Manso Tribe

Manso Indians (Span; ‘mild’) A former sedentary tribe on the Mexican frontier, near El Paso, Tex., who, before the coming of the Spaniards, had changed their former solid mode of building for habitations constructed of reeds and wood. Their mode of government and system of kinship were found to be the same as those of the Pueblos proper-the Tigurites, Piros, and Tewa, from whom their rites and traditions clearly prove them to have come. They are divided into at least  four clans-Blue, White, Yellow, and Red corn, and there are also traces of two Water clans. This system of clanship, however, is doubtful, since it bears close resemblance to that of the Tigua, with whom the Mansos have extensively extinct. intermarried.

According to Bandelier it is certain that the Manses formerly lived on the lower Rio Grande in New Mexico, about Mesilla alley, in the vicinity of the present Las Cruces, and were settled at El Paso in 1659 by Fray Garcia de San Francisco, who founded among them the mission of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe de los Mansos, the church edifice being dedicated in 1668. At this date the mission is reported by Vetancurt (Teatro Mex., iii, 309, 1871) to have contained upward of 1,000 parishioners. About their idiom nothing is known. They have the same officers as the Pueblos, and, although reduced to a dozen families, maintain their organization and some of their rites and dances, which are very similar to those of the northern Pueblo peoples, whom the Mansos recognize as their relatives. They are now associated with the Tigua and Piros in the same town.

The term “manso” has also been applied by the Spaniards in a general sense to designate any subjugated Indians.


  • See Bandelier in Arch. Inst. Rep., v, 50, 1884; Arch. Inst. Papers, ni, 86, 165-68, 248, 1890; iv, 348-49,1892.


Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906.

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