Avoyel Indians, Avoyelles Indians (Fr. dim. of avoie, ‘small vipers’). A tribe spoken of in the 18th century as one of the nations of the Red River, having their villages near the mouth of that stream, within what is now Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana. They probably belonged to the Caddoan family, the tribe representing a group that had remained near the ancient habitat of its kindred. The country occupied by the Avoyelles was fertile and intersected by lakes and bayous, one of the latter being still called by their name. The tribe lived in villages, cultivated maize and vegetables, and practiced the arts common to the tribes of the Gulf region. Nothing definite is known of their beliefs and ceremonies. Like their neighbors, they had come into possession of horses, which they bred, and later they obtained cattle, for Du Pratz mentions that they sold horses, cows, and oxen to the French settlers of Louisiana. During the general displacement of the tribes throughout the Gulf states, which began in the 18th century, the Avoyelles country proved to be attractive. The Biloxi settled there and other tribes entered and took possession. Under the influences incident to the advent of the white race the Avoyelles mingled with the newcomers, but through the ravages of wars and new diseases the tribe was soon reduced in numbers. Before the close of the century their villages and their tribal organization melted away, their language became extinct, and the few survivors were lost in the floating Indian population. In 1805, according to Sibley, the tribe had become reduced to two or three women.
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