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.