Our Sacred History
The Lipan Apaches and the Republic of Texas
The Lipans enjoyed a rare decade of peace under the Republic
of Texas (1836-1845). The government formally recognized the Lipan Apaches as friends, signing
the Treaty of Live Oak Point with Chief Cuelgas de Castro in 1838. Under the treaty, the
Lipans were allowed to trade in the settlements and were protected from their enemies, the
Comanches. Squads of Lipan warriors were riding with Texas militia units by early 1839 and
with the Texas Rangers by 1841. Sam Houston wrote moving testimonials about the friendship
which existed between the Lipans and the Texans during the years of the Republic and the
crucial role played by the Lipan Apaches in the defense of Texas.
Many settlers who came to Texas after 1836 commented on
the friendliness of the Lipans. Settlers in Castroville credited them with saving the settlement
from starvation during its early years by providing venison.
However, there was a growing sentiment in Texas that all Indians
should be kept away from the settlements and must remain north of an imaginary line which was
drawn across Texas at a point north of Austin. The Treaty of Tehuacana Creek, which the Lipans
signed in 1844, contained language which seemed to indicate that such a line would eventually
be drawn. But in negotiations prior to the treaty signing, the Lipans were given an exemption
and were allowed to remain in their homeland around San Antonio and in south Texas. This
exemption angered the Comanches, who were forced to remain in north Texas.