The Mescalero people were nomadic hunters and gathers and roamed the Southwest. They were experts in guerrilla warfare and highly skilled horsemen. The women were known for their ability to find and prepare food from many different plant sources. The people were given the name "Mescalero" because they gathered and ate the mescal plant. It was the staple of their diets and could sustain them in good times and bad.
The Mescalero Apache Reservation – long recognized by Spanish, Mexican, and American Treaties – was formally established by Executive Order of President Ulysses S. Grant on May 29, 1873. Mescalero’s on the reservation numbered about 400 when the reservation was established 140 years ago.
Survivors of the Lipan Apache’s, a tribe which suffered heavily in the Texas wars, were brought from northern Chihuahua, Mexico about 1903. In 1913, approximately 200 members of the Chiricahua band of Apache’s came to the reservation. They had been held prisoner at Fort Sill, Oklahoma since the capture of the famed Apache Geronimo in 1886. All became members of the Mescalero Apache Tribe when it was reorganized under the provisions of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act.
Today’s Mescalero Apache Tribe is governed by a Tribal Council of eight members with an elected President and Vice-President. Each official is chosen for a two-year term by secret ballot. Authority and responsibilities of the Tribal Government are defined in the Constitution of the Mescalero Apache Tribe, as revised January 12, 1965.
May 29 marks the 150th anniversary of the establishment of the Mescalero Apache Reservation by executive order of President Ulysses S. Grant. The sprawling reservation came to be home to three bands/sub-tribes of the Apache – the Mescalero, Lipan and Chiricahua, each with its distinct histories and struggles, strengths and outlooks.
The anniversary of the reservation’s establishment provides an opportunity to hear the reflections of two tribal leaders: Joey Padilla, medicine man and director of the Mescalero Apache museum and cultural center; and Jacob Daukei, a medicine man, deputy tribal historian, and youngest member of the tribal council. Together, they will discuss what the reservation’s purpose was at the start, and how it has evolved. What are the strengths of Apache culture and history, and what are the community’s challenges? And they will discuss their goals and wishes for the tribe, and non-native people, going forward, and how critical it is now to honor indigenous knowledge.
150th Anniversary of Mescalero Apache Reservation Conversation
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Location Multi-purpose Room
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