo on the Plains. They hunted on foot. According to early Spanish reports, Apache people ate raw buffalo meat and drank the blood of the buffalo they killed. But Apache people also traded buffalo meat and buffalo skins to the Pueblo people to get corn (maize) and woven cotton cloth and good stone tools. Like their Navajo cousins, Apache people used dogs pulling sleds to move their tipis and their stuff from hunting place to hunting place.

Learn by doing: try some buffalo meat (not raw!)
Apache people after the Spanish invaded

Bibliography and further reading about Apache history:

Navajo people
Ute people
Pueblo people
Native Americans
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.
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