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This state park in El Paso has imagery left by ancient people

Visitors can take guided and self-guided tours to see the rock imagery.

EL PASO, Texas — Indigenous Peoples' Day is a way to honor the eight historic tribes that call our state home.

There is a nationwide push to refocus the holiday. Instead of celebrating Christopher Columbus, advocates argue we should instead honor the native communities devastated by colonialism.

After the explorer's arrival, millions of people were killed and forced to leave their land. The violence led to widespread economic and cultural losses that Native Americans are still dealing with today. But several states are still holding on to Columbus Day. 

Some Italian Americans consider the day a nod to their own heritage. For now, both holidays will exist side by side. 

As Monday is Indigenous Peoples' Day, we found a state park in El Paso with imagery left by ancient people.

"For thousands of years, people have trekked to these rock hills in far west Texas. In earlier times, they came for the rainwater pooled in natural rock basins, or huecos (“whey-coes”)," Hueco Tanks State Park's website says.

Visitors can take guided and self-guided tours to see the rock imagery. "The images connect us to the mystery, ceremony and conflict of at least three cultures and more than 1,500 years," the website says.

Know before you go, from state park's website:

  • Don’t touch the pictographs or petroglyphs; oil from your skin can damage them. Avoid brushing against them with your clothes or belongings.
  • Making rubbings from pictographs or petroglyphs, or adding marks to the walls, is vandalism.
  • Comply with state and federal laws. These include Texas State Parks Regulations and the Texas Antiquities Code.
  • Bring a camera, water and a pack to keep hands free while scrambling up or down rocks.
  • Dress for the desert: sunblock, hat, hiking boots and the right clothes for the weather.

Here are a few photos taken from Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site's website:

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