CHEROKEE COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - On Saturday, members of the Caddo Nation joined tornado survivors to help with cleanup at the Caddo Hounds Historic Site. Volunteers have been working since April to remove debris left by tornadoes that tore through the historic site.
“It doesn’t matter who we are, or what our differences are when it comes to something like this," Assistant Site Manager Rachel Galan said. “Everybody’s here, and they’re pitching in and they’re in it a hundred percent.”
It’s a personal process for Galan, who was at the site with her husband when the tornadoes hit. She says her husband is still recovering.
“He’s at a rehab in Houston," Galan said. "He suffered a spinal cord injury, so we are working through that.”
The restoration has also brought in Caddo people from other areas. A Caddo family from Oklahoma came down for the cleanup, removing debris in the fields and maintaining the Snake Woman’s Garden.
“Snake Woman was the bringer of sees for the Caddo people," volunteer Kim Benton said. "She is the original teacher of cultivation. The garden has been that symbol of life and renewal.”
The event was also a symbol of unity. As Caddo family members worked in the garden and East Texas volunteers cleared the fields, a common desire to serve was seen restoring the Caddo Mounds.
“As tragic and as big as it is for us, it’s really brought community together," Galan said. "We have so many more people who want to be involved and that care about this place and in that way, it’s a blessing.”
A blessing that Galan says is helping preserve the history of the Caddo nation.
“To us, that’s so important, to the Caddo people that’s an amazing thing to see and feel is that warmth and welcome and that desire to really help."