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
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.|