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Native Tribes about the East Texas Missions
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The history of the Spanish regime in the Southwest is very largely the history of an Indian policy in its military, political, and religious phases, and to understand it aright it is manifestly necessary to know something of the people over whom the Spaniards extended their authority and upon whom they tried to impose their faith and their civilization.
The purpose of this paper is to furnish a partial introduction to the early history of the Spaniards in eastern Texas the scene of their first systematic activities between the Mississippi and the upper Rio Grande by presenting some of the main features of the organization of the compact group of tribes living in the upper Neches and the Angelina River valleys, the first and the most important group with which they came into intimate contact. These tribes furnished the early field of labor especially for the Franciscans of the College of Santa Cruz de Querétaro, who worked for fifteen years in the region and founded in it five east Texas missions, while one was founded there and maintained for more than half a century by the College of Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe de Zacatecas. It is hoped that this paper will throw new light on the all too obscure history of these interesting establishments, particularly with respect to their locations.1
The authoritative presentation of the general history of the beginnings of these establishments is that contained in the excellent articles by Dr. R. C. Clark, published in this journal, Vol. V, 171-205, and Vol. VI, 1-26. In their bearings upon Indian organization and tribal names they are marred to some extent by the use of corrupt copies of the sources instead of the originals, as will be seen by comparing them with what follows. It is but fair to state that in the revision and extension of these articles, about to appear as a Bulletin of the University of Texas, Mr. Clark has corrected some of the errors. ↩
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