Washa Indians

Washa Tribe: Appearing oftenest in literature in the French form Ouacha, meaning unknown.

Washa Connections. The nearest relations of the Washa were the Chawasha and both belonged to the Chitimachan branch of the Tunican linguistic family.

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

Washa Villages. None are known under any but the tribal name.

Washa 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 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.

Washa 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 at 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.


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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