Topic: Taensa

The Natchez

On February 11th, 1700, De Iberville, Bienville, Perricaul and Tonti ascended the Mississippi River as far west as the present city of Natchez. They were kindly received (so states the journalist) by the great chief, or sun, as he was termed, surrounded by six hundred of his warriors, who, according to their own account, had formerly been a great nation. On the 13th the party left Natchez and visited the villages of the Taensas, the customs and habits of who were the same as the Natchez, being evidently a branch of the latter. During their stay the sacred temple of these Indians was struck by lightning and burned to ashes. To appease the Sun God, the poor, infatuated women threw themselves, and parents, their children, into the consuming flames of the burning temple. Perricaul, who was one of the witnesses of the fearful scene, thus wrote of it: “We left the Natchez and coasted along to the right, where the river is bordered with high, gravelly banks for a distance of twelve leagues. At the extremity of these bluffs is a place called Petit Gulf, on account of the whirlpool formed by the river for the distance of a quarter league. Eight leagues higher up we came to Grand Gulf, which we passed a short distance above, on the right hand side. We landed to visit a village four...

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Natchez, Mobilians, Chatots, Thomez and Tensas

In 1718, the French West India Company sent, from Rochelle, eight hundred colonists to Louisiana. Among them was a Frenchman of intelligence and high standing, named Le Page Du Pratz, who was appointed superintendent of the public plantations. After a residence of sixteen years in this country, he returned to France, and published an interesting work upon Louisiana. 1721: Du Pratz was often at Mobile, and about the period found living, in that vicinity, a few small tribes of Indians, whom we will now describe. The Chatots were a very small tribe, who composed a town of forty huts, adjoining the bay and river of Mobile. They appear to have resided at or near the present city of Mobile. The Chatots were great friends of the French settlers, and most of them embraced the Catholic religion. North from Mobile, and upon the first bluffs on the same side of the river of that name, lived the Thomez, who were not more numerous than the Chatots, and who, also had been taught to worship the true God. Opposite to them, upon the Tensas River, lived a tribe of Tensas whose settlement consisted of one hundred huts. They were a branch of the Natchez, and like them, kept a perpetual fire burning in their temple. Further north, and near the confluence of the Tombigby and Alabama, and above there, the Mobilians still...

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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...

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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...

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Taensa Indian Tribe

On account of the recent discovery of their consonantic language, which proves to be disconnected from any other aboriginal tongue spoken in North America, a peculiar interest attaches itself to the tribe of the Taensa Indians, whose cabins stood in Tensas county, Louisiana, bordering east on Mississippi river.

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Taensa Indian Bands, Gens and Clans

Many tribes have sub-tribes, bands, gens, clans and phratry.  Often very little information is known or they no longer exist.  We have included them here to provide more information about the tribes. Conchayon. One of the 7 villages or tribes forming the Taensa confederacy in 1699. Iberville in Margry, Dec., iv, 179,...

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