Opler, Morris Edward, 1907-1996. An Apache life-way: the economic, social, and religious institutions of the Chiricahua Indians

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Location And Historical Sketch



Cradle Days

First Steps

Spring Hair-cutting Ceremony


Early Training And Discipline

The Dangers Of Childhood


The Child And His Kin

Childhood's End


The Molding Of Sex Attitudes

The Girl's Puberty Rite

The Novitiate For Raid And War

Social Relations Of Adults

Relations Between Men And Women

Marriage Arrangements, Marriage, And Residence

The Man And His Wife's Relatives

The Married Man And His Blood Kin

The Woman And Her Husband's Relatives

Folk Beliefs, Medical Practice And Shamanism

Folk Beliefs, Muscular Tremors, And Dreams

The Shaman And Power

Medical Practices

The Generalized Curing Rite

Ceremonialism In Action; Obtaining And Using Power


Maintenance Of The Household


The Economic Interest In Raid And War

War For Vengeance

The Gathering And Utilization Of Wild Food Plants

The Cooking And Preservation Of Meat Products

The Preparation Of Beverages

The Storage Of Food And Surplus Possessions


Home Industries Of Women

Home Industries Of Men

Ownership Of Goods, Trade, And Gift-giving

Marital And Sexual Life

Personality Adjustment Between Husband And Wife

Sexual Adjustment

Birth Control, Barrenness, And Fertility Rites

Jealousy And Extra-marital Relations


Sexual Aberrance And Perversion

Polygyny And Sororal Polygyny

The Sororate And Levirate

The Round Of Life

Camp Life And Etiquette


Parties, Dances, And Story-telling


Sports And Games Of Adults


Antisocial Conduct

Political Organization And Status

Death, Mourning, And The Underworld

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: An Apache life-way: the economic, social, and religious institutions of the Chiricahua Indians

Published By: Original publisher Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 1941. xviii, 500 p., 16 plates ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Morris Edward Opler

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2012. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Eastern Apache (NT08)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Childhood activities (857); Puberty and initiation (881); Music (533); Arranging a marriage (584); Ethnometeorology (821); Revelation and divination (787); Mythology (773); Shamans and psychotherapists (756); Sacred objects and places (778); Theory of disease (753); Magical and mental therapy (755); Diet (262); Division of labor by gender (462); Extramarital sex relations (837); Athletic sports (526); Eschatology (775);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This source describes the culture of the Chiricahua Apache as it existed during the youth (i.e., ca. 1870) of the author's older informants from whom much of the data contained in this work was collected. Specifically, the author has attempted to show how societal influences inherent in the socialization processes impinge upon and direct an individual's personality development in such a manner as to produce a valued and accepted member of Chiricahua society. This process of socialization takes place through the individual's initial awareness of his culture, his initial contacts with its percepts, the social pressure that is brought to bear in order to enforce conformity, and the final adjustment, of the individual as measured through acceptance, to the demands, obligations and satisfactions of his society. In the presentation of his data, and development of his primary thesis the author gives much incidental information on various other aspects of Chiricahua ethnology. The source is divided into nine major parts, with emphasis on socialization processes throughout. These are: childhood; maturation (with emphasis on the molding of sex attitudes, the girl's puberty rite, and the training of boys for raid and war); social relations of adults; folk beliefs, medical practices and shamanism; household maintenance (hunting, use of wild plants, foods and beverages, their preparation and preservation, economic interest in warfare, division of labor, agriculture, property trade and gift giving); marital and sexual life of adults; the general round of life (including information on camp life and etiquette, humor, recreation, smoking, and games); status and political organization; and death and eschatology. The material for this source was gathered by the author, a professional anthropologist, during a cumulative period of time of approximately two years from 1931-1937. Over thirty native informants have contributed information to the author's field notes.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. nt08-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (481-482)and index

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1931-1937

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. John Beierle; 1964, 1970, 2011

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1840-1886

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Southwest United States; northern Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Apache Indians//Indians of North America//Chiricahua Indians -- Social life and customs.


Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links below to export the citation to your chosen bibliographic manager.

Export a Citation