HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Signs marking part of a historic trail first established by indigenous peoples across Texas were finally installed in Hays County after being in storage for eight years.
El Camino Real de los Tejas is a system of trails that stretches from Natchitoches, Louisiana through Texas to even Mexico City. The Caddo Nation used the trails to travel between communities and mound centers, according to the National Park Service.
The Spanish began using the trails during colonization. The trail was named because the Spanish called the Caddo people the “Tejas,” a word derived from the Caddo word for friend or ally, NPS said.
According to the Texas Historical Commission, the trail was designated by Congress as part of the National Trails System in 2004.
The office for the Hays County Judge, the Council for the Indigenous and Tejano Community, the El Camino Real de los Tejas Association and the National Park Service partnered to put in signs marking the trail portions in the county.
Judge Ruben Becerra explained once the signs were found in storage, they immediately scheduled installation.
“El Camino Real’s history was hidden away and not shared for eight years. It’s unfortunate that past decision makers found the history was not essential enough to be shared with the community,” said Gina Alba-Rogers, chair of the Council for the Indigenous and Tejano Community. “I am thankful to Judge Becerra who shares our opinion that it’s imperative we recognize the original trails of our indigenous ancestors and our early pioneers.”
Another nine signs have been ordered for inside San Marcos city limits. The NPS map shows parts of the trail run right through the city. Trails also go through San Antonio and along the San Antonio River.
On Thursday, El Camino Real de los Tejas will hold a meeting to discuss preserving and protecting sites along the historic trails. It will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos located at 211 Lee St. You can register online.