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CABALGATA 2004(See also Torreon Newspaper Coverage of thie event (translated from Spanish) (See also Cabagata)
Cherokees and the Cabalgata
For the fourth consecutive year, the Cherokee Nation of Mexico was on hand for the three state cabalgata which formed itself in the tiny hamlet of Hidalgo, (in Colonial days, Pan) Coahuila. The annual affair, which has grown considerably in the past two years, has as its slogan, “United through tradition,” and the participants have swelled to an estimated nine thousand riders, provoking revised plans for the flow of equine traffic for next year. President of the Republic Vicente Fox, recuperating from an operation a year ago, on the advice of his physician was unable to make the trail ride but was on hand at the terminal point to underline it’s significance, and to assure the three Governors of Coahuila, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon that there would be significant changes for the well being of the northern Mexican states adjacent to Texas. Among those making the ride were Coahuila Governor Enrique Martinez y Martinez, Tamaulipas Governor Tomas Yarrington, and Nuevo Leon Governor Jose Natividad Gonzalez Paras, as well as Sonora Governor Eduardo Bours and Hidalgo Governor Manuel Angel Nunez.
The President of the Republic indicated that the event not only manifested the unity of the region, but would involve serious actions which would benefit the quality of life for the inhabitants of the region and strengthen the hopes of gaining new horizons in every aspect.
At trail’s end, Santiago Creel, Secretary of the Government, Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha and Energy Secretary Felipe Calderon. High level conferences were also the order of the day, as the officials gathered privately to tackle problems indigenous to the northeastern Mexican States and discuss solutions. On hand for the occasion was Piedras Negras Bishop Rt. Reverend Alfonso Garza, who would be called upon this past Sunday to celebrate mass at the main plaza in flood ravaged Villa de Fuente to show official Catholic church support for the Villa. The ceremonies at Hidalgo began with the Peace Pipe Ceremony performed by the Cherokee Nation of Mexico, the Governors of five Mexican states participating. Dr. Rogers then presented the Governors with a pipe for each, telling them “These pipes represent a vote by each Governor for a bright future for Mexico.” With that the four Governors raised the pipes to the cheering crowd of thousands.
The Cherokee Nation of Mexico, headed by Chief Charles Rogers of Brownsville Matamoros, since August 2001 an effective force in the development of socio economic programs from Matamoros to Saltillo to Zaragoza, Coahuila, added much flair and color to the event. At Hidalgo the Cherokees rebuilt the Cherokee House which they, had erected the year before. “This one is much higher, stronger and durable,” Chief Rogers told the News Guide, ”some 43 feet high but this one has concrete foundations hidden among the cedar poles which make up the walls. The interior of the Cherokee House, however, still had the circle of stones around which many of the ceremonies took place, including a Cherokee wedding and an added attraction, a service of healing performed by minister Durbin Feeling and White Chief Alan Herrin, the spiritual advisor and elder Cherokee brave
“We have always been deeply grateful to Mexico for their part in allowing the few Cherokee refugees from East Texas to come to the Republic since 1840,” Rogers underlined. “For their part, the Cherokees showed their gratitude by serving effectively with the Mexican army in their fight for freedom.” He was referring to the 40 Cherokees who served with the Rio Grande troops as members of General Adrian Woell’s Army who died at the Battle of the Salado east of San Antonio in September of 1842.
One of Maverick County’s most famous Indian fighters on this frontier, Green Van, whose family escaped the wrath of Mirabeau Bonaparte Lamar in 1839 and came to Mexico, settling in Santa Rosa, now Muzquiz, Coahuila, also had descendants at the cabalgata, Rich and his wife from Del Rio, (and don’t forget Princess and Ray Vann and his wife of San Antonio. “The Vanns were %end prominent in the history of the Zaragoza Eagle ss area in the nineteenth century,” Dr. Rogers recalled, “and their descendants are still living in the area.” The Doctor and his Cherokee Nation of Mexico hope to tour the house that Green Vann built “before the Civil War” in northern Maverick County on the famous Chupadero Ranch.
Various Maverick County and Eagle Pass officials were also on hand to lend solidarity to the event, so evocative of our Country’s almost forgotten past, including John Sullivan of the County Judge’s office and Chamber of Commerce President Chad Foster, a long time supporter of Maverick County agri business and his work with the youth of this community.
The cabalgata wound up on the Anahuac highway in Nuevo Laredo at the Department of Public Safety building where hundreds of aficionados gathered to congratulate and applaud the riders.
The largest turnout of riders in the four year history of this Cabalgata, termed the “United in our traditions” trail ride, with an estimated over 9,000 horses and riders, “an amazing sight to behold,” one Cherokee mused. The Cherokee Nation of Mexico did their part to make the event better than the previous year, adding to the Cherokee Ceremonial House which was built on the fairgrounds at Hidalgo last year, this time bringing the cane roof of the structure to a 43 foot peak. They also brought and gave away an astonishing 14,000 beaded necklaces in red, white and green. The crowds, however, were most impressed by the Cherokee Princesses. Dressed in flowing white deer-skin the two beautiful young ladies Holly “Golah Geegahgay Adahduhski” Nowlin and Jasmin Joostlah Atritlaygee “Running Fox” Vann represented their tribe in an outstanding manner. For hours the two met people, posed for endless photographs and handed out the beaded necklaces Friday until the late hours of the evening, then rode out the following morning with the group.
The Cherokee Nation of Mexico rode only a part of the way south across the rolling Coahuila terrain toward the Columbia Bridge, then returned to the Cherokee Ceremonial House for festivities. Here Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Mexico Dr. Charles Rogers performed a Cherokee wedding; the bride Barbara Sue Siegrist, and the groom David McCulloch were wrapped in a white blanket as their families gave their blessings and offered jerky and cornbread to the gathering. A bit of unscheduled excitement took place during the ride, when the horse pulling the wagon carrying the Tribal elders bolted and overturned the wagon. Chief Rogers and his warriors ran to the aid of the elders with mounting dismay, as 10,000 horses bore down on them. When Chief Rogers arrived, he found the wagon, with its erstwhile party of passengers scrambling up the embankment amidst peals of laughter, none the worse for wear. It seems the elders enjoy a good adventure. Chief Rogers asserted that “the horse was simply trying to leave the scene because the conversation of the Cherokee elders in the wagon was very irritating and disturbing to his equine ears, and was more than he could bear.”
The Cherokees were especially impressed and touched by the demeanor of Mexican families as they entered the Ceremonial House Friday night. The crowd was reverent as they lined up to enter the house, the men removing their hats, and everyone anxious to participate in this Native American custom, awaiting their turn to have the ceremonial beads placed around their necks in yet another international friendship gesture.
The Cherokees wished each one good luck. with the blessings of the Creator, then demonstrated drums, shakers, flutes and showed blankets and the ever present buffalo hides, so dear to the Native Americans.
As usual, the Cherokees left Mexico with warm memories of the new friends they had made and left behind, and many who had been present at previous cabalgatas, including the Director of the Piedras Negras Centro de Salud Dr. Rogelio Valdes Mier.
The eager Eagle Pass Maverick County contingent, too, was in full force at Hidalgo for the Fourth Annual Cabalgata. Astride his trusty paint was none other than Eagle Pass Mayor Joaquin R. Rodriguez, along with his side kick and former Mayor now his Honor Maverick County Judge Jose Pepe Aranda, and Commissioner Rudy Heredia. From the Judge’s office came John and Carol Sullivan, and Eagle Pass Mayor elect Chad Foster, along with Billy Berain, Marcelo Alvarez, Luis and Marisela Castillo and family, Santana Salinas. Alberto Cedilto and family, Juan Flores and family, Luis Miranda and family, Jaime Martinez and family, Pepe Tovar and family, Martin Garcia and family, Telico Hernandez and family and Ernesto Salazar.
“Eagle Pass has a long, interesting and rich Agri Business tradition,” Foster told the News Guide. “The history of agriculture and stock raising here began before the Civil War with the sheep raising industry, and continued with irrigation water pumped from the Rio Grande to various commercial farms (el Indio Ranch, the Dolch Farms and the Hopedale area) around the turn of the century, through the lean years before the big irrigation canal became a reality in the early 1930s.”
From his Maverick County roots, Foster knew the traditional stories about the Cherokee who built the San Miguel ranch house (1873) in northern Maverick County, and his own Chupadero Ranch house (1852 according to the Wipff family tradition) and, eager to learn more, spoke at length with Dr. Charles Rogers, Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Mexico along with Richard Vann, a direct descendant of the famous Maverick County rancher, carpenter and lawman, Manuel Green Vann. The gregarious and knowledgeable Chief Rogers was eager to share the story of how and why the Cherokees came to northern Mexico in 1840, still under investigation in the Saltillo archives.
copyright © 2012 Cherokee Nation of Sequoyah
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