American Indian Heritage Month at A&M-Central Texas

Join us November 1- 30 as we study and celebrate American Indian culture, history and achievements.

A&M Central Texas Celebrates American Indian Heritage

American Indian Heritage Month in 2020 America

Each year, Americans observe American Indian Heritage Month from November 1 to November 30, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of people who were the first inhabitants of the United States.

University Events

Poster with speaker for event, Mario Garza

Indigenous People of Texas- A History of Coahuiltecan Bands from Pre-Colonization to Now

Date: Friday, November 13

Time: 12 pm- 1:30 pm

Speaker: Dr. Mario Garza, Board of elder’s chair and principal founder of the Indigenous Cultures Institute

Location: Virtual

The colonization of Native Americans in the Texas and northern Mexico areas was different and more complex than that of the northern U.S. Native tribes that were placed on reservations. The Spanish invaders needed the Native population to “settle” all the land they claimed, so that the Pope would grant them the territory they wanted. The indigenous population were integrated into Spanish society, stripped of their names, language, and spiritual systems, and then given Spanish names and baptized Catholic. This launched the centuries-long journey of the original Natives of this area, some 600 Coahuiltecan bands, from an indigenous identity to the made-up-label of Hispanic or Latino.

...Yet these descendants of Native people still retain much of their indigenous culture within their family and community traditions, and even speak words in the Nahuatl language when they converse in Spanish. Most of the people in Texas who are labeled Hispanic or Latino may be descendants of the original Coahuiltecan bands that populated this area when the Spaniards first invaded. Learn the true, 14,000-year-old history of these original people and how their “Hispanic/Latino” descendants are still living in their Texas homeland, honoring indigenous traditions, and cultivating ancient knowledge that will bring balance to future generations.

About the speaker: Dr. Mario Garza currently serves as board of elder’s chair and is the principal founder of the Indigenous Cultures Institute a nonprofit with twelve programs that preserve the culture of Native Americans indigenous to Texas. He is the Cultural Preservation Officer of the Miakan-Garza Band, a state-legislature-recognized tribe of Texas. Dr. Garza earned a multi-disciplinary Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Social Science, with areas of concentration in Sociology, Political Science and Social Work. He has been active in Native American issues for over 40 years, including graves protection and repatriation since 1991 participating in reburial ceremonies at the Comanche Cemetery in Fort Hood, Texas. Dr. Garza served two tours of duty in Vietnam with the 1/616th Medical Clearing Company, 44th Medical Brigade, U. S. Army. He currently lives in San Marcos, Texas near the sacred springs that archeologists believe to be the oldest, continuously inhabited site in North America.

Online Resources

American Indian Heritage Month Lecture with Dr. Mario Garza

Indigenous Cultures Institute
Non-profit organization that works to preserve the cultures of the Native Americans indigenous to Texas and northern Mexico while maintaining their covenant with sacred sites.

National Museum of the American Indian
Extensive library of virtual exhibitions, video profiles, articles, and educational resources

Collection of documentaries, interactive digital media stories, articles, and educational resources

National Native American Heritage Month
Compilation of resources from the Smithsonian Institute, Library of Congress, National Archives, National Endowment for the Humanities,  National Park Service, National Gallery of Art, and World Digital Library.

Virtual Advisor