The 7th Annual Save Texas History Symposium: The Alamo, Keystone of Texas History: Past, Present and Future will be held this year at the Menger Hotel in San Antonio on Saturday, September 17.

Native Labor and the San Antonio Missions

Sponsored by Texas A&M University Press

Many thematic issues connect the San Antonio Missions and intrinsically Mission Valero to the Alamo. A crucial aspect of the survival of the missions through the centuries is Native labor. In fact, the subtitle of this paper should be ‘learning labor,’ as Native populations learned a multitude of tasks for which they were unprepared, and in the process cast off traditional practices that had served them well for millennia. This paper discusses the physical and archival evidence for the dual processes of detaching from ancient Native American traditions and the learning of Western labor tasks. This discussion will focus on subsistence and monumentality.

About Mariah Wade

Mariah Wade is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin. She is an archaeologist and ethnohistorian who has focused on the pre-colonial and colonial periods in Texas and northern Mexico. Her Masters Thesis dealt with the San Antonio Missions and particularly with San José y San Miguel de Aguayo Mission and its gristmill. Aside from many published thematic articles and four book chapters related to Native Americans in Texas and the Greater Southwest, Mariah is the author of The Native Americans of the Texas Edwards Plateau: 1582–1799, University of Texas Press (2003), and of Missions, Missionaries and Native Americans: long-term processes and daily practices, University Press of Florida (2008), which deals specifically with mission life, mainly in Texas and the Californias. Both works relied almost exclusively on archival materials, which she procured, translated and analyzed.

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