Mexico Kickapoo
Feb. 9, 2008

 

I found another weekend opening in my schedule and just felt the pull from Mexico. I invited a few other folks but nobody's schedule could match mine. Therefore, the trip looked like it would be solo this time. Since I was going alone, I could get creative about what I went to see this time. I did a little scouting with Google Earth and found an Indian Village (Kickapoo) near Melchor Muzquiz.

There are times when I like to get the human side of travel. I like to learn a little more about a culture outside of my own. I thought a good way to learn more about the Kickapoo was to ride through and introduce myself by taking a few gifts. I asked Joy if we had any smaller clothes we could donate and she reminded me of Felix's leftover attire. Felix is a great nephew (my brother's grandson) that spent a couple of weeks with us during this past Christmas. Joy bought him new clothes during his visit and he left his old clothes so we could share with someone. I couldn't think of a better someone than the Kickapoo children. To add to the clothes, I stopped by Wal-Mart and picked up a couple of soccer balls and some hard candy to go along with the less-fun gifts.

I had read that the Kickapoo were originally from the Great Lakes area of the U.S. The aggressive white man moved them down to areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and northern Mexico. They were nomadic in nature and usually were more evasive than confrontational. However, in the 1850's they protected some Mexican territory against other indians and were rewarded thousands of acres near a mountain range west of Muzquiz. Today, they can be found in El Nacimiento during the winter months and in various parts of the U.S. during the summer months harvesting crops as migrant labor.

I left work at 2 pm on Friday afternoon with a destination of Muzquiz and a side trip out to the Kickapoo village to deliver some gifts. My deceased cousin has made several trips with me but I knew he was definitely on this one because he loved "giving" to underprivileged kids. This would be a trip with Dan to fulfill another charity opportunity.

I rode out west and down through Brownwood on the way to Junction for the night's stay. The deer were very thick between Brady and Menard. The sun wasn't quite down yet and the deer were grazing in the road ditches. It sure can make a person nervous riding through that much potential hazard, although the trip was safe to Junction.

The next morning the temperature was 32 as I rolled out of Junction on 377 headed south. The temps soon dropped as low as 26 but the cold was the least of my worries. The deer were out in hundreds. I've never seen so many. Not only were they out and about but they were very active. That is the part that makes you very cautious. I remembered one moment I desperately wanted a picture. I rounded a curve running about 40 and three deer crossed the road in a nonchalant stride and all three leaped the fence in unison as they headed east to cross the field. It would have made a perfect picture.

The trip to Del Rio and onto Muzquiz was fairly simple and uneventful, exactly how you want a Mexico trip to be. I arrived in Muzquiz by noon and started to look for a hotel. I couldn't find anything suitable within the first hour, so I headed out to see the Indians knowing that I had enough time to make it back to Sabinas or Allende if I had to before dark. I like staying in a fairly cheap place, but the secure parking is very important. It's hard to find a spot that I'm comfortable with the parking arrangement.

I knew I had some gravel roads to travel on the way out to the Village, but I wasn't sure how much and what shape it would be in. I was also very unaware with how good or bad I would be received. As soon as I turned off the pavement there were piles of fresh gravel in the road being prepared to be leveled. I had five or six miles of similar construction before leveling off with some basic hard pack gravel for the most part. The road was about 19 miles long to get back to the Indian village just past two or three Mexican villages. I noticed some activity at the Mexican villages and knew I could come back there to make the donation if necessary. The Kickapoo were at the end of the road next to the mountain.

When I got to the village, I wasn't sure what my game-plan would be to hand out the gifts. I had read that the Kickapoo were very honest and they believed in sharing amongst themselves which included money. Therefore, I felt like I could give it to anyone and several kids would benefit. I rode through the village and "no" one was around. I couldn't believe that not one person was outside. That's very unusual. Either there were some sort of ceremony going on somewhere else or they're all just hiding? I rode through the village three times before seeing anyone. The village was mad of many bamboo huts. I didn't know if they were in use or if they were just a way to retain some of their past. I finally noticed two people out behind a house and I had to stop in the road and hollar out. The gates were closed to all the houses and I wasn't sure how to communicate. They have their own language but some knew Spanish and English (according to what I had read).

I tried to show that I had gifts to share and they invited me inside the gate. As I approached they were very friendly and could speak some English. They were very appreciative of the gifts. I had two sacks of clothes, one pair of tennis shoes, two soccer balls and one sack of hard candy. He seemed apprehensive when I asked to take a picture but soon agreed. As I was walking out the gate I noticed several children playing at a shed just beyond the road. Hmmm, I wondered where they were earlier. I also noticed several more out and around as I left the village heading north. I opted for a different route leaving the village. I thought there had to be a better way to get back there but soon found out that there wasn't a good way. I couldn't imagine taking either route when if rained.

I made my way back to town and continued my search for a hotel. I found one that suited me on the outskirts of town. I was hoping for something close to the main plaza so I could be entertained by the evening social around the square. The hotel did have a very serene environment and proved to be a great place. I took a taxi back to El Centro and that worked out just fine. That allowed me to go in my sandals and not to have to worry about secure parking while downtown.

I was up early Sunday morning and taking a ride back home to appreciate what I have.



 
Sometimes it's better to get off the main road and go downtown to find a neat old cheap Motel (Junction, TX for $37)
Another road obstacle. This turned out to be a bridge replacement.
This is the main entrance to the town I spent Saturday night in.
Turning onto the gravel road to El Nacimiento (Kickapoo village)
The road construction continued for about 5 miles
The Village was about 19 miles back down this road
I found the village but I couldn't find any people
There were many of these huts spread out throughout the village
Roaming the village looking for someone to give some gifts to.
Some cattle there in the village
I hollar out to a kickapoo that is behind this gate and around this house. I tell him I have some gifts and he understands English
This Kickapoo Gentleman accepted the gifts I had and was very appreciative
I picked another road leaving the village thinking it might be better?
This is the rear area of the hotel I stayed in at Muzquiz. Those were very large trees
My room in Muzquiz ($400 pesos)
Bathroom and a great shower (aqua caliente too)
Shining some shoes at the Plaza in Muzquiz
An entertainer at the Plaza in Muzquiz
Having lunch in Muzquiz
Taken inside the church on the main plaza. Mexican towns are all into their communities. Everybody comes out on Saturday night.