Introduction / History The Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation is located in the south central part of the State of New Mexico, in Otero County. The Reservation was established by presidential order in 1873 and currently consists of 460,661 acres, covering 720 square miles of land, running 27 miles from north to south and 36 miles from east to west at its widest point.
Four thousand tribal members live on the reservation, which for the most part is lushly timbered and is the site of several significant tribal business ventures. These include Ski Apache, one of the largest and best equipped ski areas in the Southwest. This internationally known area accommodates 300,000 visitors a year and is valued at $30 million. The reservation is also home of the Inn of the Mountain Gods, a $20 million luxury resort complex, which has been operating since 1975 and is a major factor in Southeastern New Mexico's tourist economy. The Inn seasonally employs up to 300 people, one third of whom are tribal members, as well as others coming from Ruidoso, Capitan and Tularosa.
The Tribal Government consists of an eight member Tribal Council, which is a self-governing organization. The Council has an elected president and vice president. Officials serve a two-year term. Four Council members are elected each year by secret ballot. The Council approves fiscal matters and policies for operations, law and order and business enterprises. The Secretary of the US Department of the Interior may review legal or budget decisions.
The majority of the people follow tribal religious practices. Although Christianity was established among the Mescalero in 1889, the Church has experienced very little growth.