In San Marcos, Texas, the Sacred Springs Pow Wow was put together by the efforts of the Indigenous Cultures Institute. Luckily for us, Maria Rocha of the institute reached out to us and sent us these fantastic photos.
We did a bit of research on what the Indigenous Cultures Institute does, and found a lot to love about their organization. As a nonprofit, they're dedicated to "the research and preservation of the culture including arts, traditions, ceremonies, and languages of this population." By "this population," they're referring to the more than 200 American Indian groups who were populating what is now central and southern Texas and northeastern Mexico when the Spanish conquistadores first arrived. The institute website states that the "majority of research about these groups — collectively named Coahuiltecans — is scarce and little is known about their culture and history."
It gets even more interesting.
The Indigenous Institute has many programs running concurrently, including research projects, a library and archives, workshops and lectures, performances, speakers, and a language program. They also publish the quarterly Nakum Journal.
That's not all. Their program Powwow in the Schools: Hispanics' Indigenous Identity, ran from October 2010 to April 2011. This program was a unique initiative , sponsored by the Institute and supported by the Texas Commission on the Arts, San Marcos Arts Commission, Hays County, CenturyLink, and the Tomblin Family Foundation. One a month, the Institute brought a presentation to high schools that demonstrated the rich and vibrant Native heritage of the Hispanic students. This program was the only one of its kind in Central Texas, and is where our photos came from.
As if that wasn't enough, the Institute also operates the Xinachtli Project, which "apply a series of creative approaches based on ancient constructs in a contemporary classroom," and have a new touring company in development, ASAWAN – A Journey of Song and Story through Native America.
"A large segment of the population in the U.S. who currently identify themselves as Mexican American, Latino, or Hispanic, may be descendants of the Coahuiltecans," the Institute states. "Some families can trace back several generations of continual residency in certain areas in Texas or along the Rio Grande delta where specific Coahuiltecan bands originally lived."
So check them out, and check these great photos out, too. They're both worth it.