Apache Annotated Bibliography
By Monica Farmer, December 16, 2002
Apaches arrived in the Southwest about 600 years ago as hunter-gatherers,
infilling land that had become too difficult to farm. They drifted down from
adapted to the new land. Their rock art can be seen throughout southern New
and west Texas. In Arizona,
the Apaches formed groups located in eastern and southern Arizona,
Western and Chiricahua Apache. Although the two clans were diverse in language
and social organization, they both fought vigorously for their livelihood
and have left us with few remains of their culture for research. The sources
that follow contain insights into the imprints they left on the surfaces of
1998 Signs of Life: Rock Art of the Rio
Grande. Ancient City Press, Santa
Fe, New Mexico.
The Apaches acquired ideas about religion and inspiration for their ceremonial
art from their Pueblo neighbors.
The rock art is scattered over a large area and according to Polly Schaafsma
“the work at these sites represents a rather miscellaneous collection of rock
art paintings and petroglyphs obviously relatively recent in origin, but often
so limited or undiagnostic in context and style
that…one cannot always be certain who made them.” Common elements of their
art include small animals, lizards, snakes, bison, masks, abstract designs,
and rider and horse. An anthropomorph figure with a sunburst headdress and
carrying staffs is assumed to be associated with shamanistic practices. Apache
rock art can be found in Texas
and New Mexico (Slifer
1992 Rock Art in New
Mexico. Museum of New Mexico Press, Santa
Fe, New Mexico.
The Apache petroglyphs of red stick dancers are drawn close to the base of
the cliffs. The figures closely resemble the petroglyphs of Lincoln
County. Other Apache rock art
found in New Mexico include
the hourglass shaped with large buffalo-horned headdresses and carry staffs.
Other images have ceremonial themes and include a sun face painted red and
yellow (Schaafsma 1992:79). The horse is represented
frequently. A large number of abstract elements at Apache rock art sites
are found in southern New Mexico
including solid triangles and parallel wavy lines. The elements are believed
to contain ceremonial or religious symbolism (Schaafsma
1980 Indian Rock Art of the Southwest. University of
New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Apache rock art is scattered from southern Arizona,
southern New Mexico, northern
Chihuahua, and west Texas.
Drawings are commonly done is dry charcoal, usually in black. White paint
is used in Hueco Tanks. Horses and riders are frequently represented similar
to Navajo rock art. The hourglass design found in Apache rock art “parallels
in meaning its counterpart in Navajo iconography, as the symbol of Born-for-Water”
(Schaafsma 1980:335). Apache rock art sites are
characterized by “solidly portrayed figures and a liberal use of thick white
paint.” Human figures are depicted with rabbit-eared or feathered headdresses
that may be related to victory celebration rites (Schaafsma 1980:336). The mask representations may be copies
of late Pueblo work from the upper
Rio Grande. Black and white shields
of southeastern Arizona are
said to have ceremonial themes. A similar theme is said to occur in the San
with small figures scattered at random (Schaafsma 1980:337). Anthropomorphs are depicted with sunburst
headdress or halo motifs are supremely shamanistic in character and meaning.
Shamans receive their power from the sun and the halo is associated visionary
experiences (Schaafsma 1980:339). Apache rock art
sites containing symbolism may be a focus for religious activity and sacred
to them. “Men go to pray, in which the sun, moon, stars, and mountain spirits
are depicted on the walls” (Schaafsma 1980:341).
Peter, Pilles J. Jr.
1998 Verde Incised: A Possible Apache Rock Art Style
in the Verde
Coconino National Forest.
With the work of Grenville Goodwin and E. W. Gifford
it was discovered that the Verde
Valley, where 127 rock art sites
have been found, was a site for traditional Apaches. A style has risen associated
with the Western Tonto Apache that consist of geometric,
zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic designs visible through “broad, deeply incised,
straight lines” (Pilles 1998:abstract). This new
defined style appears in soft stone at sites where other petroglyphs occur
but rarely over other rock art (Pilles 1998:Verde Incised). These
petroglyphs resembling awl and axe grooves are comprised of mostly of single
lines and curved lines appearing less frequently (Pilles
1998:Element Study). Drilled holes or dots are seen
as well. “The familiar entoptic element, the basic building blocks of much rock art,
as well as visual communication systems, form the dominant elements of the
Verde Incised Style” (Pilles 1998:Element Study).
Other elements of the style are unique to a particular site. The rock art
style is localized in the Verde
Valley, mostly in the southern
portion of the valley (Pilles 1998:Distrubution).
This rock art style is attributed to Apaches or Yavapi
due to the pottery discovered at the sites (Pilles
1998:Cultural Affiliation). Dots, lines, zig-zag,
squiggle lines, and crosses of Verde Incised Style share similarities with
other Apache rock art and images found on their basketry. Further evidence
supports these findings.
Altschul, Jeffery H., Marie Cottrell,
Clement W. Meighem, and Ronald
1993 The Garden Project: Studies at Two Rockshelters at Fort
Southeastern Arizona. Statistical Research, Tucson, Arizona.
All rock art located in Garden
Canyon was painted. Tabulation
of the elements can be seen on Table 1.1 of page 1-11. Apache Councilman
Ernest Victor Jr. identified the crown dancer (Altschul
et al. 1993:Discussion of Individual Elements).
Apache informants identified large bird figures at Garden
Canyon as being golden eagles because
of their barred tails that are over 2 meters long and have a religious significance.
The birds are white and over lay red figures that are interpreted to be small
human figures with elaborate head-dresses. Within Apache rock art, “dry charcoal
line drawings and painting are common, and although a range of colors occurs,
a heavy black pigment is characteristic” (Altschul
et al.1993:Squence of Dating). Apache rock art is
found in regions east of Fort Huachuca
to Hueco Tanks in Texas. The
rock art is found throughout the Coronado
National Forest. Common elements
of the Apache rock art style include: horses and riders, shields, bison, snakes,
lizards, masks, “thunderbirds”, hourglass designs, and small unidentifiable
animals. Kachina masks are common in Apache style as well. The Garden Canyon
Pictograph Site was used as a place of religious importance to the Apaches
(Altschul et al. 1993:Conclusion:
Uses and Meaning). There is no proof of residential or domestic usage at
Brown, Roy B.
Del Diablo, Janos,
Chihuahua: A Historic Apache
Site? In Rock Art of the Chihuahuan
Desert Borderlands, edited by Sheron Smith-Savage and Robert J. Mallouf,
pp. 45-53. Center for Big Bend Studies,
In Cerro del Diablo near Janos,
rock art findings suggest that the site is Apache in origin. At the site,
there are neither potsherds nor adobe architecture (Brown 1998:46). At the
rock art site scrapers, knives, cores, and stone bivouacs were found. The
rock art is composed are “geometric designs, different types of anthropomorphs
and zoomorphic figures and what may well be symbolic images, scratched, pecked,
or carved into the faces of the bare rock” (Brown 1998:47). Panels of rock
seemed to be used repeatedly, making details difficult to distinguish (Figure
4 and 5). Element that can be identified are parallel and wavy lines (Figure
6), circles (Figures 7-11), crosses (Figure 12), and triangles (Figure 13).
Humans are represented as a stick figure (Brown 1998:47). “The cross may be related to Venus or Patoli, a pre-Hispanic game
of chance and divination” (Brown 1998:50). Identifying an Apache rock
art site is often done by comparing the petroglyphs with other known Apache
artifacts, such as Apache baskets (Brown 1998:52).
Laumbach, Karl W.
2001 Fire Fight at Hembrillo
Basin. Archaeology. November/December:34-39.
In 1987 a crew from Human Systems Research, Inc discovered Apache rock art
in Hembrillo Canyon
of the White Sands
At the site “painted images of mounted warriors and miniature depictions of
cougar, javelina, deer, and dragonflies” can be seen. The images indicate
the site was sacred to Native Americans.