Pani Indian Tribe

Editor’s Note: Pani is a derivative for Pawnee, so the following information is referencing the Pawnee Indians.

The great family of Pani Indians has, in historic times, extended from the Platte River southward to the Gulf of Mexico. From the main stock, the Sanish or Arikari have wandered on their hunting trips north to the Middle Missouri River, while the Pani, in four divisions, had the Platte and its tributaries for their headquarters. The southern tribes are the Witchita, the Towákone or Three Canes, who speak the Witchita dialect, the Kichai and the originally Texan tribes of the Caddo and Waco (Wéko, in Spanish: Hueco.) 1

The Pani family was too remote from the Maskoki tribes to enter in direct connection with them. Some of the southern septs had intercourse with them, mainly through the French colonists. Fights between Caddo and Cha’hta are recorded for the eighteenth century. The Pani family is mentioned here simply because the legendary caves from which the Creek nation is said to have sprung lay on Red River, within the limits of the territory held by some of the southern Pani nations.

When L. d’Iberville ascended the western branch of the Red river, now called Red River (the eastern branch being Washita or Black River), in March 1699, he saw and visited eight villages of the Caddo connection. His Taensa guide named them as follows:

  • Yataché; called Yátassi by Americans.
  • Nactythos; they are the Natchitoches.
  • Yesito;
  • Natao; the Adai above.
  • Cachaymons;
  • Cadodaquis; full form, Cado-hadatcho or “chief tribe.”
  • Natachés;
  • Natsytos.

The Cachaymons and the Cadodaquis had been previously visited by Cavelier de la Salle, when returning from the Cenys, in the central parts of Texas. 2

The Caddo confederacy consists of the following divisions or tribes, as given me by a Caddo Indian in 1882:

  • Kado proper: kádo means chief, principal.
  • Anadako, Anadaku; also Nandako.
  • Ainai, Ayenai; also Hini, Inies upon an affluent of Sabine River; identical with the Tachies (Sibley). From this tribal name is derived Texas, anciently Tachus, Taxus.
  • Natchidosh, Nashédosh; the Natchitoches.
  • Yátassi.
  • Anabaidaítcho, Nabádatsu; the Nabedatches, who are nearly extinct now.
  • Nátassi; identical with the Natachés above.
  • Nakúhĕdōtch, Nakohodótse; the Nagogdoches.
  • Assíne, Assíni; the Asinays of French explorers.
  • Hadaí; the Adái, Adáye, q. v.
  • Yowā’ni, now in Texas.
  • A’-ish; a few of these are now living in Texas, called Alish, Eyish by former writers.

The Caddo relate, as being the mythical origin of their nation, that they came from a water-sink in Louisiana, went westward, shoved up earth by means of arrowheads, and thus made a mountain. The totems of their gentes once were, as far as remembered, bear ná-ustse, panther kö’she, wolf tá-isha, snake kíka, wild-cat wadó, Owl néa, ó-ush.

When Milfort passed through the Red River country about 1780, the Caddo, whom he describes as fallacious in trading, were at war with the Cha’hta (Memoire, p. 95).

In 1705 some Colapissa from the Talcatcha River, four leagues from Lake Pontchartrain, settled upon the northern bank of this lake at Castembayouque (now Bayou Castin, at Mandeville), and were joined, six months after, by a party of “Nassitoches,” whom famine had driven from their homes on Red river. 3Citations:

  1. Cf. R. G. Latham, Opuscula, p. 400, who was the first to hint at a possible affinity of Caddo to Pani.[]
  2. Cf. Margry IV, 178. 313. 409.[]
  3. Pénicaut, in Margry V, 459-462.[]

History, Pani, Pawnee,

Gatschet, Albert S. A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians. Pub. D.G. Brinton, Philadelphia, 1884.

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