By Maria Rocha
On Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Indigenous Peoples Day will be celebrated at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, on the shores of the sacred springs of Spring Lake in San Marcos. The event is co-hosted by the Meadows Center and local nonprofit Indigenous Cultures Institute founded by the Miakan-Garza Band, a state-legislature-recognized tribe of Texas.
The celebration comes a little over a week after the Hays County Commissioners Court voted to proclaim Oct. 12 as Indigenous Peoples Day. The motion, by County Judge Ruben Becerra, recognizes the fact that the county “contains within its boundaries one of the oldest continually inhabited sites in North America,” which is the area around the San Marcos Springs.
“We’re inviting all communities to celebrate our Native culture at this sacred site,” said Indigenous Cultures Institute board of elders chair Dr. Mario Garza. “Our indigenous people are part of the greater community of humankind that will come together to save our Mother Earth from the imminent threats to our future.”
The event will begin at 10 a.m. with a blessing by the shores of the San Marcos River headwaters, an area considered sacred by some Coahuiltecan people who believe this to be their origination site. After the blessing, the public and all participants are invited to share breakfast and then take a free tour on the glass bottom boats to experience the sacred springs.
In the outdoor space in front of the Meadows Center, there will be several indigenous arts booths that will provide a preview of their work featured on the following weekend at the Sacred Springs Powwow, Oct. 19 – 20. The event will also feature several environmental activities for children including the popular mud ball making booth. Children can combine seeds into a mud ball that can then be taken home and planted for a beautiful array of flowers. Food will be available through the Hispanic Business Student Association and Sigma Lambda Beta from Texas State University.
The Indigenous Arts Summer Encounter students will perform danza at 11:30 a.m. The Aztec dancers from the Kalpulli Ayolopakzin in San Antonio will perform at noon and there will also be a guest performance by Matthew Davila on his sacred drum.
At 2 p.m., the film “L’eau est la Vie (Water is Life): From Standing Rock to the Swamp” will be screened in the Meadows conference room. The film follows water protector Cherri Foytlin as she leads viewers on a journey of Indigenous resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP) in the swamps of Louisiana. Several principals of the film will be in attendance for an audience talk-back. The screening was made possible through collaboration with the San Marcos Cinema Club and their Lost River Film Fest scheduled for Oct. 17 – 20.
This celebration has been a long time coming, according to the Institute.
The Institute plans to continue this annual event in cooperation with the Meadows Center, San Marcos Cinema Club, and other groups and organizations. For more information visit www.IndigenousCultures.org.