Alonzo Chalepah Plains Apache Collection

Languages Represented: The collection materials are in Plains Apache and English

Extent: 1 box

Collection Date Range: 2011

Creators: Alonzo Chalepah, Jr., Chris Chalepah, Ben L. Chalepah, Jhon Yeahpeau 

Abstract: A collection of video footage pertaining to the Plains Apache language and the Blackfoot Society

Acquisition Information: These records came to the Sam Noble Museum in 2011 and were deposited by Alonzo Chalepah.

Access Restrictions: The records are open to research. Contact the NALC at 405-325-3332 or

Cite As: [title], [catalog number], Alonzo Chalepah Plains Apache Collection, Sam Noble Museum Department of Native American Languages. 

Collection Scope and Contents:

The Alonzo Chalepah Collection consists of video footage pertaining to the Plains Apache language and the Blackfoot Society. Plains Apache (also known as Kiowa Apache) is a nearly extinct language within the Southern Athabaskan language family and is closely related to the Southern Athabaskan languages of Navajo, Chiracahua Apache, Jicarilla Apache, Lipan Apache, Mescalero Apache and Western Apache.

The Plains Apache language, spoken by the Plains Apache people living mainly in the western part of Oklahoma, is incredibly endangered. One of the last native speakers of the language, Alfred Chalepah, Sr., died in 2008. His son, Alonzo, is a member of the Apache tribe of Oklahoma.

While serving as the tribe’s chairman and beyond, Alonzo followed in the footsteps of his father, Alfred, advocating to keep younger generations of his tribe interested in Native American language and culture. Alonzo spoke of the challenges associated with that and sought ways to confront the issue. He believed in language documentation and revitalization and would often record Plains Apache words and phrases in notebooks and on tape recorders and video cameras. The Alonzo Chalepah Plains Apache Collection is an indication of this.