Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1882 Chiricahua Apache
Subject: warrior
Culture: Chiricahua Apache
Setting: US-Apache wars, American Southwest 1854-1886

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Paterek 1994 p156
"The Chiricahua Apache live around the southern New Mexico/Arizona border and into Mexico.  They were composed of three bands: (1) the eastern or 'red paint people,' so-called because warriors painted a red band across the face; (2) the central or 'Wild Apaches'; (3) and the southern or 'Enemy Apaches.'  These bands all fought unceasingly against the Spanish and carried on a bitter war of revenge with U.S. troops from 1848 to 1886 when Geronimo, the last holdout, surrendered.  Highly mobile hunters, raiders, and gatherers, the Chiricahua Apache did no farming; indeed, the different bands were seldom in one place long enough to have planted or harvested crops.  Deer and pronghorn antelope were extremely important game animals, not only for food but also for their hides, which were made into rawhide and tanned skins for clothes.  Chiricahua is an Apache term for 'great mountain.'"

Costume (Headdress, Jewelry, Shirt, Boots)

* Paterek 1994 p156
"Early garments were of tanned skin -- a breechclout, which was sometimes a kilt shape rather than a fitted clout, a poncho, and simple leggings.  Since they lived near the Mexican border, frequently escaping across it, it is little wonder that the Chiricahua adopted and clung to the Mexican style of clothing, especially the men.  The situation is further complicated by the fact that little is known about very early clothing of the Chiricahua, and it is not known when they first began wearing Mexican-style clothes.  What lingers in the mind are the photographs of the fighters taken during the height of the bloody conflicts of the nineteenth century.  These men usually wore a white cotton shirt girdled with a leather belt or one or two cartridge belts.  Occasionally they wore a buckskin shirt with a laced neck closing.  Over the shirt a black vest or coat was often worn, indicative of the changeover to Anglo clothing.  To distinguish themselves from others, says Dutton, the Warm Springs men wore a buckskin band over the right shoulder, colored yellow with the sacred pollen of the cattail.  Leggings were really a part of the mocassins, forming boots.  An unusually large, white cotton breechcloth hung in front and behind: a particular Chiricahua feature was that the breechcloth was pulled around so it almost covered the entire back.  Pants were of the loose, Mexican type made of white cotton; by the end of the century, dark trousers were generally substituted."

* Paterek 1994 p158
"The Chiricahua men changed in the late nineteenth century from their Mexican-style garments to North American-style dress: trousers, cotton shirts, vests, and shoes.  Some adopted 'Western' garb, including cowboy hats, Levi's, plaid shirts, and cowboy boots."








* Paterek 1994 p157
"Armor, as such, was not worn by the Chiricahua warriors, but they carried a shield of painted rawhide or cowhide with a few feathers attached.  Some wore painted war shirts of leather."


* Bourke 1958
* Cremony 1968
* Gatewood ed. Kraft 2005
* Griffin-Pierce 2006
* Hook & Hook 1987
* Reedstrom 1990