But despite the Jicarillas’ rich history in the area, it was American artist Fred Harman who began the tradition of the “Little Beaver” celebration five decades ago.
“(Harman) was one of the creators of the Red Ryder comic strip, and he wanted an Indian lad in his comic strip,” Moore said. “He lived near the Jicarilla reservation, so he went there and selected one of the boys to pose for him so that he could get a drawing and that became ‘Little Beaver’ in Red Ryder. That’s how the Little Beaver celebration got started, and being the 50th anniversary, the original Little Beaver was there, and he spoke to the crowd.”
The festivities included a parade, pony races, a rodeo, an archery contest, and a pow-wow dance.
For more on the subject, see Native American Heroes in the Comics: An Overview (Part 1).