Today@Sam Article

Museum To Host Event For Native American Heritage Month

Nov. 8, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Emily Binetti

Lee Jamison painting, “Fond Farewell”  The Sam Houston Memorial Museum and Republic of Texas Presidential Library will celebrate Native American Heritage Month with a special event on Tuesday, Nov. 15.  Members from the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas will be at the museum to teach the public about the history of the tribe and demonstrate pine needle basket weaving.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas has the oldest reservation in the state, located in Polk County. The tribes lived in adjacent areas in what is now the state of Alabama, and in the 1780s migrated to present day East Texas.  In 1836, the tribes assisted Sam Houston in Texas’ War for Independence from Mexico.  When the Restoration Act passed Congress in 1987, it restored the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe to federal recognition.

“It will be a special treat to host members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe at the museum,” said Derrick Birdsall, museum director.  “Having them come is important because of the historical tie between Sam Houston and the tribe; it’s our job to honor that connection and maintain it into the 21st century.” 

Display in rotunda for AC Nov 15 2022Not only did the tribe have a connection to Sam himself, but the tribe was also known to set up camp on the Houston farm here in Huntsville when Sam was in town from Washington D.C.  

“There is a story that local historian James Patton related shortly before he passed away; he mentioned reading a letter from a local resident who stated, ‘you could always tell when the General was in town due to the Indian bonfires spread out across the property’,” said Birdsall.

In addition, the museum will display items from its collection that relate to the Alabama-Coushatta, including several pine needle baskets made by members of the tribe. 

“They are well known for their pine needle weaving art and on the fifteenth, you’ll get to see first-hand how that tradition is being kept alive today,” said Birdsall.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the rotunda at the memorial museum, located at 1836 Sam Houston Avenue, Huntsville.  There will be free admission to this event.  For more information contact Megan Buro, marketing manager, at or call 936-294-3839.

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