Funding has been recommended for an Indigenous Cultures Center for Hays County. Above, the Indigenous Cultures Institute holds a prayer rally for the cultures center on Oct. 11. Daily Record photo by Madi Telschow
Funding for Indigenous Cultures Center receives recommendation
Funding for an Indigenous Cultures Center for Hays County received a recommendation from the Parks and Open Spaces Advisory Commission.
POSAC presented funding recommendations to the Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, which included the Indigenous Cultures Center and 22 additional proposals for a total of $75 million in county bond funding for parks and open spaces projects.
Dr. Mario Garza, Indigenous Cultures Institute board of elders chair, said it's an honor to receive a recommendation for funding. The Indigenous Cultures Institute said it applied for $10 million to create an Indigenous Cultures Center
“Our people have been here for over 14,000 years and their families still live in Hays County neighborhoods, keeping our culture alive,” Garza said. “They deserve this recognition.”
ICI said Garza refers to the fact that most people living in Texas who are labeled Hispanic have Indigenous ancestors. Additionally, ICI said residents who are currently living in the area seeking the Mexican American and Indigenous Heritage & Culture District in San Marcos are primarily labeled Hispanic or Mexican American, however, they also have indigenous ancestors. The stories of their ancestors would be among those preserved by the proposed center, ICI stated.
ICI’s proposal included a resolution from the City of San Marcos that supported discussion by the city to provide land for the center. ICI said the land would be protected as an open space for public use and it has asked the city to provide land next to the San Marcos River for access to the water.
“This land and water are sacred and as original stewards, our Indigenous community is committed to their protection,” Garza said. “Everyone is Indigenous to somewhere, and that means that all of us are united in the responsibility to protect Mother Earth and that’s why we’re establishing this Indigenous Cultures Center for Hays County.”
On Oct. 11, ICI held a prayer rally in an effort to begin a community engagement campaign for feedback from citizens about what they would want as a part of an Indigenous Cultures Center. During the prayer rally, nearly 50 cards were collected from participants, who expressed hopes and prayers for the center.
ICI said the cards expressed sentiments such as, “I pray that this center will bring the San Marcos community together to manifest a future where our children care [and] give love to the planet. I pray that everyone is able to be immersed in the natural ways of the earth. I pray that the indigenous people are able to strengthen their voices and help their culture thrive.”
The commissioners court will now review POSAC’s list of recommended projects before approving them at a future meeting.
Visit www.haysparksbonds.com for additional information regarding POSAC and the projects.