Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine   




Native American Ties

Explore our earliest cultural heritage at state parks and historic sites.

Native Americans have been a large part of Texas history since long before it was a state. Every state park has Native American ties, and evidence of their cultural heritage is highlighted at several of our parks. With pictographs from more than 4,000 years ago to remains of settlements hundreds of years old, state parks offer opportunities to learn about the people who came before us.

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 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

A group of Caddo known as the Hasinai built a village in what is now East Texas more than 1,200 years ago and, over time, constructed three large earthen mounds. The burial mound and two temple mounds can still be seen today amid the Pineywoods landscape. Visitors can discover more about the everyday life and the history of the Caddo and the Mound Builder culture at this state historic site.


 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon has a rich history of native occupation. The Clovis and Folsom cultures hunted bison and mammoths 12,000 years ago, and more recently, the Comanche, Apache, Kiowa and Cheyenne lived in the canyon. The 1874 Battle of Palo Duro Canyon ended the era of Native Americans living freely on the Texas plains. If you find an artifact while exploring the canyon, please leave it in place to preserve its history.

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Caprock Canyons
State Park

With the discovery of Folsom projectile points and tools found in association with ancient bison bones, the Lake Theo Folsom Bison Kill Site at Caprock Canyons became one of the most important archeological sites in the study of human-bison interactions. This 10,000-year-old site contains evidence of Paleo-Indian culture and the methods used to hunt a now-extinct form of bison known as Bison antiquus. The bones are on display at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon.


 Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

Goliad State Park and Historic Site

In the 1700s, the Spanish and the Roman Catholic Church figured they could use mission settlements to populate the land and keep it out of the hands of the French. Mission Espíritu Santo was established to civilize and Christianize area Native American tribes, with the primary group being the Aranama, and make them loyal Spanish subjects. It was originally located near Matagorda Bay before moving to Goliad in 1749. The Civilian Conservation Corps rebuilt the Spanish colonial-era mission in the 1930s.



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