About Apache Beliefs

By Leigh Kelley

The Apache Indians have a very strong belief system that is deeply rooted in their history. Apache beliefs are a very complex system of rules and ideals that have been handed down from generation to generation. Many of the beliefs remain the same today as they have always been. Rituals, traditions, ceremonies and dances are all integral parts of Apache beliefs.

The Facts

The Apache Indians believe that every major event in life should be marked. his is done by holding Generally, this is done with a ceremony or ritual in which all of the tribe members participate. While the Apache Indians don't believe in God, they do believe in spirits and they have a very distinct belief in what is good and what is evil.

History of

The Apache traditions and belief system have remained the same over time. The beliefs and traditions are handed down from one generation to the next. Many of the Apache beliefs can be traced to long before Columbus came to America in 1492. Some Apache tribes have adapted to modern American ways. Even in these tribes, you will still find the same belief systems and traditions. The only difference is that some of the tribe members wear American clothing at all times except during traditional ceremonies and rituals when they wear traditional Apache dress.


Many people believe that the Apache Indians didn't have any type of religious beliefs. This is untrue. While the Apache Indians didn't believe in God, they did believe in spirits. The Apache believed that when a tribe member passed away, they stayed with the tribe as a spirit. They believed that the spirits provided them with everything they had or needed. They would ask the spirits for things and thank them for providing these things through rituals, such as dances.


The Apache Indians had a dual belief system. They believed that spirits of tribe members who have passed on live among the tribe to protect and provide. They also believed in a good and evil system in which everything, including animals, were either good or evil. For example, owls, snakes and coyote were considered evil while buffalo and fish are considered good. Everything that the Apache people did was centered around this dual belief system.


The Apache Indians practiced their beliefs in stylized rituals and ceremonies, many of which were to communicate with the spirits. There are two types of Apache traditions, formal and informal. Formal traditions, often called rituals or dances, were meant to communicate essential needs to the spirits. These included rain dances and crop dances. Informal traditions or ceremonies, were used to mark certain rites of passage. These included the ceremony to mark a boy's passage into manhood. Many of these ceremonies were overseen by a shaman or medicine man.