Apache and Navajo Tribes and Nations of New Mexico


The Jicarilla Apache Nation is located deep in northern New Mexico's majestic mountain and mesa country, close to the Colorado border, and has nearly 3,000 tribal members, most living in Dulce. Their ancestors were one of six southern Athapascan groups that traveled out of Canada between 1300 and 1500. The Jicarilla Apache people, whose name means "little basket maker," were nomadic before European contact and they traded with Taos and Picuris Pueblos. The Jicarilla Apache people are known for their traditional beadwork, basketry and micaceous clay pottery, which one can see at the Jicarilla Apache Cultural Center. The Jicarilla Apache Nation offers fishing, camping and other outdoor activities in beautiful wilderness with seven mountain lakes.

The Jicarilla Apache Nation operates the Apache Nugget Travel Center & Casino and the Wild Horse Casino that both offer tourist services.Annual events include the Little Beaver Celebration on the third weekend in July and the Go-Jii-Yah Feast on September 14-15.

Directions and Contact Info
Located about 130 miles northwest of Santa Fe via U.S. 84 to U.S. 64.
(505) 759-3242


The early Mescalero Apache people, whose name is derived from the mescal plant, were nomadic hunters and gatherers in the Southwest before U.S. President Ulysses Grant established the Mescalero Apache Tribe in 1873. Located in southern New Mexico near Ruidoso, the reservation today operates the famous Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino and Ski Apache. The tribe offers visitors plenty of outdoor recreation in their mountainous lands. Annual events include the Coming-Of-Age Sunrise Ceremony for girls held during the 4th of July weekend celebrations.

Directions and Contact Info
Located off U.S. 70 near Ruidoso.
(505) 464-4494


(Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache)

Before the name “Fort Sill Apache,” linguists and anthropologists referred to the tribe as the Chiricahua Apache Tribe. The Fort Sill Apache Tribe is made up of the descendants of the Chiricahua Warm Springs Apache who were held as Prisoners of War by the United States from 1886–1914. The name “Fort Sill Apache” was applied to the group while imprisoned at Fort Sill and was retained by the portion of the tribe that received allotments of land in Oklahoma.

The Chiricahua subsisted primarily through the harvest of wild foods, both plants and animals. They were very knowledgeable about plant use, resource locations, harvest times, and the processing and storage of supplies. Trade of excess resources with other tribes was useful to acquire desired items ranging from corn and blankets to shell and turquoise.

Directions and Contact Info
Located near Deming, NM -- from Albuquerque Take I-25 South to Las Cruces, then West on I-10 to Exit 102.
(575) 694-2293


Dinè (“The People”)

The Navajo nation covers more than 27,000 acres from northwestern New Mexico into northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah, the largest Native American tribe in the U.S., with a population of nearly 300,000. Approximately 60,000 members of the tribe live in New Mexico.The Navajo people refer to themselves in their own language as Diné, which means "The People." Historians believe that when the Spanish arrived in the Southwest, they started using the term Navajo. In 1860, the U.S. Army forced the Navajo to relocate during the infamous Long Walk. More than 8,000 members marched under insufferable conditions to Bosque Redondo near Fort Sumner, where they were kept for more than four years until the Treaty of 1864 freed them to go back to their homelands.The Navajo nation is rich with contemporary culture and ancient ruins, including Navajo National Monument, Monument Valley and Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Visitors can learn more at the Navajo Museum, located in Window Rock, Arizona, the tribal headquarters.Today, the Navajo are revered for their rugs, jewelry, sand paintings and other traditional arts sold at trading posts on the reservation and at the Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise stores, owned by the tribe. Monthly auctions held on the third Friday in Crownpoint feature silversmithing, rug-weaving and wall hangings. The Navajo Nation also operates several casinos with gift shops and amenities, including Fire Rock Navajo Casino by Gallup, The Flowing Water Navajo Casino near Shiprock, the Northern Navajo Edge Casino in Farmington, and the Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort outside of Flagstaff.Annual events include the Northern Navajo Fair and Night Chant, with Yei’ bi’ Chei’ Healing Ceremony, in early October and the Navajo Nation Fair, called "The World's Largest American Indian Fair," held Wednesday through Sunday following Labor Day. The fairs include intertribal pow-wows, an all-Indian rodeo, the Miss Navajo Nation pageant, traditional Navajo songs, contemporary entertainment, dances and food, and more.

Directions and Contact Info
The Navajo Nation encompasses 27,000 square miles. See the Navajo Tourism Dept. Website link below for directions.
(928) 871-6436