Mescalero Apache - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. The matrilateral extended family is the primary social unit. Bands are no longer of significance and clans were never a part of the Mescalero social fabric.

Political Organization. The 1934 Indian Reorganization Act resulted in the establishment of the Tribal Business Committee, which later became the Tribal Council. The council consists of ten members, each elected, in staggered fashion, for two years. The position of president of the Tribal Council, one of the ten positions, is also open for election every two years; the president serves as president of the tribe as well. Other officers are agreed upon within the council. The council prefers to achieve consensus rather than majority agreement. Committees and subcommittees within the Council administer the affairs of the tribe from road maintenance to forestry management to social services.

Social Control. Social control is managed through a tribal court system that operates on a combination of traditional and Anglo law. Minor issues are often handled by families. Public talk is also used to control antisocial behavior.

Conflict. Conflict may be managed within families, Between families, by appeal to the president of the tribe, through the tribal court, or through the U.S. judicial system for some federal crimes. Alcoholism continues to escalate and contributes to increased intratribal conflict.

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