Mississippi extract from
John Reed Swanton's

The Indian Tribes of North America

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(Mississippi) Extract from

The Indian Tribes of North America

by John R. Swanton

Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 145—1953

[726 pages—Smithsonian Institution]

(pp. 174-195)


Acolapissa. When first known to Europeans, this tribe lived on Pearl River, partly in what is now Mississippi, partly in Louisiana, but they were more closely associated with Louisiana in later times and will be treated among the tribes of that State. (See Louisiana.)

Biloxi. Apparently a corruption of their own name Taneks anya, "first people," filtered over the tongues of other Indians. Also called:

Ananis, Anaxis, Annocchy, early French spellings intended for Taneks.
Polu'ksalgi, Creek name.

Connections.—They belonged to the Siouan linguistic family.

Location.—Their earliest historical location was on the lower course of Pascagoula River. (See also Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.)


None are known except those bearing the name of the tribe, unless we assume the "Moctobi" or "Capinans" to be a part of them. These, however, may have been merely synonyms of the tribal name.

History.—It is possible that the Biloxi are the Capitanesses who appear west of Susquehanna River on early Dutch charts. On the De Crenay map of 1733, a Biloxi town site appears on the right bank of the Alabama River, a little above the present Clifton in Wilcox County, Ala. This was probably occupied by the Biloxi during their immigration from the north. Individuals belonging to the tribe were met by Iberville on his first expedition to Louisiana in 1699, and in June of the same year his brother Bienville visited them. In 1700 Iberville found their town abandoned and does not mention encountering the people themselves, though they may have been sharing the Pascagoula village at which he made a short stop. A few years later, Pιnicaut says (1702-23), St. Denis persuaded the Biloxi to abandon their village and settle on a small bayou near New Orleans but by 1722 they had returned a considerable distance toward their old home and were established on the former terrain of the Acolapissa Indians on Pearl River. They continued in this neighborhood and close to the Pascagoula until 1763, when French government east of the Mississippi came to an end. Soon afterward, although we do not know the exact date, they moved to Louisiana and settled not far from Marksville. They soon moved farther up Red River and still later to Bayou Boeuf. Early in the nineteenth century they sold their lands, and, while part of them remained on the river, a large body migrated to Texas and settled on Biloxi Bayou, in Angelina County. All of these afterward left, either to return to Louisiana or to settle in Oklahoma. A few Biloxi are still living in Rapides Parish, La., and there are said to be some in the Choctaw Nation, but the tribe is now practically extinct. In 1886 the Siouan relationship of their language was established by Dr. Gatschot of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and a considerable record of it was obtained by Mr. James D. Dorsey of the same institution in 1892-93. (See Dorsey and Swanton, 1912.)

Population.—On the basis of the imperfect records available, I have made the following estimates of Biloxi population at different periods: 420 in 1698, 175 in 1720, 105 in 1805, 65 in 1829, 6-8 in 1908. Mooney (1928) estimated that this tribe, the Pascagoula, and the "Moctobi" might number 1,000 in 1650.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Biloxi are remarkable (1) as having spoken a Siouan dialect unlike all of their neighbors with one possible exception; (2) as the tribe first met by Iberville when he reached the coast of Louisiana and established the French colony of that name; (3) as having furnished the names of the first two capitals of Louisiana, Old and New Biloxi; that of the present Biloxi, Miss.; and the name of Biloxi Bay.

Capinans. The name of a body of Indians connected in French references with the Biloxi and Pascagoula and probably a branch of one of them.

Chakchiuma. Proper spelling Shεktci homma, meaning "Red Crawfish [People]."

Connections.—They spoke a dialect closely related to Choctaw and Chickasaw. Their nearest relatives were the Houma (q. v.), who evidently separated from them in very recent times.

Location.—In the eighteenth century on Yalobusha River where it empties into the Yazoo but at an early period extending to the head of the Yalobusha and eastward between the territories of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes as far as West Point.


A French map dated about 1697 seems to call that section of the tribe on Yazoo River, Sabougla, though these may have been a Branch of the Sawokli. (See Georgia.)

History.—According to tradition, this tribe came from the west at the same time as the Chickasaw and Choctaw and settled between them. When De Soto was among the Chickasaw, an expedition was directed against the Chakchiuma "who the [Chickasaw] Cacique said had rebelled," but their town was abandoned and on fire. It was claimed that they had planned treachery against the Spaniards. The chief of the tribe at this time was Miko Lusa (Black Chief). After the French settlement of Louisiana a missionary was killed by these people and in revenge the French stirred up the neighboring tribes to attack them. They are said to have been reduced very considerably in consequence. Afterward, they remained closely allied with the French, assisted them after the Natchez outbreak, and their chief was appointed leader of the Indian auxiliaries in the contemplated attack upon the Chickasaw in 1739. The animosity thus excited probably resulted in their destruction by the Chickasaw and absorption into the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. From De Crenay's map it appears that a part had gone to live with the Chickasaw by 1733. The rest may have gone to the Choctaw, for a band bearing their name constituted an important division of that nation. Tradition states that they were destroyed by the united efforts of the Chickasaw and Choctaw, but the latter were uniformly allied with the French and hostile to the Chickasaw when this alliance is supposed to have been in existence.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates 1,200 souls among the Chakchiuma, Ibitoupa, Taposa, and Tiou in 1650; exclusive of the Tiou, my own would be 750. In 1699 they are said to have occupied 70 cabins. In 1702 it is claimed that there were 400 families, which in 1704 had been reduced to 80, but probably the first figure is an exaggeration. About 1718-30 where were 50 Chakchiuma cabins and in 1722 the total population is placed at 150.

Chickasaw. Meaning unknown, though the ending suggests that it might have been a place name. Also called:

Ani'-Tsi'ksϋ, Cherokee name.
Kasahα ϊnϋ
n, Yuchi name.
Tchaktchαn, Arapaho name.
Tchνkasa, Creek name.
Tci'-ka-sa', Kansa name.
a, Quapaw name.
e, Osage name.

Connections.—Linguistically the Chickasaw were closely connected with the Choctaw and one of the principal tribes of the Muskhogean group.

Location.—In northern Mississippi, principally in Pontotoc and Union Counties. (See South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.)


Aside from some incorporated tribes such as the Napochi and Chakchiuma, no major subdivisions other than towns are mentioned until late in Chickasaw history when we hear of three such subdivisions: those of Tishomingo, Sealy, and McGilvery, named after their chiefs. These, however, were probably superficial and temporary.


Alaoute, mentioned only by Iberville.
Apile faplimengo (Iberville).
Ayebisto (Iberville).
Chinica (Iberville).
Coόi loussa, (French Memoir of 1755).
Latcha Hoa, on Latcha Hoa Run, an affluent of Ahoola Ihalchubba, a western tributary of Tombigbee River, northeastern Mississippi.
Etoukouma (De Batz).
Gouytola (Iberville).
Ogoula-Tchetoka (De Batz).
Onthaba atchosa (Iberville).
Ooe-asa, in Creek Nation near Sylacauga.
Oucahata (Iberville).
Oucthambolo (Iberville).
Outanquatle (French Memoir of 1756).
Tanyachilca (Iberville).
Thanbolo (Iberville).

All of the above, with one or two exceptions noted, were close to one another in the general location given above.

History.—Like most of the other Muskhogean peoples, the Chickasaw believed they had come from the west. They thought that they had settled for a time at a spot in northern Alabama on the north side of the Tennessee River long known as Chickasaw Old Fields. There is little doubt that Chickasaw had once lived at that place whether or not the whole tribe was so located. The first Europeans to become acquainted with the tribe were the Spaniards under De Soto, who spent the months of January, February, and March 1541, in the Chickasaw country, and in the latter month were attacked by the tribe with such fury that they were nearly destroyed. Little is heard of the Chickasaw from this time until French explorers and colonists arrived, at the end of the seventeenth century They found the tribe in approximately the position in which De Soto had encountered them, and they found them as warlike as before. Although the French tried to make peace with them, English traders had effected establishments in their country even before the settlement of Louisiana, and they remained consistent allies of England while England and France were fighting for the possession of North America. In the south their alliance meant much the same to the English as Iroquois friendship meant to them in the north. As practically all of the surrounding peoples were devoted to the French, and the Chickasaw were not numerous, they were obliged to maintain a very unequal struggle until the final victory of England in 1763, and they suffered severely in consequence. They supported the Natchez when they revolted in (1729) and when French expeditions from the north and south were hurled upon them simultaneously in 1736, they beat both off with heavy losses. In 1740 a gigantic attempt was made to conquer them, but the greater part of the force assembled dissolved without accomplishing anything. A small French expedition under Celoron succeeded in obtaining a treaty of peace advantageous to the French but this soon became a dead letter, and French communications up and down the Mississippi River were constantly threatened and French voyageurs constantly attacked in the period following. In 1752 and 1753 the French commanders Benoist and Reggio were defeated by the Chickasaw. At an earlier period, shortly before 1715, they and the Cherokee together drove the Shawnee from their settlements on the Cumberland, and in 1745 they expelled another Shawnee band from the same region. In 1769 they utterly routed the Cherokee on the site of the Chickasaw Old Fields. In 1793-95 war broke out with the Creeks, who invaded their territories with 1,000 men, but while they were attacking a small stockade, a band of about 200 Chickasaw fell upon them, whereupon an unaccountable terror took possession of the invaders, and they fled precipitately. There was at one time a detached body of Chickasaw on the lower Tennessee not far from its mouth. They also had a town among the Upper Creeks for a brief period (Ooe-asa), and a settlement near Augusta, Ga., from about 1723 to the opening of the American Revolution. The Chickasaw maintained friendship with the American Government after its establishment, but, being pressed upon by white settlers, parted with their lands by treaties made in 1805, 1816, 1818, and 1832. The actual migration to new homes in what is now Oklahoma began in 1837 and extended to 1847. The Chickasaw and Choctaw mingled rather indiscriminately at first but their lands were separated in 1855 and the Chickasaw set up an independent government modeled on that of the United States which lasted until merged in the new State of Oklahoma.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates that there were about 8,000 in 1600. In 1702 Iberville estimated that there were 2,000 families of Chickasaw, but in 1715 a rather careful enumeration made by the colony of South Carolina, gave 6 villages, 700 men, and a population of 1,900. In 1761, a North Carolina estimate gives about 400 men; in 1766, about 350. Most of the subsequent estimates of the number of warriors made during the eighteenth century vary between 250 and 800. In 1817 Morse (1822) places the total population at 3,625; in 1829 General Peter B. Porter estimates 3,600 (in Schoolcraft, 1851-57, vol. 3); and a more accurate report in Schoolcraft gives 4,715 in 18,33. The figures of the United States Indian Office between 1836 and the present time vary from 4,500 for 1865 to 1870 to nearly 11,000 in 1923, but this latter figure includes more than 5,000 freedmen and persons intermarried in the tribe, and, when we allow for mixed bloods, we shall find that the Chickasaw population proper has usually stood at between 4,500 and 5,500 during the entire period. There has probably been a slow decline in the absolute amount of Chickasaw blood owing to constant intermixture with other peoples. The 1910 census returned 4,204 Chickasaw and that of 1930, 4,745.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Chickasaw were noted (1) as one of the most warlike tribes of the Gulf area, (2) as the tribe of all those encountered by the Spaniards who came nearest putting an end to De Soto's army, (3) as the constant allies of the English without whom the control of the Gulf region by the latter would many times have been jeopardized. There are post villages of the name in Mobile County, Ala., and Mercer County, Ohio, and Chickasha, a variant form, is the name of the county seat of Grady County, Okla.

Choctaw. Meaning unknown, though Halbert (1901) has suggested that they received their name from Pearl River, "Hachha". Also called:

Ani'-Tsa'ta, Cherokee name.
Flat Heads, from their custom of flattening the heads of infants.
e'sh, Arapaho name.
Nabuggindebaig, probably the Chippewa name for this tribes signifying "flat heads."
ns falaya, "Long Hairs," given by Adair.
Sanakνwa, Cheyenne name, meaning "feathers sticking up above the ears."
Tα-qta, Quapaw name.
α an-ya-dν, or Tca-qtα han-ya, Biloxi name.
Tca-tα, Kansa name.
Tκtes Plates, French equivalent of "Flat Heads."
Tsah-tϋ, Creek name.

Connections.—This was the largest tribe belonging to the southern Muskhogean branch. Linguistically, but not physically, it was most closely allied with the Chickasaw and after them with the Alabama.

Location.—Nearly all of the Choctaw towns were in the southeastern part of Mississippi though they controlled the adjoining territory in the present State of Alabama. The small tribes of Mobile were sometimes called Choctaw. (See also Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arkansas.)

Subdivisions and Villages:

From the earliest times of which we have any knowledge the Choctaw villages were distributed into three divisions: a southern, a northeastern, and a western, though a central group may also be distinguished. The southern division is fairly well defined by our several informants, but there is considerable disagreement with reference to the others. One authority gives but two divisions, an eastern and a western, and even cuts up the southern group between them. The following locations were established largely by Mr. H. S. Halbert (1901):

Southern or Sixtown Division:

Bishkun, in the northern part of Jasper County.
Bissasha, on the west side of Little Rock Creek, in Newton County, sect. 23, tp. 8, range 12, east.
Boktoloksi, on Boguetuluksi Creek, a southwest affluent of Chickasawhay River.
Chickasawhay, on Chickasawhay River about 3 miles south of Enterprise, Clarke County.
Chinakbi, on the site of Garlandville, in Jasper County.
Chiskilikbacha, probably in Jasper County.
Coatraw, 4 miles southwest of the town of Newton in sect. 17, tp. 5, range 11, east, Newton County.
Inkillis tamaha, in the northeastern part of Jasper County.
Nashobawenya, in the southwestern part of Jasper County.
Okatalaia, in the eastern part of Smith County or the western part of Jasper County.
Oktak chito tamaha, location unknown.
Oskelagna, probably in Jasper County.
Puskustakali, in the southwest corner of Kemper County or the proximate part of Neshoba County.
Siniasha, location uncertain.
Tala, in the southern part of Newton County, between Tarlow and Bogue Felamma Creeks.
Talahoka, in Jasper County.
Yowani, on the east side of Chickasawhay River, in the southern part of Clarke County.

Western Division:

Abissa, location uncertain.
Atlantchitou, location unknown.
Ayoutakale, location unknown.
Bok chito, probably on Bogue Chitto, in Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
Bokfalaia, location uncertain.
Bokfoka, location unknown.
Boktokolo, location unknown.
Cabea Hoola, location unknown.
Chunky, on the site of Union, Newton County.
Chunky chito, on the west bank of Chunky Creek, about half a mile below the confluence of that creek with Talasha Creek— later this belonged to the southern district.
East Kunshak chito, near Moscow, in Kemper County.
Filitamon, location unknown.
Halunlawi asha, on the site of Philadelphia, in Neshoba County.
Hashuk chuka, location unknown.
Hashuk homa, location unknown.
Imoklasha, on the headwaters of Talasha Creek, in Neshoba County, in sections 4, 9, and 16, tp. 9, range 13, east.
Iyanabi, on Yannubbee Creek, about 8 miles southwest of De Kalb, in Kemper County.
Itichipota, between the headwaters of Chickasawhay and Tombigbee Rivers.
Kafitalaia, on Owl Creek, in section 21, tp. 11, range 13, east, in Neshoba County.
Kashtasha, on the south side of Custusha Creek, about 3 miles a little south of West Yazoo Town.
Konshak osapa, somewhere west of West Imoklasha.
Koweh chito, northwest of De Kalb, in Kemper County.
Kushak, on Lost Horse Creek, 4 miles southeast of Lazelia, Lauderdale County.
Kunshak bolukta, in the southwestern part of Kemper County some 2 miles from Neshoba County line and 1 1/2 miles from the Lauderdale County line.
Kunshak chito, on or near the upper course of Oktibbeha River.
Lushapa, perhaps on Lussalaka Creek, a tributary of Kentarcky Creek, in Neshoba County.
Oka Chippo, location unknown.
Oka Coopoly, on Ocobly Creek, in Neshoba County.
Oka hullo, probably on or near the mouth of Sanoote Creek, which empties into Petickfa Creek in Kemper County.
Oka Kapassa, about Pinckney Mill, in sect. 23, tp. 8, range 11, east, in Newton County- possibly in the southern section.
Okalusa, in Romans' time on White's Branch, Kemper County.
Okapoola, location unknown.
Okehanea tamaha, location unknown.
Oklabalbaha, location unknown.
Oklatanap, location unknown.
Oony, south of Pinckney Mill, in Newton County- possibly in the southern division.
Osak talaia, near the line between Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
Osapa chito, on the site of Dixon Post Office, in Neshoba County.
Otuk falaia, location unknown.
Pante, at the head of Ponta Creek, in Lauderdale County.
Shinuk Kaha, about 7 miles a little north or east of Philadelphia, in Neshoba County.
Shumotakali, in Kemper County, between the two head prongs of Black Water Creek.
Tiwaele, location unknown.
Tonicahaw, location unknown.
Utapacha, location unknown.
Watonlula, location uncertain.
West Abeka, location unknown.
West Kunshak chito, in Neshoba County, near the headwaters of Oktibbeha Creek.
Wiatakali, about 1 mile south of the De Kalb and Jackson road, in Neshoba County.
Yazoo, or West Yazoo, in Neshoba County, near the headwaters of Oktibbeha Creek, in sections 13 and 24, tp. 10, range 13, east.

Northeastern Division:

Alamucha, 10 miles from Sukenatcha Creek, in Kemper County.
Athlepele, location unknown.
Boktokolo chito, at the confluence of Running Tiger and Sukenatcha Creeks, about 4 miles northwest of De Kalb.
Chichatalys, location unknown.
Chuka hullo, on the north side of Sukenatcha Creek, somewhere between the mouths of Running Tiger and Straight Creeks, in Kemper County.
Chuka lusa, location unknown.
Cutha Aimethaw, location unknown.
Cuthi Uckehaca, probably on or near the mouth of Parker's Creek, which empties into Petickfa, in sect. 30, tp. 10, range 17, east.
East Abeka, at the junction of Straight Creek with the Sukenatcha, in Kemper County.
Escooba, perhaps on or near Petickfa Creek, in Kemper County.
Hankha Ula, on a flat-topped ridge between the Petickfa and Black Water Creeks, in Kemper County.
Holihta asha, on the site of De Kalb, in Kemper County.
Ibetap okla chito, perhaps on Straight Creek, in Kemper County.
Ibetap okla iskitini, at the head of the main prong of Yazoo Creek, in Kemper County.
Imoklasha iskitini, on Flat Creek, the eastern prong of Yazoo Creek, in Kemper County.
Itokchako, near East Abeka, in Kemper County.
Kunshaktikpi, on Coonshark Creek, a tributary of Kentarky Creek, in Neshoba County.
Lukfata, on the headwaters of one of the prongs of Sukenatcha River.
Oka Altakala, probably at the confluence of Petickfa and Yannubbee Creek, in Kemper County.
Osapa issa, on the north side of Blackwater Creek, in Kemper County.
Pachanucha, location unknown.
Skanapa, probably on Running Tiger Creek, in Kemper County.
Yagna Shoogawa, perhaps on Indian branch of Running Tiger Creek.
Yanatoe, probably in southwest Kemper County.
Yazoo iskitini, on both sides of Yazoo Creek.

The following were outside the original town cluster:

Bayou Chicot, south of Cheneyville, St. Landry Parish, La.
Bouttι Station, in St. Charles Parish, La.
Cahawba Old Towns, in Perry County, Ala., and probably on Cahawba River.
Cheponta's Village, on the west bank of the Tombigbee River in the extreme southeastern part of Choctaw County, Ala.
Chisha Foka, on the site of Jackson.
Coila, in Carroll County, probably occupied by Choctaw.
Heitotowa, at the site of the later Sculleyville, Choctaw Nation, Okla.
Shukhata, on the site of Columbus, Ala.
Teeakhaily Ekutapa, on the lower Tombigbee River.
Tombigbee, on or near Tombigbee River.

A few other names of towns placed in the old Choctaw country appear on various maps, but most of these are probably intended for some of the villages given above.

History.—After leaving the ruins of Mabila, De Soto and his followers, according to the Gentleman of Elvas (see Robertson, 1933), reached a province called Pafallaya, but, according to Ranjel, to a chief river called Apafalaya. Halbert is undoubtedly right in believing that in these words we have the old name of the Choctaw, Pansfalaya, "Long Hairs," and this is the first appearance of the Choctaw tribe in history. We hear of them again, in Spanish Florida documents of the latter part of the seventeenth century, and from this time on they occupied the geographical position always associated with them until their removal beyond the Mississippi. The French of necessity had intimate dealings with them from the time when Louisiana was first colonized, and the relations between the two peoples were almost invariably friendly. At one time an English party was formed among the Choctaw, partly because the prices charged by the Carolina traders were lower than those placed upon French goods. This was led by a noted chief named Red Shoes and lasted for a considerable time, one of the principal Choctaw towns being burned before it came to an end with the defeat of the British party in 1750. In 1763,, after French Government had given way to that of the English east of the Mississippi, relations between the latter and the Choctaw were peaceful though many small bands of Indians of this tribe crossed the Mississippi into Louisiana. The American Revolution did not alter conditions essentially, and, though Tecumseh and his emissaries endeavored to enlist the Choctaw in his favor, only about 30 individuals joined the hostile Creeks. The abstinence of the tribe as a whole was due very largely to the personal influence of the native statesman, Pushmataha, whose remains lie in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, surmounted by an impressive monument. Meanwhile bands of Choctaw continued moving across the Mississippi, but the great migration occurred after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit, September 30, 1830, by which the tribe ceded their old lands. However, a considerable body of Choctaw did not leave at this time. Many followed, it is true, at the time of the allotment in Oklahoma, but upward of a thousand still remain, principally in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, Miss. The western Choctaw established a government on the model of those of the other civilized tribes and that of the United States, and it was not given up until merged in the State of Oklahoma early in the present century.

Population.—Estimates of the number of Choctaw warriors between 1702 and 1814 vary between 700 and 16,000. A North Carolina estimate made in 1761 says they numbered at least 5,000 men. Common estimates are between 4,000 and 5,000, but even these figures may be a trifle low since the first reliable census, that of Armstrong, in 1831, gave 19,554. However, there may have been a slight increase in population after the beginning of the nineteenth century, when an end was put to intertribal wars. Figures returned by the Indian Office since that time show a rather unusual constancy. They go as low as 12,600, and at the other extreme reach 22,707, but the average 13 from 18,000 to 20,000. The census of 1910 gave 15,917, including 1,162 in Mississippi, 14,551 in Oklahoma, 115 in Louisiana, 57 in Alabama, and 32 in other States, but the United States Indian Office Report for 1923 has 17,488 Choctaw by blood in Oklahoma, 1,600 "Mississippi Choctaw" in Oklahoma, and 1,439 in the State of Mississippi, not counting about 200 in Louisiana, Alabama, and elsewhere. A few small tribes were gathered into this nation, but only a few. The census of 1930 returned 17,757, of whom 16,641 were in Oklahoma, 624 in Mississippi, 190 in Louisiana, and the rest in more than 14 other States. In 1937 the Mississippi Choctaw numbered 1,908, from which it seems that many of the Mississippi Choctaw were missed in 1930 unless the "Mississippi Choctaw" already in Oklahoma are included.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Choctaw were noted (1) as the most numerous tribe in the Southeast next to the Cherokee, (2) as depending more than most other tribes in the region on agriculture, (3) for certain peculiar customs such as head deformation, extensive use of ossuaries for the dead, and the male custom of wearing the hair long, (4) as faithful allies of the French against the English but always at peace with the United States Government, (5) as having furnished the names to counties in Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, and settlements in the same States, and in Van Buren County, Ark.

Choula. Bernard de La Harpe gives this as the name of a small tribe of 40 individuals on the Yazoo River. There is some reason to think it was applied to a part of the Ibitoupa tribe (q. v.). The name means "fox" in Chickasaw and Choctaw.

Grigra. Said to have been given them from the frequent occurrence of these two syllables in their speech. They sometimes appear as the "Gray Village" of the Natchez.

Connections.—The fact that the language of this tribe contained an r suggests a probable relationship with the tribes of the Tunican group.

Location.—When first known to us, is formed one of the Natchez villages on St. Catherines Creek, Miss.


Only one village is mentioned called by a shorter form of the name given to the tribe, Gris or Gras.

History.—The Grigra had been adopted by the Natchez at an earlier period than the Tiou (q. v.) and, like them, may once have resided on Yazoo River, but there is no absolute proof of this. They are mentioned as one of three Natchez tribes belonging to the anti-French faction. Otherwise their history is identical with that of the Natchez.

Population.—One estimate made about 1720-25 gives about 60 warriors.

Houma. Literally "red," but evidently an abbreviation of sεktci homma, "red crawfish."

Connections.—They spoke a Muskhogean language very close to Choctaw, and it is practically certain from the fact that their emblem was the red crawfish that they had separated from the Chakchiuma (q. v.).

Location.—The earliest known location of the Houma was on the east side of the Mississippi River some miles inland and close to the Mississippi-Louisiana boundary line, perhaps near the present Pinckney, Miss. (See also Louisiana.)


At one time the people of this tribe were distributed between a Little Houma village 2 leagues below the head of Bayou La Fourche and a Great Houma village half a league inland from it. This was after they had moved from their earlier home.

History.—La Salle heard of the Houma in 1682, but he did not visit them. Tonti made an alliance with them 4 years later, and in 1699 their village was the highest on the Mississippi reached by Iberville before returning to his ships. In 1700 Iberville visited them again and left a missionary among them to build a church, which was an accomplished fact when Gravier reached the tribe in November of the same year. A few years later the Tunica, who had been impelled to leave their old town, were hospitably received by this tribe, but in 1708 they rose upon their hosts, destroyed part of them, and drove the rest down the Mississippi. These reestablished themselves on Bayou St. John near New Orleans, but not long afterward they re-ascended the river to the present Ascension Parish and remained there for a considerable period. In 1776 they sold a part at least of their lands to two French Creoles but seem to have remained in the neighborhood until some years after the purchase of Louisiana by the United States. By 1805 some had gone to live with the Atakapa near Lake Charles. Most of the remainder appear to have drifted slowly across to the coast districts of Terrebonne and La Fourche Parishes, where their descendants, with Creole and some Negro admixture, still live.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates a Houma population in 1650 of 1,000. In 1699 Iberville gives 140 cabins and about 350 warriors, while the Journal of the second vessel in this expedition gives a population of 600-700. In 1718, after the tribe had suffered from both pestilence and massacre, La Harpe estimates 60 cabins and 200 warriors. In 1739 a French officer who passed their town rates the number of their warriors at 90 - 100 and the whole population at 270-300. In 1758 there is an estimate of 60 warriors and in 1784 one of 25 while, in 1803, the total Houma population is placed at 60. In 1907 the native estimate of mixed-blood population calling itself Houma was 800 - 900, but the census of 1910 returned only 120 Indians from Terrebonne. To these there should probably be added some from La Fourche but not a number sufficient to account for the discrepancy. In 1920, 639 were returned and in 1930, 936 from Terrebonne besides 11 from La Fourche. Speck estimates double the number.

Connection in which they have become noted.—Houma, the capital of Terrebonne Parish, preserves the name.

Ibitoupa. Meaning probably, people "at the source of" a stream or river.

Connections.—No words of this language are known unless the tribal name itself is native, but from this and Le Page du Pratz's (1758) statement that their language, unlike that of the Tunica group, was without an r, there is every reason to class it as Muskhogean and closely related to Chackchiuma, Chickasaw, and Choctaw.

Location.—On Yazoo River in the present Holmes County, perhaps between Abyatche and Chicopa Creeks.


Only one village is known, and that called by the tribal name, though it is possible that the Choula, (q. v.) mentioned by La Harpe were an offshoot.

History.—The Ibitoupa are mentioned in 1899 by Iberville, and in Coxe's Carolana (1705). Before 1722 they had moved higher up and were 3 leagues above the Chakchiuma (q.v.), who were then probably at the mouth of the Yalobusha. They probably united with the Chickasaw soon after the Natchez War, though they may first have combined with the Chakchiuma and Taposa. They were perhaps related to the people of the Choctaw towns called Ibetap okla.

Population.—All that we know of the population of the Ibitoupa is that in 1722 it occupied 6 cabins; in the same year there are said to have been 40 Choula, a possible offshoot.

Connection in which their name has become noted.—It seems to have been the original of the name of Tippo Bayou, Miss.

Koasati. A band of Koasati moved from Alabama to Tombigbee River in 1763 but returned to their old country a few years later impelled by the hostilities of their new neighbors. (See Alabama.)

Koroa. Meaning unknown. Also called:

Kϊlua, Choctaw name, the Muskhogean people being unable to pronounce r readily.

Connections.—The name and associations, together with Le Page du Pratz's (1758) statement that their language possessed an r sound, are practically conclusive proof that this tribe belonged to the Tunican linguistic group.

Location.—The Koroa appear often in association with the Yazoo on the lower course of Yazoo River, but at the very earliest period they were on the banks of the Mississippi or in the interior of what is now Louisiana on the other side of that river. (See also Louisiana.)


None are known under any other name.

History.—In the De Soto narratives a people is mentioned called Coligua and Colima which may be the one under discussion. If not, the first appearance of the Koroa in history is on Marquette's map applying to 1673, though they are there misplaced. The La Salle narratives introduce us, apparently, to two tribes of the name, one on Yazoo River, the other below Natchez, but there arc reasons for thinking that the latter was the tribe elsewhere called Tiou. In Tonti's account of his expedition overland to the Red River in 1690 we learn of a Koroa town west of the Mississippi, and also of a Koroa River. In 1700 Bienville also learned of a trans-Mississippi Koroa settlement. From the time of Tonti's expedition to the mouth of the Mississippi in 1686 there seems to have been a Koroa town on or near the lower Yazoo, as mentioned above. When the Natchez out-break occurred, this tribe and the Yazoo joined them and destroyed the French post on Yazoo River, but they suffered severely from Indians allied with the French and probably retired soon afterward to the Chickasaw, though part, and perhaps all of them, ultimately settled among the Choctaw. The Choctaw chief Allen Wright claimed to be of Koroa descent.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 2,000 Koroa, Yazoo, Tunica, and Ofo in 1650. Le Page du Pratz places the number of Koroa cabins in his time at 40. In 1722 the total population of the Koroa. Yazoo and Ofo is given as 250, and in 1730 the last estimate of the Koroa and Yazoo together gives 40 warriors, or perhaps 100 souls.

Moctobi. This name appears in the narratives of the first settlement of Louisiana, in 1699, applied to a tribe living with or near the Biloxi and Pascagoula. It is perhaps the name of the latter in the Biloxi language, or a subdivision of the Biloxi themselves, and is best treated in connection with the latter.

Natchez. Meaning unknown (the z should not be pronounced). Also called:

Ani'-Na'tsi, Cherokee name.
Sunset Indians, given by Swan (in Schoolcraft (1851-57)).
Theloλl or Thιcoλl, name used by the Natchez but seemingly derived from that of a town.

Connections.—The Natchez were the largest of three tribes speaking closely related dialects, the other two being Taensa and Avoyel, and this group was remotely related to the great Muskhogean family.

Location.—The historic seat of the Natchez Indians was along St. Catherines Creek, and a little east of the present city of Natchez. (See also Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee.)


Iberville gives the following list of Natchez villages- "Natchιs, Pochougoula, Ousagoucoulas, Cogoucoulas, Yatanocas, Ymacachas, Thoucoue, Tougoulas, and Achougoulas." This list was obtained through the medium of the Mobilian trade language and part of the names are undoubtedly translated into it. Thus we find the Mobilian and Choctaw word for people, okla, "ougoula," or "oucoula," in five of these. The term Tougoulas probably designates the town of the Tiou (q. v.), an adopted tribe, and one of the others is perhaps a designation for the adopted tribe of Grigra (q. v.). Later writers usually speak of but five settlements, including that of the Grigra. One of these, the town of the "walnuts," is evidently the Ousagoucoulas of Iberville's informants, meaning, in reality, the town of the Hickories. The Great Village was probably the town called Naches or Natchez, and Pochougoula, the Flour Village, but the others mentioned, Jenzenaque or Jensenac and the White Apple or Apple Village cannot be identified. A White-earth village is mentioned by one writer, probably intended for the White Apple village. The Natchez among the Cherokee lived for a time at a town called Guhlaniyi.

History.—Undoubtedly tribes of the Natchez group were encountered by De Soto and his companions in 1541-43, and it is highly probable that the chief Quigaltanqui, who figures 60 prominently in the pursuit of the Spaniards when they took to the Mississippi, was leader of the tribe in question or of one of its divisions. The name Natchez appears first, however, in the narratives of La Salle's descent of the Mississippi in 1682. Relations between the French and Natchez were at first hostile, but peace was soon made and in 1699 a missionary visited the latter with a view to permanent residence. The next year Iberville, who had stopped short of the Natchez in his earlier ascent of the Mississippi, opened negotiations with the Natchez chief. A missionary was left among them at this time and the mission was maintained until 1706. In 1713 a trading post was established. The next year four Canadians, on their way north, were killed by some Natchez Indians and this resulted in a war which Bienville promptly ended. Immediately afterward a stockaded fort was built on a lofty bluff by the Mississippi and named Fort Rosalie. Several concessions were granted in the neighborhood and settlers flowed in until this was one of the most flourishing parts of the new colony. Between 1722 and 1724 there were slight disturbances in the good relations which had prevailed between the settlers and Indians, but they were soon smoothed over and harmony prevailed until a new commandant named Chepart, who seems to have been utterly unfit for his position, was sent to take command of Fort Rosalie. In consequence of his mismanagement a conspiracy was formed against the French and on November 28, 1729, the Indians rose and destroyed both post and settlement, about 200 Whites being slain. Next year the French and their Choctaw allies attacked the forts into which the Natchez had retired and liberated most of their captives but accomplished little else, and one night their enemies escaped across the Mississippi, where they established themselves in other forts in the marshy regions of northeastern Louisiana. There they were again attacked and about 400 were induced to surrender, but the greater part escaped during a stormy night and withdrew to the Chickasaw, who had been secretly aiding them. Later they divided into two bands, one of which settled among the Upper Creeks while the other went to live with the Cherokee. Afterward each followed the fate of their hosts and moved west of the Mississippi with them. Those who had lived with the Creeks established themselves not far from Eufaula, Okla., where the last who was able to speak the old tongue died about 1890. The Cherokee Natchez preserved their language longer, and a few are able to converse in it at the present day (1925).

Population.—Mooney's (1928) estimate of Natchez population in 1650 is 4,500; my own, as of 1698, 3,500. In 1731, after the losses suffered by them during their war with the French, Perrier estimated that they had 300 warriors. In 1735, 180 warriors were reported among the Chickasaw alone. During the latter half of the eighteenth century estimates of the warriors in the Creek band of Natchez vary from 20 to 150, and in 1836 Gallatin conjectures that its numbers over all were 300, which is probably above the fact. There are no figures whatever for the Cherokee band of Natchez.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Natchez have become famous in a number of ways: (1) because they were the largest and strongest tribe on the lower Mississippi when Louisiana was settled by the French, (2) on account of their monarchical government and the peculiar institution of the Sun caste, (3) on account of the custom of destroying relatives and companions of a dead member of the Sun caste to accompany hum or her into the world of spirits, (4) for the massacre of the French post at Natchez and the bitter war which succeeded it, (5) from the name of the city of Natchez, Miss., adopted from them. The name is also borne by post villages in Monroe County, Ala.; and Natchitoches Parish, La.; and a post hamlet in Martin County, Ind.

Ofo, or Ofogoula, see Mosopelea under Ohio.

Okelousa. A tribe living at one time in northern Mississippi. (See Louisiana.)

Pascagoula. "Bread people." Also called:

Mνskigϊla, Biloxi name.

Connections.—They were probably Muskhogeans although closely associated with the Siouan Biloxi.

Location.—Their earliest known location was on the river which still bears their name, about 16 French leagues from its mouth. (See also Louisiana and Texas.)


Unknown, but see Biloxi.

History.—Iberville heard of the Pascagoula in 1699 when he made the first permanent settlement in Louisiana. That summer his brother Bienville visited them, and the following winter another brother, Sauvolle, who had been left in charge of the post, received several Pascagoula visitors. Some Frenchmen visited the Pascagoula town the next spring and Penicaut (in Margry, 1875-86, vol.5) has left an interesting account of them. In Le Page du Pratz's time (early eighteenth century) they were on the coast, but they did not move far from this region as long as France retained possession of the country. When French rule ended the Pascagoula passed over to Louisiana and settled first on the Mississippi River and later on Red River at its junction with the Rigolet du Bon Dieu. In 1795 they moved to Bayou Boeuf and established themselves between a band of Choctaw and the Biloxi. Early in the nineteenth century all three tribes sold these lands. A part of the Pascagoula remained in Louisiana for a considerable period, Morse mentioning two distinct bands, but a third group accompanied some Biloxi to Texas and lived for a time on what came to be called Biloxi Bayou, 15 miles above its junction with the Neches. I have been able to find no Indians in Louisiana claiming Pascagoula descent, but in 1914 there were two among the Alabama who stated that their mother was of this tribe, their father having been a Biloxi.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there were 1,000 all told of the Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Moctobi. My own estimate for about the year 1698 is 875 of whom I should allow 455 to the Pascagoula. In 1700 Iberville states that there were 20 families, which would mean that they occupied the same number of cabins, but Le Page du Pratz raises this to 30. In 1758 the Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Chatot are estimated to have had about 100 warriors. In 1805 Sibley (1832) gives 25 among the Pascagoula alone. Morse (1822) estimates a total Pascagoula population of 240, and Schoolcraft (1851-57) cites authority for 111 Pascagoula in 1829. This is the last statement we have bearing upon the point.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Pascagoula tribe is of some note as a constant companion of the Siouan Biloxi, and from the fact that it has bequeathed its name to Pascagoula River, Pascagoula Bay, and Pascagoula Port, Miss.

Pensacola. This tribe moved inland from Pensacola Bay near the end of the seventeenth century and in 1725-26 had established themselves near the Biloxi on Pearl River. (See Florida.)

Quapaw. When the French discovered this tribe in 1673 one town was on the east side of the Mississippi, but before 1700 it moved to the western bank. (See Arkansas.)

Taposa. Meaning unknown.

Connections.—As this tribe is said to have been allied with the Chickasaw and, unlike the Tunica and Tiou, did not have an r sound in their language, there is every reason to suppose that they belonged to the Muskhogean stock. Probably they were most closely affiliated with their neighbors, the Chakchiuma and Chickasaw.

Location.—Their earliest known location was on Yazoo River a few miles above the Chakchiuma.

History.—The Taposa are first mentioned by Iberville and the missionary De Montigny, in 1699. On the De Crenay map of 1733 (1910) their village is placed very close to that of the Chakchiuma, whose fortunes they probably followed.

Population.—The only hint as to the size of this tribe is given by Le Page du Pratz who says that the Taposa had about 25 cabins, half the number he assigns to the Chakchiuma. Other writers usually include them with the Chakchiuma (q. v.).

Tiou. Meaning unknown. The name has occasionally been misprinted "Sioux," thus causing confusion with the famous Sioux or Dakota of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Connections.—The Tiou are proved by a statement of Diron d'Artaguiette (1916) to have belonged to the Tunica linguistic group of the Tunican family.

Location.—Their earliest location was near the upper course of Yazoo River; later they lived a little south of the Natchez and then among them.

History.—Shortly before 1697 the Tiou appear to have been in the locality first mentioned, and a map of that date seems to give two towns of Tiou, one above the Tunica and one below them. By 1699 part had settled among the Natchez, having been driven from their former homes, according to Le Page du Pratz (1758), by the Chickasaw. Before establishing themselves finally with the Natchez, they seem to have lived for a time a short distance below them on the Mississippi River, where La Salle and his companions speak of them as Koroa. Part of the tribe appears to have remained on the Yazoo for some years after the rest had left. At a later period the Bayogoula called in Tiou and Acolapissa to take the places of the Mugulasha with whom they had formerly lived and whom they had destroyed. Soon after Fort Rosalie had been built, the Tiou sold the lands upon which they had settled to the Sieur Roussin and moved elsewhere. After the Natchez massacre the hostile Indians sent them to the Tunica in a vain endeavor to induce the latter to declare against the French. In 1731, if we may trust a statement by Charlevoix, they were utterly cut off by the Quapaw, and while the completeness of this destruction may well be doubted, we hear nothing of them afterward.

Population.—No estimate of Tiou population separate from that of the Natchez is known.

Tunica. Meaning "the people," or "those who are the people." Also called:

Yoron, their own name.

Connections.—They were the leading tribe of the Tunica group of the Tunican stock, the latter including also the Chitimacha and Atakapa.

Location.—On the lower course of Yazoo River, on the south side about 4 French leagues from its mouth. (See also Arkansas.)

History.—There is evidence that tribes belonging to the Tunica group were encountered by De Soto west of the Mississippi and very probably the name of the tribe is preserved in that of the town of Tanico mentioned by Elvas (in Robertson, 1933), where people made salt, for in later years we find the Tunica engaged in the making and selling of this commodity. An early location for them on the eastern side of the Mississippi is indicated by the "Tunica Oldfields" near Friar Point, not many miles below Helena, Ark. The name appears on Marquette's map (1673) but there they are wrongly placed. In 1682 La Salle and his companions learned of this tribe, than located as given above, but neither he nor his lieutenant Tonti visited them on this or any subsequent expedition, though they learned of Tunica villages in the salt-making region of northeastern Louisiana. The Yazoo town of the tribe was first seen, apparently, by three missionary priests from Canada, one of whom, Father Davion, established himself among them in 1699. In 1702 he fled from his charges, but two or three years later was induced by them to return, and he remained among them for about 15 years more. In 1706 this tribe left the Yazoo and were received into the Houma town nearly opposite the mouth of Red River, but later, according to La Harpe (1831), they rose upon their hosts and killed more than half of them, and for a long period they continued to live in the region they had thus appropriated. They were firm friends of the French and rendered them invaluable service in all difficulties with the tribes higher up, and particularly against the Natchez, but in 1719 or 1720 Davion was so much discouraged at the meager results of his efforts that he left them. The anger excited against them by their support of the French resulted in an attack by a largo party of Natchez and their allies in 1731 in which both sides suffered severely and the head chief of the Tunica was killed. The Tunica remained in the same region until some time between 1784 and 1803, when they moved up Red River and settled close to the present Marksville, La., on the land of the Avoyel Indian village which they claimed to have bought from the Avoyel tribe. Before this event took place, in company with the Ofo, Avoyel, and some Choctaw, they attacked the pirogues of a British expedition ascending the Mississippi, killed six men, wounded seven, and compelled the rest to turn back. A few families descended from the Tunica are still settled on the site just mentioned, which forms a small reservation. Sibley (1832) says that in his time Tunica had settled among the Atakapa, and it was perhaps some of their descendants of whom Dr. Gatschet heard as living near Beaumont, Tex., about 1886. Mooney (1928) learned of some Tunica families in the southern part of the Choctaw Nation, Okla., but they had lost their old language.

Population.—Mooney (1928) estimated that in 1650 the total population of the Tunica, Yazoo, Koroa, and Ofo was 2,000, and this very figure, except that it does not include the Koroa, is given by the missionary De Montigny in 1699. My own figure for the same date is somewhat higher, 2,450, out of which I estimate about 1,575 were Tunica. In 1719 the number of Tunica was conjectured to be 460 and in 1803, 50 to 60, though a second statement of about the same period gives 25 warriors. Morse (1822) reports 30 Tunica in Louisiana. The census of 1910 gives 43 Tunica in all, but among these are included some Indians of other tribes and there were many mixed-bloods. The census of 1930 gives only 1, he being the only one who could speak the old language.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Tunica were prominent in history (1) from the fact that their language was the principal dialect of a stock on the lower Mississippi which received its name from them, (2) for their sedentary character, (3) for their devotion to the French interest and their part in the Natchez wars, (4) from the perpetuation of their name in Tunica County, and Tunica Oldfields, Miss., and & post village of the name in West Feliciana Parish, La.

Yazoo. Meaning unknown.

Connections.—The associations of this tribe with the Koroa and the fact that their language contained an r sound make it reasonably certain that they belonged to the Tunican group and stock.

Location.—On the south side of Yazoo River about 4 French leagues above its mouth. (See also Arkansas.)

History.—The Yazoo appear to have been the first of the tribes living on the lower part of the Yazoo River to have established themselves there, and hence it was from them that the stream received its name. They are mentioned by La Salle and his companions in connection with their voyage to the mouth of the Mississippi in 1682. A French post was established near them in 1718, and in 1727 a Jesuit missionary, Father Seuel, settled nearby. In 1729, however, the Yazoo joined the Natchez in their uprising, murdered the missionary, and massacred the French garrison. Their subsequent fortunes were identical with those of the Koroa, and they were probably absorbed into the Chickasaw or Choctaw. It is not improbable that there is some connection between the name of this tribe and that of two of the Yazoo towns among the Choctaw, but if so it goes back beyond recorded history.

Population.—I have estimated that in 1698 there were somewhat more than 600 Yazoo and Koroa together. In 1700 Gravier reported 30 Yazoo cabins, but a quarter of a century later Le Page du Pratz (1758) estimated 100. In 1722 the Yazoo, Koroa, and Ofo together are said to have numbered 260. In 1730, however, the number of Yazoo and Koroa warriors is placed at 40.

Connection in which they have become noted.—The Yazoo are noted principally from the fact that they have transmitted their name to Yazoo River, Miss., and secondarily to Yazoo County and its capital city, in the same State.