McCombs dealership’s statue of American Indian reemerges at Jourdanton High School – KSAT San Antonio

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Jourdanton – Eight months after it was removed from its longtime perch at Red McCombs Superior Hyundai Dealership, a San Antonio landmark has reemerged nearly 50 miles to the south.

The statue of a waving American Indian recently appeared at the football stadium for Jourdanton High School, whose mascots are the “Indians” and the “Squaws.”

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KSAT visited the campus Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning and found the statue covered in black plastic near the concession stand — its waving pose easily distinguishable.

After KSAT made multiple calls to the district asking for an interview, Jourdanton ISD publicly announced it “recently acquired the historic Big Chief” in a Facebook post Tuesday afternoon.

“We acknowledge the significance of the Big Chief and its cultural importance, and we are committed to ensuring that it remains an integral part of our community for generations to come,” the post states in part. “As Jourdanton Indians, we take pride in our history and heritage, and we look forward to how this will now be a part of our story.”

The statue was removed from its longtime home on Loop 410 in July 2023 while the dealership was undergoing renovations. McCombs Enterprises Vice-President of Marketing Peter Brodnitz said at the time they were still determining where its new home would be.

It’s not clear exactly how the familiar San Antonio landmark ended up nearly 50 miles south in Atascosa County. Neither JISD officials nor McCombs Enterprises executives agreed to be interviewed, though sources familiar with the statue tell KSAT the district has had it in storage for several months.

It is also unclear whether the statue was donated or purchased.

Two hours after it was posted, the district’s announcement had about 200 positive reactions on Facebook.

However, not everyone was pleased with the statue’s new home.

Ramon Vasquez, the executive director of the American Indians in Texas at the Spanish Colonial Mission, called the statue a “distraction” when it was removed from the dealership.

But now that it’s at a school, he’s feeling more frustrated.

The statue does not depict an American Indian from South Texas, he said. Instead, he believes it’s an attempt to depict Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa tribe, who fought against British power in the Great Lakes region and was the namesake for the Pontiac car brand.

“When we have a public institution like Jourdanton High School or Jourdanton Independent School District, we should be a little bit more thoughtful about what we’re trying to, teach our children. You know, in regards about their history. And, this is not, you know, this is not responsible,” Vasquez said.

He also scoffed at the notion of the statue having been important to San Antonio.

“The fact that they’re referring to it as ‘Big Chief’ and they use words like ‘honor’ or ‘legacy,’ I believe, and ‘pride’… You know, those kinds of things – you know, they don’t go hand-in-hand. That statement did not represent legacy and pride,” Vasquez said.

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