The Karankawa were said to be extinct. Now they’re reviving their culture.

CORPUS CHRISTI — On the sandy shore of the Gulf, a small group formed a circle and began to sing through the August heat. Some played ceremonial drums, and two others held a large painted canvas that read, “SAVE CORPUS CHRISTI BAY.”

Of the dozen people who prayed, sang and spoke in the circle that day, three women were representing a people that most Texas history books claim are extinct.

They’re part of a small but growing group of Indigenous people who call themselves Karankawa Kadla — “kadla” means culturally mixed, and Karankawa is the name of a people who, for several centuries, controlled a more than 300-mile stretch of the Gulf Coast shore from approximately present-day Galveston Bay south to Corpus Christi Bay.

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