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‘Indigenous Peoples Day’ Shines A Light On Texas’ Native History, Cultures

Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio
The Tap Pilam Riversingers — Joshua Summers (left), Ramon Vasquez (center), Julian Reyes (right) — open the Founder's Day celebration ceremonies with traditional songs at Mission San Juan.";s:

San Antonio City Council passed a resolution establishing October 14 as "Indigenous Peoples Day." Other cities and states have also done this to refocus the historical lens on Native people — the first inhabitants of the Americas. 

Indigenous Peoples Day as recognized by the local government has evolved over the past four years. A 2015 measure created by the Bexar County Commissioners Court originally designated a celebratory day for indigenous people in San Antonio but the holiday was not granted in perpetuity. 

Many people may not know how rich San Antonio is in Native American history. American Indians account for 1.4% of Bexar County's population, according to a 2012-2016 American Community Survey. Mexican Americans are in part ethnically indigenous, as well. 

What does it actually mean to be "indigenous"? What is the history of indigenous people in this part of Texas? What can archaeological findings tell us about their traditions and ways of life?

What tribes, cultures and nations have been and still are represented in the San Antonio area? How can we better incorporate indigenous peoples into the narrative of Texas history?


"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 210-614-8980, email thesource@tpr.org  or tweet @TPRSource.

*This interview was recorded on Monday, October 7.


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Kim Johnson is the producer for Texas Public Radio’s live, call-in show The Source. She is a Trinity University alum with bachelor’s degrees in Communication and Spanish, and a Master of Arts Degree from the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Dallas Williams is a Producer for The Source at Texas Public Radio. With a degree in Mass Communication — Broadcast Media, Dallas brings a unique perspective and a passion to producing a live, call-talk show.