Gaan Apache Headdress

I had the privilege this week of assisting with unpacking and displaying some Apache artifacts. The Apache collections consists of headdresses and woven baskets.

crown dancer

Apache Crown Dancer web. Oct. 2016

I would like to share some of my research findings about the Apache headdress known as, “Gaan Apache Headdress”. The Gaan is a mountain spirit / supernatural being who have lived in mountain caves since the world was created by Yusn. They are the Apache’s protectors and teachers; appearing at dances during ceremonies. They come in groups of five, four symbolizing the four quarter of the earth, and the fifth to lead the dance and mediate between the dancers and the humans.

The correct name for the headdress is “Apache Crown Dancer”. Crown dancing is a very old and sacred dance tradition. According to Apache belief, the dance was taught to the Apaches by the mountain spirits as a means of healing. Apache believe that the creator sent the Gaan to the Apache to teach them to live in harmony.

May your journey in life be filled with harmony.


Feest, Christian F. The Cultures of Native North Americans. Konemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. 2000.