Sacred Sites Sustaining Tribal Economies: The Mescalero Apache

Authors: Henderson, Martha L.

Disciplines: Economics, History, Native American Studies, Political Science and Public Administration

Themes: Community Development, Cultural Preservation, Economic Development, Sacred Sites

Tribes: Mescalero Apache

The Mescalero Apache traditional homelands were what is now known as central New Mexico. Sierra Blanca, along with three other mountains surrounding the White Sands area, was the territorial markers of their area. These mountains were a source of cultural identity, geographic navigation, and subsistence. Today, the Mescalero Apache Tribe occupies a reservation in central New Mexico. The reservation boundaries include Sierra Blanca. Sierra Blanca is a significant sacred site in Mescalero Apache culture. This case study investigates the intersection between sacred sites, traditional native identity, boundaries, and contemporary tribal economic development.