Culminating several years of working together to gain State Antiquities Landmark (SAL) designation for the historical Lipan Apache Cemetery in Presidio, local leaders and representatives of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas held a ceremony to commemorate the site on Saturday February 25, 2017. Members of the Lipan Apache Tribal Council and tribe members joined local leaders, including Mayor John Ferguson and County Judge Cinderella Guevara and Presidio County Historical Association Member Trish Runyon, to publicly recognize the site and its historical and cultural significance in the community and to celebrate the erection of a fence protecting it. The ceremony took place near the southwest corner of Market Street and Barton Avenue where the cemetery is located.
The site lies in the heart of an old Lipan Apache settlement, which in 1880 was enumerated as "Lipanes" by the US Census. The neighborhood later came to be known as Barrio de los Lipanes by the local community. It was originally established as an Establecimiento de Paz (peace settlement) in the 1790s as part of a far-reaching new policy by Spanish Viceroy Bernardo Galvez intended to bring to an end the centuries-long war with the Apaches.
"The first Lipans to live there were members of the Tcha shka-ózhäyê (Little Breech Clout/Cloth) and Kó'l Kahn (Prairie Grass) Bands of the Lipan Apache Tribe. The Little Breech Cloth Band later relocated to southern Texas and the Prairie Grass Band stayed within the general area. Their descendents are still around in these places today," said Robert Soto, Tribal Council Vice Chair. Elder Walking Woman stressed, though, "today we are all united under one strong community, the Lipan Apache Tribe. The Tribe is happy that one of our sacred lands is finally protected from further destruction."
The City and County of Presidio, the Presidio County Historical Association, and the Center for Big Bend Studies worked with the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas to win SAL designation for the site by the Texas Historical Commission in August 2014.
"We are very proud to have come together as a community to rescue this important cultural site, and we will continue working together to ensure it is properly recognized as major feature of local history and culture," said Mayor John Ferguson.
A temporary fence has been erected to protect the site in anticipation of a period-appropriate permanent fence in the near future.
Tribe members and the general public is cordially invited to participate in the ceremony and hear more about the history and significance of the Cemeterio de los Lipanes and the Barrio de los Lipanes.