Fronteras: 'There's Another Battle At The Alamo' And It's Over A Cemetery | Texas Public Radio

Fronteras: 'There's Another Battle At The Alamo' And It's Over A Cemetery

Aug 2, 2019

The Texas Historical Commission designated the Alamo a “Historic Texas Cemetery” in 2019, but local indigenous peoples and descendants of early settlers want to go a step further with an “unverified cemetery” designation

Ramón Juan Vásquez, executive director of the American Indians in Texas, said members of the Coahuiltecan Nation and descendents of early settlers have fought for recognition of the cemetery for 24 years.

Ramón Vásquez is executive director of the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions and a member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation.
Credit Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

The Valero Book of Burials reports more than 1,300 early settlers and indigenous peoples were interred on Alamo grounds between 1703 and 1885. Ramón Juan Vásquez, a member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, said the unverified cemetery designation would likely result in protections on the historic grounds and that could hinder current renovation work at the Alamo.

The Texas General Land Office and the city of San Antonio partnered to create the Alamo Master Plan and assembled an archaeology committee in conjunction with federally-recognized tribes not from the region. The Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation is a non-federally recognized tribe, whose ancestry can be traced back thousands of years in the South Texas region. They were not invited to be part of the committee.

Next week, the Fronteras team will talk with a representative from the General Land Office about the cemetery controversy, and we’ll get the latest on the restorations at the Alamo.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.or and on Twitter @NormDog1 and Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren.