Opelousa Indians

Opelousa Tribe: Probably from Mobilian and Choctaw Aba lusa, “black above,” and meaning “black headed” or “black haired.”

Opelousa 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.

Opelousa Location. In the neighborhood of the present Opelousas.

Opelousa 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 The Opelousa seem to have been mentioned first by Bienville in an unpublished report on the Indians of the Mississippi and Gulf regions.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.

Opelousa 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.


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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