Hi Auntie. I’m Alicia. My grandmother is my last living Mescalero relative. I have asked her many times for information about herself and her father because I would like to be enrolled as Native Mescalero. She strongly refuses to talk about our lineage. How can I prove my lineage without my grandmothers help and become enrolled as Mescalero?
I’m sad to hear that you’re grandmother does not want to talk about her Apache heritage. From a cultural perspective, it would be great to learn more about your relatives and the culture you share. From an enrollment perspective, you can work with the enrollment department to enroll.
Here’s how to enroll with your tribe:
- Start by doing an Internet search of your tribes official website. For example, “Mescalero Enrollment”. I found a number to their office, which is (575) 464-4494.
Every tribe has their own requirements for enrollment. You’ll just have to check with your tribe for those specifics.
Generally, enrollment involves
- Filling out an Application
- Providing Birth certificate/Social Security Card
- Providing Proof of lineage or Blood quantum
- An Application Fee
If you want to approach your grandmother again, think ahead of time about what might be making her close up. Sometimes people have associations with things that can be negative. Meaning anytime they think about a certain subject, they can shut down and refuse to discuss it because that means they’ll have to think about something that does not make them feel good. OR, perhaps it could be something as small as your timing. If you’re asking her during a family event, where she’s busy helping with food, kids, or cleaning where she might be less likely to respond positively.
Consider these things and what you would like to say to her. Perhaps something like, “Grandma, I know you don’t want to talk to me about being Mescalero. I can respect that there are things you don’t want to tell me. However, as I grow older, I realize that there is a part of my heritage that I am missing out on. I’d like to know more about who my relatives are, so that I can do my own research. Would you be willing to tell me the names of some of my relatives?”
You can do your own research starting out with your tribes website and archives, as well as with your local or State library’s.
Hope this helps and best of luck!