Dances, artwork honor indigenous culture

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Manuel Cruz, member of Kalpulli Ayolopaktzin Tejaztlan, celebrates indigenous culture with native drum, song and dance April 7 at Mission County Park. S.M. Huron-Dixon

Comanche youth perform “God Bless America” in sign language.

By Maya R Williams

About 300 people attended the Indigenous Culture and Art Festival April 7 at Mission Country Park, an event that was part of San Antonio’s tricentennial celebration.

The event cost $34,000, which was funded through a tricentennial grant, fundraisers and a raffle.

Visitors could play an archery game, browse arts and crafts and watch indigenous dancing.

April Atkinson and Julia Nava displayed their artwork.

Atkinson, a member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, displayed oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings as well as digital prints of Native Americans.

Nava, from the Lipan Apache tribe, showed her art projects and paintings of “God’s Eye.”

This event brought together four tribes who performed social dances to share their culture.

The tribes were the Comanche, Tiguas, Lipan Apache and Mescalero Apache.

Epifano Hernandez, a member of the Tehuan Band of Mission Indians,

“The reason we put it together was to bring our families together and to demonstrate our culture and what it really is,” Epifano Hernandez, a member of the Tehuan Band of Mission Indians, said April 10.

Hernandez said he enjoyed the young people the Comanche tribe brought with them to perform.

The Comanche youth performed “God Bless America” in sign language.

“Usually when you go to a powwow they don’t demonstrate the youth as much,” he said. “It’s more of the elders. We need to bring our youth to awareness.”

The raffle prizes included a native blanket, native artwork and 14 folding chairs made by Roy Guerrero, who was born and raised in Mission San Jose.

Instead of raffling the chairs as intended, Guerrero gave the chairs to the Comanche tribe.

To see more photos of the festival visit:


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