Jicarilla Apache Tribe

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Jicarilla (Mexican Spanish: `little basket’). An Athapascan tribe, first so called by Spaniards because of their expertness in making vessels of basketry. They apparently formed a part of the Vaqueros of early Spanish chronicles, although, according to their creation legend, they have occupied from the earliest period the mountainous region of southeast Colorado and northern New Mexico, their range at various periods extending eastward to western Kansas and Oklahoma, and into northwest Texas. The Arkansas, Rio Grande, and Canadian Rivers figure in their genesis myth1 , but their traditions seem to center about Taos and the heads of Arkansas River. They regard the kindred Mescaleros and also the Navaho as enemies, and, according to Mooney, their alliances and blood mixture have been with the Ute and Taos.

In language they are more closely related to the Mescaleros than to the Navaho or the Arizona Apache. The Jicarillas were first mentioned by this name early in the 18th century. Later, their different bands were designated Carlanes, Calchufines, Quartelejos, etc., after their habitat or chieftains.

Jicarillo Apache History

The Spaniards established a mission among there within a few leagues of Taos, North Alex., in 1733, which prospered for only a short time. They were regarded as a worthless people by both the Spanish settlers of New Mexico and their American successors, in raids for plunder the worst  Apache tribes, more treacherous and cruel and less brave and energetic warriors than the Ute, but equally fond of intoxicants.

While they sometimes planted on a small scale, they regarded theft as a natural means of support. The governor of New Mexico in 1853 induced 250 of the tribe to settle on Rio Puerco, but failure to ratify the treaty caused them to go on the warpath, maintaining hostility until their defeat by United States troops in 1854. Henceforward they were nominally at peace, although committing many petty thefts. In 1870 they resided on the Maxwell grant in northeast New Mexico, the sale of which necessitated their removal.

In 1872 and again in 1878 an attempt was made to move them south to Ft Stanton, but most of them were permitted to go to the Tierra Amarilla, on the northern confines of the territory on a reservation of 900 sq. m. set aside in 1874.

Their annuities being suspended in 1878 on account of their refusal to move southward in accordance with an act of Congress of that year, they resorted to thieving. In 1880 the act of 1878 was repealed, and a new reservation was set aside on the Rio Navajo, to which they were removed. Here they remained until 1883, when they were transferred to Ft Stanton, but in 1887 were again returned to the reservation set a side for them in the Tierra Amarilla region by Executive order of Feb. 11 of that year, where they have since resided. On this reservation 129,313.35 acres have been allotted to the Indians, and 280.44 acres reserved for mission, school, and agency purposes; the remainder, comprising 280,400 acres, is un-alotted. Their population in 1905 was 795. The present (1905) divisions of the Jicarilla, as recorded by Mooney2 , are: Apatsiltlizhihi, Dachizhozhin, Golkahin, Ketsilind, and Saitinde.


  1. Mooney in Am. Anthrop., XI, 200, 1898 

  2. JMS., B. A. E., 1897 

MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 21 January 2015. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/jicarilla-apache-tribe.htm - Last updated on Aug 10th, 2014

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