Present-day Lipan Apaches mostly live throughout the U.S. Southwest, in Texas, and on the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation in Arizona, as well as with the Mescalero tribe on the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico. The San Carlos and Mescalero tribes have federal recognition. The Lipan Apache Tribe is a state-recognized tribe headquartered in McAllen, Texas. Some Lipans also live in urban and rural areas throughout North America (Mexico, United States and Canada).
Official Tribal Name: Lipan Apache Tribe
Recognition Status: State Recognized
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The Lipan Apache Tribe is a federally recognized tribe. They have established tribal governments under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (25 U.S.C. 461-279), also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act, and they successfully withstood attempts by the U.S. government to implement its policy during the 1950s of terminating Indian tribes.
They were granted U.S. citizenship under the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924. They did not legally acquire the right to practice their Native religion until the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 (42 U.S.C. 1996). Other important rights, and some attributes of sovereignty, have been restored to them by such legislation as the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1966 (25 U.S.C. 1301), the Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act of 1975 (25 U.S.C. 451a), and the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (25 U.S.C. 1901).
The Wheeler-Howard Act, however, while allowing some measure of self-determination in their affairs, has caused problems for virtually every Indian nation in the United States, and the Apaches are no exception. The act subverts traditional Native forms of government and imposes upon Native people an alien system, which is something of a mix of American corporate and governmental structures.
Invariably, the most traditional people in each tribe have had little to say about their own affairs, as the most heavily acculturated and educated mixed-blood factions have dominated tribal affairs in these foreign imposed systems.
Frequently these tribal governments have been little more than convenient shams to facilitate access to tribal mineral and timber resources in arrangements that benefit everyone but the Native people, whose resources are exploited. The situations and experiences differ markedly from tribe to tribe in this regard, but it is a problem that is, in some measure, shared by all.
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For the Apaches, the family is the primary unit of political and cultural life. Apaches have never been a unified nation politically, and individual Apache tribes, until very recently, have never had a centralized government, traditional or otherwise.
Extended family groups acted entirely independently of one another. At intervals during the year a number of these family groups, related by dialect, custom, inter-marriage, and geographical proximity, might come together, as conditions and circumstances might warrant.
In the aggregate, these groups might be identifiable as a tribal division, but they almost never acted together as a tribal division or as a nation—not even when faced with the overwhelming threat of the Comanche migration into their Southern Plains territory.
The existence of these many different, independent, extended family groups of Apaches made it impossible for the Spanish, the Mexicans, or the Americans to treat with the Apache Nation as a whole. Each individual group had to be treated with separately, an undertaking that proved difficult for each colonizer who attempted to establish authority within the Apache homeland.
- Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
- Aravaipa Apache – See San Carlos Apache Tribe
- Bedonkohe – (Chiricahua Apache Band name)
- Chiricahua – (Also See San Carlos Apache Tribe, White Mountain Apache Tribe, and Fort Sill Apache Tribe)
- Choctaw-Apache of Ebarb
- Fort McDowell Mohave-Apache Community of the Fort McDowell Indian Reservation
- Fort Sill Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
- Jicarilla Apache Nation
- Kiowa-Apache – (Also see Apache Tribe of Oklahoma.)
- Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation
- Lipan Apache
- San Carlos Apache Tribe of the San Carlos Reservation
- Tonto Apache Tribe of Arizona (Western Apache)
- White Mountain Apache Tribe of the Fort Apache Reservation
- Yavapai-Apache Nation of the Camp Verde Indian Reservation
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Apache women were chaste before marriage. Apache culture is matrilineal. Once married, the man went with the wife’s extended family, where she is surrounded by her relatives.
Spouse abuse is practically unknown in such a system. Should the marriage not endure, child custody quarrels are also unknown: the children remain with the wife’s extended family.
Marital harmony is encouraged by a custom forbidding the wife’s mother to speak to, or even be in the presence of, her son-in-law. No such stricture applies to the wife’s grandmother, who frequently is a powerful presence in family life.
Albuquerque Museum in Albuquerque, New Mexico
American Research Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Art Center in Roswell, New Mexico
Bacone College Museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma
Black Water Draw Museum in Portales, New Mexico
Coronado Monument in Bernalillo, New Mexico
Ethnology Museum in Santa Fe, NM
Fine Arts Museum in Santa Fe, NM
Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Great Plains Museum in Lawton, Oklahoma
Hall of the Modern Indian in Santa Fe, NM
Heard Museum of Anthropology in Phoenix, Arizona
Indian Hall of Fame in Anadarko, Oklahoma
Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM
Maxwell Museum in Albuquerque, NM
Milicent Rogers Museum in Taos, New Mexico
Northern Arizona Museum in Flagstaff, AZ
Oklahoma Historical Society Museum in Oklahoma City, OK
Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, OK
Southern Plains Indian Museum in Anadarko, OK
State Museum of Arizona in Tempe, AZ
Stovall Museum at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK
San Carlos Apache Cultural Center in Peridot, Arizona.
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