Dear editor:

The recent article in Texas Monthly about the Steve Russell statues in Little Bay is yet another misguided attempt to generate controversy by trashing small town Texas. It unfairly maligns Russell’s work by associating it with Confederate statues and trashes Rockport as racist because there are white, Trump supporters living there.

Furthermore, the article misinterprets the history of the Spanish in the Coastal Bend as “imaginary” because the event Russell depicts is not historical. The Spanish presence in modern-day Aransas County, where they had a fort, mission, and the port of El Copano, was real. So are terms in our region brought by the Spanish like Corpus Christi, Victoria, Refugio, or even Aransas (a combo of Our Lady of Aranzazu and a Karankawa group called the Aranama).

The article reduces it all to “conflict, disease, and slavery” but ignores that while periods of open war existed between the Spanish and Karankawa, the establishment of Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission in present day Refugio in 1795 ended the hostilities with the Karankawa dominating the Spanish while incorporating parts of Spanish culture into their ways of life.

The article conflates the actions of later colonizers who exterminated the Karankawa with the Spanish depicted in Russell’s statues and miss an obvious point, why can’t “Cultural Interface” be a place to start conversations about local history?

With a greater number of Catholic, Spanish-speakers moving to Texas, this history remains relevant, but largely unknown.

Controversy generates clicks and feeds trolls, but this is merely another missed opportunity of 2021.

Joseph Fox

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