Okelousa Indians

Okelousa Tribe: Meaning “black water.”

Okelousa 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.

Okelousa 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 Coupee. (See Mississippi.)

Okelousa 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 Caluça, a place of much repute among the Indians. Caluça 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 Caluça 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.

Okelousa Population. Unknown, but for an estimate, see Chawasha (p. 202).

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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