Louisiana Indian Tribes
Meaning "those who listen and
see," indicating possibly "borderers" or "scouts." See
Connections. This tribe
was at first thought to have constituted to an independent linguistic
stock and the name Adaizan was given to it, but later Dr. Gatschet
determined that the Adai language was a somewhat aberrant Caddo dialect,
and therefore placed in the Caddoan stock.
Location. Near the
present Robeline in Natchitoches Parish.
History. In 1699
Iberville mentions the Adai under the name Natao. res was shed
In 1717 the mission of San Miguel de Linares was established among them by
Spanish Franciscan missionaries. The buildings were destroyed in 1719 by a
force of French and Indians, but they rebuilt 2 years later as San Miguel
de los Adaes, and the mission was not finally abandoned until 1773. In
October 1721 a military post called Nuestra Señora
del Pilar de los Adaes was located close to the mission and continued
until the latter was given up. For 50 years this post was the capital of
Texas in spite of, or because of, the fact that it was on its extreme
eastern frontier. In 1778 De Mézières
states (in Bolton, 1914) that the tribe was almost extinct, but in 1805
Sibley reported a small Adai settlement on Lake Macdon near an affluent of
Red River. The survivors probably combined with the other Caddoan tribes
of the region and followed their fortunes.
reported 50 warriors among them in 1700 but twice as many in 1718. When
the mission of San Miguel was rebuilt it is said to have served 400
Indians. In 1805 the Adai village contained only 20 men but the number of
women was much greater. The total Adai population in 1825 was 27. My own
estimate for 1698 is about 400.
Connection in which they have
become noted. The Adai were peculiar
in having spoken a dialect so diverse from the other Caddo forms of speech
that, as already stated, Powell (1891) at first gave them an independent
status as constituting the Adaizan linguistic family. Historically, the
Adai Indian and White settlement was noted as the easternmost outpost of
the Spaniards and of the Franciscan Spanish missions, and it was the
capital of the Province of Texas for 50 years.
this tribe moved to Louisiana shortly after the
territory east of the Mississippi was abandoned by the
French. Most of them finally passed on into Texas, but a
few are still settled in the southwestern part of the
A band of
Apalachee Indians moved from the neighborhood of Mobile
to Louisiana in 1764, remained for a short time on the
Mississippi River and then moved up to Red River, where
they obtained a grant of land along with the Taensa.
Later they sold this land and part of them probably
removed to Oklahoma, but others remained in Louisiana
and amalgamated with other tribes. (See
Meaning in Choctaw and Mobilian, "man eater," because
they and some of the Indians west of them at times ate
the flesh of their enemies. See
signifies probably "people of the rocks," referring to
flint and very likely applied because they were
middlemen in supplying the Gulf coast tribes with flint.
Little Taensa, so-called from their relationship to the
Tassenocogoula, name in the Mobilian trade language, meaning "flint
testimony of early writers and circumstantial evidence render it almost
certain that the Avoyel spoke a dialect of the Natchez group of the
Muskhogean linguistic family.
Location. In the
neighborhood of the present Marksville, La.
History. The Avoyel are
mentioned first by Iberville in the account of his first expedition to
Louisiana in 1699, where they appear under the Mobilian form of their
name, Tassenocogoula. He did not meet any of the people, however, until
the year following when he calls them "Little Taensas." They were
encountered by La Harpe in 1714, and Le Page du Pratz (1758) gives a short
notice of them from which it appears that they acted as middlemen in
disposing to the French of horses and cattle plundered from Spanish
settlements. In 1764 they took part in an attack upon a British regiment
ascending the Mississippi (see Ofo), and they are mentioned by some later
writers, but Sibley (1832) says they were extinct in 1805 except for two
or three women "who did live among the French inhabitants of Washita." In
1930 one of the Tunica Indians still claimed descent from this tribe.
Population. I have
estimated an Avoyel population of about 280 in 1698. Iberville and
Bienville state that they had about 40 warriors shortly after this period.
which they have become noted. The name of the Avoyel is perpetuated in that of
Avoyelles Parish, La.
"bayou people," either from their location or from the
fact that their tribal emblem was the alligator.
language was of the southern Mushkogean division, not far removed from
Houma and Choctaw.
Location. Near the
present Bayou Goula, in Iberville Parish.
History. Unless this
tribe was the Pishenoa encountered by Tonti in 1686 and not mentioned
subsequently, it was first visited by Iberville in 1699. It then occupied
one town with the Mugulasha. In the winter of 1699-1700 the Bayogoula
suffered severely from a surprise attack of the Houma. In the spring of
1700, for what cause we know not, the Bayogoula attacked their fellow
townsmen, the Mugulasha, and destroyed them, but in 1706 they suffered a
similar fate at the hands of the Taensa who had sought refuge with them.
The remnant of the Bayogoula was given a place near New Orleans, but some
time later they moved up the river to the present Ascension Parish, where
they were found in 1739 between the Houma and Acolapissa. Yet our
informant states that the three tribes were virtually one and the same,
the distinction being kept up merely because the chief of each band was
descended from the tribe mentioned. The subsequent history of the
Bayogoula is identical with that of the Houma. (See Houma under
Population. Mooney (1928)
estimates that in 1650 there were 1,500 of the Bayogoula, Quinipissa, and
Mugulasha together. My own estimate for the same tribes, as of 1698, is
875. In 1699 Iberville gave about 100 cabins and 200-250 warriors, and the
Journal of his companion ship, Le Marin, has 400-500 people. In 1700,
after the destruction of the Mugulasha, Gravier gives a population of 200,
and about 1715 they are said to have had 40 warriors. For their numbers in
1739, see Houma under Mississippi.
Connection in which they have
become noted. This tribe shared with
the Washa the distinction of having been the first Indians within the
limits of the present State of Louisiana to meet Iberville in the year in
which the French colony of Louisiana was founded. The name is preserved in
the post village of Bayou Goula, Iberville Parish, La., which seems to be
close to the location of the original Indian town.
Biloxi settled in Louisiana about 1764, and a very few
are still living there. (See
Indians are given under five different heads: the
Adai and the Natchitoches
Confederacy in Louisiana; the
Hasinai Confederacy, and the
Kadohadacho Confederacy in
Chatot entered Louisiana about 1764, lived for a while
on Bayou Boeuf, and later moved to Sabine River, after
which nothing more is heard of them. (See
unknown, though possibly "raccoon place (people)."
reference to this tribe and the Washa by Bienville places them in the
Chitimacha division of the Tunican linguistic stock. I had erroneously
concluded at an earlier period, on slender circumstantial evidence, that
they were Muskhogeans.
Location. On Bayou La
Fourche and eastward to the Gulf of Mexico and across the Mississippi.
History. After the relics
of De Soto's army had escaped to the mouth of the Mississippi River and
while their brigantines were riding at anchor there, they were attacked by
Indians, some of whom had "staves, having very sharp heads of fish-bone."
(See Bourne 1904, vol. 2, p. 202.) These may have belonged to the Chawasha
and Washa tribes. The same two tribes are said, on doubtful authority, to
have attempted to attack an English sea captain who ascended the
Mississippi in 1699, but they were usually friendly to the French. In 1712
a they were moved to the Mississippi by Bienville and established
themselves on the west side, just below the English Turn. In 1713 (or more
probably 1715) they were attacked by a party of Chickasaw, Yazoo, and
Natchez, who killed the head chief and many of his family, and carried off
11 persons as prisoners. Before 1722 they had crossed to the east side of
the river, half a league lower down. In 1730, in order to allay the panic
in New Orleans following on the Natchez uprising of 1729 which resulted in
the massacre of the Whites at Natchez, Governor Perrier allowed a band of
Negro slaves to attack the Chawasha, and it is commonly reported that they
were then destroyed. The French writer Dumont (1753) is probably right,
however, when he states that only seven or eight adult males were killed.
At any rate they are mentioned as living with the Washa at Les Allemands
on the west side of the Mississippi above
New Orleans in 1739, and in 1758 they appear as constituting one village
with the Washa. Except for one uncertain reference, this is the last we
hear of them, but they may have continued for a considerable period longer
before disappearing as a distinct body.
Population. Mooney (1928)
gives an estimate of 1,400 for the Washa, Chawasha, and Opelousa together
in the year 1650. My own estimate for the first two and the Okelousa, as
of 1698, is 700. This is based on Beaurain's (La Harpe's) estimate (1831)
of 200 warriors for the 3 tribes. About 1715 there are said to have been
40 Chawasha warriors; in 1739, 30 warriors of the Washa and Chawasha
together; and in 1758, 10 to 12.
Connection in which they have
become noted. The Chawasha attained temporary notoriety on account of
the massacre perpetrated upon them in the manner above mentioned.
derived from the name of Grand River in the native
tongue, which was Sheti, though Gatschet
(1883) interprets it through the Choctaw language as meaning "those who
have pots." See
began moving into Louisiana not long after the
settlement of New Orleans, at first temporarily, but
later for permanent occupancy, especially after the
territory east of the Mississippi had been ceded to
Great Britain. Some settled on the northern shores of
Lake Pontchartrain, where a few still remain, while
other bands established themselves on the Nezpique, Red
River, Bayou Boeuf, and elsewhere. Most of these drifted in time to the
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, but a few families are still scattered about
the State of Louisiana. (See Mississippi.)
A small tribe of the Natchitoches Confederacy.
When first encountered by
Europeans, the Houma lived near the present boundary line between Mississippi
and Louisiana, if not actually on the Louisiana side. In 1706 or shortly
afterward they moved altogether within the limits of Louisiana, where their
descendants have remained to the present day. (See
Part of this tribe entered
Louisiana near the end of the eighteenth century and lived on Red River and in
the western part of the State. At the present day, the largest single band of
Koasati in existence is northeast of Kinder, La. (See Alabama.)
The Koroa camped, hunted, and had
at times more permanent settlements in northeastern Louisiana. (See Mississippi.)
This was a tribe which formerly
lived in the same town as the Bayogoula on the lower course of the Mississippi.
Some early writers state that they were identical with the Quinipissa and they
will be treated in connection with that tribe.
The true Muskogee were
represented by one band, a part of the Pakana tribe, which moved into the colony
about 1764. They were settled upon Calcasieu River in 1805. Later they seem to
have united with the Alabama now living in Polk County, Tex., but there are no
known survivors at the present day. (See
When this tribe was attacked by
the French after they had destroyed the Natchez post, they escaped into
Louisiana and fortified themselves at Sicily Island, from which most of them
again escaped. A part under the chief of the Flour Village attacked the French
post at Natchitoches in the fall of 1731, drove the Natchitoches from their
town, and entrenched themselves in it. St. Denis, commander of that post,
attacked them, however, having been previously reinforced by some Caddo and Atakapa., and
inflicted upon them a severe defeat. After this no considerable number of
Natchez seem to have remained in Louisiana. (See
This tribe entered Louisiana some
time in the latter half of the eighteenth century and finally united with the
Tunica, settling with them at Marksville. (See the article Mosopelea under Ohio and
Meaning "black water."
associations of this tribe were mainly with Muskhogean peoples and this
fact, coupled with the Muskhogean name, indicates their linguistic
affiliations with a fair degree of certainty.
Location. The Okelousa
moved about considerably. The best determined location is the one
mentioned by Le Page du Pratz (1758), on the west side of the Mississippi
back of and above Pointe Coupee. (See History below.) (See also
History. After De Soto
reached the principal Chickasaw town, the head chief came to him, January
3, 1541, "and promptly gave the Christians guides and interpreters to go
to Caluça, a place of much repute
among the Indians. Caluça is a
province of more than 90 villages not subject to anyone, with a savage
population, very warlike and much dreaded, and the soil is fertile in that
Bourne, 1904, 1922, vol. 2, p. 132.) There is every reason to think
that Caluça is a shortened form of
Okalousa and it is rather likely that the later Okelousa were descended
from these people, but if so either De Soto's informants had very much
exaggerated their numbers or they suffered immense losses before we hear
of them again. The name in De Soto's time may, however, have been applied
to a geographical region. Nicolas de la Salle, writing in 1682, quotes
native informants to the effect that this tribe, in alliance with the
Houma, had destroyed a third. La Harpe (1831) mentions them as allied with
the Washa and Chawasha and wandering near the seacoast, a statement which
led me to the erroneous conclusion that the three tribes thus associated
were related. The notice of them by Le Page du Pratz has been mentioned
above. They finally united with the Houma, the Acolapissa, or some other
Muskhogean band on the lower Mississippi.
Population. Unknown, but
for an estimate, see Chawasha.
Probably from Mobilian and Choctaw Aba
lusa, "black above," and meaning "black headed" or "black haired."
Connections. No words of
the Opelousa language have survived, but the greater number of the earlier
references to them speak as if they were allied with the Atakapa, and it
is probable that they belonged to the Atakapan group of tribes.
Location. In the
neighborhood of the present Opelousas.
History. The Opelousa
seem to have been mentioned first by Bienville in an unpublished report on
the Indians of the Mississippi and Gulf regions. They were few in numbers
and led a wandering life. They maintained some sort of distinct tribal
existence into the nineteenth century but disappeared by the end of the
first quarter of it.
Population. About 1715
this tribe was estimated to have 130 warriors; in 1805 they are said to
have had 40, and in 1814 the total population of the tribe is placed at
Connection in which they have
become noted. The Opelousa gave their name to an important post and
the district depending upon it.
of the Natchitoches Confederacy.
This tribe entered Louisiana
about 1764 and lived on Red River and Bayou Boeuf. Their subsequent history is
wrapped in uncertainty. (See
From 1823 to 1833 the Quapaw
lived with the Kadohadacho on a southern affluent of Red River. (See Arkansas.)
Signifying "those who see," perhaps
meaning "scouts," or "outpost."
Quinipissa belonged to the southern division of the Muskhogean stock and
probably were very closely related to the Choctaw.
Location. On the west
bank of the Mississippi River and some distance above New Orleans.
History. There may have
been a connection between this tribe, the Acolapissa.) and the Napissa or
Napochi. (See Mississippi.) They were met first by La Salle and his
companions when the latter were on their way to the Gulf of Mexico in
1682. They treated the explorers in a hostile manner but made peace with
Tonti in 1686. When Iberville ascended the river in 1699, no tribe of the
name was to be found, but later it was learned that the chief of' the
Mugulasha tribe, the then forming one village with the Bayogo was the same
chief who had had dealings with La Salle and Tonti. According to some
writers, the Mugulasha were identical with the Quinipissa; according to
others, the Mugulasha had absorbed the remains of the Quinipissa. In May
1700, the Bayogoula rose against the Mugulasha and destroyed them as a
trive, though they probably adopted many individuals. We hears nothing
further regarding them.
is no separate estimate of the number of the Quinipissa. (See Bayogoula.)
Connection in which they have
become noted. The Quinipissa are noted only for the encounter,
ultimately hostile, which La Salle had with them in 1682 when he descended
to the mouth of the Mississippi.
Meaning unknown, but the name is
evidently derived from that of one of the tribe's constituent towns. See
Meaning probably "corncob gatherers," or
Connections. The name of
this tribe and its affiliations with the Acolapissa indicate that it
belonged to the southern division of the Muskhogean stock.
Location. Probably on the
present Tangipahoa River, Tangipahoa Parish.
History. The original
home of the Tangipahoa seems must have been as given above, and their
relations with the Acolapissa must been very close, for Iberville was
informed by some Indians that they constituted a seventh Acolapissa town.
In 1682 La Salle's party discovered a town on the eastern side of the
:Mississippi, 2 leagues below the settlement of the Ouinipissa,
which had recently been distroyed, and one of of his companions calls this
"Tangibao" while others speak of it as Maheouala or Mahehoualaima. The
last two terms may refer to the name of the town and the first to that of
the tribe which occupied it. Probably a part of the Tangipahoa only
settled here, but, as we hear little of them after this period, we must
assume that they had been absorbed by some other people, most likely the
Population. (See Acolapissa.)
Connection in which they have become noted.
Tangipahoa Parish, Tangipahoa River, in Amite and Pike Counties, Miss.,
and Tangipahoa Parish, La., and the post town of Tangipahoa preserve the
name of the Tangipahoa.
Some Tawasa accompanied the Alabama to
Louisiana but not until after the separate existence of the tribe had been
ended. (See Alabama.)
Appearing oftenest in literature in the
French form Ouacha, meaning unknown.
Connections. The nearest
relations of the Washa were the Chawasha and both belonged to the
Chitimachan branch of the Tunican linguistic family.
Location. Their earliest known location was on
Bayou La Fourche, perhaps in the neighborhood of the present Labadieville,
Villages. None are known under any but the
History. As stated in
treating the Chawasha, this tribe and the one just mentioned may have been
those which attacked Moscoso's flotilla at the mouth of the Mississippi.
Shortly after Iberville reached America in 1699, the Washa and three other
tribes west of the Mississippi came to make an alliance with him and a
little later, on his way up the great river, he fell in with some of them.
He calls Bayou La Fourche "the River of the Washas." In July 1699,
Bienville made a vain attempt to establish friendly relations with them,
but we hear little more of them until 1715 when Bienville moved them to
the Mississippi and settled them 2 leagues above New Orleans on the south
side of the Mississippi. In 1739 the Washa and Chawasha were found living
together at Les Allemands, and they probably continued in the same
neighborhood until a considerably later period. Sibley (1832) says the
tribe in 1805 was reduced to 5 persons (2 men and 3 women) scattered in
Population. A memoir
attributed to Bienville states that in 1715 the Washa numbered 50
warriors, having been reduced from 200. This is the only separate estimate
of them. (See Chawasha for the combined population of the two tribes at
Connection in which they have
become noted. The name Washa is preserved in Washa Lake, near the
seacoast of Terrebonne Parish, La., and it was formerly given to Lake
Salvador, southeast of New Orleans.
A tribe of the
Notes About the Book:
Source: The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, 1953, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 145, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing
has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual