Wednesday, 13 July 2011


The Apaches lived in the desert environment of far West Texas. In the desert, it does not rain very often. When it does rain, it does not rain very much. Deserts do not have much water. Plants and animals need water to live. 
Then they have to move on to a new place to find more food. If there were a lot of people living together they might not be able to find enough food to live on. They would starve and some people would die. This is why the Apaches organized into small groups and did not organize into larger bands. A group ( a small number of people ) can live in the desert because a small number of people do not need very much food. A band with many more people would not be able to find enough food in a desert.The Apaches hunted and gathered food. They were not farmers. They did not plant crops like corn. Anthropologists call people who hunt and gather – get ready – hunter gatherers. Hunter gatherers hunt wild big animals and gather wild plants and very small animals for food. When they have caught and found all the food in an area they have to move on to a new place. People who move all the time and have no permanent homes are called nomads or nomadic people. Almost all hunter gathers are nomadic.The Lipan Apache Indians were organized into groups and there was not really an Lipan Apache tribe. There were no Lipan Apache leaders higher than the leader of each group. All the Apache groups spoke Apache, dressed in similar clothes and ate the same kinds of food. So all the groups were Apache and all these Apache groups together are what we should call the Apache culture. But, people who don’t know better still call the Apache a tribe. Now you know they are wrong. Sometimes the groups would BAND together to fight a common enemy. When this happened they might appoint a temporary leader over several groups and group leaders. With the Apaches this leader was always temporary. As soon as the fight was over the band would separate back into groups again. The Apaches were not the only Indian culture in Texas organized into groups. There are several others as you will see.
The Comanche Indians were organized as bands, not as groups or as a tribe. Each band had its own name. Each Comanche band had its own leader. There were groups of families in the bands. In the Comanche, groups or families could leave one band and join another. But, there was no one leader or chief over all the Comanche bands. Each band did what it wanted to when it wanted to. The bands might join together to fight a common enemy too big for just one band to fight. Sometimes several bands would camp together for a while. The Comanche were not the only Indian culture in Texas organized into bands. There are several others as you will see.
The Comanches did not live in a desert. The Comanches lived on the plains. A plain is an environment with a lot of open grass land. There are trees in spots and along the rivers and streams in the plains. The plains get regular rain and there is enough water for lots of grass, plants, and animals to live on. All the grass and water supported large herds of buffalo. With so many buffalo they are a good source of lots of food. Because there is a lot of food and water on the plains the Indians could live in larger bands and not in smaller groups. 
The Comanches were nomadic hunter-gatherers. They were nomadic because they followed the big herds of buffalo around. They were hunter - gatherers because they hunted buffalo and gathered some plants when they could. But, hunting buffalo was the best and easiest way to get lots of food on the plains. Crops like corn can be planted and grown along the rivers and streams in the plains. Some Indian cultures north of Texas did plant corn and crops on the plains. But, most hunted the buffalo because hunting buffalo was a easier way to get food on the plains of Texas than planting and raising crops.

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