The Apache Tribe


The Apache tribe, who call themselves Nde, 'men', were represented by two delegations, numbering together about forty persons. The White Mountain Apache came from the San Carlos reservation in Arizona, and the Chiricahua Apache came from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where they are now held under military restraint.


The Apache have fought their way through hostile tribes from the Yukon river to the Rio Grande, finally establishing themselves in the mountain region of southern Arizona and New Mexico. Once settled, they made unceasing forays in all directions until their name became the synonym of all that was savage and untamable. Due to the nature of the country in which they lived, and their inherited capacity for enduring hardship, they proved the most dangerous foes against whom American troops were ever forced to contend.


The Apache are first cousins of the Navaho, the most successful stock raisers and most expert weavers in the United States. They number nearly 5000, all now on San Carlos reservation in Arizona, excepting the Chiricahua band of about 300, held as prisoners of war at Fort Sill. They have no central organization, but are subdivided into a number of bands, each under its own chief.


The White Mountain delegation was under command of the hereditary chief, Go-zhazh, 'Jingling', known to the whites as Josh (pictured right). They wore the dress of their tribe, with flowing hair, red turban, close-fitting buckskin legging, and characteristic turned-up moccasin. The women have their hair cut across the forehead. Nearly all the men had tattooed upon their foreheads resembling the rain and cloud symbol of the Hopi. They brought with them their native baskets and dance costumes and set up their round-top canvas wikiups after the style of those on the reservation.


The Chiricahua, the last Apache band to go on the warpath, were finally run down and forced to surrender to General Miles in 1886. As the people of Arizona protested against allowing them to remain longer in that territory, they were force to move to Fort Marion, Florida, then to the Mount Vernon barracks in Alabama, and at last to Fort Sill, Oklahoma on the Kiowa reservation. They have since developed from miserable savage refugees to prosperous farmers and stock raisers, quite a number being enrolled and uniformed as United States Scouts.


The delegation was a picked one, and included Naichi (pictured left), the 'Meddler', the hereditary chief of the band, and Geronimo, the old war captain. The delegation also included one or two foot-racers and experts in native arts, and several women, with two infants in cradles.


Being under military control, they were housed in army tents. The exiles devoted their time to good advantage, making baskets, canes, and beaded work for sale, and found much pleasure in meeting their old friends from Arizona and exchanging reminiscences.


To see more images from the Indian Congress, visit the Indian Congress Photo Gallery. This collection includes over 500 photographs of Native Americans, including portraits of individuals, group photos of families and photographs of various activities.

The library also has the original "Secretary's Report" from the TransMississippi Exposition. This document includes a section on the The Indian Congress by Mr. W. V. Cox, Secretary of the Government Exhibit Board. It also contains the Report of Captain Mercer, manager of the Indian Congress.

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