River of the Canoes Powwow
Texas tends to cancel its Native American ancestry just as it canceled its Native populations.
The sad irony is that “Texas” was derived from Tejas, the Spanish spelling of a Caddo word taysha, which means “friend” or “ally.”
Another erasure is the name of the river that bisects Dallas. In 1690, Spanish explorer Alonso De León called it La Santisima Trinidad.
We understand earlier French explorers had called it Rivière aux Canots. (The French were not terribly original. This “canoe river” name was given to many rivers in the New World.)
Neither name, of course, is what the Native Americans called it.
The Caddos living in what would become North Texas called the Trinity “Arkikosa.”
It is here where American Indian Heritage Day in Texas deserves credit for reclaiming the name Arkikosa. On Sep. 24 & 25, 2022, the organization will also reclaim the use and the banks of the river for the first River of the Canoes Powwow. Many tribes will come together to reclaim the land and build equality through culture and healing ceremonies, some late into the Saturday night.