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Alice man named new chief over one of state's Lipan Apache groups

Speaking from experience with his own family, Hernandez takes immense pride in educating others about the importance of being in touch with their heritage.

Editor's Note: There are multiple Lipan Apache tribes in Texas. Hernandez is only the chief of his group, which is called the Apache Council of Texas.

ALICE, Texas — A South Texas man was recently appointed as the Chief of the Apache Council of Texas, one of the state's Lipan Apache tribes.

Moses Hernandez of Alice, Texas, was named principle chief after the former  chief died in 2020 from COVID-19. Hernandez says the Apache Council of Texas has about 600 members although the group is currently not recognized by the state.

"Even though we see them, hundreds of thousands out here, the majority, they run under the Hispanic. And they don't call themselves Indigenous people even though they know that their roots come as Indigenous people," Hernandez said.

Speaking from experience with his own family, Hernandez takes immense pride in educating others about the importance of being in touch with their heritage.

"It is a privilege to be an indigenous people," Hernandez said. "We're human beings, we're not animals. Even though we've been treated as probably the low class of humanity. But we are equal as anybody else."

Portraits of Hernandez's family are on display at the McGill Brothers building in Alice. He hopes that one day indigenous people can be viewed as equals, and that the entire Apache nation can connect once again. 

"I think this is a wake-up for our indigenous people," Hernandez said. "We have been kind of silent. We don't have enough communication with our leaders. Sometimes we lose contact."

Hernandez says the Apache Council of Texas is working to get recognized by the State of Texas. A separate group -- The Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas -- was officially recognized by Texas in 2009 and reaffirmed in 2019.

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