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Member Spotlight: Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas

Juan Mancias is the Tribal Chairman of the Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. The Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe has worked to maintain and preserve the tribe’s language, culture and traditions. For many years, Juan has dedicated himself to fight for land rights and self-determination. Juan is an executive committee member of the Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter. 

In May, the tribe organized an online two-day human rights tribunal featuring tribal members, ecologists, and climate activists to present testimonials to support a lawsuit for ongoing violations of Indigenous sovereignty and ecological degradation. This is a huge step in the resistance of Indigenous Peoples in Texas combatting corporate and government infringement on sacred land. Aside from gathering evidence of ongoing land violations happening at the U.S. southern border, the tribunal also served as a call to action to stop three massive LNG export terminals proposed for the Port of Brownsville, which include Texas LNG, Annova LNG, and Rio Grande LNG. The tribe, along with other climate activists have opposed these projects for years and have been fighting to stop them, as they would have damaging effects on the environment and the health of nearby communities. One of the projects in particular would destroy the Garcia pasture, a burial ground and village sacred to the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe. 

Being on the frontlines in the fight against pipelines and land protection, the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe led efforts back in 2019 to stop the Trump administration from transforming a cemetery into a steel border wall. Members of the Native Voice Network showed up to the Rio Grande Valley in support of the tribe and to gain widespread coverage and awareness. Juan recalls members showing up last year, “Last year, the NVN came down here, and really showed solidarity. This made people more aware of the detention centers and atrocities of the border wall.”

While the fight is far from over, Juan and the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas continue to advocate for the protection of sacred lands and the protection of human life. As a member of the Native Voice Network, Juan is grateful for the network’s support as well as being able to uplift other member organizations in their own fights towards achieving equity and justice. “It does give me an opportunity to be able to be on the right side of history. The Network has given me the opportunity to advocate for other organizations and has opened some new doors for grassroots organizing and created long term relationships.”