Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 3, Summer 2000 Page: 17
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sleta del Sur Pueblo, founded by the Tigua Indians in
1682, is the oldest settlement in the State of Texas. It is
the most southern of the Rio Grande Indian pueblos.
Ysleta is the eastern suburb of El Paso and includes the
^ff^^^^ ~~old central business district as well as outlying shopping
malls and residential districts. Much has been written about the Tigua Indians and
the historic Ysleta Mission, but the history of the old Indian pueblo, the state's
oldest community, is a mystery with many unanswered questions - where was it located,
was it a compact Indian pueblo, and how did it evolve?
MUCH HAS BEEN
WRITTEN ABOUT THE
YSLETA MISSION, BUT
LITTLE IS KNOWN
ABOUT THE OLDEST
COMMUNITY IN TEXAS.
Although there is no stereotypical
multi-storied Indian pueblo, the Indian
presence in modern-day Ysleta is very conspicuous.
The most obvious clue to an old
Indian village is Old Pueblo Road, the narrow,
two-lane street that runs before the
entrance of the old mission. Just south of
the church is a large pueblo-style complex
that includes the tribally operated and
owned businesses -- Speaking Rock Casino,
Wyngs Restaurant, and Running Bear Gas
Station and Convenience Store.
Until the 1970s, most Tigua Indians
were extremely poor and lived in substandard
housing in the Barrio de los Indios, or
Neighborhood of the Indians, a dispersed
settlement east of the old mission. In 1967,
the U.S. Government and the State of
Texas recognized the tribe, and all trust responsibilities
were transferred from the federal
government to the state. A short-lived
Texas Indian Commission helped develop
a reservation housing project about a mile
east of the mission. After receiving full federal
recognition in 1986, the tribe developed
a new and attractive housing community
located in the Socorro area, which
is now nearing completion. Some Indian
families elected to remain in the old barrio.
The ancestors of the Tigua Indians came
from Isleta, in northern New Mexico, south
of modem-day Albuquerque. On August
10, 1680, the Pueblo Indians of New
Mexico rose up against the injustices of
Spanish rule. Churches and haciendas were
burned and more than 300 colonists were
Ysleta is very
The most obvious
"San Isleta, June 9, 1862," sketch
by A.B. Peticolas, a retreating
Confederate soldier with the Victoria
Invincibles. This is the earliest
known image of Ysleta Mission and
Indian Pueblo. The pueblo (right) is
the two-story structure with a ladder.
The artist placed himself in the
drawing (foreground). Courtesy of
the Arizona Historical Society,
HERITAGE * 17 * SUMMER 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 3, Summer 2000, periodical, Summer 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45389/m1/17/: accessed August 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.