Saturday, June 3rd
Sunday, June 4th
Join Ballroom Marfa and Big Bend Conservation Alliance for Decolonizing the Fence at Cementerio del Barrio de Los Lipanes held during the Agave Festival Marfa.
On Saturday, June 3rd a panel discussion will be held. Panelists will discuss the current protection project of Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes (Cemetery of the Lipan Neighborhood), a sacred site to the Lipan Apache Tribe. Panelists include Christina Hernandez, Joseph Kunkel, Xoxi Nayapiltzin, Oscar Rodriguez, and Mayrah Udvardi with moderator Annie Rosenthal of Marfa Public Radio.
On Sunday, June 4th an architect walk-through of Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes will take place.
Check back soon for more details!
Christina Hernandez is a direct descendent of the original Peace Settlement families of La Junta/El Mulato—Aguilar and Ornelas; and is a direct descendent of Felix Aguilar, Lipan Apache leader of El Mulato. She is a member of the Lipan Apache Tribe. She was honored by Jumano Elders and the Cuelcahende Band of the Lipan Apache Tribe as Guardian of the Ancestors and an Eagle Staff Bearer.
Christina is the Firm Operations Manager for Rigby Slack, PLLC. She has a Master of Arts in Planning and Urban Development and she serves on the National Board of Directors of the Human Rights Campaign sitting on the Finance and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committees. On the weekends, you can find her at one of the many Central Texas farmers markets selling traditional health and wellness products through her apothecary business.
Christina splits her time between her family home in Presidio and Austin. She spent her childhood with her family elders caring for her family cemetery now known as Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes in Presidio.
Oscar Rodriguez was born and raised in Ojinaga, West Texas and Southeastern New Mexico. He has lived in and out of Texas since he graduated from Ector High School in Odessa in the late-1970s, including a couple of years in the 1990s when he lived in Marfa and taught at Sul Ross State University. Oscar is also an enrolled member of the Lipan Apache Tribe and an avid researcher of Native history in Texas and New Mexico—specifically in the La Junta region. Oscar hosts a radio show on Marfa Public Radio, Caló: A Borderland Dialect, a series that honors the Texas borderlands patois commonly called Caló. He sits on the Big Bend Conservation Alliance board of directors.
Joseph Kunkel, a citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation, is a Principal at MASS Design Group and is the Director of MASS’s Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As a community designer and educator, his work explores how architecture, planning, and construction can be leveraged to positively impact the built and unbuilt environments within Indian Country. Joseph’s early work focused on the research of exemplary Native American Indian housing projects and processes nationwide. This research work has developed into emerging best practices within Indian Country, leading to an online Healthy Homes Road Map for affordable tribal housing development, funded by HUD’s Policy, Development, and Research Office.
Joseph’s portfolio includes exemplary Indian housing projects and processes nationwide, including emerging best practices and a web-based “Healthy Homes Road Map” for tribal housing development, funded by the Department of Housing & Urban Developments’ Policy, Development, and Research Office. From 2013-2016 Joseph lead the development of a 41-unit Low-Income-Housing-Tax-Credit development, which started with an Our Town grant funded by the National Endowments for the Arts, and led to an ArtPlace America grant award.
In 2019, Joseph was awarded an Obama Fellowship for his work with Indigenous communities. He also received a 2018 Rauschenberg SEED grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and a 2019 Creative Capital Award. Joseph is a Fellow of the inaugural class of the Civil Society Fellowship, a partnership of ADL and The Aspen Institute, and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Most recently, Joseph was awarded the 2021 inaugural Elaine Johnson Coates Award, by the University of Maryland’s Alumni Association.
Xoxi Nayapiltzin is a native of Alpine and descendant of aboriginal People of La Junta. Xoxi is presently involved in repatriating eleven ancestral remains from seven different sites in Presidio County; remains will be reburied in the Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes. He studies petroglyphs in the Jornada Mogollon cultural region.
Mayrah Udvardi is a senior architect based in MASS Design Group’s Santa Fe office. Her work has ranged in scale and typology but remains grounded in a deep commitment to living ecosystems, environmental justice, and architecture’s role in equitably redefining territory. Prior to MASS, she worked with Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative on building design and technical capacity in Indian Country, with Urban-Think Tank on community-led shack upgrading in South Africa, with Global Citizens for Sustainable Development on migrant housing in India, and with Enterprise Community Partners on documenting best practices in affordable housing.
Mayrah holds a Master of Architecture with Honors from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Environmental Studies with Honors from Wellesley College. She is the recipient of the Kinne, Watson, Schiff, Albright, and Noble Foundation Fellowships and author of “On Fragile Architecture: Exploring Causes of Indigenous Housing Insecurity” and “Bangalore: Urban Development and Environmental Justice”.
Annie Rosenthal (moderator) is Marfa Public Radio’s border reporter and she covers the Big Bend communities along the Rio Grande with a focus on local history and community engagement. Annie also produces and hosts the station’s inaugural weekly Spanish news program. Originally from Washington, D.C., Annie got her start in local journalism at the paper in Homer, Alaska, and has since written for publications like the Washington Post, Politico Magazine, and the LA Review of Books. She’s covered the effort to preserve and protect the Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes over the last two years, and her initial 2021 Marfa Public Radio story about the cemetery won a regional Edward R. Murrow award.
The Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes (Cemetery of the Lipan Neighborhood) is a sacred site to the Lipan Apache Tribe located in Presidio, Texas. The site became the final resting place of Lipan who settled in the immediate vicinity beginning in the 1790s. Through the 1960s, the burial mound lay undisturbed with the graves clearly marked by individual cairn barrows, but by the 1970s residential encroachment and urbanization desecrated the site.
Recently, Big Bend Conservation Alliance partnered with the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas to commission MASS Design Group—an award-winning non-profit architecture and design firm whose mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity—to create a structure that would protect this landmark. The resulting design, which is currently under construction, works to instill acknowledgment of and respect for Indigenous presence in the Chihuahuan Desert by creating a place-specific design language that focuses on sacredness, gathering, and landback.
The project to protect Cementerio del Barrio de los Lipanes has been supported by the many individuals who contributed to “Protect the Camposanto” campaign on GoFundMe, and through grants awarded to Big Bend Conservation Alliance by American Electric Power Foundation, Amerigroup, Cibolo Creek Ranch, City of Presidio, Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Horizon Foundation, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Presidio Municipal Development District, Texas Historical Foundation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Still Water Foundation, and Summerlee Foundation.
This panel discussion, and accompanying architect’s walk-through of the site, are co-presented by Big Bend Conservation Alliance and Ballroom Marfa with support from Humanities Texas, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, and Terra Foundation for American Art.