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Amplifying a voice that others have tried to silence: A commentary by Juan Mancias and Christa Mancias

April 28, 2022

Juan_Mancias_Protect_the_Sacred_Lori_Simmons_PhilanTopicGarcia Pasture’s designation is a win for our Tribe, and for strategic philanthropy

Earlier this year, the World Monuments Fund (WMF) selected the Garcia Pasture in Brownsville, Texas, to be included on the World Monuments Watch list of heritage sites of cultural significance whose preservation is urgent and vital to local communities. The designation of an area sacred to our people, the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, gave us renewed pride in our past and hope for our future. Specifically, WMF noted that “the traditional territory of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas threatened by natural resource extraction and desecration of ancestral lands requires formal legal recognition to ensure its future.”

For an outsider, it may be difficult to understand why this vast marshland in South Texas warrants being selected for the World Monuments Watch along with archaeological sites in Belize and ancient water fountains in Nepal. To us, it is obvious: The Garcia Pasture is where our people have gathered for centuries to practice our lifeways. This is where we have fished and hunted, buried our ancestors, performed our dances, and learned about our history. This is where we stop and remember what it means to be stewards of sacred land....

Placing the Garcia Pasture on this watch list helps shine a light on the dangers facing our ancestral land. These threats loom over us both figuratively and literally: Garcia Pasture sits alongside the Brownsville Shipping Channel, a throughway for oil tankers, barges, and shrimper boats. At one time, Garcia Pasture extended well beyond the current boundaries, but when the shipping channel was built, many more village and burial sites, artifacts, and habitat were destroyed in the name of progress. Today, from the pasture, you can see the oil and gas industry’s towering facilities in the distance. Pipelines and oil wells threaten to gouge the land, leaving ugly scars, destroying sacred burial grounds, wildlife, and the environment—all for the sake of corporate greed....

Read the full commentary by Juan Mancias and Christa Mancias, tribal chairman and secretary, respectively, of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas.

(Photo credit: Lori Simmons)


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