In March 1998, we entered into purchase order 1443PX12598084 with the National Park Service to complete Phase I of the ethnographic overview and assessment for the Amistad National Recreation Area. We were enthusiastic and excited about the work before us and remain so today. In part, our enthusiasm and excitement were because we both had undertaken this type of research as part of our doctoral efforts and, quite simply, love doing it. We already had done much of the documentation for the earliest groups that may have occupied or frequently traveled through the lands now submerged under Amistad Reservoir. Nonetheless, we were aware that there existed a wealth of additional material in dusty archives or on microfilms we had not seen. The challenge for us would be to try to find and accurately report on that material.
But our excitement and enthusiasm went beyond merely the challenge and intrigue of doing the research. Like the National Park Service (NPS) and the Native American tribes, we knew that this was a job that needed the doing. Few researchers have used this material, relying instead on a modicum of translalions or transcriptions, most of which were completed several decades ago (for exceptions, see Kavanagh , Campbell , and Johnson and Campbell ). Those documents are wonderful in and of themselves, but are too few and provide a biased picture of the historic Native Americans who occupied Texas. There are many, many more documents that have not been studied and those documents give a much more complex, intriguing picture of the vast array of groups that occupied the region 400 years ago.
The reasons researchers rarely go beyond the early translations are understandable. It is difficult to sort through the many, large, often un-indexed, materials. And, the task eats up time. In the cultural resource management world of contracts, time is precious. The task is made more difficult by the sometimes aged and faded condition of the documents, and it often seems that the most critical documents were penned in handwriting even more painful to read than one's own. Finally, the reader must often read not only Spanish, but also archaic Spanish.
Yet, precisely because this material has been infrequently accessed, the job needed doing. Native American tribes (Comanche, Mescalero Apache, Tonkawa, and others) know they had an historic presence in Texas and they both want and require consultation on activities that may affect lands to which they have ties but where they no longer reside. Federal agencies realize they need to consult with Native American tribes, but are confounded about which tribe might have ties to which regions in Texas. Hence, we were excited to have the opportunity to begin a search possibly producing a clearer definition of the Native American groups affiliated with the lands of Amistad National Recreation Area. And we stress the verb begin. Other documents in archives need to be read and reevaluated with the material we identified. Native American tribes need to assimilate the material we collated and determine the extent to which our conclusions mesh with their oral history traditions. We think this should be a collaborative effort, and we hope our efforts have helped open doors that were never locked, just not open.
Just as we were excited when we began, we were also awed. The task in front of us was daunting and we knew that the study would be nothing if we were unable to reach out for assistance from many sources. Along the way, we did reach out and each person and group asked, graciously and kindly helped. We would like to thank those groups and individuals as a small token of our appreciation. Dr. Alexa Roberts of the Southwest System Support Office of the National Park Service (NPS) and the contract manager for this effort, was a knowledgeable guide and supporter. She tried to keep us focused on the target, to not overlook material, but, equally (or perhaps more) important, to not over interpret material. We hope we have at least come close to her standards. We also wish to express our appreciation to Jennette Roybal, purchasing officer for the NPS, who handled essential details for us throughout the project.
William Sontag, superintendent at Amistad National Recreation Area (Amistad NRA), offered us the full support of his staff and encouraged our work. We thank him for this, and we especially thank him for allowing us free access to Joe Labadie, the able park archeologist. Joe helped in innumerable ways, first by asking if we were interested in the project, and then by reading interim reports, offering advice, cheering on the sidelines, and providing maps. Joe also contributed to this study through his publications on the archeology of the region, especially his recent study of historic rock art (Labadie, et al. 1997). We also thank Eric Finklestein, Chief of Interpretations at the Amistad NRA for encouraging us to accept the contract, plying us with fine coffee and good cheer.
A special thank you to Don Wade is also in order. Don consistently encouraged our work, offered excellent suggestions, read drafts and told us what he thought was good and what was not. He also assisted in compiling the inventory of possible protohistoric and historic Native American archeological sites (Appendix 7), and drafted maps in the wee morning hours. The effort is more complete for his help.
We also must recognize the contributions of two mentors. First, we owe a great deal to Dr. Thomas N. Campbell, professor emeritus of the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Campbell directed Mariah's dissertation on the historic Indians of Central Texas, and his fine ethnohistoric research set a standard we continually strive to achieve. In a similar vein, the late Dr. J. Charles Kelley served as a mentor and committee member for Nancy's dissertation work, offering advice on the pitfalls of her research of the Jumano and other groups that were affiliated with the Amistad NRA. The advice of these two scholarly gentlemen is greatly appreciated and we have followed it to the best of our humble ability.
Deborah Beene of the Archeology Division, Texas Historical Commission also reviewed and commented on the draft, as did Michael B. Collins of the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory, The University of Texas at Austin. Their comments also have been incorporated into the document.
Colleagues also offered important advice and encouragement, including Sam Wilson, Thomas R. Hester, Lain Ellis, Myles Miller, Phil Dering, Carolyn Boyd, Kinga Perzynska, and Doug Boyd. To each, we express our profound appreciation. Martha Freeman provided a copy of her report on Camp Cooper and advice on useful collections at the Center for American History, and Barbara Laity and others of the staff at that facility ably assisted with those collections. The staff of the special collections at the libraries at the University of Texas at El Paso suffered through multiple questions and provided several useful maps. Nancy Brown and Felipe Mirabal of the Spanish Colonial Research Center, Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico assisted in our efforts there. Sister Carolina Flores of Our Lady of the Lake University kindly helped our research in their holdings, as did Elsa de Valle Esquivel and Ildefonso Davila del Bosque at the Saltillo Archives. Helen Tanner, and Cecile Carter offered advice on the sojourn of the Caddo in Coahuila in the nineteenth century. Last, but certainly not least, we wish to acknowledge the tremendous assistance of Patricia Lemee, A. Joachim McGraw and Timothy K. Perttula. Each aided greatly in the final publication of the document with advice on everything from editorial issues to issues of substance in the document.
To each of these individuals, we say thank you. We think the work was strengthened by their assistance. Any errors, however, are our own.
Last Updated: 24-Apr-2007