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Biloxi Tribe: Apparently a corruption of their own name Taneks anya, “first people,” filtered over the tongues of other Indians. Also called:
- Annocchy, early French spellings intended for Taneks
- Polu’ksalgi, Creek name.
Biloxi Connections. They belonged to the Siouan linguistic family.
Biloxi Villages. None are known except those hearing the name of the tribe, unless we assume the “Moctobi” or “Capinans” to be a part of them. These, however, may have been merely synonyms of the tribal name.
Biloxi History. It is possible that the Biloxi are the Capitanesses who appear west of Susquehanna River on early Dutch charts. On the De Crenay map of 1733, a Biloxi town site appears on the right bank of the Alabama River, a little above the present Clifton in Wilcox County, Alabama. This was probably occupied by the Biloxi during their immigration from the north. Individuals belonging to the tribe were met by Iberville on his first expedition to Louisiana in 1699, and in June of the same year his brother Bienville visited them. In 1700 Iberville found their town abandoned and does not mention encountering the people themselves, though they may have been sharing the Pascagoula village at which he made a short stop. A few years later, Pénicaut says (1702-23), St. Denis persuaded the Biloxi to abandon their village and settle on a small bayou near New Orleans but by 1722 they had returned a considerable distance toward their old home and were established on the former terrain of the Acolapissa Indians on Pearl River. They continued in this neighborhood and close to the Pascagoula until 1763, when French government east of the Mississippi came to an end. Soon afterward, although we do not know the exact date, they moved to Louisiana and settled not far from Marksville. They soon moved farther up Red River and still later to Bayou Boeuf. Early in the nineteenth century they sold their lands, and, while part of them remained on the river, a large body migrated to Texas and settled on Biloxi Bayou, in Angelina County. All of these afterward left, either to return to Louisiana or to settle in Oklahoma. A few Biloxi are still living in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, and there are said to be some in the Choctaw Nation, but the tribe is now practically extinct. In 1886 the Siouan relationship of their language was established by Dr. Gatschet of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and a considerable record of it was obtained by Mr. James O. Dorsey of the same institution in 1892-93. (See Dorsey and Swanton, 1912.)
Biloxi Population. On the basis of the imperfect records available, I have made the following estimates of Biloxi population at different periods: 420 in 1698, 175 in 1720, 105 in 1805, 65 in 1829, 6-8 in 1908. Mooney (1928) estimated that this tribe, the Pascagoula, and the “Moctobi” might number 1,000 in 1650.
Connection in which they have become noted. The Biloxi are remark able
- As having spoken a Siouan dialect unlike all of their neighbors with one possible exception.
- As the tribe first met by Iberville when he reached the coast of Louisiana and established the French colony of that name.
- As having furnished the names of the first two capitals of Louisiana, Old and New Biloxi; that of the present Biloxi, Miss.; and the name of Biloxi Bay.