On Thursday, members of Texas’ oldest families unveiled the first monument in Austin honoring the contributions of Tejanos. Tejanos are the Spanish-speaking settlers who brought European and cowboy culture to Texas. Mariachi bands were on hand and played traditional Tejano music on the Statehouse’s historic south lawn during Thursday’s ceremony. The monument which stands at a reported 525 square feet is among the largest on the Capitol grounds. The monument features statues that are made out of pure bronze. The commemorative statues depict a Spanish explorer, a vaquero (a Mexican cowboy) on his mustang, a longhorn bull and cow, and a family that settled in Texas.
Among the dignitaries on hand to celebrate the monument were Sen. Judith Zaffirini, the first Hispanic woman elected to the state Senate, Andres Tijerina, the keynote speaker at the ceremony and an expert on Tejano history at Austin Community College, Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst.
Originally, the Tejano monument was to be placed behind the Capitol. Hispanic lawmakers asked for the more prominent location through special legislation.
The monument was seen as a true representation of the rich Tejano culture and the contributions made by Tejanos to the state of Texas. Governor Perry praised Tejanos for their past and present contributions to the state of Texas and thanked them for their relentless drive and perseverance.