Although descended from the same group, the term Apache refers to several culturally related but distinct groups of Native Americans who once ranged over eastern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, New Mexico, Texas and the southern Great Plains.
The Apache tribe consists of six subtribes: the Western Apache, Chiricahua, Mescalero, Jicarilla, Lipan and Kiowa. The groups had little political unity, speaking different languages and occasionally even entering into wars with other Apachean tribes.
The term Apache comes from the Yuma word for fighting-men and the Zuni word meaning enemy. Native names vary with each tribe but is usually a variation of Inde, Tinde or Tinneh (all meaning the people).
Apachean warriors were historically very powerful, opposing the Spaniards and Mexicans for centuries, and gaining a reputation as skilful strategists during 19th confrontations with the U.S. Army.