Preserving the cultures of Native Americans indigenous to Texas and northern Mexico and maintaining our covenant with sacred sites.


The Indigenous Cultures Institute was founded in 2006 by members of the Miakan/Garza Band, one of the over six-hundred bands that resided in Texas and northeastern Mexico when the Spaniards first arrived.

The 83rd Legislature recognized the Miakan-Garza Band as a Texas Indian tribe with “immeasurable contributions to the State of Texas”. Members of the Miakan-Garza Band still practice their traditional ceremonies and maintain long held family ties.


Miakan-Garza Band

Four generations of the Miakan-Garza Band, representing fifteen major families, attended the State recognition ceremony at the State Capitol on May 16, 2013.

Mario Garza, PhD

Dr. Mario Garza currently serves as board of elder’s chair and is the principal founder of the Institute. He is the Cultural Preservation Officer of the Miakan-Garza Band.  He 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 graves protection and repatriation since 1991 participating in reburial ceremonies at the Comanche Cemetery in Fort Hood, Texas including two Coahuiltecan reburials. 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.

Board of Elders

Vice Chair – In memoriam



Gilbert Garza

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Board Member

Staff Members

Pīlam Circle

José Dominguez-Leal            Bobbie Garza-Hernandez              Emily Aguilar, M.F.A.
               Administration Pīlam                    Community Pīlam             Culture + Communications Pīlam

Aaron Pyle, Ph.D.                               Diana Guizado
   Finances Pīlam                                Programs Pīlam


Marial Quezada, M.A.
Education Programs Director
Coahuiltecan Language Program – Jessica L. Sánchez Flores, M.A., Coordinator
Indigenous Arts Summer Encounter
Tānko Institute: Xinachtli Pedagogy for Educators
Xinachtli Project, Carlos Aceves, M.Ed., Coordinator

Pablo Montes, Ph.D. 
Nakum Journal Managing Editor

LaRay Guerrero
Presentations Coordinator

Ruben A. Arellano, Ph.D. & Kurly Tlapoyawa
Repatriation Program Coordinators

Javier Garza, Sr. & Aaron Pyle, Ph.D.
Sacred Springs Powwow Co-coordinators


Ruben A. Arellano, Ph.D.
History Consultant

Elián Sweeten-López
Marketing Consultant

Kurly Tlapoyawa
Marketing & Digital Media Consultant