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Lipan Apache Women’s Laws, Lands, & Strength in El Calaboz Ranchería, Texas-Mexico Border :
Indigenous Women’s Collective Land Rights Inform Indigenous Studies, Law, History, Anthropology and Science
Margo Tamez, PhD Candidate, American Studies Program February 20, 2009, Native American Research Expo
1870s-1935: Ndé hada’didla’ … People with Lightning & Land Bring Ndé tribal law to Chata, ‘the girl with lightning’ Ndé Women’s Political Economy of Along the Rio Grande—Women-Kin Land Title & Collective Rights Aniceto García married Andrea Cavazos, whose father had many horses. Land tenure traditionally went through females. They are two of thousands of Ndé generational survivors of bloody hunt-downs and persecutions of ‘the Apache’ who lived in perpetual exclusion and dispossession along the Rio Grande as officially ‘outlawed’ by Spain, Mexico, Texas and the United States. Aniceto and Andrea’s first grandchild was ‘Chata’ (E.G. Támez), a Ndé nickname, meaning ‘flat-faced wild cat.’ Aniceto and Andrea gave Chata the Ndé lightning protection ceremony when she was 5 years old. An ancient ritual rarely practiced, the lightning ceremony established Chata as a recognized leader with high status among the El Calaboz ranchería Ndé. By the age of 5 (below), Chata experienced first hand armed assaults and invasions upon her parents, grandparents and collective ranchería.
Photo: U.S. border wall, Mariposa, Sonora-Nogales, AZ Margo Tamez Photo: “Eloisa García Támez (Lipan Apache) AP, ABC News, Brad Doherty Photo: Mother and daughter Ndé isdzáné, El Calaboz Arnoldo García
By interrogating the archives of five successive generations and political eras, Ndé female collective rights emerge as a critical nexus to inform contemporary methodologies of Indigenous Studies, Critical Race, Law, Anthropology, Ethno-Botany, and Genocide Studies. Indigenous scholars today are better positioned to support the legal advocacies for rural, indigenous land-tenure of Ndé societies in Gową goshjaa ha’áná’idiłí texas-nakaiyé godesdzog (El Calaboz ranchería, Texas-Mexico border).
Ndé land tenure flows from Inocente Cavazos, to her daughter Andrea, to Andrea’s son and daughter, to Chata, (E.Támez)
In 2007, a crucial chapter of Indigenous Studies wedged open a critical new space for promoting the interdisciplinary collaborative research and advocacies involving the protection of grave sites, subsistence agriculture, pastoral herding practices, botanical crafting, ecology, environment, biology, minerals, oil, gas, water, soil, air, and the human rights of Indigenous Peoples whose communities are located along both U.S. and Mexico’s international borders . With the passing of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 into law, numerous tribal nations, traditional indigenous communities, and individual families/clans immediately felt the heavy social, political, cultural, and physical burdens of the border wall construction—an 18 ft. steel and cement barrier, and militarization of troops along the wall’s path. As the constitutional law case moves toward jury trial in June 2009, my investigation analyzes and theorizes the Ndé isdzáné (Lipan Apache women kinship) political, social, economic and religious struggles embodied in two landmark law cases. Eloisa García Támez’ legal cases situate numerous generations and collectives of indigenous women clan leaders in prominent human rights challenges to U.S. and Mexico property laws. 1935 : 20th Century Precedence: Isdzáné Ndé/Mujeres Indigenas/Indigenous women confront the U.S. Army Corps Engineers Eloisa García Támez was born in 1935, with her grandmother, Andrea Cavazos García, a traditional midwife, assisting the birth. Her grandfather, Aniceto, was the first to hold her after her birth, and he took her outside for a traditional blessing way song. The following day, March 3, 1935, the Army Corps Engineers invaded the ranchería, and began staking the communal lands and using machinery to construct a levee. Andrea, a woman with horses and communal land, confronted the Army but could not speak their language. She demanded they stop, as their procedures would flood the traditional fields and cause harm and possibly death to the clan relatives on the lowlands. She demanded to be consented and informed. Támez’ mother, Lydia Esparza García ,the day after birthing Eloisa, went out to translate her mother-in-law’s urgent requests to the Army. In a taped interview, Lydia testified to me: “The women and children on the lower lands were flooded out. They were relatives. We did not hear from them again after that time. This was a tragedy for the people.” Andrea would later participate in a hada’didla diyin to empower her granddaughter for the struggles up ahead.
Abbreviated Bibliography Interviews with Ndé community members: Eloisa García Támez, Lydia Esparza García, Daniel Castro Romero, Jr., Enrique Madrid, Michael Paul Hill, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009. On file with author; Daniel Castro Romero, Jr., “Anthropological Report on the Cúelcahén Ndé: Lipan Apache of Texas,” © 2004. Enrique Gilbert-Michael Maestas, “Culture and History of Native American Peoples of South Texas,” PhD diss., University of Texas at Austin, 2003.
1767-1860s Ndé , Cúelcahén-Hada’didla’ … the Alliances of the Tall Grass and Lightning People Spain, Mexico, Texas : the Legal Construction of the ‘Apache Enemy’ & Exterminating Ndé Kinship Nde’ isdzáné is a critical tool to foreground indigenous communities’ rights and histories predating European colonization, and our peoples’ endurance in the face of the expropriation of our inherent resources through western legal thought and Spain’s, Mexico’s, Texas’ and the U.S.’ ‘will to empire’. This study foregrounds Ndé women’s kinship networks’ primary source legal archives, of Ndé, Nnee, Suma-Ndé, and Basque-Ndé communities who hold title to lands along the Rio Grande, held in Spanish Land Grants, and which predate the United States and Texas as ‘nations’ and ‘states.’
‘Casta’ ‘Lipan Apache girl’
This investigation theorizes Ndé anti-colonial alliances along matrilineal and gender land-tenure relationships and institutions, which legally pre-date the United States, Mexico and Texas. Building upon the historical archives of the Ndé family gową (ranchería) as the measure of community, kinship, family, and clan-collective resource distribution, and the values assigned to these by women, researchers have requisite tools to connect the negative impacts experienced by Ndé clan societies in the present, and can make reliable connections to land-tenure and ideologies of racial supremacy leading to violent supplantations of indigenous lands by settler society ranchers and farmers with the aid of the settler State. By examining the military records of the United States, Texas, Mexico and Spain, this project analyzes significant patterns of persistent alliance building among the Ndé clan-kin societies to work peaceably with settler groups, over four centuries, as well as to confront them when encroached upon. By tracking the specific histories of social and political resistance to encroachments in their traditional territory through the lens of Ndé women’s lives, this research raises challenges and significant contradictions to normative, stereotyped, and racist traditions in the academy which paint ‘Apaches’ as ‘enemies’ of the State, ‘prisoners of war,’ and exterminable. This research destabilizes the academy’s colonialism and violence toward the Ndé in Texas and northern Mexico, and complicates the Ndé as a complex, diverse, politically involved, engaged, and strategic indigenous society with a critical edge, advocating for peace and reparations through a return to women’s laws, lands, and strength.
Apache family jacal dwelling Texas-Mexico border Lipan Apache children spend more years at Carlisle than any other group.
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