Sacred Texts  Native American  Plains 

Jicarilla Apache Texts

by Pliny Earle Goddard


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The Jicarilla Apache lived in what is now Northern New Mexico and Eastern Colorado. Their name means 'Little Baskets'. Along with the Navaho they were among the southernmost of the Athabascans. They are grouped with the Plains indians, due to their nomadic life and reliance on Buffalo hunting. However, a large portion of the Jicarilla occupied mountainous areas. The animated movie 'Spirit, Stallion of the Cimmarons', depicts the beautiful Jicarilla territory. The official Jicarilla Apache website [External Site] has more information on the tribe.

This etext is extracted from a book of Jicarilla Apache texts collected at the turn of the century. The first part of this book is interlinear Apache and English, which would be difficult if not impossible to transcribe properly into HTML. This etext consists of the second section, which contains English translations of the texts.

The texts contain myths and legends (including many trickster stories), stories of war and hunting, and a few ethnographic details. The stories were collected at the close of the frontier, and Mexicans and Americans (including Kit Carson) show up as actors in some of the historical texts. It is important to note that at this time Plains culture had been greatly impacted by cultural contact with Europeans.

However, these texts have all the hallmarks of genuine traditional texts. As with many texts of traditional peoples of all continents, the narrative style may be jarring to westerners used to a four act story structure and a strict distinction between comedy and tragedy.

Title Page


1. The Emergence
2. The First War
3. The Culture Heroes and Owl
4. The Killing of the Monsters.
5. Naiyenesgani Rescues the Taos Indians
6. The Monster Fish
7. The Monster Fish (Second Version)
8. Naiyenesgani Removes Certain Dangers
9. The Killing of the Bear
10. The Traveling Rock
11. The Origin of Sheep and Cattle
12. Naiyenesgani Takes His Leave
13. Naiyenesgani Takes His Leave (Second Version)
14. The Winning of Daylight
15. Coyote Secures Fire
16. Coyote Secures Fire. (Second Version.)
17. The Swallowing Monster
18. The Man Who Helped the Eagles
19. The Bear-Man
20. Releasing the Buffalo
21. Releasing the Buffalo. (Second Version.)
22. The Origin of Corn and Deer
23. The Origin of Corn and Deer (Second Version)
24. The Supernatural Person in the Lake
25. The Man Who Traveled With the Buffalo


26. Coyote Steals a Man's Wife
27. Coyote Takes Arrows From Owl
28. Antelopes Take Arrows From Coyote
29. Antelopes Take Arrows From Coyote. (Second Version.)
30. Coyote Tries to Make His Children Spotted
31. Coyote Kills His Own Child Instead of the Turkeys
32. Coyote and Porcupine Contend For a Buffalo
33. Coyote Loses His Eyes
34. Coyote Kills the Prairie Dogs
35. Coyote is Revenged on Wildcat
36. Coyote and Beaver Play Tricks On Each Other
37. Coyote Apes His Hosts
38. Coyote is Disobeyed by Turkey
39. Coyote is Shot With a Pine Tree
40. Coyote Insults the Rock
41. Coyote Marries Under False Pretences
42. Mosquito Marries Under False Pretences
43. Coyote Deceives a Woman
44. Coyote and the Mexicans
45. How Mole Won the Race
46. Frog Wins From Antelope in a Footrace
47. When the Birds Were Chiefs
48. Woodpecker Describes Himself
49. Flicker Describes Himself
50. Lewis Woodpecker Describes Himself
51. Owl Describes Himself
52. Panther, the Great Hunter
53. The Governor, Old Woman White Hands

Traditions and Personal Experiences

54. The War with the Americans
55. The Horses of the Apache Are Stolen by the Navajo
56. A Fight With the Enemy on the Arkansas River
57. A Duel Between Scouts
58. A Captive Woman Attempts to Make Peace
59. The Horses of the Ollero are Stolen
60. An Expedition to the Adobe Walls with Kit Carson
61. An Unsuccessful Expedition Led by Maxwell
62. The Apache Meet a Texan
63. A Ute is Saved by his War-Medicine
64. Pesita Is Shot
65. The Arrows Fail on the Hunt
66. A Successful Hunt
67. Hunting Elk
68. A Deer Hunt
69. Deer Hunting in the Mescalero Country
70. The Mescalero Beg For Meat

Information Concerning Industries and Ceremonies

71. The Sinew-Backed Bow
72. Making the Tipi
73. Methods of Cooking Corn
74. The Making of Tiswin
75. Origin of the Medicine Ceremony
76. Magic at a Medicine Ceremony
77. The Tcactcini
78. The Medicine Ceremony
79. The Medicine Ceremony (Second Description)
80. The Adolescence Ceremony
81. Observances in Butchering Buffalo
82. Ceremony For Buffalo
83. Prayer For Buffalo
84. Note on Killing Eagles
85. Ceremony For an Infant
86. Avoidance of the Mother-In-Law
87. The Burial of the Dead