The Lipan Apache Tribe Community Page
Our Sacred History
August 20, 1749
Treaty of Mission Valero de Bextar with Lipan and Natagés Apaches
Excerpt from Minor (2009, pp. 33-34).

In the first weeks of August 1749, the emissaries returned to San Antonio after successfully locating two Lipan and two Natagés1 bands on the banks of the Guadalupe River. The chiefs of both tribes indicated they were anxious or peace, sending a highly-ranked negotiator, an Apache “of much distinction,” who was charged with hammering out the terms of a peace treaty and prisoner exchange. (Cabello, 1784: 110).

For their part, the Spanish anxiously began making preparations for a celebration the likes of which San Antonio had never seen before and has never seen since. A large covered gallery was constructed in the presidio’s plaza so that the Apache and Spanish leadership could eat and converse in full view of the populace. Quarters were readied and accommodations made for the chiefs and their attendants. The Spanish were so anxious, in fact, that they prematurely anticipated the arrival of the chiefs, bestowing so many “good gifts and obsequities” on the emissaries and distinguished negotiator that the chiefs were prevented from making the imposing entrance they had hoped for (Cabello, 1784: 110).

One week after the emissaries and negotiator had entered San Antonio, the inhabitants saw smoke on the northern horizon. The Lipan and Natagés chiefs were signaling that they were now ready to enter the town in grand style. On the morning of August 16, 1749, Thoribio Urrutia set out at the head of all the presidio’s troups, town officials and settlers, accompanied by Fr. Santa Ana, five missionary priests and many mission Indians. Six miles from the Béxar presidio, the Spaniard came face to face with the Texas Apaches.

The chiefs, those of this outpost and the religious ones stopped, and mutually practiced their ceremonies of joy, embracing together for the good of mankind. Finishing together in these circumstances, they marched, leading the warrior people to the gallery destined for their hospitality, where they had provided various slaughtered animals, corn, squash and fruit. The chiefs alone entered the presidio, where they lodged in the quarters of Captain Urrutia and the mission of San Antonio de Valero contained the rest of the [Indian] population. The Indians had much admiration for the good work and methods which preceded these procedures.

On the following day of the 17th [of August, 1749], they celebrated a mass of thanksgiving at the parish church of this presidio and the villa of San Fernando. The mass was led by the ministers of these missions together with the four chiefs of the Lipans and Apaches [Natagés] and all the settlers, and afterwards, they went out with them to begin to work on the release of the prisoners and matters of the peace. The first was done on the 18th and 19th, then they formalized the peace.

When these things were authorized with the concurrence of all, the missionaries, guard troops and settlers gathered in one part of the plaza and in another part were the Indian chiefs, their people and the prisoners. They all came together and dug a big pit in the middle off the plaza, in which they placed a living horse, a hatchet [war club], a lance and six arrows. Holding hands with Thoribio Urrutia, the Indian chiefs arrived at the edge of the pit, dancing three times around it; the same was subsequently done by the missionaries and settlers and finishing this ceremony, they placed themselves in their respective posts. At a sign, all persons rushed back to the mountain of earth removed from the pit and threw the dirt down, burying the horse, hatchet, lace and arrows until all were covered. By this ceremony, the chiefs meant all to understand that they had had enough of ware, which they buried here. When that was said, the chiefs howled and our people pronounced three cheers for the King.

At the conclusion of these ceremonies, the Indians proclaimed themselves very content and satisfied, as were the rest of our countrymen equally satisfied, and from here forward agreed to trade frequently at this place and with some of the population of this place, and that when one encountered the other, they would treat them as friends and brothers The same was assured by Captain Urrutia on his part and by all the Spanish. (Cabello, 1784: 111-1120)

On August 20, 1749, the chiefs, warriors and freed prisoners prepared to leave and return to their rancherías along the Guadalupe River. To seal the new peace, the Spanish bestowed gifts on the Lipans and [ Natagés], a practice which they would continue for the next seven years. The cloth, clothing, food ad metal items came from the fields, ranches ad storehouses of the San Antonio missions “Everyone came out to see them off the same way they had been received ad at the time of separation, the King’s people made many truthful demonstrations of friendship.” (Cabello, 1784: 112)

1749 Gifts

127 varas (one vara = 2.8 ft) woolen homespun cloth
2 half pieces Queretano cloth for Chief’s trousers
122 varas coarse cotton fabric for Chief’s shirts
varas cotton jacket cloth
27 cotton women’ blouses (huipils)
3 dozen hats ad notions
347 bushels of corn, 14 bushels of beans
31 lads of wheat, 3 loads of sugar
½ load salt, 19 strings of chilies
5 thirds of tobacco
14 horses, 4 dz. ordinary horse bits
18 “animal that they consumed”
6 dozen large pointed knives
21 metal pieces- crossbars and shovels

1  Fr. Santa Ana described the three primary Apache groups (in) Texas: (1) Natagés (generally called “Apaches” by the Spaniards), (2) Ypandis (Plains Lipan), and (3) Pelones (Forest Lipans) (Santa Ana, 1743a, 83-90; Minor, 2009, 28).

Sources cited:

Cabello, D. (Sept. 30, 1784). Cabello to Do Mathias de Galvez. Archivo General de Mexico (AGM), Provicias Internas (PI), 2Q148, Vol. 92, The Center for American History (CAH).

Minor, N. M. (2009). Turning adversity to advantage: a history of the Lipan Apaches of Texas and northern Mexico, 1700-1900. Lanham, MD: University Press of America.

De Santa Ana, B. (March 3, 1743a). Fr. Benito Fernández de Santa Ana to Viceroy, AGM, PI, 2Q215, Vol. 31, CAH.

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Lipan Apache Tribe
P.O. Box 5218
McAllen, Texas 78502