South Texas man appointed as chief of The Apache Council of Texas
An Alice man has been appointed to one of the highest leadership roles in Texas for Native Americans.
Monceis "Moses" Hernandez was recently named as the new principal chief of The Apache Council of Texas.
Hernandez, 60, was appointed by the San Antonio Council to the highest position.
“I am a Lipan Apache. I knew they were looking for a new chief. They asked if I wanted the responsibility and I accepted,” Hernandez said. “I will be responsible for five regions in the state of Texas, north, south, west, east and the central region. This is an honor. To be a Native American is an honor.”
The prior chief was Ignacio De La Vega, who died in July 2020 from COVID-19.
“Like (De La Vega), I’ll be chief until I die,” Hernandez said. “I’m the first principal chief to represent our area.”
Hernandez has lived in Alice for more than 50 years and in over 130 years of Alice's existence there have been cattlemen, businessmen, oilfield men, but, never in the history of the county or town, has there been a principal chief that represents the Indigenous people, he said.
As part of Native American traditions, Hernandez would like to bring Pow Wows back to his hometown.
Native American powwows are a gathering of a tribe where there’s a unity of the culture and traditions through singing, dancing and socializing. They vary in size and length and take at least a year to plan.
“It’s a celebration of our culture and we haven’t had a powwow in the area for about seven years depending on COVID,” Hernandez said. "You don’t see that many Native Americans in South Texas, even though there's hundreds and thousands of us."
Hernandez said some Native Americans in the area have fallen "under the Hispanic way of living” because of the distance from a reservation.
“We can’t forget our roots and where we come from,” he said. “That’s why it’s important to bring back pow wows. I plan to help as many Native American people as I can. There’s a lot to do. We’re here to help as many people as I can especially those missing their Native American identification cards or who don’t know how to register as a Native American.”
"We are here to stay because we never left. We’re going forward in history, culture and tradition,” he added.
Anyone wanting to reach Hernandez for help with Native American issues, can reach him at 361-227-3199 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.