The Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of South Texas Struggles for Sovereignty and Environmental Justice

Interview with Juan Mancias, chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe in South Texas, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

In south Texas, existing oil and gas production, several planned fracked gas pipelines and President Trump’s effort to build a border wall between Texas and Mexico have created a trifecta of environmental injustices and generated opposition from environmentalists, property owners and especially a local native American tribe, the Carrizo Comecrudo.

The 1,200-member tribe is not recognized by the federal government and therefore lacks the minimal protections and benefits that federally recognized tribes have. Their claims to the land go back before European contact. In late May, the tribe organized an online, two-day human rights tribunal that featured tribal members, anthropologists, ecologists, climate activists and local residents. Their main goal was to establish a record of fact and expert testimony that would support a successful lawsuit for violation of their rights. 

Between The Lines’ Melinda Tuhus attended the two-day online tribunal and afterward spoke with Juan Mancias, chairman of the Carrizo Comecrudo tribe. Here, he describes the challenges his people face and current efforts to win justice.

For more information, visit the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas’ website at

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