Indigenous People’s Day

Local Native American groups celebrated a victory last month after Harris County Commissioners Court members unanimously voted to designate the second Monday in October as Indigenous People’s Day.

Commissioner also introduced a resolution in November honoring Dave and Maria “Lil” Frakes and their family, an indigenous family dedicated to ensuring that the legacy of Native Americans continues.

The Frakes family has been active at Precinct 4’s Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center since 1995, and Dave remained a volunteer until his passing in 2015. The Frakes’ children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren have participated in countless programs, camps, festivals, and workdays at the park.

Frakes was one of the original volunteers who inspired staff at Jones Park to build the blacksmith shop and the woodshop and later donated woodshop tools. He also spent weekends splitting shingles for the old barn roof and helped repair and maintain the Akokisa structures while sharing useful bits of Native American lore with volunteers.

Visitors knew Frakes as the man with the Native American artifacts and stories, who came to every Pioneer and Homestead Heritage Day, no matter the weather or how poorly he felt. He spent the last few years teaching his fourth-generation Native American family how to bring history alive.