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The Chiricahua Apache are a section of the Apache tribe known as eastern Apache. The Chiricahua Apache tribe had about 2,500 members at its largest. That number has been reduced to around 600 members of full Chiricahua descendance today. The tribe is divided into about 3 bands which include between 10-30 families each. Today, the Chiricahua Apache are located mostly in large communities.
The Chiricahua Apache were first located in the Dragoon Mountains. The Chiricahua moved west of the Rio Grande into Arizona, New Mexico, and Northern Mexico in the next years to expand their territory. In 1861, the Chiricahua Apache and the U.S. military began a war which came to an end with the tribe being held prisoners for 27 years in Florida, Alabama, and Oklahoma. The tribe was then released to settlements in Oklahoma and the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico where the majority of the tribe live today.
The Chiricahua National Monument is a gathering of volcanic rock formations for 19 square miles. These formations lie in the heart of the land the tribe used as hiding ground form the military in the days of colonization.
English and Apache, which is part of the Athabascan family.
Two of the most well known tribal leaders are Cochise and Geronimo. Cochise led the Chiricahua Apache in wars against the U.S. military from 1861 to 1865. His acts against the movements of the government into the southwest rewarded him the great honor of Apache chief until his surrender to the government in 1872. Geronimo also helped in raids against the people invading the Chiricahua territory in the later 1800’s. He succeeded until his surrender in 1886. The wars between the Chiricahua Apache and the U.S. military forced the tribe to change its lifestyle to the ways of the newly colonized world.
-“Chiricahua.” The New Encyclopedia Britannnica. 1998. Ed.