New Mexico has a Native American population second in percentage only to that of Alaska.
It is difficult to allocate a specific tribe to McCarthy’s Indian since not much is offered in the way of physical description. He may have come from one of the reservations in which the Native American population had been confined by the encroachment of European settlers upon their ancestral lands. The waters are muddied further, however, by the suggestion that he might be a drifter from further afield.
Although far from a sympathetic character, McCarthy’s Indian represents a dispossessed people, and when Boyd sees his own reflection in the man’s dark eyes (‘As if it were some cognate child to him that had been lost who now stood windowed away in another world…' [p.6]) it also foreshadows the future dispossession of the two Parham boys.
For more information on the Native American tribes of New Mexico click here.
For more on the sad history of the Native American population read Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.