The Athabascan people who came from Asia about 35,000 years ago across Beringia were of the Nadene language group, and as they migrated into Alaska and NW Canada the sub-families of Tlingit, Eyak, and Haida remained there.

The Athabascans themselves consider the migration story to be a myth and that they have always been here. There is new evidence that migration across Beringia was in both directions. [rainbow]

These early people are now the Ingalik, Koyukon, Tanana, Holikachuk, Gwich'in, Han, Upper Tanana, Ahtna and Tanaina, with Gwich'in, Ingalik and Ahtna as separate cultures. The Athabascan, which are the largest sub-family, spread farther east across Canada.

"The People" - Dine'e - (now Navajo) diverged from this group about 700-1000 years ago. The first Athabascans arrived about 1350 AD in the Southwest. The b is pronounced as p and there is no written p in the Athabascan (Navajo and Apache) language.

Next arrivals came into southern Colorado, and some went on to southwest Kansas, the Oklahoma panhandle, and central-west Texas. These became known as Kiowa-Apache, and as an item of interest the Kiowa have a connection to the Hopi through a language group. We are assembling a chart to show these relationships.

Those moving further into southwest Texas, the Lipan Apache. Into north-central New Mexico came the Jicarilla Apache and the Navajo. The main distinction in the Athabascan groups in America is the Navajo are agrarian/pastoral and the Apache are hunter/gatherers.

A basic cultural difference between the Athabascan and Hisatsinom, who are called Anasazi by the Dineh, and who almost collided again in New Mexico is: The Hisatsinom were concerned with the group as a whole, with not much regard for the individual. The Navajo/Apache cousins, who are a single ethnic group, consider the individual more important. Yet it is claimed that all groups originated in Asia.

Upon finding the deserted ruins at Chaco Canyon the Navajo declared the name "Anasazi" and said that it meant "ancient enemy."

The Navajo were joined by many other groups in the area, and at the last by Utes and Mexicans.

What's in a name?
Apache is from the Zuni word "apachu" which means . . . enemy. Then the Spaniards named the Apache bands according to their traits or locale: Mescalero, for the mescale gatherers, several tribes for the closest mountain, "Apache de Jicarilla" for their baskets, and the "Apache de Navaju" which they borrowed from the Tewa word - "Navaju" meaning "the arroyo with the cultivated fields." Isn't it interesting that these peoples who claim precedence accept the names given by late-comers? Research continues and updates will be added.

See the Four Corners Clamor: Main Index for more recent discoveries
and events concerning Native American Indians.
For beautiful authentic scenes of these early peoples see the
Mark Silversmith Gallery.
Mark researches the tribes and portrays their lives of then and now.
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