Dr. Veronica Tiller
Jicarilla Apache Nation
Dr. Veronica E. Velarde Tiller, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Nation of New Mexico, is an author, historian, lecturer, business owner, publisher, and language consultant. She was born and raised on a cattle ranch on the Jicarilla Reservation. She learned early from her grandparents’ stories about her tribe’s history, and her family’s role in it. She learned later that there was nothing about her people in the history she learned in school. This great-granddaughter of a hereditary chief has devoted much of her life since her college years to filling that gap. Her world-renowned research published includes “History of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe: 1846-1980” as well as her monumental reference guide to all 567 federally-recognized tribes, “Tiller’s Guide to Indian Country: Economic Profiles of American Indian Reservations.” Now retired, Dr. Tiller is working harder than ever on the preservation of her tribal language. Under sponsorship of the University of New Mexico’s Dept. of Linguistics and with a grant from the National Science Foundation, she is leading a team of Jicarilla elders who are full native speakers and culturally knowledgeable, in retranslating Pliny Goddard’s 1911 Jicarilla Texts. She hopes to leave future generations a methodology and electronic platform for preserving her first language. Dr. Tiller will deliver the keynote address on July 23rd at the PSA’s Annual Summer Reunion.
Jicarilla Apache Basket Weaver
Rowena Mora is a Jicarilla Apache basket weaver. In weaving baskets for 35 years, Rowena has learned that Jicarilla basketry is an art that bridges past with present. Bringing her creative ideas to life through artwork, Rowena prepares materials supplied by nature and employs traditional design concepts in color and patterns. Her baskets with white and tan colors come from sumac and willow. Traveling to Philmont Scout Ranch for the Philmont Staff Association’s annual reunion, Rowena will showcase her basketry talents through an in-person demonstration, using materials gathered locally.
Traditional Artist: Ollero Clan
Shelden Nuñez-Velarde is a Jicarilla Apache traditional artist of the Ollero clan. This clan is sometimes referred to as the mountain people-pottery makers. His interest in pottery started at an early age, learning from established potters, as well as his great, great grandmother who lived on the plains and mountains surrounding Cimarron. Shelden specializes in hand-coiling traditional pieces, gathering clay and slip from clay sources and has won numerous awards for his art in the last 25 years. He soaks the clay, cleans, sifts, mixes, hand coils, shapes, sands, polishes, and then fires his pottery outdoors, using pine or cedar wood. Traveling to Philmont Scout Ranch for the Philmont Staff Association’s annual reunion, Shelden will provide an in-person demonstration, using materials gathered locally.
Jicarilla Apache Artist
Mary Velarde is a Jicarilla Apache artist, working in fiber artistry, graphic design, and jewelry-making. Velarde’s contemporary native american jewelry carries semi-precious stones in each distinctive piece. Her art and tapestries have been featured in exhibitions ranging from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in New York City, to the Southwest Museum in Los Angeles. Velarde’s beautiful jewelry will be available for purchase during the PSA’s Annual Summer Reunion on July 23, 2021.