The Apache Indians were a large nation with many different tribes that resulted in many different traditions and cultures. Located mostly throughout the Southwest, including present-day Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Northern Mexico and some of Oklahoma. Although the word ‘apache’ was propagandized to mean ‘enemy’ the word is actually Apachean for ‘people’. Most people remember the most famous Apache, Geronimo.
The Bow
Apache bows were very durable, made with mulberry or cedar wood and buffalo sinews. To make them was a very involved process taking up to 10 days. They would cut it, form it, die it, dry it, and let it bake and “cure” for 8 to 10 days. The strings were often Buffalo skins or internal structures such as the gut. They also wrapped the wood in the sinews because it protected the bow to make it last longer while giving the arrow extra propulsion.

Only the men were allowed to fashion the bows because it was the men who were going to use them both for warfare and hunting. They were large, ranging between 42 and 44 inches long.


The Arrow
The first arrows were made of stone, usually black obsidian. They were created with notches on the sides, meant to enter deeply and to draw a lot of blood, which was perfect for attacking enemies and for breaching the tough skin of deer and buffaloes.


With the arrival of the Europeans, Native Americans saw the usefulness of using metal to fashion arrowheads. Later, the metal from the metal hoops on wooden barrels that carried supplies for the U.S. Army provided ample stock of metal for arrowheads. They were easy to make, which made them easier to produce during actual warfare.


Also with the arrival of Europeans, horses became useful to the native people. Among other changes to the Indian culture, Apaches developed new designs of arrowheads to be used in a spear-like manner from on top of a horse.


War, Raiding, Hunting
Apaches used their weapons in three main manners: warfare, raiding, hunting. The first was warfare. Indian warfare however was very different from the traditional military warfare we are usually familiar with. They aimed not to completely annihilate their opposition, they simply aimed to prove superiority and protect their land, people and culture from intruding tribes, however a killing was the ultimate act of revenge and justified in Apache law. Wars were not ‘won or lost’ necessarily and the warriors were always in anticipation of the next attack.

Alternatively, raiding was to gain wealth and honor, as well as helping the less fortunate within their tribe. The stealing of horses, land, and people proved the superiority of a tribe. Raiding required sneakiness, stealth and organization because the ‘missions’ were completed in the middle of the night, often right under the nose of their enemies as they slept.

Apaches, from the Southwest region of North America, hunted mostly deer and buffalo. Since both of these creatures were fast, dangerous, and tough skinned, it was vital that the Apaches develop their bows and arrows to kill in one shot.
Modernization of Apache Lifestyle

With the arrival of Europeans to the Apache lands, the Apache traditions were changed forever. The Apache were the second tribe to adopt the use of horses, a skill they learned from the Pueblo. The Lipan Apache began to receive muskets after 1750 through trades with tribes from east Texas. There was an abundance of these muskets in the area—the French had a large trading presence along major waterways such as the Red River. As early as thirty years later, the Lipan were regarded as expert marksmen and every man was said to own a gun.

The combination of horses and guns to the Apache culture resulted in increased strength of the Apache fighters. Still, they were no match for the Europeans and in 1886 the Apache Wars ended with the surrender of Geronimo. This loss lead to the final dissemination of the tribe and their movement onto reservations.
In Context of the Hasty Arrow
By the time the book was written, the Apache had been broken into smaller groups. Many of them ended up as prisoners of war at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma following the end of the Apache Wars. From after the Civil War until about 1921, the Apache Scouts were a vital resource for the United States military. The Apache Scouts were required, after 1917, to enlist for seven years just like their regular Army counterparts. In 1917, Captain James A. Shannon of the 11th Cavalry wrote:

"The Indian cannot be beaten at his own game. But in order to get results, he must be allowed to play that game in his own way. You tell a troop of white soldiers there is a enemy a thousand yards in your front and they will go straight at him without questions. The Indian under the same circumstance wants to look it all over first. He want to go to one side and take a look. Then to the other side and take a look. He is like a wild animal stalking its prey. Before he advances he wants to know just what is in his front. This extreme caution which we don't like to see in the white man, is one of the qualities that makes him a perfect scout. It would be almost impossible to surprise an outfit that had a detachment of Apache scouts in its front."

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