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Our Sacred History

The Lipan Apache Bands

      When the Lipans migrated into Texas in the 1600s, they migrated as one tribal unit. However, after they came to Texas, they divided into two large divisions. The Forest Lipans inhabited areas of northeast Texas around the upper Brazos River. The Plains Lipans inhabited areas from the upper Colorado and upper Concho Rivers westward to the Pecos River.

      The century-long war with the Comanches in the 1700s caused the Lipan divisions to splinter into a number of different bands. The Lipan tribe traditionally contained from 10 to 14 bands, each of which was composed of a number of rancheras, or groups of extended families. Each ranchera leader, or sub-chief, owed allegiance to the chief of the band, who dictated the migrations of the rancheras, declared war and negotiated peace.

  • The Sun Otter band (Tche sh) - led by Cuelgas de Castro; ranged from San Antonio to Laredo, particularly Atascosa County

  • The Green Mountain band (Tsl ttlidsh)- ranged into south Texas from Refugio to Nueces Counties; absorbed by High-Beaked Moccasin band

  • High-Beaked Moccasin band (Kke metchesk lh)- led by Zapato Sas and Flacco

  • The Red Hair band (Tsral tutah)- led by Cabellos Colorado in 1739; was absorbed by the Sun Otters or Green Mountain band

  • Fire or Camp Circle band (Ndwe qh)- inhabited areas from the San Saba to the upper
    Nueces River

  • Little Breech-clout band (Tcha shka-zhy)- led by Pocarropa; inhabited the lower Pecos region

  • Pulverizing or Rubbing band (Tch kan)- ranged from the upper Colorado south into Mexico; was absorbed by the Little Breech- clout band

  • Uplanders (Tzh or Tzh)- lived along upper Rio Grande in the Organ or Sacramento Mountains of southern New Mexico

  • Prairie Men (Kl Kah)- ranged from the upper Colorado to the Pecos River

  • Wild Goose band (Tel kndah)- inhabited the upper Colorado

  • Painted Wood band (Tssh ke shnde)- possibly lived along upper Brazos River

  • Big Water band (Kne ts)- inhabited northern Coahuila, Mexico

  • Heads of Wolves, Bodies of Men band (Tss tsmbai)- inhabited the region north of the Colorado River; the band name might reflect mythological aspects preserving the memory of early Lipan habitation areas after the tribe migrated into Texas

  • The North band (Sh-)- a kinship claim with the Kiowa Apaches

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Lipan Apache Tribe
P.O. Box 5218
McAllen, Texas 78502