Native Americans and Apache Heritage

A brief history of the Native American group

  • 15th century – the arrival of European colonizers
  • Continuous violent conflicts with the colonizers
  • August 1, 1758 – first Indian reservation established
  • Diseases such as smallpox and measles
  • Slavery forced relocation to spark further conflicts
  • 1911 onwards – continuous non-violent efforts for equality (“Native American timeline of events,” n.d.)

A brief history of the Apache Heritage group

  • Indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, Southwest US
  • The nomadic lifestyle, regular relocation, and travel
  • From the 1730s – conflict with the Spaniards
  • 1743 – offered land in Texas
  • Raids and slaughters until the mid-20th century
  • Few thousands survived by the late 20th century (“Apache Indians,” n.d.)

Values of the Native American group

  • Spirituality affects beliefs and choices.
  • Traditions and heritage perceived as important
  • Respect for elders and nature
  • Patience and orientation to present
  • Respect individual traits and differences
  • Culture of mutualism and solidarity (“Traditional Native American values and behaviors,” n.d.)

Values of the Apache Heritage group

  • Similar to Native American values
  • History and heritage of the predecessors
  • Solidarity and unity against difficulties
  • Spirituality and traditions guide their lives
  • Respect for elders in family/community
  • Closeness and blood ties are important (Mescalero Apache tribe, 2017)

The worldview of the culture

  • Respect for nature and its resources
  • Mutualism and closeness within communities
  • Importance of history and traditions
  • Continuous efforts against discrimination and stereotyping
  • Language and expressive culture are important
  • Appreciation of differences and individuality

Language and communication patterns: Native American

  • Language heritage depends on the tribe
  • Multiple languages and dialects exist
  • Silence is valued more than talk
  • A respectful and mindful approach to communication
  • Vocabulary closely tied to the original location
  • Different communication schemes among tribes

Language and communication patterns: Apache Heritage

  • 5 different Apachean languages
  • All languages, either endangered or extinct
  • Different pronunciation and inscription within the group
  • Characterized by limited vocabulary/sound variety
  • Follows language patterns of the native group
  • Variety of accents and tones

Art and other expressive forms of the cultural Group

  • Creativity was highly inspired by spirituality
  • Appreciation of nature among major themes
  • Paintings (sand paintings, leather designs)
  • Art depended on natural resources available
  • Pottery provided access to clay
  • Basketry/wood carving in most tribes (“Native American art,” n.d.)

Art and other expressive forms of the socio-cultural group

  • Nomad tribe, shaped by constant travel
  • Mostly dresses, ceremonies, and dance
  • Art used to celebrate tradition/history.
  • Dance and songs using elaborate costumes
  • Techniques and styles passed between generations.
  • Puberty Rite Ceremony considered important (Mescalero Apache tribe, 2017)

Norms and rules

  • It is highly dependent on the specific tribe.
  • A great variation of norms across tribes
  • Openwork ethic, nonmaterialistic orientation
  • Respect for nature and resources
  • Patience and humbleness are crucial.
  • Hasty or aggressive behavior is criticized (“Traditional Native American values and behaviors,” n.d.)

Lifestyle characteristics

  • Live a humble lifestyle, avoid large cities.
  • Small communities to ensure closeness
  • Comfortable with just the basic necessities
  • Respect resources and the environment
  • Affectionate, supportive communities and families
  • High levels of social unity (“Traditional Native American values and behaviors,” n.d.)

Relationship patterns

  • Respect for the elderly people
  • The experience passed on from elders to youths.
  • Affective rather than verbal communication
  • Strong social support within the community
  • People share similar values and beliefs.
  • Mutual respect and support in relationship

Common rituals

  • Rituals and traditions depend on the tribe
  • Death ceremonies are part of spiritual tradition.
  • Green Corn Ceremonies in most tribes
  • Puberty rituals in nomad tribes
  • Healing rituals common in all tribes
  • The Ghost Dance – a symbol of hope

Degree of assimilation from mainstream society

  • Forced assimilation by the government
  • The General Allotment Act of 1887
  • Forced adoption of European values/lifestyle
  • Caused the strengthening of indigenous identity
  • Assimilation through education (boarding schools)
  • Preservation of cultural and linguistic identity

Degree of marginalization from mainstream society

  • Persistent racism against Native Americans
  • Past history of conflict and marginalization
  • Cautious behavior towards other communities
  • Social/economic injustice contribute to the marginalization
  • Native American rights efforts and movements
  • The decline of cultural identity in youths

Health behaviors and practices

  • A disproportionate burden of certain diseases
  • High-risk behaviors prevalent throughout the group
  • Widespread tobacco smoking and physical inactivity
  • Unhealthy nutritional choices leading to obesity
  • Low fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Impaired health-seeking behavior, e.g., cancer screening (Cobb, Espey, King, 2014)

Differential approaches needed by health care professionals for each group

  • Promote health-seeking behaviors within the group
  • Ensure culturally appropriate care (transcultural nursing)
  • Promote knowledge of healthy behaviors
  • Adapt interventions for the specific group
  • Ensure further research of health behaviors/interventions
  • Strengthen primary prevention in indigenous communities (Cobb et al., 2014).


Apache Indians. (n.d.). Web.

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Cobb, N., Espey, D., & King, J. (2014). Health behaviors and risk factors among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2000–2010. Journal Information, 104(3), 481-489.

Mescalero Apache Tribe. (2017). Our culture. Web.

Native American art. (n.d.). Web.

Native American timeline of events. (n.d.). Web.

Traditional Native American values and behaviors. (n.d.). Web.

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