Anita “Elatsoe” Soto is a treasured Lipan Apache elder. On the morning of February 11, 2015, her kitchen caught fire after briefly stepping outside to feed her pets.
“Mom cooks for the family ever single morning,” said Linda Walkingwoman, daughter of Soto. “She also has animals that she attends to. Long story short, she started cooking fried potatoes and she just stepped out. The pan caught fire and spread pretty quick.”
She survive the event after a police officer arrived at her home and escorted her out of the house where she has lived in since 1967.
“She has first degree burns to her face”, said Walkingwoman. “She also had some trouble breathing. “
Soto was released from the hospital days later.
This is her second home after her first was destroyed in Hurricane Beulah. Her once 30 acre lot grew smaller over the years due to the city of McAllen’s expansion.
She considers her pets apart of her already existing family.
“She never slaughtered any of her animals. They were like family”, said Walkingwoman.
For years she was considered a Mexican National because she could never produce a birth certificate. In 2004, she was granted citizenship after her baptism records were found and that stated she was born in the Ojo De Agua, Texas in 1930.
She has maintained and represented her Apache identity throughout her life. Her grandparents were full Lipan Apache. Her husband died at a young age and she lives on a fixed income.
The fire and water damage is extensive but limited to certain areas of the house. The house will be declared condemned if repairs are not made within a certain time. The estimated cost of repairing her kitchen is nearing $40k dollars and she has no insurance.
Members of her family, including Lipan Apache Vice Chairman Robert Soto, are asking for monetary donations. Vice Chairman Soto’s mother is also Anita Soto.
“If we lose the house, we lose mom”, said Walkingwoman.
Donations can be maid online through http://www.gofundme.com/m8k0mo and also by mail. Donations can be sent to:
2805 Jonquil Ave
McAllen, TX, 78501.