The 83rd Legislature recognized the Miakan-Garza family of San Marcos and San Antonio as a Texas Indian tribe, naming numerous important contributions to the children and community of this State. At a House of Representatives session held Thursday, May 16th, four generations of the Miakan-Garza Band were introduced by Representative Elliott Naishtat and asked to stand to receive a round of applause as he read a House resolution, and later took photos with the family to document the historic moment.
"Countless Texans appreciate your organization's vital role in promoting and preserving the traditions of Native Americans who are indigenous to Texas and North Mexico," stated a letter from Senator Judith Zaffirini who sponsored the Senate resolution recognizing the Miakan-Garza Band. She added, "Bravo!"
The Miakan-Garza Band are direct descendents of Zaragosa Garza, a Cacique of the Mier Band of the Garza Tribe. The family moved to Texas and eventually founded the San Marcos based nonprofit Indigenous Cultures Institute. Through the Institute, they have provided numerous free cultural programs for elementary and high school students, including a summer camp, to make children aware of their rich indigenous history and culture.
"We want our Hispanic children to realize that they have a vital and vibrant indigenous heritage," says the Institute's board of directors chair, Dr. Mario Garza. "We want them to develop self esteem and be proud of their Native American roots."
Through the Institute, the Miakan-Garza Band also publishes "Nakum", an online, peer-reviewed academic journal, and has established a printing press for indigenous writers - "Nakum Press". They have also initiated an "Ancestral Legacy Project" that helps indigenous-Hispanic families to start their own Native American family rolls and document their Native heritage. The Miakan-Garza Band sponsors an annual Sacred Springs Powwow in San Marcos, on the first Saturday of October.
"The Miakan-Garza Band has made enormous and important contributions to the international indigenous communities by translating the required songs and other ancient intertribal songs of the Native American Church," states the Senate resolution. "And it has recorded the first and only compact disc of traditional ceremonial songs in the Coahuiltecan language."
This proud Texas family continues its work for our community and for people statewide. For more information about their programs, visit www.IndigenousCultures.org.