Friday, March 26, 2004

The Apache


Early Apache inhabitants of the southwestern United States were a nomadic people; some groups roamed as far south as Mexico. They were primarily hunters of buffalo but they also practiced limited farming. For centuriesthey were fierce warriors, adept in desert survival, who carried out raids on those who encroached on their territory.

The primitive Apache was a true nomad, a wandering child of Nature, whose birthright was a craving for the warpath with courage and endurance probably exceeded by no other people and with cunning beyond reckoning. Although his character is a strong mixture of courage and ferocity, the Apache is gentle and affectionate toward those with his own flesh and blood, particularly his children.

he Apache people (including the Navajo) came from the Far North to settle the Plains and Southwest around A.D. 850. They settled in three desert regions, the Great Basin, the Sonoran, and the Chihuachuan.

They were always known as 'wild" Indians, and indeed their early warfare with all neighboring tribes as well as their recent persistent hostility toward our Government, which precipitated a "war of extermination," bear out the appropriateness of the designation.

The first intruders were the Spanish, who penetrated Apache territory in the late 1500s. The Spanish drive northward disrupted ancient Apache trade connections with neighboring tribes.

When New Mexico became a Spanish colony in 1598, hostilities increased between Spaniards and Apaches. An influx of Comanche into traditional Apache territory in the early 1700s forced the Lipan and other Apaches to move south of their main food source, the buffalo. These displaced Apaches began raiding for food.

Apache raids on settlers accompanied the American westward movement and the United States acquisition of New Mexico in 1848. The Native Americans and the United States military authorities engaged in fierce wars until all Apache tribes were eventually placed on reservations.

Most of the tribes were subdued by 1868, except for the Chiricahua, who continued their attacks until 1872, when their chief, Cochise, signed a treaty with the U.S. government and moved with his band to an Apache reservation in Arizona.

The last band of Apache raiders, led by the chief Geronimo, was hunted down in 1886 and was confined in Florida, Alabama, and finally Oklahoma Territory.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

The Cheyenne Part 2

During the early 19th century, they migrated to the headwaters of the Platte River. In 1832 a large segment of the tribe established itself along the Arkansas River, thus dividing the tribe into northern and southern branches. This division was made permanent in the First Treaty of Ft. Laramie with the U.S. in 1851.

Cheyenne religion recognized two principal deities, the Wise One Above and a god who lived beneath the ground. In addition four spirits lived at the points of the compass.

The Cheyenne were among the Plains tribes who performed the sundance in its most elaborate form. They placed heavy emphasis on visions in which an animal spirit adopted the individual and bestowed special powers upon him so long as he observed some prescribed law or practice.


The Cheyenne

Northern Cheyenne Territory

Before 1700 the home of the Cheyenne was in central Minnesota, where they farmed, hunted, gathered wild rice, and made pottery.

They later occupied a village of earth lodges on the Cheyenne River in North Dakota; it was during this period that they acquired horses and became dependent on the buffalo.

The town was destroyed by the Chippewa, and the Cheyenne settled along the Missouri River.

Toward the close of the 18th century, smallpox and the aggression of the Dakota decimated the village tribes at the same time.

The Cheyenne moved farther west to the area of the Black Hills, where they developed their unique version of the tepee-dwelling nomadic Plains culture and gave up agriculture and pottery.


Tuesday, March 23, 2004

The Four Directions


 White for north, for wisdom gained through winter stories

 Red for east, and enlightenment

 Yellow for south, and innocence

 Black for the west, and its power

 The black west as the place where the rain originates, and a place that represents the end, or finality, as things done in the dark are final things. People with an affinity for the west may become heyoka, or sacred clown that does everything backwards or in a contrary manner. The bald eagle is associated with this direction.

 The white north offer a cleansing, purifying and strengthening power. Operating as winter does when it cleans the earth of the weak, the white north sends tests and teaches the courage, endurance and wisdom that comes with the trials of life. The white eagle is associated with this direction, and it is said that those who have a vision of the white eagle become healers.

 The red east is a place where peace, light and new life rise up each day. Blood and birth are from the east. The spotted eagle, being all these things, represents this direction and its feathers are said to bring insight and visions.

 The yellow south sees a sun that is strongest when facing this direction. The yellow south, like its representative bird, the golden eagle, stands for the peak of life, warmth, understanding and ability.