U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Albuquerque Area
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Jicarilla Service Unit

The Jicarilla Service Unit is the youngest, and smallest Service Unit in the Albuquerque Area. Designated in 1996, the Jicarilla Service Unit serves primarily the members of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe with a service population of over 4,000 people. The Dulce Health Center provides ambulatory services, including primary care, dental care, optometry services and urgent care. Special clinics are held for well child care, women’s health and diabetes care. The Clinic is open Monday through Friday, with after-hours services provided by the Jicarilla Emergency Medical Service. Patients requiring hospital services are transported to the Santa Fe Indian Hospital (130mi. south) or the San Juan Hospital in Farmington, NM (90 mi. west). The Clinic staff is a small, but cohesive and dedicated group, working with Tribal programs to focus on health promotion and disease prevention activities.

Jicarilla means Little Basket, and the traditional craft of basket making is continued today. Baskets are made primarily by women who gather local willow and sumac branches, and prepare dye from local vegetation. Ancestors of the Jicarilla Apache were a nomadic people, whose lifestyle was dictated by the seasons and migration of wildlife. As hunters and gatherers, the Jicarilla traveled throughout southern Colorado, northeastern New Mexico, and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. The traditional lifestyle of the Jicarillas included hunting a wide variety of game, gathering plants for food and medicine, and to a lesser, although still important degree, raising corn and other crops. Living in small clusters of extended family groups, the Jicarillas maintained semi-permanent campsites at favored locations for hunting and gathering, moving from place to place. The geography of the region is comprised of two fundamental environments which helped shape the basic social organization of the Tribe into two bands: the Llaneros, or plains people, and the Olleros, or mountain valley people. Every September the two bands compete in ceremonial races during Gojiiya. The Jicarilla Apache lifestyle changed with the establishment of the reservation in 1887.

The Jicarilla Apache Reservation spans over 870,566 acres of scenic terrain in north central New Mexico. The Reservation ‘s geography ranges from high desert at about 6400 feet in elevation to mountainous areas reaching over 10,600 feet. The town of Dulce is the center of the community and the home of most of the population. With abundant natural resources, the Jicarilla Reservation has much to offer for recreation opportunities. The dramatic scenic beauty of the land is unsurpassed and visitors can enjoy hiking, camping, and trail riding throughout the Reservation. Mountain lakes located on the Reservation are stocked with several species of trout, and hunting permits are available on a limited basis for mule deer, elk, black bear, buffalo, mountain lion, and wild turkey. Winter snows provide excellent cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing. Several alpine skiing resorts are located within a few hours drive.

There are several cultural attractions on the Reservation, including two major prehistoric sites, La Jara and Cordova Canyon Cliff Dwellings. The Jicarilla Apache’s annual Little Beaver Round-Up is held the third weekend in July and is considered a high point of the mid-summer season. The event includes a parade, a rodeo, a pony express race, a pow-wow, and a carnival. Gojiiya, an annual harvest festival, is held September 14-15 at Stone Lake. This event has been part of the Jicarilla culture for hundreds of years, and includes a ceremonial relay race, traditional dances, and a rodeo. During the summer, families celebrate the coming of adulthood for their children with four-day long feasts, called Kastas.

Due to the abundant natural resources, the Reservation has a strong economy. The most important source of tribal revenues is the mineral reserves. The Jicarilla Apache Reservation is geographically situated on the San Juan Basin, a structure containing large amounts of oil, gas, coal, and geothermal reserves. Nearly 50% of the Reservation is forested, and the Tribe operates a large timber management program. Tourism is also a major economic force, with trophy hunting and fishing attracting visitors from throughout the world. Recently the Tribe has added significantly to its land holdings by purchasing large ranches adjacent to the Reservation, which has expanded their agricultural base.

Credits: Jicarilla IRMP Office

Contact Information
Jicarilla Service Unit
PO Box 187
500 Mundo Road
Dulce, NM 87528-0187
Phone: (575) 759-3291
Fax: (575) 759-3651

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