This seems to be the time to talk Spanish. In my case that would definitely have to be “un poco Espanol” or whatever is the correct spelling. The Calhoun County Museum has a fine Tejano exhibition for the next few months. The State of Texas has recently dedicated a Tejano statue type exhibit in Austin. Port Lavaca has this Culture and Cuisine series going where you can hear Tejano music along with other styles. That is part of the new Culture and Cuisine effort that was started this year and is planned to be an annual event.

Tejano is an interesting word that has evolved over the years in the Spanish language. Spanish has grown since the number of people who speak it has grown exponentially since Columbus sailed this direction in 1492. At that time Spanish speakers lived on the Iberian Peninsula and that was all. Nowadays it is third on the list of world languages. Most of us know that the Spanish settled in and colonized Central and South America with an extension up into our area and other parts of the Southwest of what would become the United States.

Their conquistadors traveled north and east from Mexico. The conquistadors got up around Caddo Lake and the Caddo Indians by 1540. Those Indians called the Spanish “tayshas’” which meant friend to them. That might have been a mistake on the Indians part.. At any rate the Spanish translated that to Tejas and the name stuck. Oh, we put the X in place of the j , but that is what different folks do when they adopt foreign words.

So in Spanish colonial days the term meant those folks who lived on the other side of the Rio Grande in “Tejas”. It is no harder for even this un poco guy to translate tejas into tejano. Certainly it was no harder than Texas into Texan.

Then as Mexico began to rule their own destiny and they allowed Anglo folks like Stephen Austin to settle in the territory, things began to change. For a while in the 1800’s the term Tejano meant Spanish speaking Texans and other Europeans who were Hispanicized.

It might be pointed out that in the war for independence against Santa Anna all the people on the winning side weren’t Anglos. Some of the native Mexicans were against his policies. For a starter, go up to Sequin, Texas and see the statue and read the story of Juan Sequin. He was a very important, some say hero, on our side in that war.

In the present day Tejano has a broader meaning. Generally it describes a Texan who has Mexican ancestry. The term is also used to describe certain music, some foods; the term Tex Mex might apply.

That is one of the ideas of the Tejano efforts that are in the forefront these days. They all point to the fact that we represent many different people and places in the world and Tejanos are a part of our history.

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