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How did Apache get married?

The Apache tribe, one of the indigenous communities of North America, had a unique way of approaching marriage. In Apache culture, marriage served a greater purpose beyond just uniting two people in love. Marriage was a merging of two families and reinforced social ties within the community.

In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating marriage customs of the Apache tribe, including their courtship rituals, wedding ceremonies, and post-wedding life.

Courtship Rituals

In Apache culture, courtship was a process that started among family members. Young men often sought advice from their mothers or female relatives on how to approach a woman they were interested in. The potential groom would then visit the young woman’s family with a gift, such as a blanket or horse.

If the woman was interested in the man, she might return the gift with a piece of clothing she had made. If the gift was woven, she would offer one of her own blankets as a sign of interest.

From there, the man would continue to visit the woman’s family, often bringing additional gifts. This would continue until the woman’s family deemed the man suitable for their daughter.

The Wedding Ceremony

Once the couple was approved by the woman’s family, the wedding ceremony would take place. The Apache tribe did not have a formal or structured wedding ceremony, but instead, it typically took on the form of a gathering.

During the gathering, the groom would present the woman with additional gifts as a sign of his commitment to her. The couple would then join hands in front of all the witnesses and exchange vows.

The wedding was not complete without a feast, which included traditional Apache foods such as roasted deer meat, acorn mush, and mesquite beans. The couple would then be considered married and would begin their life together under Apache law.

Post-Wedding Life

After the wedding, the newlyweds would move in with the groom’s family. The bride would be expected to take on the responsibilities of a wife, including cooking, cleaning, and tending to children and livestock.

The groom would be responsible for hunting and providing for his family. Though women were not excluded from hunting and warfare, these were predominantly male responsibilities.

Divorce was not uncommon in the Apache community, but it was typically the woman who initiated it. If a woman was unhappy in her marriage, she could pack up her belongings and move back in with her family, which was an accepted practice.


The Apache tribe’s approach to marriage was unique and vastly different from modern Western customs. In Apache culture, marriage was a merging of two families and served as a reinforcement of social ties within the community.

The courtship rituals involved gift-giving and visits between the couple’s families. The wedding ceremony was not structured, but rather a gathering that included a feast and gift exchange. After the wedding, the newlyweds would move in with the groom’s family, and the bride would take on the responsibilities of a wife.

Overall, the Apache tribe’s approach to marriage highlights the importance of community, family, and tradition within their culture.


What is the Apache tradition of marriage?

The Apache people have a rich and unique cultural heritage that has been passed down through generations. Their tradition of marriage is one such aspect that is worth exploring. The Apache tradition of marriage is based on the concept of matrilocality, which means that the groom will come and live with the bride’s family. This type of living arrangement is a complete contrast to the western tradition of patrilocality, where the bride typically moves in with her husband’s family.

In the Apache tradition, marriages are often arranged, with the bride’s parents conducting an evaluation of the groom’s worthiness. This assessment is based on various criteria, including his wealth, power, and number of horses he owns. Horses were a vital part of the Apache people’s way of life, so they were highly valued.

Once the evaluation is complete, the bride’s parents would then decide if the prospective groom is acceptable. If they approve, the groom would then be required to present a dowry to the bride’s family, which could include horses or other valuable items.

The Apache wedding ceremony is a sacred event that involves several rituals and customs. During the ceremony, the bride’s mother would wash her daughter in a special bath. This act symbolizes the bride’s cleansing before she enters a new phase of her life. The groom would also be bathed by his mother or a close female relative.

Afterward, the couple would exchange gifts, with the groom giving a gift to the bride’s family and vice versa. This exchange of gifts signifies the joining of two families. The couple would then be blessed by a shaman, who would offer prayers and blessings for their future together.

The Apache tradition of marriage is one that is steeped in culture and tradition. From the matrilocal living arrangement to the evaluation of the groom’s worthiness, the Apache people’s wedding ceremony is a beautiful and sacred event that celebrates the joining of two families.

Did Apaches have more than one wife?

The Apache tribes were a Native American group that inhabited areas of the American Southwest. The Apache people had distinct cultural practices that included their traditions, customs, and social norms. One of the most interesting aspects of Apache culture is their marriage practices.

In Apache culture, men were permitted to take more than one wife. However, it was not a common practice for the average man in the tribe. Polygamy was mainly practiced by wealthy or prestigious leaders as a means of demonstrating their wealth, influence, and societal status.

Although polygamy was allowed, there were certain rules and regulations that governed these marriages. Firstly, men were only allowed to marry sisters or close cousins of their wives. This practice ensured that the wives would be able to coexist harmoniously within the family, promote bonds of kinship, and prevent jealousy or conflict.

The decision to take on another wife was often made by the existing wife. If a first wife had difficulty bearing children or keeping up with the demands of household duties, she would suggest that her husband take on another wife to share the responsibilities. This arrangement enabled the first wife to retain her position in the family while providing her husband with another domestic partner and potential mother for his children.

While Apaches were allowed to marry more than one woman, it was only a common practice for wealthy or prestigious leaders. Even in these circumstances, there were strict cultural regulations and guidelines for adhering to polygamy. Furthermore, it was expected that the wives would be sisters or close cousins to maintain peace and equality within the family.

Who would an Apache man live with once he got married?

The Apache people had a strong emphasis on family and community. Typically, they lived in groups of extended family members, which were known as bands. These bands were comprised of members who were related through the female line, meaning that the extended family was based on the women.

When an Apache man married a woman, he would join her extended family group and leave his own. This was known as matrilocal residence and was a common practice among many Native American communities. The maternal relatives of the bride would become the primary family for the newly married couple, and the husband would be expected to contribute to the group’s welfare.

Living with the bride’s family after marriage also had practical benefits. The bride’s family group would already have established a network of relationships and connections with neighboring bands, which would provide the newlyweds with a support system. It would also provide an opportunity for the husband to learn new skills and gain knowledge from his wife’s family, such as hunting, farming, and other essential skills needed for survival in their environment.

In addition to the practical benefits, living with the bride’s family after marriage also had emotional and spiritual significance. The Apache people believed that everything in the world was interconnected, and by living with his wife’s family, the husband could strengthen his connection to the wider community and the natural world.

An Apache man would live with his wife’s extended family group after marriage and would become a part of her family. This practice is known as matrilocal residence and was an essential part of Apache social life. Living with his wife’s family would provide him with practical, emotional, and spiritual benefits that would strengthen his place within the community.

At what age did native Indians marry?

Before the arrival of Europeans, native Indian cultures had their own customs and traditions regarding marriage practices. Marriage was considered as a crucial part of native Indian societies, and it was essential for maintaining social order and stability. The age at which natives Indians were allowed to get married was different compared to the customs of modern times.

Natively, girls were considered to be ready for marriage at the age of fourteen or fifteen years, and boys were expected to be ready for marriage when they were sixteen or seventeen years old. The young men usually had the freedom to choose their brides, but the parents of both parties needed to approve the character, social standing, and wealth of the prospective spouse. The prospective groom had to be able to provide for his family and show responsibility before the parents agreed to the marriage.

Marriage ceremonies, customs, and traditions differed quite a bit from tribe to tribe. The Cherokee tribe, for example, had marriage rituals that lasted up to ten days, while other tribes had simpler ceremonies filled with dancing and feasting. The presence of a dowry of goods or property offering by the family of the bride to the family of the groom was common in some tribes.

Marriage in native Indian cultures was often seen as a sacred and lifelong commitment, and divorce was rare. In some tribes, married life was communal, and the entire tribe was responsible for raising children. In cases of marital disputes, the villages’ elders or chiefs acted as intermediaries to resolve conflicts and maintain harmony.

It is worth mentioning that the arrival and influence of Europeans brought significant changes to native Indian societies, including changes to marriage customs and practices. Missionaries and colonial leaders viewed the natives’ traditional beliefs and practices as inferior and Christianized the natives through marriage. Despite these changes, some native Indian tribes still practice their traditional marriage customs today.

Native Indian societies had their own customs and traditions regarding marriage practices. The age at which Indians were allowed to get married varied, but generally, girls were considered ready for marriage at the age of fourteen or fifteen years, and boys were expected to be ready for marriage when they were sixteen or seventeen years old. Marriage was seen as a sacred and lifelong commitment, and divorce was rare. Despite changes brought about by European influence, some Native Indian tribes still practice their traditional marriage customs today.