Apache Tribe of Oklahoma
There is some disagreement among historians about the prehistory of the Apache tribe and ancestral lands. Some historians believe ancestral Apache split from their larger linguistic family in the Canadian Northwest Territory around 2,000 years ago and gradually moved into the plains of Canada and then later, into what is now the southwest United States. Oral tradition from the Plains Apaches and from the Kiowas says the Plains Apaches merged with the Kiowas in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Suggested dates for the entry of Apacheans onto the southern plains and southwest U.S. range between A.D. 1300 and 1500.
By the 1800s, pioneer pressure, diminished game and diseases such as smallpox and cholera ravaged tribal families. After a series of treaties, the Apache accepted confinement to a small reservation under the terms of the 1867 Medicine Lodge treaty. Because Plains Apache life depended upon communal hunting, individual farming proved disastrous to their social cohesion and land division and leasing plunged them into poverty. Boarding school education and missions took a further cultural toll with a resulting loss of language, ability and culture. Recovery of culture began with a revival of the Blackfeet Dancing Society in the late 1950s and continues to this day with other dances and powwow activities.