The word "Apache" comes from the Hume language and means "fighting man", according to another version - the Zuni word that means "enemy." The Apaches called themselves "Inde" or "Nide" that is "people", which was in tune with the European title. Therefore, the Spanish and the English name "Indian" was not a term of abuse for the Apaches. The Apache tribe is considered to be the best warriors at their time and level of culture. Despite the fact that they used weapons of bone and wood, Apaches terrorized southwestern United States for a very long time. Even military firearms could not beat the Apaches as they were skilled in combat. Some experts call the Apaches ninja of America. In fact, they were the best in possession of a knife and hand-to-hand combat. Until now, many Western masters of martial arts use some of the Apache techniques. Despite the militancy of Apaches, they were generous and faithful in friendship. They belong to the Athapascan family, very sparse linguistic family (Lockwood, 1987).
Early Apaches were mainly engaged in hunting buffalo, but also practiced agriculture. For many centuries, they were considered to be fierce warriors, experts in survival in the wilderness, who had gone into the military campaigns against those encroaching on their land and ruthlessly destroyed everybody who came in their way. Long wars with other Indian tribes and white invaders from Mexico cemented Apaches’ reputation as aggressive people. Primitive Apache was though to be a real nomad and a wandering son of Nature born with a thirst for a military way of life; he was courageous, wiry, and extremely cunning. Although the character was an explosive mix of both courage and cruelty, the Apaches were generous and affectionate to relatives, especially to their children. The Apaches came from the Far North (northern or central part of modern Canada) and settled on the plains of the Southwest around 850 A.D. They finally settled in the deserts of the Great Basin, desert areas of the state of Sonora and Chihuahua (Lund, 2006).
Apache lived in houses called wickiups. The frame was covered with leaves and animal skins (Lund, 2006). Apaches worshiped many gods including Usen – the God who gave life. Men wore elaborate costumes to impersonate Usen in ritual dance. They consisted of a skirt, a black mask, and a high headdress of the boards. The entire body was painted, and there was a wooden sword in hands. All ceremonies were called "dancing." Among them, there were rain dance, maturation dance, harvest dance, and dance of spirits. Apachse were very religious and prayed on all possible occasions and in different ways. Recreated in human forms, spirits lived in a country of peace and plenty, without sorrow or death. When a tragedy or an epidemic happened, all the leaders asked who did something wrong, and it was the time to appease Usen. Sometimes, it was necessary to sacrifice (Lund, 2006).
Hunting for food, clothing, shelter, and blankets was a part of their daily lives. They hunted on deer, wild turkeys, rabbits, bison, bears, and mountain lions. They exchanged fat, meat, buffalo skin, salt from the desert as well as bone from which it was possible to make needles and scrapers for hides for the pottery, wool, turquoise, corn and other commodities from the Pueblo Indians. Sometimes, they just took what they saw. So, they became known among the residents of Pueblo as Apaches - "enemies." Apache gangster tactics were in their blood and were unmatched. Apaches’ name struck fear in the hearts of pueblo, and later – the Spanish, Americans, and British settlers, where they were attacked because of animals and food. Apaches and the Pueblo Indians had peaceful relations. Everything changed with the arrival of Spaniards. Spanish slave traders were the source of friction. In response, Apaches raided the Spanish settlements, stole their utensils, horses, guns, and slaves for themselves. The most famous chieftain was Geronimo, who for 25 years led the struggle against the U.S. invasion on the land of his tribe. He led many raids against Mexicans and against the U.S. Army (Claro, 1993).