By Brian Jewell
While you’re exploring the various cultures that make up modern San Antonio, take some time to learn about Texas’ Native American history. The Institute of Texas Cultures has exhibits that chronicle the various ethnic groups that have lived in Texas, and a large exhibit focuses on Native American groups throughout the state.
“Our museum features information on the cultures that came to Texas, and the Native Americans were one of the larger ones,” said Ed Johnson, an exhibit supervisor at the museum. “In one section, we show El Paso and West Texas about 900 years ago, where the Indians were desert farmers like in New Mexico and Arizona.
“In central Texas, we have Apaches and Plains Indians. East Texas had the Caddo Indians about 1,000 years ago.”
Three large murals representing each of these Texas regions show the traditional dress and subsistence practices of the different native groups.
A map shows the different areas of the state that were home to Native American groups, and another exhibit traces 15,000 years’ worth of human history in the area surrounding San Antonio.
Some of the Indian artifacts on display at the museum are baskets, ceremonial belts made of beads and porcupine quills, and several traditional flutes. A section on tobacco has a number of ceremonial pipes used for smoking.