History Untold: Roots of SA Spanish mission descendants go back hundreds of years

Peace Laureate Ramon Vasquez is devoted to sharing their history

SAN ANTONIO – As a member of the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation, Ramon Vasquez was wrapped in a tribal blanket honoring him and his late father, Ramon Vasquez y Sanchez, at a ceremony Sunday naming both as 2024 Peace Laureates by the San Antonio Peace Center at Northwest Vista College.

Both father and son were instrumental in creating the nonprofit, American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Missions, to preserve and share the histories of the indigenous people who not only built the missions, but lived and died at what are now considered a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Vasquez said before AITSCM, “You would hear the history of San Antonio, and you’d think that when the Spanish got here, they were greeted by mariachis.”

Not hardly, he said, given Native Americans had been in the area for thousands of years.

Mickey Killian, who spent part of his youth at Mission San Juan, said his fourth great grandparents were at Mission San Jose in the 1770′s before moving to Mission Espada in1790.

Knowing that his ancestral roots go back hundreds of years, Killian said, “Means that I’m a part of this land.”

Killian and Brenda Pacheco, whose family lived just beyond the east wall of Mission San Jose, are among an estimated 100,000 mission descendants in San Antonio.

She said the Pacheco’s and their neighbors were legacy families, “direct descendants of the earliest San Antonians.”

The National Park Service documented many of their stories in its exhibit “We’re Still Here.”

An NPS spokeswoman said, the fact is, “The Spanish colonial missions were the foundations for the first neighborhoods of the city.”

Vasquez said, “This is where the beginnings and the roots of this city lay.”

“It is a point of pride knowing that our roots run deep,” Vasquez said. “They run very deep.”

About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Andrew Wilson is a digital journalist and social media producer at KSAT.

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