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Book, I Fought a Good Fight:
A History of the Lipan Apache

by Sherry Robinson



Note from H. Walking Woman, Lipan Apache Tribe:

      We thank author Sherry Robinson for her hard work and research in telling the history of the Lipan Apache. She has researched the unsung Lipan Apaches and relates well our ancestors' fight for survival in early Texas. We, however, must post a correction to page 384: "The second group, the Lipan Apache tribe of Texas, Inc., didn't respond to my requests for interviews." Chairman Bernard Barcena has provided two emails with which he agreed to the author's request for an interview. Only after the publication of her book did we know that Ms. Robinson had not seen Chairman Barcena's emails. They were probably sent to her spam mail. It was an unfortunate instance of yet another missed opportunity to correct the oral history of the descendants of Cuelgas de Castro in a modern account of our story. We will also note that the Lipan Apache Band of Texas was incorporated in 1999 under two incorporators, Bernard Barcena Jr. and Daniel Romero Jr. with five directors: Daniel Castro Romero Jr., Bernard F. Barcena Jr., Robert Soto, David Ortiz, and Tomas Taberes Ramirez (see link: Exhibit Court Case Cause #2007CI10117). At the time of the split between the Band which became the Tribe and the current Band, Barcena was the chairman of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas in Texas and Romero was the chairman of the splinter group, the Lipan Apache Band of Texas in California.

About I Fought A Good Fight: A History of the Lipan Apaches

      This history of the Lipan Apaches, from archeological evidence to the present, tells the story of some of the least known, least understood people in the Southwest. These plains buffalo hunters and traders were one of the first groups to acquire horses, and with this advantage they expanded from the Panhandle southeast across Texas and into Coahuila. Around 1700, the Comanches began forcing Eastern Apaches from their haunts, but they didn’t yield easily and from then on were the Comanches’ stubborn enemies.

      For a small group, the Lipans had an outsized impact through three centuries. They were as clever, fearless, and resourceful as the better known Chiricahua Apaches. With a knack for making friends and forging alliances, they survived against all odds, and were still free long after their worst enemies were corralled on reservations.

      The author uses oral history and ethnology along with conventional sources to track the Lipans, from their earliest interactions with Spaniards and kindred Apache groups through later alliances with other tribes and French traders to their love-hate relationships with Mexicans, Texas colonists, Texas rangers, and the U.S. Army.

      In detail, we hear of the Eastern Apache confederacy of allied but autonomous groups that joined for war, defense and trade. Among their confederates, Lipans drew closer to the Spanish, Mexicans and Texians, led by chiefs with a diplomatic bent. This familiarity was good for alliances and trade and led to attempts at mission living and service as scouts but also exposed the Lipans to disease.

      As enemies, the Lipans were known for guerilla tactics, but always facing a larger enemy, they lost ground to Mexican campaigns and Mackenzie’s raids. By the 1880s, their numbers dwindling, they roamed with Mescalero Apaches from Mexico to the Pecos to the Mescalero Reservation. Some Lipans rode with Victorio. Many remained in Mexico, some stole back into Texas, and others melted into reservations where they had relatives. They never surrendered.


About the Author: Sherry Robinson is an award-winning New Mexico journalist and author. She is the author of Apache Voices and El Malpais, Mt. Taylor and the Zuni Mountains and has given talks on Apaches for the New Mexico Humanities Council since 1999. Robinson is a graduate of the University of New Mexico.







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Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas
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