As originally published on Texas Tribal Buffalo Project
2020 was the year of the reflections.
It was during this time that I saw a window. A way to open the door. To fulfill a vision. A dream. That I’ve had for several years. Ever since I was little. I always wanted to be in the country.
I’m the type of person that’s much happier to be outside than inside.
I love to hear the birds. Feel the breeze. Look at all the beautiful plants. And just truly enjoy nature.
When I was little, my mom used to say. Look at all the beautiful things that God created for our eyes to see, gifts for our eyes.
My mom was Alica R. Contreras and my dad was Jose Contreras. On my mom’s side, we’re Aztec from the state of Jalisco. I was named after my maternal great grandmother Luciana Villa de Cocula. She died from a lightning strike. My mom was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1930. My dad was born in 1927 in Laredo, TX. On my dad’s side, we are Lipan, Apache. As my dad told me, somos Apache is what my grandmother, Ramona Contreras told him. Somos Apache, we are Apache.
As a result in tracing my family on my dad’s side, I and my 3 children are now enrolled members in the Lipan Apache band of Texas.
So during this time of reflection, 2020.
I decided to submit my USDA application for beginning farmer and rancher with the USDA Farm Service Agency out of Gonzales Texas. I’ve had this application on my desk for several years. Off and on, toying with the idea of. Applying either in South Dakota. Or Texas and for a brief moment, even thought of applying in Minnesota. I would say it was around June or July where I was already feeling the fatigue of the covid virus. And kind of feeling, well, restless. After searching through my deepest feelings. I concluded that now would be a good time for me to try to submit this in Texas. I looked at Bexar County and then I looked at Fayette County, where I used to live, and then I chose Gonzales County because of the quality of grass and pasture in the area. So I submitted my application and as soon as I submitted it, which was through email, I got a phone call from the Farm Service Agency out of Gonzalez. The woman on the other end said, hi, we have your application here, and I’m noticing that we have you in the system but under a different name. And I said, yeah, that was my former name. The nice lady on the other end said, let’s go ahead and update it, right away. I thought that was really positive and really cool. I mean, within the hour, they called me to say, hey, we remember you sort of so I took that as a good sign.
And then the process began, I submitted it officially in August 2020.
Now I’m waiting for closing. The Farm Service Agency estimates closing will be the end of January.!!!
This is the beginning of a journey.
And I’m grateful for those that have given me their support.
I’m grateful for the mentors, for the spiritual guidance, for the love and understanding from my family, friends, and supporters.
I’m grateful to our ancestors, that prayed for us and the 7 generations.
At first, this almost seemed impossible, like a dream, but now I know it is possible and a reality. I consider this the reoccupation, our coming home, to this land.