Louisiana extract from
John Reed Swanton's

The Indian Tribes of North America

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(Louisiana) Extract from

The Indian Tribes of North America

by John R. Swanton

Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145—1953

[726 pages—Smithsonian Institution]

(pp. 195-212)


Acolapissa. Meaning "those who listen and see," indicating possibly "borderers" or "scouts." Also called:

Aquelou pissas, by Le Page du Pratz (1758 2: 219).
Cenepisa, by La Salle (in Margry, 1875-86 564).
Colapissas, in 1699 by Penicaut (in French, 1869, p. 38).
Coulapissas, in 1700 by Sauvole (in Margry 1875-86, 4: 462).
Equinipichas, by Sauvole (in French, 1851, 3: 225).
Kinipissa, by Tonti (in Margry, 1875-86; 1: 604}.
Kolapissas, in 1700 by Gravier (in French, 1875, p. 88).

Connections.—The Acolapissa belonged to the Muskhogean linguistic family and evidently spoke a language closely related to Choctaw and Chickasaw. They may have been more intimately connected with the Napissa who united with the Chickasaw and who were perhaps identical with the Napochi (q. v.) of De Luna, but their closest relatives were the Tangipahoa (q. v.).

Location.—Their earliest known location was on Pearl River about 11 miles above its mouth. (See also Mississippi.)


Iberville was told that they consisted of six villages and that the Tangipahoa constituted a seventh, but we treat the latter separately, and the names of the six are not given.

History.—The Acolapissa are not mentioned among the tribes that came to Iberville in 1699 to form an alliance with him, but after his departure for France, Bienville visited them and was well received, although at first they were terrified because of a slave raid made upon them 2 days before by the English and Chickasaw. In 1702 (or 1705) they moved from Pearl River and settled on a bayou on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain called "Castembayouque" (now Castine Bayou). Six months later the Natchitoches Indians (q. v.) descended to the French fort on the Mississippi from their town on Red River to ask assistance from St. Denis, the commandant there, because of the ruin of their crops. St. Denis sent them under the charge of Pιnicaut to the Acolapissa, who welcomed them and assigned a place for them to settle close to their own village. Late in 1713 or early in 1714 St. Denis, who had received a commission to proceed to Texas to examine the Spanish settlements, sent for the Natchitoches intending to reestablish them in their former scats, but upon hearing, of this protect the Acolapissa fell upon them and killed and captured a considerable number. In 1718, according to Pιnicaut, but in any case before 1722, they moved over to the Mississippi River and settled on the east side 13 leagues from New Orleans. In 1739 they constituted practically one settlement with the Bayogoula and Houma, with whom they finally merged. Their bitter history is one with that of the Houma (q. v.).

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimated that in 1650 the population of the Acolapissa and the Tangipahoa together was 1,500. My own calculation as of 1698 is 1,050, based on La Harpe's (1831) estimate of 300 Acolapissa warriors in 1699 and Iberville's estimate of 250 families 3 years later. In 1722 Charlevoix states that there were 200 warriors and in 1739 there are said to have been of the Acolapissa, Houma, and Bayogoula together 90 to 100 warriors and 270 to 300 people exclusive of children.

Adai. Meaning unknown.

Connections.—This tribe was at first thought to have constituted an independent linguistic stock and the name Adaizan was given to it, but later Dr. Gatschet determined that the Adai language was a somewhat aberrant Caddo dialect, and it was therefore placed in the Caddoan stock.

Location.—Near the present Robeline in Natchitoches Parish.

History.—In 1699 Iberville mentions the Adai under the name Natao. In 1717 the mission of San Miguel de Linares was established among them by Spanish Franciscan missionaries. The buildings were destroyed in 1719 by a force of French and Indians, but they were rebuilt 2 years later as San Miguel de los Adaes, and the mission was not finally abandoned until 1773. In October 1721 a military post called Nuestra Senora del Pilar de los Adaes was located close to the mission and continued until the latter was given up. For 50 years this post was the capital of Texas in spite of, or because of, the fact that it was on its extreme eastern frontier. In 1778 De Mezieres states (in Bolton, 1914) that the tribe was almost extinct, but in 1805 Sibley reported a small Adai settlement on Lake Macdon near an affluent of Red River. The survivors probably combined with the other Caddoan tribes of the region and followed their fortunes.

Population.—Bienville reported 50 warriors among them in 1700 but twice as many in 1718. When the mission of San Miguel was rebuilt it is said to have served 400 Indians. In 1805 the Adai village contained only 20 men but the number of women was much greater. The total Adai population in 1825 was 27. My own estimate for 169 is about 400.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Adai were peculiar in having spoken a dialect so diverse from the other Caddo forms of speech that, as already stated, Powell (1891) at first gave them an independent status as constituting the Adaizan linguistic family. Historically, the Adai Indian and White settlement was noted as the eastern-most outpost of the Spaniards and of the Franciscan Spanish missions, and it was the capital of the Province of Texas for 50 years.

Alabama. Some of this tribe moved to Louisiana shortly after the territory east of the Mississippi was abandoned by the French. Most of them finally passed on into Texas, but a few are still settled in the southwestern part of the State. (See Alabama.)

Apalachee. A band of Apalachee Indians moved from the neighborhood of Mobile to Louisiana in 1764, remained for a short time on the Mississippi River and then moved up to Red River, where they obtained a grant of land along with the Taensa. Later they sold this land and part of them probably removed to Oklahoma, but others remained in Louisiana and amalgamated with other tribes. (See Florida.)

Atakapa. Meaning in Choctaw and Mobilian, "man eater," because they and some of the Indians west of them at times ate the flesh of their enemies. Also called:

Skunnemoke, the name of a chief, extended to the whole people.
uk-pa'-han-ya-di, Biloxi name.
Yuk'hiti ishak, own name.

Connections.—The Atakapa were originally placed in an independent linguistic stock, including also the Bidai, Deadose, and probably the Opelousa, but it has now been determined that they belonged to one family with the Chitimacha, their eastern neighbors, and probably the Tunican group on the Mississippi, the whole being called the Tunican stock.

Location.—Atakapa bands extended along the coast of Louisiana and Texas from Vermillion Bayou to and including Trinity Bay. (See Akokisa under Texas.)

Subdivisions and Villages:

The Atakapa about Trinity Bay and the lower course of Trinity River were called Akokisa by the Spaniards, but they differed in no respect from the Atakapa of Lake Charles. There was, however, an eastern Atakapa dialect which was distinctly different from the one current in the Lake Charles and Trinity Bay sections and was spoken by two different bands, one about Vermillion Bay and one on the Mermentou River. There were a number of small villages but their names are unknown.

History.—In 1528 Cabeza de Vaca learned of the existence of some of these Indians, calling them Han. The portion of the Atakapa living in Louisiana came to the attention of the French after the latter had established themselves on the Mississippi River, but it so happened that they had more dealings with the people of Trinity Bay, the Akokisa. This was owing in the first place to the romantic adventures of a French officer, Simars de Belle-Isle, left upon this coast in 1719. In 1721 Bernard de la Harpe and Captain Beranger accompanied by Belle-Isle visited the bay and carried some Indians off with them to New Orleans. Fortunately for us, Beranger recorded a number of words in their language which prove it to have been almost identical with the Atakapa of Lake Charles. The Indians subsequently escaped and are reported to have reached their own country. In 1779 the band of Atakapa on Vermillion Bayou furnished 60 men and the Mermentou band 120 men to Galvez for his expedition against the British forts on the Mississippi. In the latter part of the eighteenth century numerous plots of land were sold to French Creoles by the Atakapa Indians, but the last village of the easternmost band was not abandoned until early in the nineteenth century. The last village of the Atakapa who spoke the eastern dialect was on the Mermentou and Indians are said to have lived there down to 1836. The Calcasieu band held together for a longer period, so that in 1908 a few persons were living who once made their homes in the last native village on Indian Lake or Lake Prien. It was from two of these that Dr. Gatchet, in January 1885, obtained his Atakapa linguistic material. (See Gatschet and Swanton, 1932.) Although in 1907 and 1908 I found a few Indians who knew something of the old tongue, it is today practically extinct. (See also J. O. Dyer, 1917.) As early as 1747 a Spanish mission was proposed for the Akokisa Indians, and in 1766, or about that time, it was established on the left bank of Trinity River, a short distance below the present Liberty. It was named Nuestra Senora de la Luz, and near it was the presidio of San Agustin de Ahumada erected the same year. Before 1772 both of these had been abandoned. In 1805 the principal Akokisa village was on the west side of Colorado River about 200 miles southwest of Nacogdoches, but there was another between the Neches and the Sabine. The ultimate fate of the tribe is unknown.

Population.—Exclusive of the Akokisa, Mooney (1928) estimates a population of 1,500 Atakapa in 1660, which the Akokisa would perhaps swell to 2,000. In 1747 a Spanish report gives 300 Akokisa families, a figure which is probably too high. In 1779 the Bayou Vermillion and Mermentou bands had 180 warriors. Sibley (1832) states that in 1805 there were 80 warriors in the only Atakapa town remaining but that 30 of these were Houma and Tunica. The same writer adds that in 1760-70 the Akokisa numbered 80 men.

Connection, in which they have become noted.—The traditional fame of the Atakapa rests upon the sinister reputation it had acquired as a body of cannibals. After the French began to settle southwestern Louisiana, they distinguished as the Atakapas district a section of southern Louisiana including the parishes of St. Mary, Iberia, Vermillion, St. Martin, and Lafayette, a usage which continues in commercial reports to the present day. The capital of this district, the modern St. Martinville, was known as the Atakapas Post. In Spartanburg County, S. C., is a place called Tucapau, the name of which may have been taken from this tribe.

Avoyel. 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 (q.v.).
Tassenocogoula, name in the Mobilian trade language, meaning "flint people."

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.

Location.—In the neighborhood of the present Marksville, La.

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), 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.

Population.—I have estimated an Avoyel population of about 280 in 1698. Iberville and Bienville state that they had about 40 warriors shortly after this period. (See Taensa.)

Connection in which they have become noted.—The name of the Avoyel is perpetuated in that of Avoyelles Parish, La.

Bayogoula. Meaning "bayou people," either from their location or from the fact that their tribal emblem was the alligator.

Connections.—Their language was of the southern Muskhogean division, not far removed from Houma and Choctaw.

Location.—Near the present Bayou Goula, in Iberville Parish.

History.—Unless this tribe was the Pishenoa encountered by Tonti in 1686 and not mentioned subsequently, it was first visited by Iberville in 1699. It then occupied one town with the Mugulasha (q. v.). In the winter of 1699-1700 the Bayogoula suffered severely from a surprise attack of the Houma. In the spring of 1700, for what cause we know not, the Bayogoula attacked their fellow townsmen, the Mugulasha, and destroyed them, but in 1706 they suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Taensa who had sought refuge with them. The remnant of the Bayogoula was given a place near New Orleans, but some time later they moved up the river to the present Ascension Parish, where they were found in 1739 between the Houma and Acolapissa. Yet our informant states that the three tribes were virtually one and the same, the distinction being kept up merely because the chief of each band was descended from the tribe mentioned. The subsequent history of the Bayogoula is identical with that of the Houma. (See Houma under Mississippi.)

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there were 1,500 of the Bayogoula, Quinipissa, and Mugulasha together. My own estimate for the same tribes, as of 1698, is 875. In 1699 Iberville gave about 100 cabins and 200-250 warriors, and the Journal of his companion ship, Le Marin, has 400-500 people. In 1700, after the destruction of the Mugulasha, Gravier gives a population of 200, and about 1715 they are said to have had 40 warriors. For their numbers in 1739, see Houma under Mississippi.

Connection in which they have become noted.—This tribe shared with the Washa the distinction of having been the first Indians within the limits of the present State of Louisiana to meet Iberville in the year in which the French colony of Louisiana was founded. The name is preserved in the post village of Bayou Goula, Iberville Parish, La., which seems to be close to the location of the original Indian town.

Biloxi. The Biloxi settled in Louisiana about 1764, and a very few are still living there. (See Mississippi.)

Caddo. The Caddo Indians are given under five different heads: the Adai and the Natchitoches Confederacy in Louisiana; the Eyeish, the Hasinai Confederacy, and the Kadohadacho Confederacy in Texas.

Chatot. The Chatot entered Louisiana about 1764, lived for a while on Bayou Boeuf, and later moved to Sabine River, after which nothing more is heard of them. (See Florida.)

Chawasha. Meaning unknown, though possibly "raccoon place (people)."

Connections.—A reference to this tribe and the Washa by Bienville places them in the Chitimacha division of the Tunican linguistic stock. I had erroneously concluded at an earlier period, on slender circumstantial evidence, that they were Muskhogeans.

Location.—On Bayou La Fourche and eastward to the Gulf of Mexico and across the Mississippi.

History.—After the relics of De Soto's army had escaped to the mouth of the Mississippi River and while their brigantines were riding at anchor there, they were attacked by Indians, some of whom had "staves, having very sharp heads of fish-bone." (See Bourne 1904, vol. 2, p. 202.) These may have belonged to the Chawasha and Washa tribes. The same two tribes are said, on doubtful authority, to have attempted to attack an English sea captain who ascended the Mississippi in 1699, but they were usually friendly to the French. In 1712 they were moved to the Mississippi by Bienville and established themselves on the west side, just below the English Turn. In 1713 (or more probably 1715) they were attacked by a party of Chickasaw, Yazoo, and Natchez, who killed the head chief and many of his family, and carried off 11 persons as prisoners. Before 1722 they had crossed to the east side of the river, half a league lower down. In 1730, in order to allay the panic in New Orleans following on the Natchez uprising of 1729 which resulted in the massacre of the Whites at Natchez, Governor Perrier allowed a band of Negro slaves to attack the Chawasha, and it is commonly reported that they were then destroyed. The French writer Dumont (1753) is probably right, however, when he states that only seven or eight adult males were killed. At any rate they are mentioned as living with the Washa at Les Allemands on the west side of the Mississippi above New Orleans in 1739, and in 1758 they appear as constituting one village with the Washa. Except for one uncertain reference, this is the last we hear of them, but they may have continued for a considerable period longer before disappearing as a distinct body.

Population.—Mooney (1928) gives an estimate of 1,400 for the Washa, Chawasha, and Opelousa together in the year 1650. My own estimate for the first two and the Okelousa, as of 1698, is 700. This is based on Beaurain's (La Harpe's) estimate (1831) of 200 warriors for the 3 tribes. About 1715 there are said to have been 40 Chawasha warriors; in 1739, 30 warriors of the Washa and Chawasha together; and in 1758, 10 to 12.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Chawasha attained temporary notoriety on account of the massacre perpetrated upon them in the manner above mentioned.

Chitimacha. Perhaps derived from the name of Grand River in the native tongue, which was Sheti, though Gatschet (1883) interprets it through the Choctaw language as meaning "those who have pots."

Connections.—The Chitimacha have given their name to a group of languages under the Tunican linguistic stock, including also the Chawasha and Washa.

Location.—On Grand River, Grand Lake, and the lower course of Bayou La Teche.

Subdivisions and Villages:

The earliest French writers couple with this tribe the name of a tribe or supposed tribe called Yakna-Chitto, "Big Earth," but it is not known whether they were a part of the Chitimacha or an entirely independent people. In later times the Chitimacha were drawn into two unnamed subdivisions, one near the upper end of Bayou La Fourche and the other on Grand Lake. Following are the known villages:

Ama'tpan na'mu, two villages: (1) 3 miles east of Charenton on Bayou Teche (2) on the east side of Grand Lake opposite Charenton.
Grosse Tκte na'mu, 2 miles from the village at Plaquemine.
Hi'pinimsh na'mu, at the Fausse Pointe in the western part of Grand Lake, near Bayou Gosselin.
Ka'me naksh tcat na'mu, at Bayou du Plomb, near Bayou Chκne, 18 miles north of Charenton.
Ku'shuh na'mu, on Lake Mingaluak, near Bayou Chκne.
Na'mu ka'tsi, the Bayou Chκne village, St. Martin's Parish.
Ne'kun tsi'snis, opposite Ile aux Oiseaux, in the Lac de la Fausse Pointe.
Ne Pinu'nsh, on Bayou Teche, 2 miles west of Charenton.
Oku'nkiskin, probably at some sharp bend on Bayou La Teche judging from their name.
Shatshnish, at Jeanerette.
She'ti na'mu, on Grand River west of Plaquemine.
Sho'ktangi ha'ne hetci'nsh, on the south side of Graine ΰ Volιe Inlet, Grand Lake.
Tca'ti kuti'ngi na'mu, at the junction of Bayou Teche with the Atchafalaya Bayou.
Tcat kasi'tunshki, on the site of Charenton.
Tsa'htsinshup na'mu, the Plaquemine village, on Bayou des Plaquemines near Grand River.
Waitinimsh, at Irish Bend near Franklin.

There are said to have been others at the shell bank on the shore of Grand Lake, close to Charenton, and at a place called "Bitlarouges."

History.—Iberville made an alliance with the Chitimacha in 1699, shortly after his arrival in the present Louisiana. In August 1706, the Taensa captured some Chitimacha by treachery and enslaved them, and later the same year a Chitimacha war partly (op.cit.—"party" more likely [g.h.]) killed St. Cosme, missionary to the Natchez, and three other Frenchmen encamped with him. War followed between the Chitimacha on one hand and the French and their Indian allies on the other, which dragged along until 1718. The Chitimacha suffered severely during these 12 years and this war was responsible for the fact that in the early days of the Louisiana colony the greater part of the Indian slaves were Chitimacha. By the terms of the peace concluded in 1718, the Chitimacha agreed to settle at a designated spot upon the Mississippi, not far from the present Plaquemine. This, they or rather the eastern portion of them, did in 1719. In 1739 they seem to have been farther down, near the head of Bayou La Fourche. In 1784 one village is reported on Bayou La Fourche and two on the Teche. By 1881 the only survivors were near Charenton, where they occupied a small part of what had once been a considerable reservation. In that year and the year following Dr. A. S. Gatschet of the Bureau of American Ethnology collected from them a considerable body of linguistic material and some ethnological information. (See Gatschet, 1883.) Descendants of the tribe, mostly mixed-bloods, occupy the same section at the present time, but the Plaquemine band has disappeared.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimated that in 1650 the Chitimacha numbered 3,000 souls. The present writer allowed 750 warriors to the tribe in 1698, based on Beaurain's estimate of 700-800 in 1699, which would mean about 2,625 souls. In 1758 the Mississippi band counted only about 80 warriors and in 1784 Hutchins gives 27. The size of the western band is nowhere indicated separately but the census of 1910 gives 69 for the entire tribe, 19 of whom were then at school in Pennsylvania. In 1930, 51 were returned.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Chitimacha were the most powerful tribe of the northern Gulf coast west of Florida in United States territory. They also attained prominence in early Louisiana history on account of their long war with the French and the number of Chitimacha slaves in colonial families arising from that fact. The survivors are noteworthy as the best basket makers in the whole Gulf region.

Choctaw. Choctaw began moving into Louisiana not long after the settlement of New Orleans, at first temporarily, but later for permanent occupancy, especially after the territory east of the Mississippi had been ceded to Great Britain. Some settled on the northern shores of Lake Pontchartrain, where a few still remain, while other bands established themselves on the Nezpique, Red River, Bayou Boeuf, and elsewhere. Most of these drifted in time to the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, but a few families are still scattered about the State of Louisiana. (See Mississippi.)

Doustioni. A small tribe of the Natchitoches Confederacy (q.v.).

Houma. When first encountered by Europeans, the Houma lived near the present boundary line between Mississippi and Louisiana, if not actually on the Louisiana side. In 1706 or shortly afterward they moved altogether within the limits of Louisiana, where their descendants have remained to the present day. (See Mississippi.)

Koasati. Part of this tribe entered Louisiana near the end of the eighteenth century and lived on Red River and in the western part of the State. At the present day, the largest single band of Koasati in existence is northeast of Kinder, La. (See Alabama.)

Koroa. The Koroa camped, hunted, and had at times more permanent settlements in northeastern Louisiana. (See Mississippi.)

Mugulasha. This was a tribe which formerly lived in the same town as the Bayogoula on the lower course of the Mississippi. Some early writers state that they were identical with the Quinipissa and they will be treated in connection with that tribe.

Muskogee. The true Muskogee were represented by one band, a part of the Pakana tribe, which moved into the colony about 1764. They were settled upon Calcasieu River in 1805. Later they seem to have united with the Alabama now living in Polk County, Tex., but there are no known survivors at the present day. (See Alabama.)

Natchez. When this tribe was attacked by the French after they had destroyed the Natchez post, they escaped into Louisiana and fortified themselves at Sicily Island, from which most of them again escaped. A part under the chief of the Flour Village attacked the French post at Natchitoches in the fall of 1731, drove the Natchitoches from their town, and entrenched themselves in it. St. Denis, commander of that post, attacked them, however, having been previously reinforced by some Caddo and Atakapa, and inflicted upon them a severe defeat. After this no considerable number of Natchez seem to have remained in Louisiana. (See Mississippi.)

Natchitoches Confederacy. The word "Natchitoches" is generally supposed to be derived from "nashitosh", the native word for pawpaw but an early Spanish writer, Jose Antonio Pichardo, was told that it was from a native word "nacicit" signifying "a place where the soil is the color of red ochre," and that it was applied originally to a small creek in their neighborhood running through red soil. The following are synonyms:

Nachittoos, Yoakum, 1855-56, vol. 1 p. 392.
Nachtichoukas, Jefferys, 1761, pt. 1, p. 164.
Nacitos, Binares (1700) in Margry, 1875-86, vol. 6, p. 217.
Nactythos, Iberville (1699) in Margry, 1850, 1875-86, vol. 4, p. 178.
Nadchito, Bienville (1700), in Margry, 1875-86, vol. 4, p. 434.
Naketosh, Gatschet, Caddo and Yatassi MS., p. 77, B. A. E.
Napgitache, McKenney and Hall, 1854, vol. 3, p. 82.
Naquitoches, Belle-Isle (1721), in Margry, 1875-86, vol. 6, p. 341.
Nashi'tosh, Mooney, 1896, p. 1092.
Nasitti, Joutel (1687) in Margry, 1875-89-6, vol. 3, p. 409.
Natsytos, Iberville (1699) in Margry, 1875-86, vol. 4, p. 178.
Notchitoches, Carver, 1778, map.
Yatchitcohes, Lewis and Clark, 1840, p. 142.

As part of the Caddo, the same terms were applied to them as appear under Kadohadacho (q. v.).

Connections.—They belonged to the Caddo division of the Caddoan linguistic stock, their nearest relatives being the Indians of the Kadohadacho and Hasinai Confederacies.

Location.—In northwestern Louisiana.


Doustioni, appearing sometimes as Souchitioni, a small tribe near the present Natchitoches.
Natchitoches, close to the present site of Natchitoches.
Ouachita, on Ouachita River not far from the present Columbia.
Yatasi, on Red River near Shreveport.

A tribe called Capichι is mentioned by Tonti, but it is otherwise never referred to. Another called Nakasa, Nakasι, Natchιs or Natachι was probably a part of the Yatasi, and Tonti mentions a tribe called Choye, probably the Chaye of Joutel (1713), as a people associated with the Yatasi. At a relatively late date part of the Yatasi went to live with the Indians of the Kadohadacho Confederation while the rest settled close to the Natchitoches.

History.—Moscoso, De Soto's successor, perhaps encountered some of the tribes of this group though his route lay farther north and west. On February 17, 1690, Tonti reached the villages of these Indians coming from the Taensa on Lake St. Joseph, and went on up the river to the Kadohadacho, visiting the Yatasi on the way.

In March 1700 Bienville followed the same route from the Taensa and reached the Natchitoches Indians in April, stopping at the Ouachita town en route. He went up Red River as far as the Yatasi and then returned to Biloxi. In 1702 the Natchitoches tribe, having lost their crops, descended the Red River and the Mississippi to the French fort near the mouth of the latter, then commanded by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, who received them kindly and sent them to live with the Acolapissa Indians on Lake Pontchartrain. A few years later St. Denis visited the Natchitoches country himself. In 1707 four Indians of this tribe took part in an expedition against the Chitimacha to avenge the death of the missionary St. Cosme. In 1713-14 St. Denis sent for the Natchitoches Indians in order to take them back to their old country, where he had planned to establish a post. On learning of the intentions of their neighbors, the Acolapissa Indians fell upon them, killed 17 and captured 50 women and girls, but the latter were apparently recovered soon afterward and all were returned to their old town, where the post was established according to plan in 1714. From this time until his death St. Denis' career was intimately bound up with this post and the Indians about it, though he was frequently engaged in expeditions into and across Texas. He was formally appointed commandant of the post July 1, 1720, and retained it until his death in June 1744. In 1731, with the assistance of his Indians and a detachment of soldiers from the Spanish post of Adai, he won a signal victory over a large body of Natchez Indians, the only clear-cut advantage which the French gained in the Natchez War. In the meantime Natchitoches had become the center of a flourishing trade with the Indians extending far to the north and west, and when St. Denis died his son, Louis de St. Denis continued to enjoy the advantages of it and to share the prestige of his father. During all of this time, however, the Natchitoches Indians seem to have been decreasing, and toward the end of the eighteenth century they parted with most of their lands to French Creoles, though their relations with the latter seem to have been uniformly cordial. Part of them remained in their old country permanently and either died out or mixed with the newcomers, while the rest joined their relatives of the Kadohadacho and Hasinai Confederations and followed their fortunes.

Population.—In 1700 Bienville estimated that there were 400-450 warriors in the Natchitoches Confederacy, but in 1718 he reported that the number had fallen to 80, while La Harpe {1831} reported a total population of 150-200. In 1805 Sibley (1832) reported 52 warriors and for the Natchitoches tribe by itself, 32, and 20 years later a total population of 61 was returned. An estimate of 1,000 for all of these tribes before White contact would probably be ample.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The city of Natchitoches, La., is named after this group of tribes and is noteworthy as the oldest permanent settlement in the State. The victory which they enabled St. Denis to win over the Natchez Indians occupies a noteworthy place in the history of the section.

Ofo. This tribe entered Louisiana some time in the latter half of the eighteenth century and finally united with the Tunica, settling with them at Marksville. (See the article Mosopelea under Ohio and Tunica under Mississippi.)

Okelousa. Meaning "black water."

Connections.—The associations of this tribe were mainly with Muskhogean peoples and this fact, coupled with the Muskhogean name, indicates their linguistic affiliations with a fair degree of certainty.

Location.—The Okelousa moved about considerably. The best-determined location is the one mentioned by Le Page du Pratz (1758), on the west side of the Mississippi back of and above Pointe Coupιe. (See History below.) (See also Mississippi.)

History.—After De Soto reached the principal Chickasaw town, the head chief came to him, January 3, 1541, "and promptly gave the Christians guides and interpreters to go to Caluca, a place of much repute among the Indians. Caluca is a province of more than 90 villages not subject to anyone, with a savage population, very warlike and much dreaded, and the soil is fertile in that section." (See Bourne, 1904, 1922, vol. 2, p. 132.) There is every reason to think that Caluca is a shortened form of Okalousa and it is rather likely that the later Okelousa were descended from these people, but if so either De Soto's informants had very much exaggerated their numbers or they suffered immense losses before we hear of them again. The name in De Soto's time may, however, have been applied to a geographical region. Nicolas de la Salle, writing in 1682, quotes native informants to the effect that this tribe, in alliance with the Houma, had destroyed a third. La Harpe (1831) mentions them as allied with the Washa and Chawasha and wandering near the seacoast, a statement which led me to the erroneous conclusion that the three tribes thus associated were related. The notice of them by Le Page du Pratz has been mentioned above. They finally united with the Houma, the Acolapissa, or some other Muskhogean band on the lower Mississippi.

Population.—Unknown, but for an estimate, see Chawasha.

Opelousa. Probably from Mobilian and Choctaw Aba lusa, "black above," and meaning "black headed" or "black haired."

Connections.—No words of the Opelousa language have survived, but the greater number of the earlier references to them speak as if they were allied with the Atakapa, and it is probable that they belonged to the Atakapan group of tribes.

Location.—In the neighborhood of the present Opelousas.

History.—The Opelousa seem to have been mentioned first by Bienville in an unpublished report on the Indians of the Mississippi and Gulf regions. They were few in numbers and led a wandering life. They maintained some sort of distinct tribal existence into the nineteenth century but disappeared by the end of the first quarter of it.

Population.—About 1715 this tribe was estimated to have 130 warriors; in 1805 they are said to have had 40, and in 1814 the total population of the tribe is placed at 20.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Opelousa gave their name to an important post and the district depending upon it.

Ouachita. A tribe of the Natchitoches Confederacy (q. v.).

Pascagoula. This tribe entered Louisiana about 1764 and lived on Red River and Bayou Boeuf. Their subsequent history is wrapped in uncertainty. (See Mississippi.)

Quapaw. From 1823 to 1833 the Quapaw lived with the Kadohadacho on a southern affluent of Red River. (See Arkansas.)

Quinipissa. Signifying "those who see," perhaps meaning "scouts," or "outpost."

Connections.—The Quinipissa belonged to the southern division of the Muskhogean stock, and probably were very closely related to the Choctaw.

Location.—On the west bank of the Mississippi River and some distance above New Orleans.

History.—There may have been a connection between this tribe, the Acolapissa (q. v.) and the Napissa or Napochi. (See Mississippi.) They were met first by La Salle and his companions when the latter were on their way to the Gulf of Mexico in 1682. They treated the explorers in a hostile manner but made peace with Tonti in 1686. When Iberville ascended the river in 1699, no tribe of the name was to be found, but later it was learned that the chief of the Mugulasha tribe, then forming one village with the Bayogoula, was the same Quinipissa chief who had had dealings with La Salle and Tonti. According to some writers, the Mugulasha were identical with the Quinipissa; according to others, the Mugulasha had absorbed the remains of the Quinipissa. In May 1700, the Bayogoula rose against the Mugulasha and destroyed them as a tribe, though they probably adopted many of them as individuals. We hear nothing further regarding them.

Population.—There is no separate estimate of the number of the Quinipissa. (See Bayogoula.)

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Quinipissa are noted only for the encounter, ultimately hostile, which La Salle had with them in 1682 when he descended to the mouth of the Mississippi.

Souchitioni, see Natchitoches Confederacy.

Taensa. Meaning unknown, but the name is evidently derived from that of one of the tribes constituent towns.

Connections.—They were one of the three known tribes of the Natchez division of the Muskhogean stock.

Location.—At the western end of Lake St. Joseph, in Tensas Parish. (See also Alabama.)


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: Taλnsas, Ohytoucoulas, Nyhougoulas, Couthaougoula, Conchayon, Talaspa, and Chaoucoula. Gatschet has endeavored to interpret all but one of them; Taλnsas by reference to tan'tci, "corn"; Ohytoucoulas from u'ti, "chestnut"; Couthaougoula from uk'ha'tax, "lake"; Conchayon from ko'nshak, "reed"; Talaspa from ta'`lapi, "five" or ta'`lepa, "hundred"; Chaoucoula from issi, "deer" or ha'tche, "river." Most of these seem in the highest degree doubtful. All of the towns were situated close together in the place above indicated.

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 in 1700 the temple was destroyed by fire, whereupon five infants were thrown into the flames to appease the supposedly offended deity. De Montigny undertook missionary work among them for a brief period but soon went to the Natchez as presenting a larger field and his place was never filled. In 1706 the Taensa abandoned their villages on account of the threatening attitude of the Yazoo and Chickasaw and settled in the town of the Bayogoula whom they afterward destroyed or drove away in the tragic manner above described. (See Bayogoula.) The Taensa appear to have moved shortly to a spot in the vicinity of Edgard, St. John Baptist Parish, and later to the Manchac. In 1715 they left this latter place and moved to Mobile, where they were assigned a townsite 2 leagues from the French post, at a place formerly occupied by the Tawasa. Before 1744 they had crossed the Tensaw River, to which they gave their name, and made a near settlement which they retained until Mobile was surrendered to the British in 1763. Soon after that event, they moved to Red River. In April 1764, they asked permission to establish themselves on the Mississippi River at the upper end of Bayou La Fourcho, but they seem never to have gone there. For more than 40 years they occupied a tract of land on Red River adjoining that of the Apalachee. Early in the nineteenth century both tribes sold their lands and moved to Bayou Boeuf. Still later the Taensa seem to have moved farther south to a small bayou at the head of Grand Lake which still bears their name, where they intermarried with the Chitimacha, Alabama, and Atakapa. Some Taensa blood is known to run in the veins of certain Chitimacha, but as a tribe they are entirely extinct.

Population.—Mooney's estimate (1928) for the Taensa and Avoyel in 1650 is 800, and my own for 1698 slightly greater or nearly the same, although De Montigny (in Shea, 1861), writing in 1699, gives only 700. In 1700 Iberville estimated 120 cabins and 300 warriors, but in 1702 allows them 150 families. Somewhat later Le Page du Pratz (1758) says they had about 100 cabins. In 1764 this tribe, with the Apalachee and Pakana Creeks, counted about 200 all told. Sibley (1832) places the number of Taensa warriors in 1805 at 25.

Connection in which they become noted.—The Taensa were noted for (1) the peculiarity of their customs, which were like those of the Natchez, (2) the tragic destruction of their temple in 1700 and the human sacrifices which followed, (3) the perpetuation of their name in Tensas Parish, Tensas River, and Tensas Bayou, La., and the Tensaw River and Tensaw Village in Baldwin County, Ala.

Tangipahoa. Meaning probably "corncob gatherers," or "corncob people."

Connections.—The name of this tribe and its affiliations with the Acolapissa indicate that it belonged to the southern division of the Muskhogean stock.

Location.—Probably on the present Tangipahoa River, Tangipahoa Parish.

History.—The original home of the Tangipahoa seems to have been as given above, and their relations with the Acolapissa must have been very close, for Iberville was informed by some Indians that they constituted a seventh Acolapissa town. In 1682 La Salle's party discovered a town on the eastern side of the Mississippi, 2 leagues below the settlement of the Quinipissa, which had recently been destroyed, and one of his companions calls this "Tangibao," while others speak of it as Maheouala or Mahehoualaima. The last two terms may refer to the name of the town and the first to that of the tribe which occupied it. Probably a part of the Tangipahoa only settled here, but, as we hear little of them after this period, we must assume that they had been absorbed by some other people, most likely the Acolapissa.

Population.—(See Acolapissa.)

Connection in which they have become noted.—Tangipahoa Parish, Tangipahoa River, in Amite and Pike Counties, Miss., and Tangipahoa Parish, La., and the post town of Tangipahoa preserve the name of the Tangipahoa.

Tawasa. Some Tawasa accompanied the Alabama to Louisiana but not until after the separate existence of the tribe had been ended. (See Alabama.)

Washa. Appearing often in literature in the French form Ouacha, meaning unknown.

Connection.—The nearest relations of the Washa were the Chawasha (q.v.) and both belonged to the Chitimachan branch of the Tunican linguistic family.

Location.—Their earliest known location was on Bayou La Fourche, perhaps in the neighborhood of the present Labadieville, Assumption Parish.


None are known under any but the tribal name.

History.—As stated in treating the Chawasha, this tribe and the one just mentioned may have been those which attacked Moscoso's flotilla at the mouth of the Mississippi. Shortly after Iberville reached America in 1699, the Washa and three other tribes west of the Mississippi came to make an alliance with him and a little later, on his way up the great river, he fell in with some of them. He calls Bayou La Fourche "the River of the Washas." In July 1699, Bienville made a vain attempt to establish friendly relations with them, but we hear little more of them until 1715 {1} when Bienville moved them to the Mississippi and settled them 2 leagues above New Orleans on the south side of the Mississippi. In 1739 the Washa and Chawasha were found living together at Les Allemands, and they probably continued in the same neighborhood until a considerably later period. Sibley (1832) says the tribe in 1805 was reduced to 5 persons (2 men and 3 women) scattered in French families.

Population.—A memoir attributed to Bienville states that in 1715 the Washa numbered 50 warriors, having been reduced from 200. This is the only separate estimate of them. (See Chawasha for the combined population of the two tribes for other periods.)

Connection in which they have become noted.—The name Washa is preserved in Washa Lake, near the seacoast of Terrebonne Parish, La., and it was formerly given to Lake Salvador, southeast of New Orleans.

Yatasi. A tribe of the Natchitoches Confederacy (q.v.).


{1} So stated in a ms. by Bienville, In Swanton (1911) this date was given erroneously as 1718 on other authority.