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Taensa Indians

Taensa Tribe: Meaning unknown, but the name is evidently derived from that of one of the tribe’s constituent towns. Taensa Connections. They were one of the three known tribes of the Natchez division of the Muskhogean stock. Taensa Location. At the western end of Lake St. Joseph, in Tensas Parish. (See also Alabama.) Taensa Villages The only list of Taensa villages preserved was obtained by Iberville through the medium of the Mobilian trade language and it is uncertain how much of each name is a Mobilian translation. In four of them we recognize the Mobilian word for people, okla. These villages are: Chaoucoula Conchayon Couthaougoula Nyhougoulas Ohytoucoulas Taensas, Talaspa Gatschet has endeavored to interpret all but one of them: Chaoucoula from issi, “deer” or ha’tcbe, “river.” Conchayon from ko’nshak, “reed”; Couthaougoula from uk’ha’tax, “lake”; Ohytoucoulas from u’ti, “chestnut”; Taënsas by reference to tan’tci, “corn”; Talaspa from ta”lapi, “five” or ta’?lepa, “hundred”; Most of these seem in the highest degree doubtful. All of the towns were situated close together in the place above indicated. Taensa History It is altogether probable that the Spaniards under De Soto encountered the Taensa or bands afterward affiliated with them, and the probability is strengthened by the fact that La Salle in 1682 was shown some objects of Spanish origin by the chief of the Taensa. However, La Salle and his companions are the first Europeans known to have met them. The French were treated with great kindness and no war ever took place between the two peoples. The Taensa were subsequently visited by Tonti and by Iberville. When the latter was in their town...

Avoyel Indians

Avoyel Tribe: The name 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. Also called: Little Taensa, so-called from their relationship to the Taensa. Tassenocogoula, name in the Mobilian trade language, meaning “flint people.” Avoyel Connections. The 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. Avoyel Location. In the neighborhood of the present Marksville, La. Avoyel 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 Indians), 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. Avoyel Population. I have estimated an Avoyel population of about 280 in 1698. Iberville and Bienville state that they had about 40 warriors shortly after...

Grigra Tribe

Grigra Indians, Grigras. A French nickname and the only known name of a small tribe all ready incorporated with the Natchez confederacy in 1720; it was applied because of the frequent occurrences of grigra in their language and ethnic relations, but unless affiliated with the Tonica, the tribe was evidently distinct from every other, since, as indicated by the sound grigra, their language possessed an...

Fort Toulouse, the Chitimachas and the Natchez Wars

Another war between England and France began in 1718 – the War of the Quadruple Alliance. The French had succeeded in surrounding the British colonies in North America, except for the boundary with Florida.  France seemed poised to have most of the Southeastern Indians as allies.  These advanced Native American provinces represented the densest indigenous population north of Mexico.  However, the British Navy had destroyed French coastal forts and shipping almost at will.  France might control the coastline, but the British controlled the seas. Fort Toulouse – 1717 Anticipating more wars with Great Britain and desiring closer trade relations with the Muskogeans provinces, the French established Fort Toulouse on the Alabama River, at the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers.  It was named after Alexandre de Bourbon, Comte de Toulouse. The nearby Alabama Indians called it Franka Choka Chula, which means “French pinewood house.” The combined fortification and trading post was more commonly called Fort des Alibamons by French colonists. Prior to 1763 the Alabama’s occupied most of southern Alabama. The original post commander was Captain Jean Baptiste Louis DeCourtel Marchand.  In 1720 he married Sehoy.  She was the widowed daughter of the mikko of the Taskeke town of Otciapofa and a member of the Wind Clan.  When she was born in 1702, French maps show the Taskeke still living on the Little Tennessee River in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina and in what is now northwestern Georgia.  She may have been born in either of those locations. Conditions deteriorated rapidly at the fort due to lack of supplies from France.  The enlisted men mutinied in 1722,...

Natchez Tribe

Natchez Indians. A well-known tribe that formerly lived on and about St. Catherine’s Creek, east and south of the present city of Natchez, Mississippi. The name, belongings to a single town, was extended to the tribe and entire group of towns, which included also peoples of alien blood who had been conquered by the Natchez or had taken refuge with them. Iberville, on his ascent of the Mississippi in 1699, names, in the Choctaw language, the following 8 towns, exclusive of Natchez proper: Achougoulas, Cogoucoula, Ousagoncoula, Pochougoula, Thoucoue, Tougoulas, Yatanocas, and Ymacachas. Of these, Tougoulas and perhaps Thoucoue are the Tioux towns. It is probably safe to infer that the 9 towns, including Natchez, represented the entire group, and that the Corn, Gray, Jenezenaque, White Apple, and White Earth villages are only other names for some of the above, with which it is now impossible to identify them. The Tioux and Grigras were two nations under the protection of the Natchez; both were of alien blood. Du Pratz alludes to a tradition that the Taensa and Chitimacha were formerly united with the Natchez, but left them, though the latter had always recognized them as brothers. The Taensa were, indeed, probably an offshoot of the Natchez, but the Chitimacha were of a distinct linguistic family. It is difficult to form an estimate of the numerical strength of this tribe, as the figures given vary widely. It is probable that in 1682, when first visited by the French, they numbered about 6,000, and were able to put from 1,000 to 1,200 warriors in the field. The Natchez engaged in three wars...

Taensa Tribe

Taensa Indians. A tribe related in language and customs to the Natchez, from whom they must have separated shortly before the beginning of the historic period. There is reason to think that part of the Taensa were encountered by De Soto in 1540, but the first mention of them under their proper name is by La Salle and his companions, who visited them in 1682 on their way to the mouth of the Mississippi. They were then living on Lake St Joseph, an ox-bow cut-off of the Mississippi in the present Tensas Parish, Louisiana. Tonti stopped at their villages in 1686 and 1690, and in 1698 they were visited by Davion, La Source, and De Montigny, the last of whom settled among them as missionary the following year. In 1700 Iberville found him there, and the two returned together to the Natchez, De Montigny having decided to devote his attention to that tribe. St Cosine, who soon succeeded De Montigny among the Natchez, considered the Taensa too much reduced for a separate mission, and endeavored, without success, to draw them to the Natchez. In 1706 the fear of an attack from the Yazoo and Chickasaw induced the Taensa to abandon their settlements and take refuge with the Bayogoula, whom they soon after attacked treacherously and almost destroyed. After they had occupied several different positions along the Mississippi southward of the Manchac, Bienville invited them to settle near Mobile and assigned them lands not far from his post. They remained here many years, giving their name to Tensaw river; but in 1764, rather than pass under the English, they removed...

Natchez Indian Tribe

The Natchez having been made the subject of a special study by the writer,1 no extended notice need be given here. Their earliest known home was on St. Catharines Creek, Mississippi, close to the present city which bears their name. After Louisiana was colonized by the French the latter established a post among them, which was in a very flourishing condition when, in the year 1729, it was suddenly cut off by a native uprising. Subsequently the French attacked these Indians, killed many, captured some, whom they sent to Santo Domingo as slaves, and forced the rest to abandon their old country and settle among the Chickasaw. When the French turned their attacks against the Chickasaw the Natchez found it necessary to move again, and some went to the Cherokee, some to the Catawba, and some to the Creeks. Those who went to the Cherokee and Creeks subsequently followed their fortunes, and the latter band was taken in by the Abihka. They seem to have conformed in most particulars to the usages of their neighbors. Taitt thus describes his visit to them on March 27, 1772: I went this morning to black drink to the Square, where I was very kindley received by the head men of the town who told me to look on myself as being amongst my friends and not to be affraid of any thing, for their fire was the same as Charlestown fire and they never had Spilt the blood of any white Man;2 after that I had Smoked Tobacco and drinked black drink with them they desired that I might Stay in their Town all day as...
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