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American Indian Film Gallery

Cultures of Apache tribes and Hopi tribes

Emalie Schaefer, Author

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Apache Cooking

The Western Apache were hunters and gatherers. They learned agriculture from neighboring tribes, but practiced it on a very small scale since they were a semi-nomadic people. They moved often in search of water, to hunt, and wild plant food. They never relied on crops as their sole or primary food supply.  Food was also obtained by trading with and raiding other tribes, mainly the pueblo Indians who were farmers. 

Wild Plant Food
: Mescal(agave), acorns, mesquite pods, prickly pear fruit, saguaro fruit, banana yucci fruit, pinon nuts, juniper berries, walnut, herbs, amaranth and their greens, wild onions.

Cultivated foods: corn, pumpkins, sunflowers, beans, melons, wheat, barley, and potatoes.    

Hunting (meat): deer, pronghorn, elk, bighorn sheep, rabbits, squirrels, fowl, and bears.   

Bread was made from a type of flour made from a mixture of wild grasses and crushed wild potatoes.  The agave plant was prepared by trimming the heads of the spines, cooking them in a fire pit, after which they were rolled into flat sheets and dried in the sun.  Acorn dumplings were made by crushing the acorns into a powder and mixing it with meat and fat and rolling it into a ball.

There were certain things the Apache would not eat. It was taboo for the Apache to eat fish or waterfowl, due to their fear
of water which was associated with thunder.  Eating bear meat was also considered taboo by most Apache groups.

Traditional foods are still eaten by the Apache today, but as with any other community in the United States, modern American fare is the norm.

This video titled, Apache, references cultivating, it starts at 1:29 into the video and ends 1:40. This video was provided by the American Indian Film Gallery. *

*(Daggett, Avalon. Apache.Video. Avalon Daggett Productions. American Indian Film Gallery. 1953, medium.)



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