Carmen Tafolla: San Antonio's heritage extends long before the missions

In this essay on video, Carmen Tafolla, the 2015 Poet Laureate of the State of Texas, asks us to change the way we look at history.

Carmen Taffolla at San Jose

San Antonio’s five Spanish colonial missions were designated as a World Heritage Site on July 5, 2015 by UNESCO for their outstanding cultural and natural properties.

“This is a very significant moment in San Antonio’s history, and it is an an opportunity for something wonderful to happen,”  she says, standing in front of Mission San Jose.

Tafolla asks us to move away from a Euro-centric perspective. "The Spaniards were not the first residents of San Antonio," she reminds.

“This is a chance to change the way we look at San Antonio history and world history and to respect the indigenous people who were here and still are here…the direct descendants of the people who built these missions and who built civilizations and settlements here before the arrival of Europeans.”

Recognize the original inhabitants, “whether you call it San Antonio or whether you call it Yanaguana.