Our Sacred History
US Treaties, Forts & Cavalry Attacks
Once Texas became a state in 1846, the Comanches
began pressuring the government to address what they saw as special treatment
being given to the Lipans under the old treaty of Tehuacana. The Treaty of
Council Springs (1846) was intended to address this issue, but the Lipans
refused to sign the treaty because it would have led to their destruction
by permanently removing them from their homeland and placing them at the
mercy of their enemies.
Once Instead, many of the Lipan bands and rancherías withdrew from contact with
the Texas government. The Ramón Castro ranchería moved into deep-south
Texas after 1847; other bands moved into west Texas along the lower Pecos River.
However, a smallpox epidemic at San Antonio in 1850 and the beginning of a severe
five-year long drought forced many Lipans to either attempt to deal with the
Texans and U.S. Government or to permanently flee the state. Those that signed
treaties with the U.S. found the terms harsh. The Spring Creek Treaty (1850)
ended the Lipan exemption and legally barred the tribe from living near the
settlements. The San Saba Treaty (1851) legalized Indian removal from Texas
and placement on reservations.
Once These terms were unacceptable to many Lipans.
Some bands fled to south Texas below the Nueces River; other bands fled to Mexico.
Only Chiefs Chiquito, Manuel and John Castro retained contact with
the Texas government and its Indian Agency because their people were starving and
they needed supplies. However, these chiefs and their people were forced to live
near frontier forts. When no provisions were provided, they were forced to beg for
food. False accusations of depredations were made against them; troops launched
unprovoked attacks against them. Manuel and his people fled to Mexico in 1853,
followed by John Castro’s ranchería in 1854 and most of Chiquito’s
ranchería in 1855.
Once The bulk of the Lipan tribe remained in
Mexico after 1855. Under the terms of the San Saba Treaty, which most of
the chiefs who fled to Mexico had signed, the United States promised that
whenever it removed Texas Indians from their ancestral lands, those Indians
would not be forced to seek new homes because of attacks by United States troops.
Yet, that is precisely what happened to the Lipan Apaches of Texas. Driven into Mexico,
they were pursued by U.S. troops, who crossed illegally into Mexico to seek
them out and destroy them.