Message #179
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 

Date: Sat, 30 May 1998 
Subject: Proyecto Misiones Jesuitas en la Sierra

[ AzTeC / SWA SASIG ] :

[ Munoz Alcocer, Karla,  252 Northwind, El Paso TX
79912; restorer of masterpieces; Instituto Nacional
de Antropologia e Historia, responsable del
proyecto "Diagnostico de las Misiones Jesuitas en
la Sierra Tarahumara", Restauradora del Museo de
arte sacro y de la Catedral Metropolitana de
Chihuahua, Chih. Mexico; ] 

From: Karla Munoz Alcocer

Actualmente el Instituto Nacional de Antropologia
e Historia esta efectuando un diagnostico de las
Misiones Jesuitas en la Sierra Tarahumara de
Chihuhua, México. Soy la responsable del proyecto.
al leer su información pense que podia ser
interesante hablar de este proyecto. El cual tiene
como principal objetivo el establecer planes y
programas de restauración y conservación de los
edificios misionales jesuitas, así como implementar
y difundir el turismo en la sierra. La primera
misión Jesuita se fundo en 1607. Fundando un total
de 111 misiones hasta su expulsion en 1767, de los
cuales 10 están en ruina, o fueron destruidas en
la historia y reconstruidas en el sitio original,
algunas, la mayoría de las misiones que están
cerca de la modernidad están intervenidas y no
adecuadamente, mientras que las mas lejanas y
perdidas entre las barrancas presentan casi su
estado original. Al finalizar este proyecto se
publicara un informe del diagnostico del estado
actual de conservación tanto de la arquitectura
como de la obra mueble del interior de los
edificios. Si están interesados en este proyecto,
y si cuentan con datos históricos o información
de las misiones en Texas, podríamos intercambiar
y enriquecer nuestro conocimiento y proyecto.

Karla Muñoz Alcocer

[ traducido por Brian Kenny ]:
Presently, the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia
e Historia is conducting an analysis of the Jesuit
Missions in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuhua,
Mexico. I am the person in charge of the project.
Upon reading your information, I thought it might
be interesting to speak of this project. It has a
main objective of establishing restoration plans
and conservation programs for the Jesuit mision
buildings, as well as to implement and spread
tourism in the mountain range. The first Jesuit
mission was founded in 1607. Of the 111 missions
founded up to the 1767 expulsion, 10 are in ruin
or were destroyed historically and reconsrtucted
on the original site; some, nearly modern through
intervention are not suitable (for the project),
while those most distant or lost among the ravines
appear nearly in their original condition. Upon
project completion, a published report will
diagnose as much of the present state of
conservation of the architecture as well as
interior  works and furnishings. If there are
persons interested in this project who can relay
historical facts or information about the Texas
missions, we might be able to interact and enrich
our knowledge and projects.

Karla Muñoz Alcocer

>>Indian remains returning to mission
By Joseph Barrios Express-News Staff Writer

SASIG Ed. Note --

May 30, 1998 -- 
Read the Sun Express news Story above. To learn
more about the group "American Indians in Texas at
the Spanish Colonial Missions" (AITSCM), see:


A Vision into the Past 
As we walked slowly through the tall, wet grasses
towards the bluff's edge, suddenly the group
stopped and gazed across the narrow valley veiled
in a light mist. A tall wisp of fragrant wood smoke
was drifting upwards towards the sullen sky.
Standing on this high bluff, above the slowly
moving water of the historic Medina River, one
could, all at once, hear the beat of the Indian
drums, smell the smoke from the campfire in front
of the brush jackal and, through the mist, see the
shrouded forms of the Native American dancers
slowly circling the ceremonial grounds. There were
men in full ceremonial dress, women in beautiful
handmade clothing and many children - one boy with
a coyote skin draped across his back and the coyote
head adorning his glistening black hair. Other than
the sound of the drums, the silence of the river
valley was eerie. Knowing that this site was a
major camping and food foraging area for Indians
from 9,000 years ago to only a few hundred years
ago made the scene below us even more moving and
realistic. Abundant proof exists that the
ancestors of these very same Coahuiltecan people
lived along this river bank and enacted ceremonies
very similar to this one. Then, a few hundred years
ago, the peaceful lives of these people abruptly
changed with the appearance of Spanish soldiers and
priests at  the San Pedro Springs, 12 miles to the
north of this sacred site. The year was 1691 and
soon a Spanish mission was started, then another
and another, until a string of five missions lined
the Indian's beloved Yanaguana River, which the
Spanish now named Rio de San Antonio. These same
missions were built by and operated through the
labor of these local tribes and some others. Upon
this very site, located on the Medina River a few
miles west of the confluence of the two rivers of
Bejar, lies the historic Rancho de Perez. Rancho
de Perez was the home of Ignacio Perez, a Canary
Islander who became the last Spanish Governor of
Tejas. Descendants of Perez not only still ranch
on the north bank of the Medina, but are found
in one of the Coahuiltecan families at the
ceremony. All of this fantastic "new" history of
the San Antonio region has been unearthed and will
be forever preserved due to the failed Applewhite
Reservoir project. Texas A&M University
Environmental Archaeology Center has led research
efforts in this area. For several years, SAWS has
been cooperating with numerous local and state
groups to determine ways of establishing a
permanent cultural resource center on some portion
of the land acquired for the defeated project.
The local mission Indian group described above is
formally known as the American Indians in Texas-at
the Spanish Colonial Missions (AITSCM). The San
Antonio Water System has cooperated with AITSCM to
hold ceremonies on the banks of the Medina and
to become involved in discussions regarding the
future of this beautiful site. Several members of
AITSCM were invited to participate in the recent
Medina River Planning Charrette held at Palo Alto
College. The Friends of Medina River, whose
experiences were described above, was graciously
invited to this ancient "Blessing of the Waters"
ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 7. The ceremony was
authentic, serious and impressive to both Indian
and non-Indian guests. We very much appreciated
the opportunity to learn about a forgotten and
largely unknown segment of our region's history.
Gatherings such as this serve to not only educate,
but to join people by bringing our cultures

Mike Mecke, Coordinator-Technology Review 
Data Services Dept. San Antonio Water System 
P.O. Box 2449, San Antonio, Texas 78298-2449 
Phone: 210- 704-7258 Fax: 210-704-7208