Letter to the Editor
Hays County is on the brink of a momentous decision that will restore Indigenous stewardship to a modicum of our homeland that archaeologists acknowledge as the oldest, continuously inhabited site in North America.
The Hays County Commissioners Court will soon announce the allocation of Parks and Open Spaces bond funds to organizations whose applications have been scored by a citizen’s advisory commission. The Indigenous Cultures Center project was scored as a Tier One Project, which the advisory commission considered the “very best” and “highly recommend[ed] to fund at some level.” With this Center, the Indigenous Cultures Institute aims to protect 10 acres of land, hopefully provided by the City of San Marcos, and establish a “green” facility that will be a statewide model for environmental sustainability and highlight our local Indigenous culture.
As the only minority or ganization that applied for bond funding, we represent the local Indigenous community, which includes thousands of Hispanic citizens whose ancestors are Native to this land. Our community has populated Hays County continuously for over 14,000 years and has a vibrant and thriving culture that holds the land and its waters as sacred.
We hope that the Commissioners Court will consider why it is vital to finally acknowledge the people who are seldom given their fair share of resources. We merit an equitable allocation of bond funds to create a unique and extraordinary Indigenous cultural jewel for Hays County, and acreage that will be protected by our people for as long as the sun shines, the grass grows and the sacred springs flow.
María F. Rocha
Board of Elders Secretary, Liaison to Staff
Indigenous Cultures Institute San Marcos