Koasati Indians

Koasati Tribe: Meaning unknown; often given as Coosawda and Coushatta, and sometimes abbreviated to Shati.

Koasati Connections. They belonged to the southern section of the Muskhogean linguistic group, and were particularly close to the Alabama.

Koasati Location. The historic location of the Koasati was just below the junction of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers to form the Alabama and on the east side of the latter, where Coosada Creek and Station still bear the name. (See also Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Oklahoma.)

Koasati Villages. Two Koasati towns are mentioned as having existed in very early times, one of which may have been the Kaskinampo. (See Tennessee) At a later period a town known as Wetumpka on the east bank of Coosa River, in Elmore County, near the falls seems to have been occupied by Koasati Indians. During part of its existence Wetumpka was divided into two settlements, Big Wetumpka on the site of the modern town of the same name and Little Wetumpka above the falls of Coosa.

Koasati History. It is probable that from about 1500 until well along in the seventeenth century, perhaps to its very close, the Koasati lived upon Tennessee River. There is good reason to think that they are the Coste, Acoste, or Costehe of De Soto’s chroniclers whose principal village was upon an island in the river, and in all probability this was what is now known as Pine Island. There is also a bare mention of them in the narrative of Pardo’s expedition of 1567 inland Santa Elena, and judging by the entries made upon maps published early in the eighteenth century this tribe seems to have occupied the same position when the French and English made their settlements in the Southeast. About that time they were probably joined by the related Kaskinampo. Not long after they had become known to the Whites, a large part of the Koasati migrated south and established themselves at the point mentioned above. A portion seems to have remained behind for we find a village called Coosada at Larkin’s Landing in Jackson County, Alabama, at a much later date. The main body all continued with the Upper Creeks until shortly after France ceded all of her territories east of the Mississippi to England in 1763, when a large part moved to Tombigbee River. These soon returned to their former position, but about 1795 another part crossed the Mississippi and settled on Red River. Soon afterward they seem to have split up, some continuing on the Red while others went to the Sabine and beyond to the Neches and Trinity Rivers, Texas. At a later date where few Texas bands united with the Alabama in Polk County, their descendants still live, but most returned to Louisiana and gathered into one neighborhood northeast of Kinder, Louisiana. The greater part of the Koasati who remained in Alabama accompanied the Creeks to Oklahoma, where a few are still to be found. Previous to this removal, some appear to have gone to Florida to cast in their lot with the Seminole.

Koasati Population. The earliest estimates of the Alabama Indians probably included the Koasati. In 1750 they are given 50 men; in 1760,150 men. Marbury (1792) credits them with 130 men. In 1832, after the Louisiana branch had split off, those who remained numbered 82 and this is the last separate enumeration we have. Sibley (1806) on native authority gives 200 hunters in the Louisiana bands; in 1814 Schermerhorn estimates that there were 600 on the Sabine; in 1817 Morse places the total Koasati population in Louisiana and Texas at 640; in 1829 Porter puts it at 180; in 1850 Bollaert gives the number of men in the two Koasati towns on Trinity River as 500. In 1882 the United States Indian Office reported 290 Alabama, Koasati, and Muskogee in Texas, but the Census of 1900 raised this to 470. The Census of 1910 returned 11 Koasati from Texas, 85 from Louisiana, and 2 from Nebraska; those in Oklahoma were not enumerated separately from the other Creeks. The 134 “Creeks” returned from Louisiana in 1930 were mainly Koasati.

Connection in which they have become noted. Coosada, a post village in Elmore County, Alabama, near the old Koasati town, and Coushatta, the capital of Red River Parish, Louisiana, preserve the name of the Koasati.

Koasati, Muskogean,

Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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