Texas Tribal Buffalo Project (TTBP) is a non-profit dedicated to the developing relationship of our relatives the Iyanee’/ Buffalo and reconnection and healing of generational trauma of the Lipan Apache and other indigenous communities and tribes in Texas. The American Bison that once ruled the southern plains and provided Native Americans living in Texas with food, homes, clothing, medicine, tools, and many other essentials of living, reached near extinction near the end of the 19th century. Recently, the Bison have experienced a comeback. TTBP provides a resurgence of native life that promotes the health and vitality of the land and the people who utilize the meat and other valuable products of the Bison.
About the American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Antonio Professional Practice Leadership Program (2PLP)
The San Antonio Chapter of The American Institute of Architects has been the leading voice for architecture in the San Antonio region since its founding in 1953. AIA advocates for great design, effective planning, sustainability, design education, professional development, civic leadership, and public engagement. AIA members are committed to ethical professional standards, lifelong learning, working for sustainability, and community health and resiliency.
The Professional Practice Leadership Program (2PLP) was developed by AIA San Antonio to prepare young professionals for the constant changes within the profession and to foster improvement in practice management. The program is designed to enhance the transition of young professionals from internship to professional practice through increased exposure to aspects of the profession that are not typically obtained through academia. Program participants envision, establish, and lead community impact projects each year with a focus on design service and influence. Projects have ranged from urban design proposals and interventions to early architectural education curriculum for young students across San Antonio.
Project Description & History
In March of 2022, TTBP developed a partnership with AIA San Antonio Professional Practice Leadership Program (2PLP), a leadership course for emerging professionals. Through this partnership, Stephanie Aranda and other designers in the program developed a master plan for TTBP’s property in Waelder, TX. The plan laid out three distinct zones: a market, a headquarters, and a campsite, each designed to support the mission of the organization through a unique concept related to the buffalo.
Each zone is centered around buffalo-provided qualities – nourishment, knowledge, and connection – with seamless architecture blending the vast plains and the indoor interiors. The nourishment zone is fenced off from the buffalo where a small market of local vendors can sell goods to establish a connection with the community. The second zone holds the headquarters and focuses on knowledge and education, providing facilities for the campground, volunteer housing, and a community kitchen, garden, art studio, and barn for the buffalo. Zone three is the campsite, with the purpose of creating an atmosphere for interaction with nature and the buffalo.
This project hopes to progress the re-establishment of the vital relationship with the buffalo and indigenous communities into the modern era. The design for the TTBP was created to develop connections, invoke curiosity, and set the stage for a more cohesive cultural narrative. Read the full design concept here.
This project is an indigenous women-led movement, aiming to reclaim the ancestral remains, spirituality, culture, knowledge, and resources of Texas Indigenous communities. TTBP is re-establishing the traditional homeland of the Lipan Apache and other indigenous nations while preserving the home range of the Southern Plains Bison. Conserving the wildlife of Texas will also strengthen and reclaim the indigenous connection to the lands and traditional knowledge. There are ~4,500 Lipan Apache people in Texas (lipanapache.org).