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Natchitoch Tribe

Natchitoch Indians (Caddo form, Näshi´tosh). A tribe of the Caddo confederacy which spoke a dialect similar to that of the Yatasi but different from that of the Kadohadacho and its closely affiliated tribes. Their villages were in the neighborhood of the present city of Natchitoches, near those of another tribe called Doustioni. Whether the army of De Soto encountered them is unknown, but after La Salle’s tragic death among the Hasinai his companions traversed their country, and Douay speaks of them as a “powerful nation.” In 1690 Tonti reached them from the Mississippi and made an alliance; and in 1699 Iberville learned of them through a Taensa Indian, but did not visit them in person. Next year, however, he sent his brother Bienville across to them from the Taensa villages. From that time and throughout the many vicissitudes of the 18th century the tribe never broke faith with the French. In 1705 they came to St. Denis, commandant of the first French fort on the Mississippi, and asked to be settled in some place where they might obtain provisions, as their corn had been ruined. They were placed near the Acolapissa, and remained there until 1712 when St Denis took them back to their old country to assist them in establishing a new post as a protection against Spanish encroachments, and also in the hope of opening up commercial relations. This post, to which a garrison was added in 1714, remained an important center for trade and travel toward the south west for more than a century. St Denis sent messages to the tribes living in the vicinity, urging...

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