BISHOP PFEIFER HONORS JUMANOS WITH STATE HOUSE RESOLUTION
By LORETTA FULTON
The Jumano Indians were honored with a resolution from the Texas Legislature May 15 that was proposed by Bishop Michael Pfeifer, former bishop of the Catholic Diocese of San Angelo.
Pfeifer, who lives in San Antonio, has long been an admirer or the Jumano people and Sor Maria de Jesus of Agreda, also known as Lady in Blue, who is said to have appeared to the Jumanos and spoken to them in their native language.
“I thank God for the recognition given to these First Americans, who were chosen by God for the visits of the Lady in Blue,” Pfeifer said. “I now refer to them as the messengers to the missionaries.”
Pfeifer wrote the first draft of the resolution, which then was put into the formal legislative wording and presented to the Legislature as House Resolution 1565. It was signed by Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Dennis Bonnen and state Reps. Drew Darby and Tom Craddick.
The entire resolution is printed below.
H.R. No. 1565
WHEREAS, With a proud heritage that spans many centuries, the Jumano Indians of Texas have been a vital part of the history of the Lone Star State; and
WHEREAS, The Jumano were living in parts of present–day Texas when Europeans first arrived in the area, and they may have encountered the Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca in 1535 near the site now occupied by the city of Presidio; they were first identified as “Jumano” in 1582 by another explorer, Antonio de Espejo; and
WHEREAS, In this era, the Jumano were a seminomadic people who hunted buffalo, farmed, and served as salt traders, following the Colorado River to where it joins the Concho River; early on, they adopted the use of the horse, and some Jumano were associated with pueblo villages; their original territory stretched from what is now the Chihuahua region of Mexico, through West Texas, and into New Mexico; and
WHEREAS, Between 1621 and 1631, a Catholic nun named Sor Maria de Jesus of Agreda, also known as the “Lady in Blue,” is said to have appeared to the Jumano and spoken to them in their native language, beginning their conversion to Christianity; in recent years, Jumanos have played an important role in the effort of the Catholic Church to canonize Sor Maria; and
WHEREAS, The Jumano endured many hardships over the centuries, including warfare with rival Native American groups and non–native settlers and the spread of infectious diseases; during the 1700s, the Jumano began to disappear from the historical record as a distinct people, and it is thought that some members of the tribe were absorbed into other groups; they became less prevalent in Texas during the turbulent period that stretched into the 1800s, but after 1875 Jumanos began to return to their traditional homeland, including such Texas locations as Candelaria, Valentine, Presidio, and Balmorhea; and
WHEREAS, In recent years, many Jumano families have begun to reclaim their heritage, and at present there are more than 5,000 people who can claim descent from this ancient people; Jumanos have served in the United States military in every war since the Civil War and they continue to be active and vital members of their communities on May 22, 2016, the council of the Jumano Indian Nation of Texas was established under the leadership of chair Felix Bonilla Salmeron; and
WHEREAS, Heirs to a rich legacy, the members of the Juman Indian Nation of Texas are strengthened by the cultural traditions and close ties of kinship that have been passed down from their forebears, and it is indeed fitting to gratefully pay tribute to their contributions to the Lone Star State; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the House of Representatives of the 86th Texas Legislature hereby honor the Jumano Indian Nation of Texas and extend to its members sincere best wishes for the future; and, be it further
RESOLVED, That an official copy of this resolution be prepared for the nation as an expression of high regard by the Texas House of Representatives.