Indigenous Peoples On
The U.S. –
Mexico Border
Main Points for Discussion
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View the Texas, U.S. and A.P. History Standards
from the perspectives of Indigenous peoples
Standard chronological periods have different
implications for Native Peoples
Terms such as: citizenship, progress, settler,
assimilation, equality, etc. have different
meanings for Native Peoples
The “Indian Wars” of the 19th century did not end
tribal culture or history
“The West” and “The Border” were/are foreign
concepts for Indigenous Peoples
Issues to Consider
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Cultural Survival and Adaptation
Syncretism
Case Studies as examples of persistence
Critical thinking in history
Preparation for citizenship and/or cultural
awareness
Embrace contending views on the past
Historical roots for contemporary debates
Stereotypical Images of Indians and diversity of
Indigenous cultures
Historiography
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Indians as obstacles to progress & expansion
Indians as doomed to disappear or assimilate
Indians as passive victims of whites
Indians as complex actors and agents of historical
change
Indigenous histories, cultures, and worldviews
Indigenous Nations as sovereign entities
Native languages & oral history
Conquest
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“Cycles of Conquest”
Spanish, British, French, American
Biological Imperialism
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Plants, food, disease, animals
Distortion of Indigenous institutions
Encapsulation of populations
Divide and conquer
Multiple alliances, allegiances, and complex
reactions
“Ethnogenesis”
Spanish Borderlands
Ethnic Cleansing and Indian Wars
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U.S. Indian Removal Act of 1830 relocated tribes west of
the Mississippi River and placed them in Indian Territory
Manifest Destiny, post U.S.-Mexico War & nation building
Gold Rush and California Indian Law of 1850
Texas, New Mexico, Arizona
Treaties as a recognition of independence AND a tool of
conquest and land acquisition
Ethnic Cleansing in Texas and Wars against the Apaches
and Comanches
Fled into Mexico or chose status as “Mexican” to gain
citizenship and hide ethnic identity
Mexico did not legally recognize a distinct race of Native
People: all declared citizens. No reservations held in trust
by federal government
On and Off Reservations
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Policy of concentration on reservations
Colonialism: control by the Indian Bureau
Assimilation = cultural genocide
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Land, language, religion, children, families
Many people refused to live on reservations
Some had treaties, others did not
Oklahoma had most tribes from Texas
Statehood included the erasure of Native lands
Twentieth Century
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Fluctuations in degree of control by Bureau of Indian Affairs
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Indian Citizenship Act of 1924
Multi-tribal organizations for independence and sovereignty
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1887-1934; 1934-1942; 1942-1970s; 1975-Present
National Congress of American Indians (1944)
American Indian Movement (1968)
Native American Rights Fund (1970)
Control over natural and cultural resources
Limited sovereignty and independence
Conflicts with states over jurisdiction, casinos, etc.
Contemporary Issues and concerns:
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Membership, economic development, health care, education,
youth drug use, language retention, sacred sites
Cultural Adaptation and Persistence
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Culture is not a static structure or entity
Indigenous groups impacted each other and changed each
other
The “traditional culture” that non-Indians ascribed to
Indigenous peoples was not a baseline or starting point of
their culture—it constantly changed—if only slightly
Ongoing change and continuity in cultural characteristics,
beliefs, values, etc.
Culture defined by meaning in symbols, actions,
performance, and relationships that transcend outward
appearance
Land and geography, religion, language, family, economies
perpetuate cultural identities
Kickapoo
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History of movement and profound sense of
expansive space
Algonquian Language
Migrations from the Great Lakes
Treaties, relocation and removal
Splinter bands into Texas and Mexico: El
Nacimiento and Eagle Pass
Treaties and reservation in Texas
A federally recognized tribe, 1983
Land held in trust, semi-sovereign
Unique status of tribal lands in Texas
Eagle Pass, Kickapoo Reservation
Kickapoo, Oklahoma
Kickapoo Women
Tonkawas
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Central Texas
Allied with Texans during Independence, Texas guaranteed
them land in 1860s
1870s revoked the agreement and relocated them to
Oklahoma
1960s and 1970s began campaign to reclaim lands in
central Texas
The Tonkawa President, Virginia Combrink, “The state of
Texas still owes us,” she said. “We just want our land.”
U.S. District Court Judge ruled against them in 1994,
stating that their land had been converted to public land,
which the state of Texas sold in the 1870s to pay off debts.
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Lino Sánchez y Tapia, in Jean Louis Berlandier, The Indians of Texas
in 1830 (1969). Texas Collection Library
Jumanos
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Debatable origins of Jumanos and complex
relationship with Apache, Pueblos, Kiowa,
Comanche
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Possibly Uto-Aztecan language family
Possibly related to Manso, Suma, Concho, Jano
Highly mobile peoples
Incorporated into, and borrowed from,
surrounding tribes and ethnic groups
West Texas, Northern Chihuahua, Southern New
Mexico
Some were “detribalized” and incorporated into
surrounding Mexican ethnic community
Jumanos Today
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Redford, Texas
Jumano leader Enrique Madrid, recognition
would “help us overcome what we’ve had to live
with for 150 years as Americans.”
Jumano member Gabriel Carrasco, “want our
identity back.”
Ignacio Menchaca de la Vega, who is in charge of
their application for recognition: “If you said you
were Native American, if you said you were
Jumano Apache, you were a dead Jumano
Apache. Simple as that.”
De la Vega added that many Indians tried to
“blend in with Mexicans for survival.”
Isleta del Sur (Tiguas)
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Northern Pueblos and Spanish Conquest
El Paso Region and Mission
Spanish Land Grants
U.S. and Juarez
Land theft and encroachment, laws, taxes
Related to Piros in Socorro and Senecu
Federal Recognition
Casino, blood quantum, relations with the state,
and Jack Abramoff
Land Grant & Reservation
Mescalero Apaches
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Southeastern New Mexico, Western Texas, and
Northeastern Chihuahua
Athapaskan language group
Migratory, horse culture, multiple decentralized bands
Trade relations with Mexicans, Pueblos, Americans
Hunted by American soldiers, corralled onto Reservations
Hundreds in Mexico
Mescalero Reservation has multiple bands
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Mescalero, Chiricahua, Lipan
Economic Development
Wendell Chino
Old Photographs….
New Images
The New Cowboys and Indians
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Mescalero Rodeo
Tarahumara
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Sierra Madres & Copper
Canyon
Resistance to colonization
by Spanish & Mexico
Syncretism
Cultural Tourism
Land Loss and Urbanization
Several 1,000 in Cd Juarez
Migrations into U.S.
Tohono O’Odham
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Also known as the “Pima” (Papago)
Agriculturalists and canal builders: descendents
of Hohokam
Catholicism and Indigenous views
Border cut in half their territory
Mexican and U.S. members struggled for triple
citizenship
Presently caught in cross-cutting pressures of a
post-9/11 world: immigration, Border Patrol,
Homeland Security, Department of Interior
Tohono O’Odham Traditional Lands &
Reservation
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo &
Gadsden Purchase
Piro-Manso-Tiwa (Tortugas)
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Multi-ethnic, multi-tribal group
Spanish colonialism and
reduccion, missions, labor
systems and 17th & 18th century
demographic changes
Piro and Tiwa are descended
from Puebloan groups who may
have remained in the area after
the Pueblo Revolt
Some migrated from Ysleta del
Sur in the 19th and 20th century
Piro-Manso-Tiwa
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Manso are indigenous to the region
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Scant linguistic and historical information
Recognized by the Spanish around El Paso and west to
Las Cruces region
By the 19th and 20th centuries, the group lived
beyond the purview of U.S. federal authorities,
lacked treaties or other formal recognition
Today the whole group is filing for federal
recognition and are high on the list of the
Department of Interior
Conclusions and Comments
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Contending views on the past
Oral history and traditions
Student engagement with sources
Internet research
Student identification with communities
Problem solving
Cultural awareness and embrace of differences
Borders do not always have to separate us
Indigenous views on the borderlands
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