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Shared History with the North American Indians

The Lipan Apache Indians were one of several tribes who travelled the Guadalupe River area near the land now called Mystic Shores. 

The Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas is headquartered in Corpus Christi, where there is a Museum and Cultural Center. There is also reliable history about the Lipan Indians available online. Nancy Minor, formerly of Bergheim and now deceased, is a published author and has compiled an extensive history and timeline of the Lipan Indians, which can be viewed along with additional information at the Tribal website http://www.lipanapache.org/ . Much of what follows is sourced from Ms. Minor’s work and the website.

The Lipan Indians were the eastern-most of all Apache tribes, and they migrated from Canada to their eventual homeland in Texas. The name “Lipan” means the “Light Gray People”, a name that reflects a blending in the Lipan language of the color white, which meant “north” to them (representing their migration from the north of Canada) with black, which meant “east” (referencing their migration to the east, landing in Texas).

The Lipan migrated to Texas as a large tribe, looking for a homeland. The Lipans claimed their home around San Antonio as early as the 1600’s, calling their new home “Many Houses”, or Ki-aah-hii. Due to drought and other conditions, they then divided into two groups – the Forest Lipan, who stretched into northeast Texas, and the Plains Lipan, who extended into the upper Colorado River area and west to the Pecos River. 

Very early in the 1700’s, the Comanche entered Texas and began to compete with the Plains Lipan for control of the high plains region. The Lipan developed more aggression to protect themselves and to retain their territory, leading to a period of skirmishes between the Lipan and the Spanish settlers in 1720 – 1749. In the middle of that century, a grand peace was celebrated between the Lipan and Spaniards in San Antonio. Many of the Lipan then began moving to the upper Nueces River area, and other Lipan left Texas in a move across the Rio Grande River to Coahuila, Mexico.   The Spanish missionaries attempted to engage the remaining Texas Lipan in conversion to Christianity and invited the Lipan to their missions for both Christian teaching and for protection from invading tribes like the Comanche. A Smallpox epidemic in 1850 further reduced the Texas Lipan population, driving more Lipan from Texas to Mexico. The next 30 years consisted of many efforts by the U.S. and Mexico military to drive the Lipan out of the regions, resulting in final transfers to reservations in New Mexico and Oklahoma by 1884. 

Today, there is little physical evidence left of the Lipan. Their homes did not survive and their artwork and basketry turned to dust. The Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas is active in advocating for its members and in documenting the history of these people. 

Photo: The beads of the shield are painted in the colors of the East (black), the West (yellow), the South (blue), and the North (white). The People of the Forest and the People of the Plains are seen as one family under the Great Sky of blue. Nopalito and Yucca plants reveal how the land gives life as food, medicine, and provides for gifts of shelter and daily needs. At the very center of all is the Buffalo, representing the hunt and the knowledge that Creator will provide for His People. Standing within the Buffalo is a light grey and pure calf, a symbol of rebirth and strength of a new generation. The ties that unite the Feathers to the Sacred Hoop of Life are red for the blood of the People. The Feathers are the gift of Creator for prayer and through His Will, the Lipan Apache People will endure. (Source: http://www.lipanapache.org/ )


The above information is largely sourced from the website http://www.lipanapache.org/. All text, image files, audio or video clips, and software code on that website are copyright property of the The Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas, Inc. unless otherwise noted. They may be used for non-commercial educational purposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, commentary, and news reporting. Any commercial use by electronic means or otherwise is prohibited without the written permission of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.


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