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Tigua leader dies


On this day in 1988, Miguel Pedraza, Sr., died at his home in Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, near El Paso. Pedraza, born in 1904, was part Tigua and part Piro. For years ethnologists had thought the Tiguas were extinct. The Compromise of 1850 had separated them from fellow Tiguas in New Mexico, thus cutting them off from government support. When other Pueblo Indians were granted reservations in 1864 the Tiguas were excluded because Texas was part of the Confederacy. Thanks in large part to Pedraza's efforts, the state finally recognized the Tiguas in 1967. The next year Pedraza delivered a dramatic appeal to the United States Congress. His successful fight was the first time in half a century that any leader had won national recognition for an Indian group. His efforts were reinforced nearly twenty years later, in 1987, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Ysleta del Sur Restoration Act, making the Tiguas eligible for various federal benefits.

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