The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas will honor Texas and Tribal history by participating in the Washington on the Brazos Texas Independence Day Celebration later this month.
The live-history event will be held at the Washington on the Brazos State Historical Site in Washington County on Feb. 26-27. It will feature live music, food, traditional crafts, living history presentations, historical encampments and commemorative programs to help guests experience life in Texas in 1836. Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas will give historical presentations and Tribe members will also perform tribal dances on the event’s main stage. Second Chief Donnis B. Battise, Mikko Istimatokla, Chief Kanicu will be among those representing the Tribe at the event.
“We love to share the story of our Tribe and showcase our dances and some of our other great customs,” said Ricky Sylestine, Chair of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas Tribal Council. “We encourage everyone who attends this event to stop by and learn more about our Tribe, our history, and our traditions. We are very proud of the fact that our story is part of the Texas story.”
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas also celebrates its rich culture on the first weekend of June at its Pow-wow, a homecoming of Tribal people. The event attracts many dancers from across the country and Canada and also features great food and many arts and crafts vendors.
There is no admission charge for the Washington on the Brazos Texas Independence Day Celebration. Throughout the two-day celebration, living historians will present highlights of the Convention of 1836 including important debates, decisions and correspondence at Independence Hall. Attendees will then have the opportunity to meet the “delegates” of the Convention and learn more about the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
In collaboration with the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, the Star of the Republic Museum will unveil a special exhibit titled “The Brazos: Legacy of a Mighty River” which explores the significance of the Brazos River and its relationship with the peoples of this region, past and present.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in the state located on approximately 10,200 acres in the Big Thicket of Deep East Texas. The Tribe is a fully functioning sovereign government with a full array of health and human services, including law enforcement and emergency services. There are more than 1,300 members, about half of whom live on the reservation.
The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe’s history is deeply intertwined with the history and independence of Texas. Then separate Tribes, the Alabamas and Coushattas migrated from what is now the state of Alabama into East Texas by 1780. In 1836, Sam Houston brokered a treaty with the tribes before the Texas War of Independence from Mexico.
The agreement provided the title of land between the Neches and Sabine rivers for one community with both tribes in return for assurance the tribes would not side with Mexico. Tribal members served as guides for Houston’s army and provided provisions to feed Texas refugees fleeing from Santa Anna’s army. Today, Houston’s descendants still acknowledge that contribution to the Republic of Texas.
For more information about the Washington on the Brazos State Historic Site and the Independence Day Celebration, please visit http://wheretexasbecametexas.org.