Miguel Pedraza Sr.
Tigua drummer and chanter
Imagesshow all 33 images
Javier Loera answers the question "What do you remember about Miguel Pedraza Sr.?" Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. El Paso, Texas, 2011.
Javier Loera talks about Tigua songs. Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. El Paso, Texas, 2011.
Javier Loera talks about the role of tradition in culture and music. Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. El Paso, Texas, 2011.
Miguel Pedraza Jr. answers the question "What kind of man was your father?" Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. Socorro, Texas, 2011.
Miguel Pedraza Jr. answers the question "What is the meaning of culture and tradition in music?" Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. Socorro, Texas, 2011.
Miguel Pedraza Jr. talks about his father's importance in the tribe. Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. Socorro, Texas, 2011.
Miguel Pedraza Jr. answers the question "What is the importance of passing on the tradition of chanting?" Interview with Alan Govenar. Recorded by Alan Govenar. Socorro, Texas, 2011.
FOR THE TEACHER
Many people associate the Pueblo Indians with New Mexico, but the Tigua have lived in Texas since the 17th century. In fact, the Ysleta Mission, founded by the Tigua Indians in 1682, is the oldest parish in Texas. In Spanish “del Sur” means “of the south,” distinguishing Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, located in El Paso, Texas, from the mother pueblo of Isleta of the north, located just south of modern-day Albuquerque, New Mexico. The old Spanish spelling with “Y” has been retained for Ysleta del Sur Pueblo.
Miguel Pedraza Sr. grew up very poor but surrounded by tribal chants and drumming. His father died during a gun battle with the Texas Rangers, and his guardian had been an Indian scout for the US Calvary.
In addition to passing on chants and drumming, Miguel Pedraza Sr. taught Tigua language, keeping it from becoming extinct. He was a strong advocate for state and federal tribal recognition and spent his last years as a tribal leader.
- Improve listening skills and note taking
- Learn about the Tigua and other Pueblo Indians in Texas
- Research the timeline of Pueblo Indian and Tigua history in Texas
- Map Pueblo Indian and Tigua migration from New Mexico to Texas
- Consider nature and religion from a Tigua perspective
- Investigate Pueblo architecture and farming
- Listen to Tigua drumming and chants
"We're Still Here"
- This is the theme of the National Museum of the American Indian because Indian people are eager for people to understand that Indians and Indian culture are alive and dynamic in the 21st century.
- The Tigua once held title to the land where El Paso is today. Their remaining lands are in several locations southeast of El Paso, some under control of the National Park Service.
- American Indian tribes with federal recognition are sovereign nations.
- Like other Pueblo Indians, the Tigua regard nature as an essential part of their spiritual life. They were farmers for hundreds of years and developed unique adobe structures built in blocks, like a modern apartment building.
- Since the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 drove Pueblo Indians to Texas, their relationship with the landscape and environment in the state has been central to their culture.
- The Tigua integrated Pueblo spiritual life and beliefs about nature with Catholicism after the Spanish conquest.
- Many people might not think of Pueblo Indians living in Texas, yet they have lived near present-day El Paso since the 17th century. Today the Tigua have over 1,600 people on the tribal role.
- Miguel Pedraza was both Tigua and Piro, another Pueblo tribe, and spoke Spanish in addition to Tigua and English.
- Spanish language and culture influenced the Pueblo Indians, including the Tigua.
Miguel Pedraza’s story and photos
Everyday Music Field Notes
Traditions Venn Diagram
1-2 class periods
Texas history, social studies, English language arts, music
Review Miguel Pedraza’s story and the media clip. Choose Big Ideas that you find relevant to your curriculum and your students. Review Tigua history and the migration maps and timeline on the website Ysleta del Sur Pueblo www.ysletadelsurpueblo.org. Copy Everyday Music Field Notes and other worksheets students will use and cue the audio clip.
Listen to Miguel Pedraza’s son, Miguel Pedraza Jr., talk about his father and process of tradition.
Students may read the story and listen to the audio story independently, in groups, or as a class. Using the Everyday Music Field Notes worksheet will help them focus more closely. In a class discussion, raise some of the Big Ideas above, depending upon your curriculum and students’ needs and grade level. Here are questions to spark discussion:
- Are you or any of your ancestors American Indian? If so, what tribe? Do you know where the ancestral homelands were?
- Have you ever visited a reservation? What reservation is closest to your community?
- Miguel Pedraza describes how Tigua men and women have different cultural roles, even different languages. How do you think the cultural roles of men and women are the same or different in your community?
- “You believe in something that is the real truth—nature,” Miguel Pedraza said to Alan Govenar. What is your relationship with nature? How do you believe that nature, the landscape, and the environment influence your life?
- Do you know how and when different groups of Pueblo Indians came to Texas? What do you know about the Pueblo Revolt of 1680?
- Why do you think that state and federal recognition of Indian tribes is so important?
- What qualities do you think a Tigua tribal governor would need?
- What beliefs would you want to pass along to your children?
- Miguel Pedraza spoke three languages. How many can you speak? Can you sing a song in another language? How many languages are spoken at home? What do you think the relationship is between language and music?
Students may work independently or collaboratively to:
Research Tigua and Pueblo Indian history and migration since the 17th century (see Resources). Make a map and a timeline to present your discoveries. In a class presentation, try to include recordings of Tigua and other Pueblo Indian drumming and chanting.
Investigate Tigua land holdings in Texas from 1680 to the present (see Resources). Research lands that the National Park Service administers and how the Tigua can access sacred lands. Make maps that include present-day El Paso to present your findings.
Use the Traditions Venn Diagram to compare the culture and history of the Tigua with another Texas tribe such as the Apache or Comanche. Elements to consider include how tribes govern, work, dance, drum, chant, and sing.
Draw two images of Miguel Pedraza’s large drum, which he describes as made of buffalo hide and cottonwood, three feet wide and fifteen inches tall, with the sun on one side and the moon on the other.
federal and state recognition
Pueblo Revolt of 1680
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo
Use and create primary sources
ArtsEdge video of Joseph Bruchac, an Abenaki author of many books for young people, describes the importance of the drum to Native Americans http://artsedge.kennedy-center.org/multimedia/series/VideoStories/joseph-bruchac.aspx
Handbook of Texas, Tigua Indians www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmt45
National Museum of the American Indian www.americanindian.si.edu
Ysleta del Sur Pueblo www.ysletadelsurpueblo.org. Includes a photo of Miguel Pedraza
Wright, Bill. The Tiguas: Pueblo Indians of Texas. El Paso: Texas Western Press, 1993.
Tigua Indian Cultural Center hosts dances and tours led by tribal youth, 305 Yaya Lane, El Paso, Texas 79907, 915-859-7700.