Baskets were important to the Apache, who relied on them to transport their belongings.

What Are Some Apache Indian Family Activities?

by Candice Coleman

The Apache Indian tribe has largely settled in the Southwestern United States, mostly in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. Though the tribe traditionally referred to its people as the "Ndee," the name "Apache," or "enemy," was given to the tribe by its Zuni neighbors. You and your children can celebrate your Apache heritage, or learn about the tribe's daily life and practices, by engaging in Apache family activities and crafts together.

1. Beading Craft Items

The Apache tribe is known for its beading work. If old clothing is lying around collecting dust, transform it into an Apache-style garment. Supervise your tots as you transform old shirts and jeans. Make several fringes, or vertical cuts, starting from the bottom of a shirt or dress. Slip beads onto these fringes and tie at the ends. The Apache liked shell jewelry; take a string and slip shell-style beads onto it to create a necklace. Supervise toddlers and preschoolers at all times with this craft.

2. Games

Coordination and strength were important for Apache boys and girls, who had to learn how to defend their tribe from attackers. Gather the family and make a mark on the ground to play "Toe Toss Stick." Each person balances a stick on his toe and attempts to toss it as high as possible. The stick should land on the mark. Whoever can toss the stick the highest and get it to land on the mark wins. In "Foot Toss Ball," each family member balances a pebble on her toe and attempts to see how far or how high she can toss it. Use soft objects so toddlers can play.

3. Story-Telling

Story-telling was an important part of Apache life; stories and myths were used to teach lessons, to entertain and to inspire. The Origin of Fire tells the story of the fox, who learned to steal fire from fireflies and, with the assistance of other animals, spread it all across the Earth. Another myth explains how a coyote disguised as a dog secretly released all of a powerful being's buffalo into the wild. Share these stories over a campfire to relive the story-telling experience of the Apache.

4. Basketry

The Apache were a nomadic tribe, often packing up belongings and traveling to new places to live. Apache women wove strong baskets to support heavy loads, which they wore slung across their backs. They decorated these baskets using dyes created from plants. Use non-toxic paints to decorate a basket, available at craft stores. Ask your tots what kinds of items the Apache may have put in their baskets. What was important to them? Consider the myths of the Apache, as well as their diet, in considering what may have been in their baskets.

About the Author

Candice Coleman worked in the public school system as a middle school and high school substitute teacher. In addition to teaching, she is also a tutor for high school and college students.

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