Two groups of Apache, the Jicarilla and the Mescalero, live on separate reservations. The Jicarilla reside in northwestern New Mexico, on land rich in oil and gas. They also derive income from lumbering and ranching. The Mescalero occupy land in south central New Mexico and are engaged in lumbering and ranching. They also own and operate the Ski Apache resort, the only ski area in the southern part of the state. The newest source of income for many reservations in New Mexico is gambling. Large casinos have been built on these lands and are becoming a significant contributor to the Native American economy.
Hispanics, who may be of any race but in New Mexico are primarily of Mexican descent, represented 42.1 percent of the state’s population in 2000. The exploration and conquest of present-day New Mexico by the Spanish and, later, the Mexicans, introduced a culture that continues to influence the character of New Mexico. The Camino Real became a major trade route between parts of New Mexico and Mexico, introducing new foods and other cultural attributes to the area. In some of the northern counties, Hispanics constitute a large majority of the population, and in some parts of New Mexico, Spanish is the primary language. Early Hispanic settlers were granted lands first by Spain and later Mexico. Many of these land grants, most of which are in northern New Mexico, are owned today by the descendants of these early settlers.
Anglo-Americans are the third component of the tri-cultural character of the state. Whites comprised 66.8 percent of the state’s population in 2000. This percentage included many of the Hispanics, who are classified as being of any race. In the early and mid-1800s, trappers and explorers entered the state. When the Santa Fe Trail opened, it served not only as a conduit for trade with the Hispanics, but as a route of travel for Anglo-Americans in their westward expansion. Many chose to settle in New Mexico. Though Anglo-Americans occupy most areas of the state, many reside in the large urban areas or in the eastern part of the state where ranching and the extraction of oil and gas are primary sources of income.
In recent decades, other ethnic groups have settled in New Mexico. In 2000, blacks constituted 1.9 percent of the population, Asians were 1.1 percent, and Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders were 0.1 percent. Those of mixed heritage or not reporting race were 21 percent. "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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