The Chiricahua are an Athapaskan-speaking American Indian group whose traditional homeland was located in present-day southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, southwestern Texas, and the adjacent areas of northern Mexico. At the beginning of the nineteenth century they numbered about one thousand.

During the latter half of that century the Chiricahua engaged in an extended period of warfare with the United States that finally ended in 1886 when they surrendered and began serving a twenty-seven-year term as prisoners of war in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). In 1913 they were freed and given the choice of remaining in Oklahoma or relocating to the Mescalero Reservation in southern New Mexico. In the 1980s about five hundred Chiricahua were living in Oklahoma and an indeterminate, but small number were living with Mescalero and Lipan Apache on the Mescalero Reservation. The tribal government on this reservation consists of an elected president, vice president, and an eight-member advisory council.

Originally, the Chiricahua earned their subsistence Primarily through hunting and gathering, but in later historic times they also practiced some agriculture. Deer, taken with bows and arrows, were the most important game animals.

Chiricahua society was organized into three bands, each of which was composed of several extended families. Formal political authority extended no further than the level of band leaders who wielded influence on the basis of their recognized wisdom and skill in warfare. The Chiricahua believed in Numerous supernatural beings; religious leadership was provided by male and female shamans who specialized in certain types of ceremonies and cures.

See also Mescalero Apache


Betzinez, John, with Wilbur Sturtevant (1987). I Fought with Geronimo. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.

Opler, Morris E. (1965). An Apache Life-Way. New York: Cooper Square Publishers.

Also read article about Chiricahua from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

I am looking for my indian roots. i was told we were Chiricahua Indian and my GG Grandfather was a war indian and relocated to Oklahoma. His name was Nieche, not sure if its spelled right, pronounced Ni-E-Chi. He would have had to be born in the early 1800's. I was told he was in an Indian Museum in Oklahoma. Does anyone else have further info for me?? Trying to locate our family roots.
Thanks for any info you have.

i was told i was a chiricahua my grandmother taken from the reserve in florida to go to white man school there is no more reservation anymore there the apache headquarters in new mexico of arizona said we exist no more i just want to belong somewhere to learn what it is suppose to be like i hope you read this if not i know another is somewhere
I have to write a ten page repot about Chiricahua Apache Indians. Thanks for this info.
I'm writing a horror story. The main character is an Apache boy. I'm glad to learn that they believed in supernatural beings in real life. This explains a lot of what I needed to learn.
my grandfather tells me stories how hes ancestor is geronimo he went to ask for hes nationality in new Mexico but has yet to go back and get blood tested how can me and mother convince him to go back or check for him

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