Indigenous Cultures Center
Indigenous People's Day 2021: Prayers for an Indigenous Cultures Center
Members of Indigenous Cultures Institute, the Council for the Indigenous and Tejano Community, and the Price Center, attended Indigenous Peoples Day proclamation by the city on Oct. 4, 2021.
Join us for a press conference and prayer rally on the steps of the Hays County courthouse as our elders announce plans to establish an Indigenous Cultures Center in San Marcos, TX
Children & Families welcome. Face masks required.
Offerings for the community altar will be accepted.
and can include flowers, candles, fruit, words of support
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WHO: Indigenous Cultures Institute
WHAT: Press Conference – IPD 2021: Prayers for an Indigenous Cultures Center
WHEN: Monday, October 11, 2021, 6:PM
WHERE: Hays County Courthouse steps, 111 E. San Antonio Street, San Marcos, TX
Dr. Mario Garza leads a blessing on the shores of the headwaters of the San Marcos River.
Public gathered along the shores of the sacred springs at a 2019 blessing.
On Indigenous Peoples Day, the Indigenous Cultures Institute will announce its plans to build an Indigenous Cultures Center for Hays County, at a press conference and prayer rally at the steps of the county courthouse. On October 11, at 6:00 PM representatives from the Institute and students from Texas State University who are supporting the new Center will provide information and seek community input for the planning of this land preservation site.
The Institute aims to place 10 acres into public protection for continued stewardship, free from looming development and an example of environmental effectiveness in building construction and land use. These open spaces would include a public facility for Indigenous art exhibits, performances, and educational activities for local community members and out of town visitors. Community gardens and medicinal herbal plantings could also be part of the outdoor offerings and an amphitheater for large events like the powwow.
“Before we do anything, we need the community to tell us what they want in an Indigenous Cultures Center,” says Dr. Mario Garza, the Institute’s board of elders chair. “It’s our way that the people speak first, and then the elders take action.”
The Institute is planning a meaningful dialogue with a multitude of people – at the grass-tops and grassroots levels. They are going into the community from multiple directions, to listen and have a conversation with stakeholders, potential users of the Center, persons that may be impacted by the development of the project, and any others interested in this venture.
“We want to work extensively in the Hispanic neighborhoods, where we hope to build the Center, as near as possible,” says Garza. “We want to be an anchor for these families who have Indigenous ancestors going back 14,000 years.”
Garza is referring to the recently discussed Mexican American and Indigenous Heritage and Cultural District that the City of San Marcos will create in the primarily Hispanic neighborhoods. The Center may be situated north of the heritage and cultural district, while Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos is the middle site, and Cuauhtemoc Hall is the southern anchor. The Center’s activities would actively support the sacred culture of these neighborhoods.
The Institute is seeking support from the City of San Marcos and Hays County to make this Center a reality.
“There is a national movement of reparation to Indigenous people for the atrocities imposed upon us throughout the past 500 years,” says Emily Aguilar who is coordinating the Center’s building process. “We continue to feel the effects of colonization including lack of access to our sacred sites, repression of our spiritual beliefs and practices like burying our ancestors, and multiple health and safety issues for our people.”
The Institute representatives believe that the city and county have an opportunity to create a unique and inspiring land reparation effort towards the Hispanic descendants of the original Indigenous people of Texas. The San Marcos City Council has already passed a resolution to explore the possibility of providing city property for the Center. Last month the Institute applied for Parks and Open Spaces bond funding to build the facility and create land protection, and is waiting for a final decision from the Commissioners Court.
“We may be the only minority organization that has applied for funding,” says the Institute’s executive director Maria Rocha. “We’re counting on equity in the distribution of those bond funds, as our community deserves fair consideration.”
At the press conference, Institute staff will provide materials with a link to their website where community members can begin to voice their ideas about an Indigenous Cultures Center. The link will be active on October 11th and will be https://indigenouscultures.