Apache Basketry, Terry DeWald American Indian Art. Tucson, AZ
Many books were written on the stories of hunting and trapping during the late 19th century. Many of these stories involve Apache raids and the failure of agreements with Americans and Mexicans. In the post-war era, the US government arranged for Apache children to be taken from their families for adoption by white Americans in assimilation programs. These were similar in nature to those involving the Stolen Generations of Australia.
All Apache peoples lived in extended family units (or family clusters); they usually lived close together, with each nuclear family in separate dwellings. An extended family generally consisted of a husband and wife, their unmarried children, their married daughters, their married daughters' husbands, and their married daughters' children. Thus, the extended family is connected through a lineage of women who live together (that is, matrilocal residence), into which men may enter upon marriage (leaving behind his parents' family).
All people in the Apache tribe lived in one of three types of houses. The first of which is the tee pee, for those who lived in the plains. Another type of housing is the wickiup, an 8-foot-tall (2.4 m) frame of wood held together with yucca fibers and covered in brush usually in the Apache groups in the highlands. If a family member lived in a wickiup and they died, the wickiup would be burned. The final housing is the hogan, an earthen structure in the desert area that was good for cool keeping in the hot weather of northern Mexico.
Influenced by the Plains Indians, Western Apaches wore animal hide decorated with seed beads for clothing. These beaded designs historically resembled that of the Great Basin Paiute and is characterized by linear patterning. Apache beaded clothing was bordered with narrow bands of glass seed beads in diagonal stripes of alternating colors. They made buckskin shirts, ponchos, skirts and moccasins and decorated them with colorful bead work.
Apache religious stories relate to two culture heroes (one of the Sun/fire:"Killer-Of-Enemies/Monster Slayer", and one of Water/Moon/thunder: "Child-Of-The-Water/Born For Water") that destroy a number of creatures which are harmful to humankind.
Another story is of a hidden ball game, where good and evil animals decide whether or not the world should be forever dark. Coyote, the trickster, is an important being that often has inappropriate behavior (such as marrying his own daughter, etc.) in which he overturns social convention. The Navajo, Western Apache, Jicarilla, and Lipan have an emergence or Creation Story, while this is lacking in the Chiricahua and Mescalero.*