TRIBE NAME: Derived From the Zuni word Apachu, meaning "enemy." They call themselves Na-i-sha-dena (dena means "people"). Although long known to historians as the Kiowa Apache (since they had lived on the plains longer than any nomadic tribe other than the Kiowa), the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma is the modern name by which members of this small tribe wish to be known. They are separate from the sub-tribe called Fort Sill or Chiricahua Apache.

LANGUAGE: Of the Southern branch of the Athbaecan linguistic family, once concentrated in the Arizona-New Mexico region. They also had a sign language.

HISTORY: Apache ancestors were found in this area by the Coronado expedition of 1541 (the first Europeans here). Horses introduced by the Spaniards made great changes in Apache life. The last of four U.S. treaties signed was the Treaty of Medicine Lodge which gave the Apache, Kiowa and Comanche a reservation in western Indian Territory. In 1901, all Apache members received 160-acre allotments. Until 1963, they were governed by a joint constitution with the Comanche and Kiowa. In 1972, they adopted their own constitution and bylaws.

CULTURE: These were true "buffalo Indians" who followed migrating buffalo for food, tepees, clothing and tools. They used dogs for transport and traded with their neighbors. They became known as Kiowa Apache because in the 19th century they were often associated with the Kiowa at trade gatherings and treaty conferences - yet the Apache were always a distinct social entity.

LANDMARKS: Apache Historical Museum (Ft. Sill); exhibits at the Plains Indians and Pioneer Museum (Woodward); Southern Plains Indian Museum, Philomathic Museum and Indian City, USA (Anadarko).

The Apache take part in the annual American Indian Exposition in Anadarko. A former warrior society dance, the Manatidie, has been revived and is now a highlight event.

Current tribal roll: 1802

Rebecca Torres, Chief

See:  Hand Signs