Indians of Texas: A Look Back in Time, opened at the Museum of the Americas on March 5. The exhibit is an overview of Texas indigenous cultures from the Stone Age to the present.
Currently, there are no Indians in Texas whose ancestry pre-dates European contact. Groups found at the time of the first Spanish conquest were already being decimated by epidemics of European diseases and were largely altered, or gone, by the time of the Spanish missions. The advent of the horse and the movement of aggressive Plains tribes into Texas, and the arrival of more and more settlers caused destruction, upheaval, and displacement. Finally, what few Indians remained after the Civil War were removed to Indian Territory in Oklahoma.
Texas is a vast area encompassing differing ecological zones from the Gulf Coast to the arid Southwest to the plains to the woods and lakes of East Texas. These zones account for cultural patterns quite different from one another. It is within this context that later groups are known by tribal names. Where there are names, there are usually stories to tell. The Caddoes, Karankawa, Wichita, Comanche, Kiowa, and other lesser known tribal groups become the regional focus of the story.
So the story of the Indians of Texas is the story of lost lands and lost identities. The question becomes who were the indigenous people at a given point of time. The exhibit attempts to tell the story of the appearances and subsequent disappearance of these peoples over a time of line of no less than 15,000 years.
Indians of Texas: A Look Back in Time is on display from March 5, —July 30. Museum of the Americas is located at 216 Fort Worth Hwy., Weatherford, TX. Hours are 10-5, Mon.-Fri., 11-4, Sat.; admission is free. Call 817-341-8668, or visit www.museumoftheamericas
.com for more information.