Texas Indian Tribes

The following tribes at one time are recorded in history as having resided within the present state of Texas. If the tribe name is in bold, then Texas is the primary location known for this tribe, otherwise we provide the tribes specifics as it pertains to Texas and then provide a link to the main tribal page.

Akokisa Indians. The name Akokisa, spelled in various ways, was given by the Spaniards to those Atakapa living in southeastern Texas, between Trinity Bay and Trinity River and Sabine River. (See Atakapa Indians.)

Alabama Indians. Alabama Indians came to Texas early in the nineteenth century, and the largest single body of Alabama still lives there on a State reservation in Polk County.

Anadarko Indians. The name of a tribe or band belonging to the Hasinai Confederacy.

Apache Indians. The Jicarilla and other Apache tribes raided across the boundaries of this State on the northwest and west in early times, but the only one of them which may be said to have had its head-quarters inside for any considerable period was the Lipan.

Aranama Indians. The Aranama were associated sometimes with the Karankawa in the Franciscan missions but were said to be distinct from them. Although a small tribe during all of their known history, they held together until comparatively recent times, and Morse (1822) gives them a population of 125. They were remembered by the Tonkawa, when Dr. A. S. Gatschet visited the latter, and he obtained two words of their language, but they are said to have been extinct as a tribe by 1843. While their affiliations are not certainly known, they were undoubtedly with one of the three stocks, Karankawan, Tonkawan, or Coahuiltecan, probably the last mentioned, and will be enumerated provisionally with them. (See Coahuiltecan Indians.)

Atakapa Indians, see Akokisa above.

Bidai Indians. Perhaps from a Caddo word signifying “brushwood,” and having reference to the Big Thicket near the lower Trinity River about which they lived. Also called:
Quasmigdo, given as their own name by Ker (1816).
Spring Creeks, the name given by Foote (1841).

Connections. From the mission records it appears that the Bidai were of the Atakapan linguistic stock.

Location. On the middle course of Trinity River about Bidai Creek and to the westward and southwestward.

History. The Bidai were living in the region above given when first known to the Europeans and claimed to be aborigines of that territory. The Franciscan mission of San Ildefonso was founded for them and the Akokisa, Deadose, and Patiri. In the latter part of the eighteenth century they are said to have been chief intermediaries between the Spaniards and Apache in the sale of firearms. The attempt to missionize them was soon abandoned. In 1776–77 an epidemic carried away nearly half their number, but they maintained separate existence down to the middle of the nineteenth century, when they were in a village 12 miles from Montgomery. They have now entirely disappeared.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates for them a population of 500 in 1690. In 1805 there were reported to be about 100.

Connection in which they have become noted. The name is perpetuated in that of a small creek flowing into Trinity River from the west and in a village known as Bedias or Bedais in Grimes County, Tex.

Biloxi Indians. Some Biloxi entered Texas before 1828. In 1846 a band was camped on Little River, a tributary of the Brazos. Afterward they occupied a village on Biloxi Bayou in the present Angelina County, but later either returned to Louisiana or passed north to the present Oklahoma.

Caddo Indians. Under this head are included the Adai Indians and the Natchitoches Confederacy; and the Eyeish, the Hasinai Confederacy, and the Kadohadacho Confederacy in Texas.

Cherokee Indians. A band of Cherokee under a chief named Bowl settled in Texas early in the nineteenth century, but they were driven out by the Texans in 1839 and their chief killed.

Choctaw Indians. Morse (1822) reported 1,200 Choctaw on the Sabine and Neches Rivers, and some bands continued to live for a while in eastern Texas. One band in particular, the Yowani Choctaw, was admitted among the Caddo there. All the Choctaw finally re-moved to Oklahoma.

Coahuiltecan Indians

Comanche Indians.

Creek Indians. (See Muskogee Indians.)

Deadose Indians. An Atakapa tribe or subtribe in south central Texas. (See Louisiana Indian Tribes.)

Eyeish Indians, or Haish. Meaning unknown. Also called

Yayecha, etc.

Connections. The Eyeish belonged to the Caddoan linguistic stock, their closest relatives probably being the Adai, and next to them the peoples of the Kadohadacho and Hasinai Confederacies, with which, in fact, Lesser and Weltfish (1932) classify them.

Location. On Ayish Creek, northeastern Texas, between the Sabine and Neches Rivers.

History. In 1542 the Eyeish were visited by the Spaniards under Moscoso, De Soto’s successor. They are next noted in 1686–87 by the companions of La Salle. In 1716 the mission of Nuestra Senora de los Dolores was established among them by the Franciscans, abandoned in 1719, reestablished in 1721, and finally given up in 1773, the success of the mission having been very small. Their proximity to the road between the French post at Natchitoches and the Spanish post at Nacogdoches seems to have contributed to their general demoralization. Sibley (1832) reported only 20 individuals in the tribe in 1805 but in 1828 there were said to be 160 families. Soon afterward they joined the other Caddo tribes and followed their for-tunes, and they must have declined very rapidly for only a bare memory of them is preserved.

Population. In 1779, 20 families were reported; in 1785, a total population of 300; in 1805, 20 individuals; in 1828, 160 families. (See Caddo Confederacy, under Louisiana Indian Tribes.)

Connection in which they have become noted. Ayish Bayou, a tributary of the Angelina River on which they formerly lived, perpetuates the name of the Eyeish.

Guasco Indians. A tribe or band which attained some prominence from the importance attached to it in the narratives of the De Soto expedition. (See Hasinai Confederacy.)

Hainai Indians. An important band of the Hasinai Confederacy.

Hasinai Confederacy

Isleta del Sur Indians, see Pueblos under New Mexico.

Jicarilla Indians. The Jicarilla ranged into this State (Texas) at times. (See Colorado Indian Tribes.)

Kadohadacho Confederacy (See Kadohadacho Confederacy)

Karankawan Indians

Kichai Indians or (more phonetically) Kitsei. Their own name and said to mean “going in wet sand,” but the Pawnee translate their rendering of it as “water turtle.” Also called:

Gfts’ajl, Kansa name.
Ki-0i’-tcac, Omaha name.
Kietsash, Wichita name.
Ki’-tchesh, Caddo name.
Quichais, Spanish variant.
Quidehais, from French sources (La Harpe, 1831).

Connections. The Kichai were a tribe of the Caddoan stock whose language lay midway between Wichita and Pawnee.

Location. On the upper waters of Trinity River, and between that stream and Red River. (See also Oklahoma.)

History. It is probable that in the prehistoric period the Kichai lived north of Red River but they had gotten south of it by 1701 when the French penetrated that country and they continued in the same general region until 1855. They were then assigned to a small reservation on Brazos River, along with several other small tribes. In 1858, however, alarmed at threats of extermination on the part of the neighboring Whites, they fled to the present Oklahoma, where they joined the Wichita. They have remained with them ever since.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates a total Kichai population of 500 in 1690. In 1772 the main Kichai village contained 30 houses and there were estimated in it 80 warriors, most of whom were young. In 1778 the number of Kichai fighting men was estimated at 100. The census of 1910 returned a total population of only 10, and that of 1930 included them with the Wichita, the figure for the two tribes, nearly all Wichita however, being 300.

Connection in which they have become noted. Their name Kichai is perpetuated in the Keeche Hills, Okla.; Keechi Creek, Tex.; a branch of the Trinity, Keechi; a post hamlet of Leon County, Tex.; and perhaps Kechi, a post township of Sedgwick County, Kans.

Kiowa Indians. This tribe hunted in and raided across northern Texas.

Koasati Indians. Early in the nineteenth century bands of Koasati had worked over from Louisiana into Texas, settling first on the Sabine and later on the Neches and the Trinity. In 1850 the bulk of the entire tribe was in Texas but later, partly it is said on account of a pestilence, they suffered heavy losses and most of the survivors returned to Louisiana, where the largest single body of Koasati is living. Among the Alabama in Polk County, Tex., there were in 1912 about 10 of this tribe.

Lipan Indians. Adapted from Ipa-n’de, apparently a personal name; n’de meaning “people.” Also called:

A-tagui, Kiowa name, meaning “timber Apache”; used also for Mescalero. Cances, Caddo name, meaning “deceivers.”
Hu-ta’-ci, Comanche name, meaning “forest Apache” (Ten Kate, 1884, in Hodge, 1907).
Huxul, Tonkawa name. (See Uxul.)
Na-izh ..’fi, own name, meaning “ours,” “our kind.”
Nav6ne, Comanche name (Gatschet, MS., B. A. E.).
Shi’Tni, former Mescalero name, meaning “summer people”(?).
Tu-tsan-nde, Mescalero name, meaning “great water people.”
Uxul, Tonkawa name, meaning a spiral shell and applied to this tribe because of their coiled hair.
Yabipai Lipan, so called by Garces in 1776.

Connections. T his is one of the tribes of the Athapascan linguistic stock to which the general name Apache was applied. Their closest relations politically were with the Jicarilla, with whom they formed one linguistic group.

Location. The Lipan formerly ranged from the Rio Grande in New Mexico over the eastern part of the latter State and western Texas southeastward as far as the Gulf of Mexico. (See also New Mexico and Oklahoma.)

Subdivisions. The Lipan were reported during the early part of the nineteenth century to consist of three bands, probably the same which Orozco y Berra (1864) calls Lipanjenne, Lipanes de Arriba, and Lipanes Abajo.

History. The position of the Lipan prior to the eighteenth century is somewhat obscure, but during that century and the early part of the nineteenth they ranged over the region just indicated. In 1757 the San Saba mission was established for them, but it was broken up by their enemies, the Comanche and Wichita. In 1761–62 the missions of San Lorenzo and Candelaria were organized for the same purpose but met a similar fate in 1767. In 1839 the Lipan sided with the Texans against the Comanche but suffered severely from the Whites between 1845 and 1856, when most of them were driven into Coahuila, Mexico. They remained in Coahuila until October 1903, when the 19 survivors were taken to northwest Chihauhua, and remained there until 1905. In that year they were brought to the United States and placed on the Mescalero Reservation, N. Mex., where they now live. A few Lipan were also incorporated with the Tonkawa and the Kiowa Apache.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that the Lipan numbered 500 in 1690. In 1805 the three bands were reported to number 300, 350, and 100 men respectively, which would seem to be a too liberal allowance. The census of 1910 returned 28.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Lipan were noted as persistent raiders into Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico. Their name has been given to a post village in Hood County, Tex.

Muskogee Indians. A few Muskogee came to Texas in the nineteenth century, most belonging to the Pakana division. Two or three individuals lived until recently near Livingston, Texas.

Nabedache Indians, Nacachau, Nacanish, Nacogdoche, Nadaco, Namidish, Nechaui, Neches, and one section of the Nasoni. Small tribes or bands belonging to the Hasinai Confederacy.

Nanatsoho Indians, Nasoni (Upper). Small tribes or bands connected with the Kadohadacho Confederacy.

Pakana Indians. A Muskogee division. (See Muskogee Indians.)

Pascagoula Indians. Bands belonging to the Pascagoula, entered Texas from Louisiana early in the nineteenth century, and one band lived on Biloxi Bayou, a branch of the Neches, for a considerable period, together with some Biloxi Indians. All had disappeared in 1912 except two Indians, only half Pascagoula, living with the Alabama in Polk County.

Patiri Indians. A tribe associated with the Akokisa, Bidai, and Deadose in the mission of San Ildefonso west of Trinity River. Since related tribes are said to have been put in the same mission in that period (1748-49), it is believed that the Patiri spoke an Atakapan language. Their former home is thought to have been along Caney Creek.

Pueblo Indians. There were two late settlements of Pueblo Indians, Isleta del Sur and Senecfi del Sur, near El Paso, Tex., composed principally of Indians brought back by Governor Otermin in 1681 after an unsuccessful attempt to subdue the Pueblo Indians of the Rio Grande. Senecii del Sur was, however, actually in Chihuahua, Mexico. The people of these pueblos are now almost completely Mexicanized.

Quapaw Indians. Between 1823 and 1833 the Quapaw lived with the Caddo Indians in northwestern Louisiana and northeastern Texas, and one band of them known as Imaha were reckoned as a constituent element of the Caddo Confederacy.

Senecli del Sur Indians. (See Pueblo Indians.)

Shawnee Indians. A band of Shawnee entered eastern Texas for a brief period during the middle of the nineteenth century. They were afterward moved to Oklahoma.

Shuman Indians. More often known as Jumano or Humano, significance unknown.

Soacatino Indians, or Xacatin Indians. A tribe met by the companions of De Soto in northwestern Louisiana or northeastern Texas. It was undoubtedly Caddo but has not been identified satisfactorily with any known Caddo tribe.

Tawakoni Indians. The Tawakoni were a subdivision of the Wichita, or at least a tribe closely affiliated with them.

Tonkawan Indians. The name derived from the most important and only surviving tribe of the family. Gatschet (1891 a) says that Tonkawa is a Waco word, Tonkaweya, meaning “they all stay together.” The synonyms are not to be confounded with those of the Tawakoni. Also called:

Kádiko, Kiowa name, probably a corruption of Kúikogo, “man-eating men” (Gatschet, MS., B. A. E.).
Kariko, Comanche name, from above.
K`inähi-píäko, Kiowa name, meaning “maneaters” (Mooney, 1898).
Konkona or Komkome, early French name.
Maneaters, common translation of some of above synonyms.
Miúχsĕn, Cheyenne name.
Némeréχka, Comanche name (Gatschet, MS., B. A. E.).
Títskan wátitch, own name.

Connections. The Tonkawan tribes constitute a distinct linguistic family but with affinities for the Coahuiltecan and probably Karankawan and Tunican groups.

Location. In central Texas from Cibolo Creek on the southwest to within a few miles of Trinity River on the northeast. (See also Oklahoma.)

Subdivisions. The tribes or bands certainly included under this head were the Tonkawa, Yojuane, Mayeye, and Ervipiame, but there should probably be added the Sana, Emet, Cava, Toho, Tohaha, Quiutcanuaha, Tenu, Tetzino, Tishin, Tusolivi, and Ujuiap, and perhaps also the Nonapho, Sijame, Simaomo, Muruam, Pulacuam, and Choyapin, though the last three at least were probably Coahuiltecan.

History. Tribes of Tonkawan stock were undoubtedly encountered by Cabeza de Vaca early in the sixteenth century; certainly so if the Muruam were Tonkawan for they are evidently his Mariames. In 1691 the Tonkawa and Yojuane are mentioned by Francisco Casanas de Jesus Maria as enemies of the Hasinai (Swanton, 1942, p. 251), and in 1714 the Yojuane destroyed the main fire temple of the Hasinai. Between 1746 and 1749 the Tonkawa were gathered into missions on San Xavier (San Gabriel) River but these were given up in 1756, and 2 years later the Tonkawa assisted in the destruction of the San Saba Mission established for the Apache. From that time until well into the nineteenth century the tribe continued to reside in the same section, rarely settling down for any considerable period. In 1855 they and several other Texas tribes were gathered by the United States Government on two small reservations on Brazos River. In 1859 however, the threatening attitude of their white neighbors resulted in their removal to Washita River in what is now Oklahoma. On the night of October 25, 1862, the Tonkawa camp there was fallen upon by a body of Delaware, Shawnee, and Caddo Indians desiring to pay off old scores but pretending that the Tonkawa and their agent were in sympathy with the Southern Confederacy. Out of about 300 Tonkawa 137 were massacred, and the survivors, after some years of miserable wandering, were gathered into Fort Griffin, Tex., where they might be protected from their enemies. In 1884 all that were left were given a small reservation in northern Oklahoma, near the Ponca, where their descendants still live.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimated that in 1690 there were about 1,600 Tonkawa. A Spanish estimate of 1778 gives 300 warriors but the following year, after an epidemic of smallpox, this is cut in half. In 1782, 600 were said to have attended a certain meeting and this was only a portion of the tribe. Sibley (1832) estimated that in 1805 they had 200 men. In 1809 there were said to be 250 families and in 1828, 80. In 1847 the official estimate was 150 men. Before the massacre of 1862 there were supposed to be about 300 all told, but when they were placed on their reservation in 1884 there were only 92. In 1908 there were 48 including a few intermarried Lipan; the census of 1910 gave 42, but that of 1930 restores the figure to 48, and in 1937 there were said to be 51.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Tonkawan tribes have the following claims to remembrance:
(1) On account of the uniqueness of their language,
(2) for their reputed addiction to cannibalism,
(3) on account of the massacre perpetrated upon them partly in consequence of this reputation, as above described. The city of Tonkawa in Kay County, Okla., perpetuates the name.

Waco Indians. The Waco were a subtribe or tribe of the Wichita group which lived near the present Waco for a limited period before removal to Oklahoma.

Wichita Indians. The Wichita lived for a time along both sides of Red River in northern Texas.

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

3 thoughts on “Texas Indian Tribes”

  1. all of the choctaw did not leave texas nor did all the cherokees they can still be found living in north east texas along the sabine in a general area approx. 30 miles area south of kilgore —land and tax records prove this as well as numerous letters between okla and tex tribal gov’ts –for more information contact the Mount Tabor Indian Community via F/b

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