|Transition- The Reservation and Assimilation|
In 1850, a severe smallpox epidemic at San Antonio caused a
small Lipan ranchería led by Chief Magoosh to seek refuge with the Mescalero Apaches in New Mexico. This group formed the core of what later became the Lipans living at the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Other rancherías, such as the group led by Venego, joined the Mexican Lipans near Zaragosa (Coahuila). The Venego group joined the Magoosh group in 1904 on the Mescalero Reservation and formed the core of the modern Lipan Apaches of New Mexico.
After 1858, there remained only about 120 Lipan Apaches
in Texas. One small group of less than 10 persons had
intermarried with the Tonkawas and joined that tribe on a
Texas reservation. By 1860, this group was transferred to
Fort Belknap. In 1867, they were sent to Fort Griffin and
in 1884 they were placed at the Oakland Agency in Oklahoma.
A second Dranchería, which had remained in Texas
after 1855 by allying themselves with the Kiowa Apaches,
was taken into military custody by 1865 and remanded to
Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The Lipan/Tonkawas and the Lipan/Kiowa
Apaches formed the core of the modern Lipan Apaches of Oklahoma.
The bulk of the Lipan tribe fled to Mexico after 1855. Some
remained there, in the Santa Rosa Mountains, and are still
living there today.
Other Lipan groups filtered back into south Texas by the
1880’s. But the Texas government’s policy of Indian removal
had forced Texas Indians either onto reservations or into
assimilation. The Lipan Apaches who came back to Texas were
forced to hide in plain sight because of the threat of
forcible placement on a reservation or imprisonment because
active arrest warrants. They already spoke Spanish; most, if
not all Lipans bore Spanish surnames. The Lipans blended into
the Hispanic populations of San Antonio and south Texas just
as they had always camouflaged themselves prior to an ambush,
becoming one with the south Texas brush country. And they are
still there today.