The Jicarilla Apache

Baskets made by the Jicarilla show little relationship to those made by other Apache (Mescalero, Chiricahua, or Western Apache) instead they resemble baskets made at an earlier time by their pueblo neighbors. The Jicarilla Apache migrated into the Southwest between A.D. 1200-1500, their history and basket making are closely associated with that of the Pueblo Indians. When the Jicarilla arrived in the Southwest the importance of basket usage was already in decline.

Migrating from the north into the southwest they established themselves in the mountains and plains of Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. These lands included the headwaters of five major rivers: Arkansas, San Juan, Canadian, Pecos, and the Rio Grande, in addition to high mountain ranges with conifer forests, fertile valleys, upland plateaus, and grasslands that extended from the base of the Rocky Mountains eastward. The Jicarilla had close relationships with Pecos, Picuris, and Taos Pueblos adapting many of their skills, including basket making.

Contact between the Jicarilla and the Northern Pueblos goes back hundreds of years. It appears that the Jicarilla Apache learned basket making form the Pueblo Indians. Their baskets resemble Navajo, San Juan, and Ute baskets in the materials used, woven right to left from the work surface, and finished with a herringbone rim.

I invite you to stop by the museum and see the beautiful baskets on display.


Dalyrmple, Larry. Indian Basketmakers of the Southwest. Museum of New Mexico Press. 2000.