The Importance of Acknowledging our History: The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Austin, Texas

This post is part of our ongoing blog series that acknowledges the ancestral lands on which the National Archives’ buildings are situated across the country. This series of acknowledgements is a simple way to offer our recognition and respect to the people  who once lived on these lands. 

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum is located in Austin, Texas, which is situated on the ancestral lands of, among others, the Coahuiltecan, Comanche, Jumano, Lipan Apache, and Tonkawa peoples.

Photo of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum,  courtesy of Jay Godwin, LBJ Foundation
Photo of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum,  courtesy of Jay Godwin, LBJ Foundation

The modern city of Austin is situated geographically at a crossroads of varied eco-regional types: rich soils and farmland to the east and south, dense forests and grass plains to the north, and the dramatic “hill country” of the Edwards Plateau to the west. As far as our nascent research shows, the indigenous cultures who lived in this area were a similarly diverse mix of cultures who lived on the land and interacted with others in varied and complicated ways. Attempting to document and shine light on this history is difficult but important work, and we are committed to continuing to learn about the land we call home.

Map of ancestral lands indicating the current location of the Library, from native-land.ca
Map of ancestral lands indicating the current location of the Library, from native-land.ca

“The people of this [Tonkawa] tribe were nomadic in their habits in the early historic period, moving their tipi villages according to the wishes of the chiefs of the different bands. They planted a few crops, but were well known as great hunters of buffalo and deer, using bows and arrows and spears for weapons, as well as some firearms secured from early Spanish traders. They became skilled riders and owned many good horses in the eighteenth century. From about 1800, the Tonkawa were allied with the Lipan Apache and were friendly to the Texans and other southern divisions. By 1837, they had for the most part drifted toward the southwestern frontier of Texas and were among the tribes identified in Mexican territory.”

From the Tonkawa Tribe official website.

My thanks to Jenna de Graffenried, Archivist, LBJ Library  and Ian Frederick-Rothwell, Archivist, LBJ Foundation, and Jay Godwin, LBJ Foundation, who provided maps, photos and researched the information for this land acknowledgment.

Enter your address in this interactive map of Traditional Native Lands to see who once lived where you are now.

Additional information: 

Maps:

Recommended readings regarding Native American use of the land on which the LBJ Library is situated:

Research the National Archives’ records on Native American topics at the National Archives website.

More about the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum.

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