El Cementerio Del Barrio de los Lipanes

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Presidio, Texas, USA

With decades of activism by the Lipan Apache Tribe, El Cementerio Del Barrio de los Lipanes will be reincorporated and receive a major investment in its protection and accessibility to counter centuries of neglect and desecration. As the surrounding town of Presidio has grown, the cemetery has been bulldozed and desecrated to make way for roads, homes, and infrastructure. Today it exists as infill between walled-off properties to the east, south, and west.

The fight for the preservation of the cemetery is part of the Lipan Apache Tribe’s larger fight for cultural recognition and Tribal sovereignty. This project has the potential to instill acknowledgement of and respect for Indigenous presence in the Chihuahuan Desert, by creating a spatial language to denote sacredness, gathering, and landback over time.

The reactivated cemetery design seeks to facilitate a healing journey that protects and delineates the site, establishing thresholds of entry that support visitors to respectfully reflect and honor those resting there. During their visit, visitors are encouraged to take a small stone, a sentinel they carry with them through the site. As time passes, the remains will be returned to site to finally, peacefully rest.

Project Details

29.5568, -104.3598

Location: Presidio, Texas, USA

Year: 2022

Status: In Progress

Size: 20,000 sq ft

Program: Design and creation of a protective threshold of a historic cemetery and sacred site.

Services: Concept Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documentation, Construction Administration

Big Bend Conservation Alliance

Lipan Apache Tribe