TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Guide to the Yselta Del Sur Pueblo Archives, 1800s-1992
The Tigua (Tiguex, Tiwa, Tihua) Indians of Ysleta del Sur Pueblo of El Paso are descendants of refugees from the Río Abajo or lower Rio Grande pueblos who accompanied the Spanish to El Paso on their retreat from New Mexico during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.
In 1751 the king of Spain made a grant to the Indians of Ysleta pueblo, which was protected by the Spanish and Mexican governments and subsequently recognized by the state of Texas in the 1854 Ysleta Relief Act. Through various acts of the Texas legislature and unscrupulous land promoters, however, the Tiguas lost all of their land; not until the 1871 Incorporation Act was land specifically made available to them. They were recognized as a tribe by the state of Texas in May 1967 and placed under the jurisdiction of the Commission of Indian Affairs.
In 1993 the Tiguas began the process of establishing high-stakes bingo on the trust land at Ysleta, opening the Speaking Rock Casino that year. They were denied permission by the state of Texas to also offer additional forms of gambling such as blackjack and slot machines. The tribe responded by filing a cause of action against the state. The resulting judgment, though favorable to the tribe, was held pending results of an appeal by the state of Texas. In 1999 the State of Texas sought to have the casino closed based on its interpretation of the Tribal Restoration Act, which had granted the tribe Federal recognition. The State of Texas succeeded in closing the casino in 2002.
Tom Diamond is an attorney from El Paso, Texas, who has worked closely with the Tigua tribe of the Yselta Del Sur Pueblo since 1964. In 1967, Diamond won tribal status for the Tiguas, and they were placed under a state trusteeship. Twenty years later, he pushed through the congressional Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo (Tigua) Restoration Act to put them under federal control. In 1993, Diamond tried two cases before the Indians’ Claim Commission for the Tiguas and the Alabama Couchatta tribes. He again represented the Tiguas in 1999 when the State of Texas sought to have the tribal casino closed.
Source: Bill Wright, "TIGUA INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmt45), accessed July 16, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Michelle Koidin, “After 35 years, lawyer keeps fighting for Tigua Indians ,” Moscow-Pullman Daily News, (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2026&dat=19991202&id=2MAjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=8NAFAAAAIBAJ&pg=1803,430380), accessed July 16, 2013.
This small collection, donated by Tom Diamond, an El Paso attorney who has worked with the Tigua tribe since 1964, is comprised of microfilm reels and aperature cards pertaining to the Tigua Indians of Yselta Del Sur Pueblo of El Paso, Texas, and the Mescalero Apache. The majority of the collection is made up of historical documents from the 1800s through the late 1980s and early 1990s. This material was submitted as evidence in the Indian Claims Commissions Docket 22-C, which Diamond tried on behalf of the Tiguas in 1993.
This collection is open for research use.
Due to preservation concerns, use of microfilm by appointment only; please contact the repository for more information.
Yselta Del Sur Pueblo Archives, 1800s-1992, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Stefanie Lapka, July 2013.