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Tonto Apache - Arizona (U.S.)

Native American

Last modified: 2017-08-23 by rick wyatt
Keywords: tonto apache | apache | arizona | native american |
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[Tonto Apache - Arizona flag] image by Donald Healy, 1 February 2008



See also:


The Band

[Tonto Apache - Arizona map]
map image by Peter Orenski based on input from Don Healy

Tonto Apache - Arizona

The Apache are made up of groups distinguished by their slightly differing dialects (ENAT, 13-16). The Tonto are actually two of these groups, the Northern Tonto and the Southern Tonto. Tonto is Spanish for "fool", a derisive term applied by Europeans not only to some Apache, but also to Mojave, Yavapai, and Yuma (DAI, 420). The Tonto Apache live on their traditional lands near the White Mountains of Arizona, based in the town of Payson.

Donald Healy 2008


The Flag

The Tonto Apache use a white flag with the tribal seal in the center. The seal places a white cross, edged in black, on a light blue disk. The cross is a representation of a star. (In the art of many Native peoples, the star appears in this way, with four squared points.) A white ring, edged in black inside and light blue outside, surrounds the central disk. On it, TONTO APACHE TRIBE arches over the top and "of Payson, Arizona" curves below, both in red.

The star bears four feathers-one in the center, one in the uppermost "point", and one each in the two side "points". The lower "point" is empty. Next to each feather appears a streak of stylized lightning as depicted in Apache art, in black (center), yellow (top), white (left), and blue (right). These four colors recur in the art of southwestern Tribes, reflecting not only the nearby mountains but also the four "clouds" or worlds through which man passed to get to this world [see Navajo for a more detailed explanation]. From each feather hang four colored streamers, of blue, red, green, and yellow (center); yellow, green, blue, and red (top); red, green, yellow, and blue (left); and green, yellow, blue, and red (right).

The colors of the seal of the Tonto Apache have additional, sacred meanings: Black, for death and west; White for life, north, and snow; Blue for the sky and south; Yellow for the sun and east; Green for the Earth; and Red for fire and heat.

[Thanks to NAVA member Harry Oswald for providing information gathered at the tribal headquarters of the Tonto Apache in Payson, Arizona.]

Donald Healy 2008
information provided by Peter Orenski, 1 February 2008