Land and Water Acknowledgement

National Park Service

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

Land and Water Acknowledgement

The National Park Service, San Antonio Missions National Historical Park acknowledges the San Antonio River as Yanaguana (“Spirit Waters” in Payaya) and the landscape we now call San Antonio, Texas as the ancestral homeland of numerous, distinct indigenous peoples since time immemorial whose direct descendants are among us today. This acknowledgement honors the unbroken ties between indigenous peoples and their traditional lands and waterways.

The history of the Missions is intertwined with the complex legacy of European colonialism. Indigenous agency and resilience are apparent through the diversity of responses to this period of upheaval and cultural transformation. The Spanish recorded hundreds of indigenous groups and bands, often referred to collectively as “Coahuiltecans.” Since the early 1700s, concurrent with the establishment of the Missions, several sovereign nations including the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas, Apache Tribe of Oklahoma, Comanche Nation, Oklahoma, Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation, New Mexico, Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma, and the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, Oklahoma are identified as traditionally associated. Other distinct cultural groups with ties to the Missions dating to the historic Mission period include the Canary Islander Descendant community. Mission Descendant families come from a diverse group of Texans with combinations of Indigenous, Latino, and European heritage. Today, there are numerous Mission Descendant families and Non-Federally Recognized Indian Groups in San Antonio, TX including the Lipan Apache, Tehuan Band of Mission Indians, the San Antonio Mission Indian Descendants, and the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation – many with close ties to specific Missions and who continue to know the Missions as home – places of birth, baptisms, marriages, and the final resting places of relatives – with enduring sacred and spiritual ties.

Today, San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S. where an estimated 30,000 urban indigenous peoples reside and is also the largest Hispanic majority city in the country. Six nations have claimed sovereignty over Texas (Kingdom of Spain, Kingdom of France, Republic of Mexico, Republic of Texas, Confederate States of America, and United States of America).

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park and San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site is working with the diverse indigenous and other traditionally associated communities toward an inclusive, respectful recognition of the complex human history of this special place and refinement of the water and land acknowledgement toward a more just, equitable, relevant, and inclusive approach to site understanding and management.

Creek and Rocks
NPS Photo

Last updated: September 6, 2023

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

2202 Roosevelt Avenue

San Antonio, TX 78210


210 932-1001

Contact Us