Apaches and the mining menace: Indian-White conflicts in southwestern New Mexico, 1800-1886
Hana S. Norton
Compared to other areas of the West, full-fledged mining development in southwestern New Mexico did not begin until the late 1870s and early 1880s, due in large part to the resistance of the Southern Apaches, a branch of the Chiricahuas, to the encroachment of prospectors and miners onto their homelands. The "Apache problem" was in fact a "miner problem" that between 1830-1860 transformed peacefully-disposed bands like the Mimbres into hostiles. Strikes around Santa Rita and Piños Altos between 1850-1860 particularly escalated the conflicts. The outbreak of the Civil War temporarily left the field to the Apaches, but the recognition that New Mexico's mineral wealth would remain inaccessible unless the Apaches were permanently subdued led at first to the army's policy of extermination, then removal on temporary reservations at Cañada Alamosa and Tularosa, and finally to concentration of all Apaches tribes in Arizona. The Southern Apaches objected to being removed from their homelands, and as a result, the Apache wars continued until 1886 when the Chiricahuas, the fiercest opponents of the "mining menace," were exiled from the Southwest.
- Norton, Hana S., 1998, Apaches and the mining menace: Indian-White conflicts in southwestern New Mexico, 1800-1886, in: Las Cruces Country II, Mack, G. H.; Austin, G. S.; Barker, J. M., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 49th Field Conference, pp. 55-60.