Jicarilla Apache: Tinde

The Jicarilla Reservation sits on the Continental Divide, and its almost one million acres is a variety of landscapes. The northern area of mountains, forests, steep canyons, valleys, and many small lakes is a counterpart to the semi-desert of the south, with its beautiful sandstone and mesas.

Origin Identity Land Today


The Jicarilla (little basketmakers) are of the Athabascan language group and anthropologists say that these people came from Canada down the eastern flanks of the Rocky Mountains about 1300-1500 AD.

All tribes deny the migration theories and say that they have always been here:
The First People.

Though limited to using dogs as pack animals, the Jicarilla were the most successful raiders. When the Spaniards brought horses once again to North America (the previous horses had been eaten long before) the Jicarilla took full advantage.

They were not recognized as being distinctive from the other southern Athabascans: Chiricahuas, Navajos, Western Apaches, Mescaleros, Kiowa Apaches, and Lipans, until about 1700. Jicarilla are further identified as the plains people (Llaneros), and the mountain-valley people (Olleros) or Hoyero.


Who are these people? Their name for themselves is Tinde. But names that have been or are used by others than themselves are:

Within the Jicarilla themselves are these smaller groups that claim
certain areas as their original homes: Though all of these are in New Mexico, the Jicarilla have been all through parts of southeastern Colorado, northern New Mexico, and adjoining areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.


Their contacts with the Spaniards began with Coronado in 1540 to 1542, perhaps as the Querechos, whom the later Spanish explorers called Vaqueros.

Hostilities began almost at first contact with the Spaniards, and though a Spanish mission was attempted near Taos in 1733, it was short-lived. Here is a general time table of the Jicarilla's relationships with the new landlords.

From an estimated population of 800 Jicarilla in 1845,
the tribe today numbers about 1,800.


And there is no question of their modern identity. Through steadfastness, strategy, and an understanding of business they have done well for themselves. Money from the wool of their thousands of sheep is supplemented handsomely by income from their hundreds of gas and oil wells.

Since about 1990 the Jicarilla Apache have been adding more land to their reservation, spending millions of dollars.

They have been able to adapt to many cultural and environmental changes in just 200 years. Though the old ways are maintained, the Jicarilla have become modern warriors. They are brilliant business people with strong leaders, and are also very successful in their dealings with the U.S. Government.

See current events in Jicarilla Politics.

Their one million acre reservation on the continental divide is one of the last of the unspoiled areas for big game: deer, elk, bear, and cougar. As of this writing an elk tag is $3,500, comparing favorably with a price of $10,000 in some other areas.

Fishing and other outdoor recreation is also available.

The Jicarilla are hospitable people. Here are a couple of examples: The capital of the Jicarilla Apache Reservation is Dulce, NM, located about 90 miles east of Farmington, NM on Hwy 64. At the Visitor's Center the museum exhibits beadwork and basketry, with demonstrations of artisans at work.
Research continues and we will begin to tie in the languages
of all the peoples on these pages.

Visitor information:

Jicarilla Apache Tribe
P.O. Box 507
Dulce, NM 87528
(505) 759-3242
Casino Information
(505) 759-3777
Farmington Information:

See the Four Corners Clamor: Main Index for more recent discoveries
and events concerning Native American Indians.
For beautiful authentic scenes of these early peoples see the
Mark Silversmith Gallery.
Mark researches the tribes and portrays their lives of then and now.
We encourage traditional Native American Indian and Multicultural arts,
crafts, and enterprises. For quality creations by our select artisans see the
Four Corners Postcard Business Directory for listings and contact information.

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© Copyright 1998 by L. Michael Smith. Fair use granted.