Margo Tamez was born in Austin, Texas in 1962. Her parents, Eloisa Garcia Tamez (Lipan- Apache & Spanish Land Grant, Calaboz, Texas) and Luis Carrasco Tamez, Jr. (Jumano- Apache, Spanish) were born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, married, and moved to urban areas to follow education and career pursuits.
Raised in San Antonio, Texas during the Civil Rights Movement and growing up during the Vietnam era made lasting impacts on Tamez' sensitivity and responses to racism, inequity, and social justice. Her parents were challenged to find community in an urban environment that pressed its hostilities, intolerance and injustices upon non-white groups. At the age of seven, she received advice from her mother to use the education of dominant culture in order to find ways to voice the people's struggles.
Margo Tamez is connected through blood on her mother's side to Lipan-Apache-Basque land grant communities of Calaboz, South Texas (formerly Nuevo Santander, and always Apacheria - the place where the Lipan pray, Tama ho' lipam). On her father's side, she is related by blood to the Carrascos of the Jumano Apache of West Texas. She is an activist, currently residing in Pullman, Washington. Her current work focuses on autonomous indigenous women's activism and organizing against militarism, corporate polluters, and the violence of capitalism specific to the Sonora-Arizona corridor of the Mexico-U.S. International Boundary region.
Vivian Delgado's Book, You're Not Indian, You're Not Mexican dealt with her own Yaqui identity, as well as discussed other indigenous identities, and the ways in which dominant culture continues to determine for us who we are, where we belong. What's your reaction to the title, its meaning for you? How would your describe your connection to Mexican/Chicano identity as Ejido Apache? What river are we the branches of?
Delgado’s title is a powerful call and steering our attention to the centrality of race in the colonial, imperial and capitalist relationships of dominance and power between Euro-Americans (of both U.S. and Mexico) and indigenous people. For many indigenous and indigenous-mixed race (indigena-mestiza) people of the IB, (International Boundary) that term has always been full of conflict. My mother and father, if made to choose whether they identified more as a “Mexican” or “American” would reply they were neither and both. Meaning, our people were in our lands before either of those terms became fused with social and political meanings.
At the same time, if they HAD to choose, they’d rather be under the more familiar umbrella of ‘mejicano’ (emphasis on lower case, which means loosely that mejicanismo is more of a cultural and social relationship, than a ‘Nation’). A way to be organized socially with other similar indigenous groups throughout the South Texas and Northern Tamaulipas region.