SS 9 - Sharing a Sense of Place, Responsibility, and Stewardship in Texas

Monday, August 8, 2011: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
5, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Mimi E. Lam
Co-organizers: Jonathan Hook and Alexandria K. Poole
Speakers: Emma Garcia Ortega , Ana Gonzalez and Jonathan Hooke
To understand the ecology of a place, it is important to understand its local cultural history. Texas was home to numerous, culturally diverse American Indian communities prior to European arrival. Upon colonization, many Indigenous Texans were forced to assume non-Native identities or relocate to Indian Territory; others were killed. To escape violence, two reservations in north Texas were closed and their residents relocated. Today, three immigrant tribes have federal reservations in Texas: the Kickapoo, the Alabama-Coushatta, and Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo. Other Texas tribal communities are not federally recognized, such as the Lipan Apache, the Coahuiltecan Mission Indians, and Nahua peoples. Colonial genocide and relocation devastated local Indigenous peoples, but Native culture and practices persist throughout Texas, where powwows and other American Indian cultural activities attract thousands, despite the strained relationship between American Indians, the state, and the federal government. Two phenomena characterize Native peoples today: ethnogenesis and ethnic regenesis. Ethnogenesis is the creation of an American Indian identity as distinct from specific tribal identities, while ethnic regenesis is the recovery of tribal language, ceremony, and social-ecological practices that were suppressed by the government. Central to both is a sense of place. The ecological history of Indigenous communities cannot be separated from their cultural and political histories. Articulating a unique relationship with Mother Earth, Indigenous communities continue to utilize flora and fauna at a disproportionately high rate. In this session, a diverse cross-section of Indigenous community members in Texas will dialogue on their sense of place, responsibility, and Earth stewardship.
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