From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:
Total population: 56,060 (self-identified)
Regions with significant populations: Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma
Languages: Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan Apache, Plains Apache, Mescalero, Western Apache
Religion: Native American Church, Christianity, traditional shamanistic tribal religion
Related ethnic groups: Navajo, Dene
Apache is the collective term for several culturally related groups of Native Americans in the United States originally from the Southwest United States. These indigenous peoples of North America speak a Southern Athabaskan (Apachean) language, which is related linguistically to the languages of Athabaskan speakers of Alaska and western Canada.
The modern term Apache excludes the related Navajo people. Since the Navajo and the other Apache groups are clearly related through culture and language, they are all considered Apachean. Apachean peoples formerly ranged over eastern Arizona, northern Mexico, New Mexico, west and southwest Texas, and southern Colorado. The Apachería consisted of high mountains, sheltered and watered valleys, deep canyons, deserts, and the southern Great Plains.
The Apachean groups had little political unity; the major groups spoke seven different languages and developed distinct and competitive cultures. The current division of Apachean groups includes the Navajo, Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan, and Plains Apache (formerly Kiowa-Apache). Apache groups live in Oklahoma and Texas and on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.
Some Apacheans have moved to large metropolitan areas. The largest Apache urban communities are in Oklahoma City, Kansas City, Phoenix, Denver, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Some Apacheans were employed in migrant farm labor and relocated to the central agricultural regions of Southern California, such as the Coachella, Imperial and Colorado River valleys, where now tens of thousands of Apacheans live.
The Apachean tribes were historically very strong and strategic, opposing the Spanish and Mexican peoples for centuries. The first Apache raids on Sonora appear to have taken place during the late 17th century. In 19th-century confrontations, the U.S. Army found the Apache to be fierce warriors and skilful strategists.
Apache – Geronimo
Without a doubt the most famous of those that are called Apache is Geronimo. Dozens of books, movies, documentaries have attempted to explore or exploit his fame. Were they successful?
Though there are said be about 15 Western Movies exploring/exploiting Geronimo, yet I was only able to discover 3 posters:
Geronimo: an American Legend (1993)
Despite a stellar cast that includes Wes Studi (as Geronimo), Robert Duvall, and Gene Hackman, Geronimo: an American Legend (1993) received only luckwarm reviews and fanfare – possibly not living up to hopes and expectations. The movie attempts an historical depiction of Geronimo, but seemed to fall down entertainment wise. It’s always a difficult balance to combine historical accuracy and Entertainment – even with subject matter like this.
“Geronimo said he was not a chief, but he was certainly a great military leader. He was one of many people with special spiritual insights and abilities known to Apache people as “Power”. Among these were the ability to walk without leaving tracks; the abilities now known as telekinesis and telepathy; and the ability to survive gunshot (rifle/musket, pistol, and shotgun). Geronimo was wounded numerous times by both bullets and buckshot, but survived. Apache men chose to follow him of their own free will, and offered first-hand eye-witness testimony regarding his many “powers”. They declared that this was the main reason why so many chose to follow him (he was favored by/protected by “Usen”, the Apache high-god). Geronimo’s “powers” were considered to be so great that he personally painted the faces of the warriors who followed him to reflect their protective effect. During his career as a war chief, Geronimo was notorious for consistently urging raids and war upon Mexican Provinces and their various towns, and later against American locations across Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas.”
Supernormal powers seem like fanciful stuff to us ordinary urbanites, but among those that live apart from the trappings of modern urban culture, such talents were mere and vital survival tools. And those who possessed such talents to greater degrees were highly respected and revered among their peoples. Such was Geronimo.
Yet who was Geronimo? A man of contradictions. Murderer? Spiritual leader??? Butcher? Baker? Thief? Politician??
All the above??
Smoke in the desert.
I don’t think we’ll ever know.