Vaquero Shelter

Site: 41VV77 (172)

Under a shallow overhang in Seminole Canyon State Historical Park, Vaquero Shelter epitomizes the reaction of native people to their first encounter with the Spanish colonial empire. Attention to detail is seen in the high pommels and cantles typical of Mexican saddlery, the Spanish official’s hat, buttons, epaulets, and pipe; and the cow’s udder. The crosses on the church are in place but incorrectly oriented, indicating that the underlying concepts were not yet fixed in the artist’s mind. Forrest Kirkland, who copied this pictograph in the 1930s, believed that this was one of the few Lower Pecos pictographs that told a story, relating the Indian’s first impression of the intruders and signed with his handprint. In his drawing and in photographs taken at that time, the vaqueros are wearing broad-brimmed sombreros, a detail that has been erased by decades of exposure to the elements.

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