Kin Groups and Descent. There are over fifty named exogamous matrilineal clans, which form three unnamed phratries. Clans were named after farm sites, and the phratries no doubt formed as a result of population spread and settlement of new farm sites. Clans functioned to regulate marriage, sponsor and support the ritual activities of their members, enact revenge, and aid in day-to-day cooperative work groups. Since clans tended to be localized within the same band, they operated at a restricted geographic level, but because the phratries were represented in all the subtribes, they provided weak cross-cutting ties among all the Western Apaches. Clans continue today to play some role in Western Apache politics, feuds, and ritual; the clan, however, is being supplemented by friendships for mutual economic support in ritual activities, and clan endogamous marriages occur.
Kinship Terminology. Cousin terminology is of the Iroquois type, with bifurcate collateral parental generation terms, emphasis being placed on parental-generation matrilateral kin with parental-generation patrilateral kin being merged into one category regardless of gender.