Reservation Era Begins 1850-1878


Scalp bounty extermination laws create class of Indian hunters

Chihuahua’s Ley Quinto scalp bounties set a price of $150 for live women and children, $200 for the scalps of warriors, and $250 for live warriors. This bounty would remain on the books in Chihuahua through 1886. Durango passed similar laws the same year, with Sonora following in 1850. Sonora set the price at $100 for women and children under 14. In order to prevent fraud, states defined “scalps" as one or both ears or the crown. State official scalp regulatory committees were formed to verify and examine scalps, also known as redskins, to issue rewards. Civilians, soldiers, Mexican nationals, and all foreigners were eligible to be Indian hunters. Many out-of-work Texas Rangers or miners in need of quick cash would supplement their income through scalp hunting. Hunters were allowed to keep any possessions of those they killed, including livestock or goods. Desire for bounties were advertised widely both in Mexico and north of the Rio Grande. American settlers such as John Glanton developed their reputation as Indian hunters. Glanton murdered and brought in scalps of 250 Indians. Indian hunting was so successful that state funds were depleting rapidly, one of the main reasons that the Indian hunting trade declined by the end of the 19th century ("The scalp industry," 1997).

Traumatic Event