Bayogoula Indians

Bayogoula Tribe: Meaning “bayou people,” either from their location or from the fact that their tribal emblem was the alligator.

Bayogoula Connections. Their language was of the southern Muskhogean division, not far removed from Houma and Choctaw.

Bayogoula Location. Near the present Bayou Goula, in Iberville Parish.

Bayogoula History. Unless this tribe was the Pishenoa encountered by Tonti in 1686 and not mentioned subsequently, it was first visited by Iberville in 1699. It then occupied one town with the Mugulasha. In the winter of 1699-1700 the Bayogoula suffered severely from a surprise attack of the Houma. In the spring of 1700, for what cause we know not, the Bayogoula attacked their fellow townsmen, the Mugulasha, and destroyed them, but in 1706 they suffered a similar fate at the hands of the Taensa who had sought refuge with them. The remnant of the Bayogoula was given a place near New Orleans, but some time later they moved up the river to the present Ascension Parish, where they were found in 1739 between the Houma and Acolapissa. Yet our informant states that the three tribes were virtually one and the same, the distinction being kept up merely because the chief of each band was descended from the tribe mentioned. The subsequent history of the Bayogoula is identical with that of the Houma. (See Houma Indians)

Bayogoula Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there were 1,500 of the Bayogoula, Quinipissa, and Mugulasha together. My own estimate for the same tribes, as of 1698, is 875. In 1699 Iberville gave about 100 cabins and 200-250 warriors, and the Journal of his companion ship, Le Marin, has 400-500 people. In 1700, after the destruction of the Mugulasha, Gravier gives a population of 200, and about 1715 they are said to have had 40 warriors. For their numbers in 1739, see Houma under Mississippi.

Connection in which they have become noted. This tribe shared with the Washa the distinction of having been the first Indians within the limits of the present State of Louisiana to meet Iberville in the year in which the French colony of Louisiana was founded. The name is preserved in the post village of Bayou Goula, Iberville Parish, La., which seems to be close to the location of the original Indian town.

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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