After the Apache Wars ended, the Apache people moved to reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. There, trading posts were established to provide the monthly annuities and trade opportunities that would sustain them. One of the items that found favor became known as the “Apache Hat.”
The Apache Hat is made of flannel with a high crown and a flat brim. As trade items they were very plain, but the Apache (and others) added their own distinctive decorations and traditional designs through headbands, scarves and painted images. Acceptance of this kind of headwear is noted through the images of two important Apache chiefs, Geronimo and Eskiminzin, Chief of the Aravaipa, wearing the hats at the turn of the 20th century. Further, paintings of the celebrations of San Geronimo Day at Taos Pueblo in the 1920s show Native Americans wearing the same type of hat.
THE APACHE HAT: MRM COLLECTION
This is a typical trade hat, known as the “Apache Hat.” The style is of a form that appears in dozens of Taos School paintings from the 1920s and in the early images of San Geronimo Day. The polychrome decoration on the sides of the crown and the underside of the brim of the hat are representations of the “diamond on diamond” traditional Apache pattern found in beadwork. The inner red headband is typical Jicarilla Apache, while the second commercial band is probably the original.