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TPWD News Release — Feb. 11, 2008

Texas Buffalo Soldiers Events Set for Spring, Summer 2008

AUSTIN — In the spirit of Black History Month in February, the Texas Buffalo Soldiers will begin a series of statewide educational events to entertain and inform Texans of all ages about the contributions made and the challenges faced by black soldiers on the western frontier of Texas.

Blacks made up 20 percent of the U.S. Cavalry* during the Indian Wars of the late 1800s, including soldiers of the U.S. Army’s 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments. American Indians nicknamed these fighters "Buffalo Soldiers."

Besides getting a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of the soldiers, event participants will also learn the ways in which Hispanic vaqueros, American Indians and frontier women shaped Texas history.

"The main focus is on the Buffalo Soldiers, but you can’t get away from the Texas story itself," said Luis Padilla, program coordinator. "All different cultures played a role in developing what we have today in Texas. For example, a lot of what we know about horses and riding comes from the vaqueros. The first rodeos were held by vaqueros in Mexico."

The Texas Buffalo Soldiers is a statewide network of organizations and volunteers dedicated to youth education through historical reenactments and exhibits. The group, which is co-sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission, was founded in 1991. Though Black History Month marks the beginning of the Texas Buffalo Soldiers’ 2008 event schedule, July has been designated "Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month" by the Texas Legislature, and many of the program’s featured events take place in July.

Buffalo Soldier Events for 2008 are scheduled as follows:

Feb. 7, Life of a Buffalo Soldier

George Bush Presidential Library — College Station

This is an educational program geared toward junior high and high school students. The program features a 45 minute presentation on the life of the Ninth Cavalry on campaign. Historical story telling and exhibits will give the audience a look into the day to day life of a buffalo soldier. The two presentations, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., will take place in the Frymire Auditorium of the Presidential Conference Center. For reservations call or email Monica Lerma: (979) 691-4006, Monica.Lerma@nara.gov.

Feb. 12, Posting of the Colors, Texas Travel Industry Association Unity Dinner

The Hilton Hotel — Austin

The Texas Buffalo Soldiers Regiment will have the honor of posting the Colors in the opening ceremonies of the yearly meeting of the TTIA. Three talented story-tellers — Dennis Gaines, Don Sanders and Sheila Starks Phillips — will be apart of the event. For more information, contact Jennifer Roush, director of events, at (512) 476-4472.

Feb. 20, Life of a Buffalo Soldier

Austin Community College — Riverside Campus

Among other activities, the Texas Buffalo Soldiers will give a 30 minute presentation on the life of the Ninth Cavalry on campaign. The event will be from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

March 28-30, Living History Event and School Day

Fort McKavett State Historical Site — Menard County

A military encampment and other displays will be set up by the Buffalo Soldiers and other volunteers to give examples of the early heritage days of Texas.

April 12, Living History Days

Mission Tejas State Park — Houston County

Hands on displays and exhibits demonstrating the early heritage days of Texas will be accessible for public tours. Schools interested in booking a field trip for the event should contact Mission Tejas State Park at (936) 687-2394.

April 25, 26, Lake Brownwood State Park Open House and School Day

Lake Brownwood State Park — Brown County

Displays and exhibits demonstrating the early heritage days of Texas will be available for area schools. The Buffalo Soldiers will have a military encampment set up and will host 15 minute presentations on the life of the Ninth Cavalry on campaign. Schools interested in booking a field trip for the event should contact Lake Brownwood State Park at (325) 784-5223.

May 14, Lake Arrowhead State Park School Day

Lake Arrowhead State Park — Clay County

Displays and exhibits demonstrating the early heritage days of Texas will be available for area schools. The Buffalo Soldiers will host 15 minute presentations on the life of the Ninth Cavalry on campaign for each class. Schools interested in booking a field trip for the event should contact Lake Arrowhead State Park at (940) 528-2211.

June 28, 29, Texas Last Frontier Heritage Celebration

Cochran County Park — Cochran County

Displays and exhibits demonstrating the early heritage days of Texas will be available to the public. The Buffalo Soldiers will host presentations on the life of the Ninth Cavalry on campaign. The event will be a celebration of the heritage of the area, which is an important part of the story of Texas.

July 5, 12, 19, 26, Texas Buffalo Soldiers Heritage Month

HemisFair Park** — San Antonio

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