Texas unveils the first monument on the Capitol grounds honoring the contributions of Tejanos, the Spanish-speaking settlers who brought European and cowboy culture to the state.
Mariachi bands played traditional Tejano songs on the statehouse’s historic south lawn during a ceremony highlighting the monument, which at 525 square feet is among the largest on the Capitol grounds. Bronze statues depict a Spanish explorer, a vaquero on his mustang, a longhorn bull and cow and a family of settlers.
Senator Judith Zaffirini, the first Hispanic woman elected to the Texas Senate praised the lawmakers who helped pass legislation that made the monument possible. Zaffirini said “The history of Texas is the history of Tejanos.”
Andres Tijerina the keynote speaker at the ceremony and an expert on Tejano history described how Tejanos settled Texas 150 years before the first Anglos came to the Spanish territory. He explained how cowboys, ranching and much of modern Texas culture and language originated with the early Tejanos along the Rio Grande and the Gulf Coast and were later adopted by Anglo immigrants.