Film about Texas before Alamo premieres in Victoria
Jennifer Lee Preyss
Oct. 13, 2013 at 5:13 a.m.
Updated Oct. 14, 2013 at 5:14 a.m.
Donning a traditional Native American feathered headdress - fully attired in leather and woven textiles - Chief Rufus Davis introduced an auditorium of history buffs to the traditions of his Adai-Caddo people.
Behind a lectern, the chief regaled the audience with the narrative of his tribe existing in Texas long before Stephen F. Austin colonized the region or Spaniard and French settlers made territorial claims to Texas.
Davis was one of five speakers invited to participate Sunday night in a symposium at the Victoria Fine Arts Center on Sunday. Also speaking: Dr. David Urbano, Dr. Robert Shook, Dr. Felix Almaraz and Dr. Gilbert Cruz, who spoke about a land settled by Spanish and Mexican descendants, with missions, ranchos, presidios and villas.
The speakers preceded a showing of "Texas Before the Alamo," a film about Texas' true pioneers - before the Anglos showed up.
"This is really about opening discussion about hundreds of years of history in Texas that came long before the Alamo," the film's producer, Bill Millet, said. "A lot of people think Texas began with a bunch of white people, and that just isn't the case."
The film examines how the Spanish government held back French conquerors in Texas like Robert Cavelier de la Salle. Without such resistance, Texas would have been French-influenced like Louisiana rather than Spanish-influenced.
Jody Brett, a fourth-generation Calhoun County resident, said he was intrigued by the film's narrative because he descends from a family of English immigrants who settled in the county in 1847.
"I'm a history buff, and I love Texas history," he said. "I wanted to see what this was about."
Another attendee, Janie Lopez, said she was born in Goliad and intrigued to learn more about her native city.
"There were a lot of things I heard tonight that I'd never heard about Goliad before," she said. "It was very interesting."
A trailer for the film can be viewed at texasbeforethealamo.com or on Millet's website, milletfilms.com.