Mark your calendars for the 62nd Annual WHA Conference, which is scheduled for October 12-15, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas, at the Hyatt Regency. Bookmark this page to check for updates on tours!
Indigenous History of the San Antonio Missions Tour
In 1718, the Spanish built San Antonio de Valero and the presidio San Antonio de Béxar (the Alamo) on Payaya homelands called Yanaguana, or “Land of the Spirit Waters.” A year later, Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús established San José, and three more missions were subsequently built within a 15-mile stretch of the San Antonio River. Coahuiltecan peoples sought refuge from the pressures of colonialism—such as disease, warfare, and forced migration—at the missions, where they built new communities. In 1731, Spanish friars granted the Coahuiltecan residents ownership of the three southern missions--Concepción, Espada, and San Juan Capistrano—which contributed to the compounds’ most active period. Though residents of San Antonio dismantled the edifices in the nineteenth century, the parish churches remain in service to this day and are some of the oldest living congregations in the United States. This tour, led by direct descendants of the Tāp Pīlam Coahuiltecan Nation (a mission Indigenous community), will explore the Indigenous history of Yanaguana and the Spanish missions. It will include a discussion of ecological and environmental history, foodways, cultural survival, and cultural revival. The tour will end with a mission picnic including pre-contact foods prepared by tribal members, and a dance presentation.
Black History of San Antonio River Tour
Led by tour guides from the San Antonio African American Community Archive and Museum (SAAACAM), an approximately 100 minute tour (allow two hours for the entire event) will take participants along the San Antonio River by boat to view the places and hear the stories that will uncover the Black history of San Antonio. This unique tour takes riders from the heart of the Riverwalk (leaving from the space in front of the Briscoe Western Art Museum) to the Pearl Brewery area. Knowledgeable guides explain the history and offer their memories of growing up in San Antonio. Before the riverboat tour, participants may walk through the SAAACAM museum in La Villita to examine the San Antonio Black history exhibits. For more information about SAAACAM, check out their website at https://saaacam.org/.
San Pedro Creek Cultural Heritage Tour
San Pedro Creek originates in a park just north of downtown San Antonio, where natural springs provided water to generations of Indigenous people centuries before the arrival of Spanish colonizers. The Creek has meant many things to the people that live in San Antonio: a source of water that was life-giving in drought and life-taking during floods, a border between cultures, and now a recreational space. This walking tour of the San Pedro Creek Culture Park will introduce some of the complicated histories both visible and invisible along the waterway. The 90-minute experience will feature the Alameda Theater, a Mexican American entertainment venue opened in 1949 that is now in the midst of a massive renovation project, the recent significant archeological discovery of the foundation of one of the oldest African American churches in San Antonio, and a discussion of the brothels and saloons of San Antonio's Sporting District. Come discover some gems of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, with a critical look at the benefits and limitations of historic preservation strategies, on this walking tour.
Taco Tour of San Antonio
San Antonio has long held the distinction of one of the state’s major cities for great Mexican food. The city’s long-standing destination as a refuge for Mexican immigrants has led to its strong demographic, cultural, and gastronomical links to Mexico. Join José Ralat, author of American Tacos: A History and Guide and Texas Monthly’s taco editor, on a tour of three of the city’s taquerias. Attendees will visit taquerias that feature the past, present, and future of tacos. This tour will provide an opportunity to sample the city’s famous puffy tacos, superb tacos al pastor, and fusion tacos with an Asian flair. The tour will conclude with a visit to the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Special Collections Library to view its fabulous Mexican Cookbook Collection.
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