Roberto Lujan | What it means to be Native

Roberto Lujan | What it means to be Native


‘The love of land doesn’t have to be native or not native.
This last frontier, the Trans Pecos region is, in a sense, one of the last frontiers because it’s understood that this place has been inhabited by natives for thousands of years. As a frontier and what we have lost of that native history is one that is irreplaceable. Those of us who understand who we are can appreciate that and date back in history and say ‘We are not Mexican’ , ‘We are not american, we are ‘Native’.


It’s taken us generations to come to this conclusion. We were here when the Spanish arrived. We were here when Mexico was a country, when Texas became a republic, when Texas became a state, we were here. We’ve been here thousands of years. We have an appreciation of what was. We don’t have property where this pipeline is going through. We don’t have that. We’ve been pushed out by the Spanish and by the Americans. This land never belonged to us, we belonged to the land. History of genocide is the history of Texas as is the United States and here, in the last frontier, is the last where we made a stand.

I understood in the closed community of Alpine,TX of fences but no matter what I would look at, the horizons and mountains.. I knew that they were there for us even though we were fenced in. I tapped into that appreciation which led me into venturing out into this region. When I learned of this pipeline and realized that others had an appreciation for this land, I thought of what Malcolm X has said ‘The chickens have come home to roost’ and that this is now about all of us.


Some landowners have said ‘I’ve been here 5 generations’.. but it doesn’t matter, its being taken away. I wonder how this story will end. It’ll probably end similar to where i am. Not long ago, my grandfather used to own that, my people used to be part of that. We can associate it with these surroundings but its now all going away within the last frontier of West Texas.’