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Arkansas Indian Tribe
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Editor’s Note: Arkansas is a name by which the Quapaw tribe were recorded in history.
None of the numerous Algonkin tribes lived in the immediate neighborhood of the Maskoki family of Indians, but of the Dakotan stock the Arkansas (originally Ákansä the Akansea of Father Gravier), dwelt in close proximity, and had frequent intercourse with this Southern nation.
Pénicaut relates1 that the French commander, Lemoyne d Iberville, sailed up the Mississippi river, and sixty leagues above the mouth of the Yazoo found the mouth of the Arkansas River; eight leagues above, on the same western shore, was the nation of the Arkansas, and in their town were two other “nations,” called Torimas and Kappas. By these warlike and hunting tribes he was received in a friendly manner. The men are described as stout and thick-set (gros et trapus), the women as pretty and light-complexioned. Imahao, another Arkansas village, is mentioned in Margry IV, 179. The affluent of the Mississippi on which the Arkansas were settled was, according to D. Coxe, Carolana, p. 11, the Ousoutowy River: another name for Arkansas river.
From Rev. J. Owen Dorsey, who makes a special study of all the Dakota tribes, I obtained the following oral information, founded on his personal intercourse with individuals of the Kappa tribe:
“Ákansa is the Algonkin name by which the Kápa, Quápa were called by the eastern Indians, as Illinois, etc. They call themselves Ugaχpa and once lived in four villages, two of which were on Mississippi, two on Arkansas river, near its mouth: Their towns, though now transferred to the Indian Territory, northeastern angle, have preserved the same names:
“The Pacahal province of de Soto’s historians is a name inverted from Capaha, which is Ugápa. The form Quaχpa is incorrect, for Kápa (or Kápaha of La Salle), which is abbreviated from Ugaχpa.”
In 1721 LaHarpe saw three of their villages on the Mississippi River, and noticed snake worship among these Indians.
Margry, P., Decouvertes et Etablissements des Français dans l’ouest et dans le Sud de l’Amérique Septentrionale, Paris, 1876, etc., V, 402. ↩
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