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News Release

Lipan Apache Tribe

Governor Gregory Abbott has signed bills adopted by the 86th Legislature of the State of Texas that once again recognize the Lipan Apache Tribe, also known as the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas. On May 25, 2019, and June 4, 2019, the governor signed, respectively, House Concurrent Resolution HCR 171 and Senate Concurrent Resolution SCR 61, two companion bills that “recognize the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.” With this legislation, the State of Texas reaffirms wholeheartedly its recognition of the Lipan Apache Tribe when, in 2009, the House and Senate each passed joint resolutions which did not go to the governor.

The Lipan Apache Tribe is the descendent American Indian tribe of confederated eastern Apache bands that used to defend a homeland spanning from the Southern Great Plains to the Gulf of Mexico and who have had a long-standing existence in the vast area of Texas which pre-dates European settlements. The Lipan Apaches have entered into treaties, alliances, and pledges of friendship with the governments of Spain, Mexico, the German Confederation, and the United States. When Anglo settlers came to Texas in the early 1800s, the Lipan people traded bison, venison, hides, pecans, and other staples with them and, in general, helped the newcomers adapt to Texas. In 1838, President Sam Houston and the Republic of Texas formally acknowledged a friendship with the tribe through the Treaty of Live Oak Point.  

Today, the Lipan Apache Tribe is made up by historical Lipan communities who have persisted intact in the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas, and the Big Bend region of West Texas and by the remnants of many other Lipan bands, all fused together as one tribal unit. The Tribe is represented by a tribal government, the Tribal Council, with a constitution and bylaws and is a full voting member of the National Congress of American Indians. Further, due to a federal law suit by Tribal Council Vice-chair Rev. Robert Soto, the United States Department of Interior has acknowledged the religious and legal rights of more than 200 tribal members to use eagle feathers in their ceremonial practices. With its headquarters in McAllen, Texas, the Lipan Apache Tribe is led by Tribal Council Chairman Bernard F. Barcena, Jr.

“We’re elated,” said Chairman Barcena, “these acts by the Texas Legislature build on the state’s recognition of the Lipans ten years ago and take the state as far as it can go today to re-establish the close relationship we once had with Texas when our leaders were also significant political and military leaders in the Republic of Texas. I also want to thank Governor Abbott for being a Governor of the people and for the people.”  

Vice-chair Soto said, “We consider it an important step in the long road to Federal acknowledgement, which we intend to eventually achieve.”

“We’re very thankful for the unanimous vote in favor of these bills,” said Tribal Council Secretary, Juan Garcia; “it’s a testament to the broad support the Lipan Apache Tribe enjoys in the state and to the positive influence of our tribe’s vast network of relatives and friends.”   

Copies of the two concurrent resolutions can be found at:

To find out more about the Lipan Apache Tribe, please visit 

To learn more about HCR 171 and SCR 61, contact

Bernard Barcena, Tribal Council Chair

(210) 723-6874

Juan S. Garcia, Tribal Council Secretary

(361) 816-2081

Dr. Hermelinda Walking Woman, Tribe Director of Ed

(979) 307-0511