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What Are Some Apache Indian Family Activities?

by Maria Scinto

The Apache Indians are native to Arizona and northern Mexico, but today the American Indian Heritage Foundation reports that 5,000 to 6,000 Apache tribal members live on reservations in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. The tribe's name derives from a Zuni word meaning enemy -- the Apache people were known for being fierce in battle, but they have also been characterized as gentle toward their family members. Your family can learn more about Apache culture by exploring its crafts, games and stories.

Beadwork

Many Apache Indians are known for their beadwork. Beading was originally used to decorate ceremonial costumes, but is now used on items including belts, blankets and headbands, and for making jewelry such as necklaces and bracelets. If you would like to try creating your own Apache-inspired beaded items, the book "Native American Beadwork: Projects and Techniques from the Southwest" provides instructions for the traditional Apache weave technique and patterns for beaded items, including a medicine bag and a feather ornament.

Games

Apache children traditionally played games in order to keep healthy and fit and to prepare boys for their future as hunters and warriors. One game they played, which you can easily teach your kids at home, was called Foot Toss Ball -- you balance a small stone on your toe, and try to toss it as high and far as you can. Another Apache game was Toe Toss Stick. To play this game, balance a stick on your toe, then toss it while aiming for a mark on the ground.

Dance

The Apache Indians have several types of dances in order to mark special celebrations. The sunrise dance is a coming-of-age rite for girls in the tribe, and the crown dance, mountain spirit dance and fire dance are used to honor tribal spirits. If you live close to a reservation, you might be able to take your family to watch one of those dances, and certain groups such as the Southwest Native Dancers and the Apache Crown Dancers perform Apache dances at powwows across the United States.

Stories

The Apache have many folktales and legends that have been passed down through the years and used to entertain and teach the children of the tribe. Many of these tales feature characters such as Coyote, who is fond of playing pranks, and Big Owl, who is a frightening, bogeyman-like creature. You can find tales of these characters and links to other Apache stories such as the one about how buffalo came to be, or why the bat hangs upside-down, on the website Native Languages of the Americas.

References

About the Author

I am a former librarian turned freelance writer and researcher - I got my start writing for writeforcash.com, and this was when I first learned I could turn my talent for research into writing articles on just about any topic. Parenting is my favorite topic - I am the homeschooling work-at-home single mom of a four-year-old son. I also enjoy writing about pets (I have a Chow/Husky mix, 2 orange-striped kittens, and a hermit crab - unless he died since I last checked - and I used to have a fish but the kittens ate him), food (I like to cook, like to eat out, just plain love to eat), dieting (my metabolism isn't so crazy about all this eating), TV (my son and I are up on all the latest cartoon series). I have regular gigs writing about political questions (for askquestions.org) and all things Virginian (for Northern Virginia Magazine) and also work as a fact checker, web editor, and data annotator.

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