Front Cover
 Letter of transmittal
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 Classification of the tribes
 The natchez group
 Muskhogean tribes proper
 Tunican group
 The chitimacha
 The atakapa group
 Supplementary notes

Group Title: Bulletin - Smithosonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology ; 43
Title: Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley and adjacent coast of the Gulf of Mexico
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00080541/00001
 Material Information
Title: Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi Valley and adjacent coast of the Gulf of Mexico
Series Title: Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology. Bulletin
Physical Description: vii, 387 p., 31 leaves of plates : ill., map (folded) ; 24 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Swanton, John Reed, 1873-1958
Publisher: G.P.O.
Place of Publication: Washington
Publication Date: 1911
Subject: Indians of North America -- Southwest, Old   ( lcsh )
Indians of North America -- Gulf States   ( lcsh )
Genre: federal government publication   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Statement of Responsibility: by John R. Swanton.
Funding: Bulletin (Smithsonian Institution. Bureau of American Ethnology)
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00080541
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 000055076
notis - AAG0056
oclc - 00718331
lccn - 11035489

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Letter of transmittal
        Unnumbered ( 2 )
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents 1
        Table of Contents 2
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations 1
        List of Illustrations 2
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
    Classification of the tribes
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
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        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
    The natchez group
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
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    Muskhogean tribes proper
        Page 274
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    Tunican group
        Page 306
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    The chitimacha
        Page 337
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    The atakapa group
        Page 360
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        Page 362a
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        Page 364
    Supplementary notes
        Page 365
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Full Text









* A I



Washington, D. C., April 12, 1909.
SIR: I have the honor to submit herewith the manuscript of a paper
entitled "Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adja-
cent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico," by Dr. John R. Swanton.
It is recommended that this paper be published as No. 43 in the
Bureau's series of Bulletins.
Very respectfully, yours,
Washington, D. C.

510593 I1


Introduction..................... --..-- ............................ 1
Classification of the tribes......---------.......----....... ..................... 7
Population....----...--..-- ----......-- .......-- ..................--... 39
The Natchez group ......- .................... .....................-... 45
The Natchez.................-..-.....-....-...... ..-... .............. 45
Geographical position ............-.............-.......-......... 45
Physical and moral characteristics..---.. .....----.................. 48
Dress and ornaments ..----..............-------------------................... 51
Tattooing-.....-..............-.............................-.... 56
Arts and industries....--.......--------...---.. ....................... 57
Economic life .......-..............-...-.....-.... .......... ..... 67
Medicine ...----.......----......---- ........----................. 80
Birth, education, and the division of labor..........--- ............ 86
Games------............ ....... .................................. 90
Etiquette --.....................-........................ ...... 92
M marriage ........-- ....----- -................. ... ................ 94
Social organization ........................-....................-. 100
Method of counting time ..................---..---......-----------------....... 108
Feasts ---.-------------.........................-........,....... 110
W ar............... ......-- -. ..-..................-............. 123
Treaties of peace -----...................--................. ......... 134
Funeral ceremonies -..........................-................... 138
Religion ..-----------...................------------...............------......... 158
Origin of the tribe ...........----..... .................-......... 181
History since first white contact.....-..-.....---- ...........-...... 186
The TaEnsa ...-...........-.....--.-- .--..-- ..... .---....-.......... 257
The Avoyel--.....---..-.....---- ..-----..-..-- ..--- ..........-....... 272
Muskhogean tribes proper .----.............-.........--- ........-........ 274
The Bayogoula......----.............-.........- ..................... 274
The Quinipissa and Mugulasla ...................-..-..........-..-... 279
The Acolapissa...-----..........-------.............. ................... 281
The Tangipahoa ............----..-..... -..-.. --..................... 284
The Houma..-..-..................................................... 285
The Chakchiuma..-----....--........................................... 292
The Taposa .......-----------.....---....--------.....-----....----------....... 296
The Ibitoupa.---....-....-...--... .....--- ........................... 297
The Washa ...----.........---..----- .....-...........-------..... 297
The Chawasha .--.....-- .............. -............-...-.......... 300
The Okelousa .......-...-.......---......----.... -................... 302
The Pascagoula .....- ...................-..... ...........-.......... 302
The Moctobi .........-.............................-.........-....... 306
The Mobile bay and Apalachicola river tribes ..-.............-.......-. 306

The Tunican group..-.......--------------------------------------------- 306
The Tunica ......------ -------------------- ----------------------- 306
The Koroa.........----- ---------------------------------------------- 327
The Yazoo..--....- ---------------------- ------------- ------------. 332
The Tioux..-........-- ---------------------------------------------- 334
The Grigra-...-..--------------------------------------- --------.--- 336
The Chitimacha....-- ---------------------------------------------- ---.. 337
The Atakapa group--...... -------------------------------- ------------. 360
The Atakapa.........------. --------- ------------------------------- 360
The Opelousa ......-.--- ----- ---------.. -----------------------. 363
Supplementary notes ..-...---.--------------------.-------------------. 365
Index ...........----- ------------------ --- ---------------------- 367


PLATE 1. Indian tribes of the lower Mississippi River and adjacent
Gulf coast (map) ----_____-__ -____________-. ____ Frontispiece
2. Natchez costumes -----______ ____-- ______________________ 53
3. Customs of lower Mississippi Valley tribes____________________ 114
4. Natchez and Chitimacha customs _________________________ 116
5. Views in the Natchez country______________________________ 191
6. Sites connected with Natchez history ___________.________-___ 205
7. French settlements in Mississippi __________________________ 205
8. "Wat Sam"_ ____.___________________________________ 256
9. Family of "Wat Sam "_ ----_____.______-_______- __-_____ 256
10. Festival grounds ______________________________- ____ 256
11. Tadnsa village sites ___________________________ _______ 256
12. Indian mound and group of present-day Indians, Louisiana___ 274
13. Present-day Indians and their dwellings, Terre Bonne parish,
Louisiana -----______________ __-----________________ -- 292
14. Houma house and old woman_____________________________ 292
15. Bob Verret and his dwelling_______ ______________________ 292
16. Present-day Indians and dwelling, Louisiana _________________ 314
17. Present-day Indians of Louisiana--_____________________ 314
18. Present-day Indians of Louisiana __________________________ 314
19. Dwellings of present-day Louisiana Indians _______________ 314
20. Blowgun and cane arrows____ ___ ______ __ ________ 346
21. Wooden mortar and pestle________________________________ 346
22-30. Chitimacha basketry ____________________________________ 352
31. Ornamented Chitimacha mat made of cane_________________ 352
32. The Atakapa country and one of the tribe----___________ __ 362
FIGURE 1. Modern Tunica baskets -___ _____________ _______________ 316
2. Chitimacha implements ______ ._______________ ______ 347



The region with which the present bulletin deals is one of unusual
interest both to the ethnologist and the archeologist; to the ethnologist
owing to its exceptional linguistic complexity, in which in the terri-
tory north of Mexico it is exceeded only by the Pacific coast, and to
the archeologist because the lower Mississippi valley is one of the
richest fields for exploration in the entire United States. This in-
terest is increased by its strategic position between the mound culture
of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys and the cultures of Mexico and
Yucatan, and by the presence within it of a tribe so highly organized
socially that it is often pointed to as a remnant of that culture to
which the mound builders are supposed to have belonged.
In this treatise the writer has attempted to furnish as complete an
account of the history of each tribe and the ethnological facts con-
cerning it as the published material renders possible. He is aware
that in France and this country, and probably in Spain, there is much
manuscript material which would be necessary to an absolutely final
account, but the work of bringing this out and placing it in perma-
nent form belongs rather to the historian than to the ethnologist.
The literary work connected with the present effort, although it forms
so large a portion of the whole, has been undertaken only in con-
nection with direct ethnological investigation among the remnants of
the tribes in question. The results of this direct work have been
principally linguistic, however, and since the philological material
is to be published separately, a comparatively small residuum is
left for insertion here. This is confined, in fact, to some myths
and ethnological notes collected from the Natchez, Tunica, and
Chitimacha, the other tribes being either extinct or too far disin-
tegrated to furnish any valuable material. One of the most important
results of the writer's investigations, however, has been in the
linguistic classification of the tribes of this area contained in the
S3220--Bull. 43-10- 1 1


first part of the work. While comparatively insignificant in bulk it
is of the greatest importance in attempting to trace their earlier con-
dition, and indeed has a bearing on the pre-Columbian history of the
whole of North America. At the same time, the i-esults of this field
work among remnant tribes would lose half of their value were they
not provided with a literary setting, which the writer has not hesitated
to furnish with as much liberality as the published material will
allow, realizing meanwhile that the work of a compiler is usually a
thankless and abundantly criticised task.
An examination of the material following will show that more
than two-thirds of the whole is concerned with the Natchez tribe
alone. This is due partly to the fact that it was the largest on the
lower Mississippi, and in the gulf region was exceeded only by the
Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creeks, but far more to its strongly cen-
tralized system of government, to the sanguinary mortuary rites of its
ruling classes, and finally to the spectacular massacre perpetrated by
it upon the French settlers of Natchez in the year 1729 and the
bloody war which followed. These two last points in particular
appealed so strongly to French imaginations, and to the imaginations
of writers of other nations as well, that this tribe has been sur-
rounded by a glamour similar to that which until recently enshrouded
the Aztec of Mexico and the Quichua of Peru, and it has been classi-
fied apart, both as to origin and grade of civilization, with the result
that the true Natchez tribe has become almost unknown.
The principal authorities consulted are the following:
BAUDRY DE LOZItRES. Voyage h1 la Lonisiane et sur Le Continent de L'Amorique
Septentrionale fait dans les Ann6es 1794 ;i 1798. Paris. 1802.
Bossu. Travels through that part of North America formerly called Louisiana.
Translated from the French by John Reinhold Forster, 2 vols., London,
CHARLEVOIX. History and General Description of New France, 6 vols.. edited by
John Gilmary Shea, New York, 1872.
COXE, DANIEL. A description of the English Province of Carolana, London,
1741. Translated in French's Hist. Coll. of La., pp. 223-276, 1850.
DE KERLIrEREC. Rapport do Chevalier De Kerlrec in Compte Rendu du Congres
International des Americanistes, 15th sess., I, 59-86.
DUMONT DE MIONTIGNY. Memoires Historiques sur La Louisiane, 2 vols., Paris,
1753. Edited by Le Mascrier.
FRENCH. Historical Collections of Louisiana, 1846, 1850, 1851, 1853, 1869, 1875.
GALLATIN. A synopsis of the Indian Tribes of North America. In Transactions
and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, ii, (Cambridge, 183(i.
GATSCHET. A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians. Vol. i in Brinton's
Library of Aboriginal Americnn Literature, Philadelphia, 1884. Vol. ii in
Transactions of the St. Louis Academy of Sciences, St. Louis, 1888.
The Shetimasha Indians of St. Mary's Parish, Southern Louisiana, in
Transactions of the Anthropological Society of Washington. ii, 148-158.

[BULL. 43


GOSSELIN, M1. L'ABBi, AMLDiDE. Les Sauvages du Mississipi (1698-1708) d'apres
le Correspondance des Missionnaires des Missions ]Etrangeres de Quebec, I,
HUTCHINS, THOMAS. An Historical Narrative and Topographical Description
of Louisiana and West-Florida, Philadelphlia. 1784.
LA HARPE. Journal Histori(le de I'Etablissenment des Franqais h La Louisiane,
Nouvelle-Orlans, 1831.
LE PAGE DU PRATZ. IIistoire de La Louisiane, 3 vols., Paris, 1758.
LUXEMBOURG, anl anonymous mlelmoir published at, entitled M imoire sur La
Louisiane on Le Miissssipi," 1752 (evidently written before 1718).
MARGRY (editor). D(couvertes et Etablissements des Francais dans I'ouest et
dans le sud de l'Amerique Septontrionale (1614-1754), Paris, 1877-1880.
SHEA, JOHN GILMARY (editor). Discovery and Exploration of the Mississippi
Valley, Redfield, N. Y., 1852.
Early Voyages Up and Down the Mississippi, Albany, 18(1.
SIBLEY, JOHN. Historical Sketches of the Several Indian Tribes in Louisiana
South of the Arkansas River and Ietween the Mississippi and River
Grand, in a Message from the President of the United States Connnunicat-
ing Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita.
Annals of Congress, 9th Cong., 2d sess., 107(i-1088.
THWAITES, REUBEN COLD (editor). The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents,
73 vols.. Cleveland, 1897-1901.
This list contains merely those works which were found of most
value.in the present undertaking. While the Indians of Louisiana
have been made the subject of numerous special articles in treatises
dealing with that colony or State, most of these are compilations or
are too superficial to be of any real service. The value of the works
cited and the extent to which they have been drawn upon also varies
greatly. Of first importance among these are the documents pub-
lished by Pierre Margry, and the letters of missionaries printed in
the Jesuit Relations, by Shea, and later in part by Gosselin. Some
important papers are also to be found in French's Collections, and
English translations of many can be found nowhere else. The char-
acter of French's work varies greatly, however, and while some
documents are faithfully reproduced or translated, others, notably the
translation of La Harpe's M6moires IIistoriques, show an unpardon-
able slovenliness and are almost useless to the student. Perhaps the
glaring inconsistencies between P6nicaut's Narrative as it appears in
French and in Margry may be due to the fact that the manuscript used
by the former was from the Bibliothique du Roi and was dressed up
by some scribe into a form which he deemed more palatable to the
court. Thus, the dates have been altered a year through much
of the narrative, entire sections have been carried over under differ-
ent headings or entirely omitted, and inconsistent assertions made,
apparently on the authority of other writers. The most flagrant
example of this is the insertion of St. Cosme's death under two dis-
tinct years, which seems to point to an attempt to reconcile this nar-


rative with the official documents. Even the Margry version of P6ni-
caut, which is that ordinarily used by the writer, is utterly disor-
ganized as to its chronology and not above suspicion in other par-
ticulars, though at the same time it contains important information
not found elsewhere which is confirmed inferentially from other
sources or by circumstantial evidence. La Harpe's Historical Nar-
rative in the French edition of 1831 is, on the other hand. chronolog-
ically accurate. Its author evidently had access to many of the official
records, besides which he himself was often a party to the events
described, notably the exploration of Red river and the attempts to
establish a French post in Galveston bay. He makes mistakes occa-
sionally, but the substantial correctness of his work is beyond ques-
tion. Charlevoix's History of New France has been used to some
extent, especially his account of the last Natchez war, which has been
inserted verbatim, but his Journal contains more material of strictly
ethnological interest.
Works regarding the customs and beliefs of individual Louisi-
ana and Mississippi tribes are few and confined chiefly to the
Natchez. About half of the quoted ethnological material used in
this bulletin is from one writer, Le Page du Pratz, while the
greater portion of the remainder is contained in Dumont's M6moires
HIistoriques sur La Louisjane. As to accuracy, there is little to choose
between these two, the latter being better, perhaps, on points connected
with the material culture of the people, and the former on questions
relating to their religion and social organization. Du Pratz, having
a more speculative turn of mind, is occasionally led farther astray
in accepting matters received on the authority of another person.
but on the other hand this tendency placed him more closely in touch
with the esoteric lore of his Natchez neighbors and preserved for us
facts that would otherwise have been irrevocably lost. If we except
one important letter from the missionary St. Cosme, our next best
source of information regarding the Natchez is a description con-
tained in Charlevoix's Journal and again in a letter from the Jesuit,
Le Petit, to D'Avougour. Le Petit's account being later, it might be
assumed that the description was taken from Charlevoix, but credit
is given neither to him nor to any other writer, and we are left in
doubt as to its true authorship. No one on reading the latter part of
the two accounts can doubt, however, that they are from the same
source, and apparently an authoritative one, though the first part
of Le Petit's narrative, purporting to be a description of the Natchez
temple, really applies to that of the Tainsa. A confusion between
the Natchez and Tannsa, owing to similarities in their customs, arose
at a very early date and reappears in the work of most of the
later French writers. It thus happens that many accusations of false-
hood made by one writer against another resolve themselves into sim-



pie misunderstandings, and, leaving aside the relation of Hennepin,
which after all contains few exaggerations regarding the people
themselves, thus far the writer has found but one plainly exaggerated
narrative, that so often referred to as the spurious Tonti." ItV is
entitled DerniBres Decouvertes dans L'Am6rique Septentrionale
de M. De la Sale; Mise an jour par M. le Chevalier Tonti, Gou-
verneur du Fort Saint Louis, aux Islinois," and bears the date Paris,
1697. This certainly does contain many errors, yet if one compares
it with the Memoir of the Sieur de la Tonti, published by French in
the Historical Collections of Louisiana, 1846, he will find that it fol-
lows this narrative pretty closely, only overstating in particulars.
It would seem that some French publisher, having had an opportunity
to hear or read the Memoir of Tonti two or three times, had com-
mitted what he could remember to paper, along with amplifications
of his own, and put it out as the original work." An amusing mis-
take has been made by him in regard to the delta of the Mississippi,
the three channels by which the river reaches the sea being described
as three channels reuniting into one lower down. It is curious, how-
ever, that the two points for which the author of this work was
criticised most severely can not be charged against him. One of
these is a supposed statement that the Mississippi river divided into
two long branches before entering the ocean, while, as has just been
noted, he makes it separate into three which reunited farther on,
nothing being said of a division into two channels. Another writer
accused by Iberville of this same misstatement is Father Zenobius
Membrd, who had accompanied La Salle and Tonti. But, as Shea
remarks, Membr4 does not claim to have seen the other branch of the
river, which in fact he supposes his party to have passed during a
fog, but appears to have assumed its existence on the authority of
existing imaps." His additional statement that the Indians told them
of ten nations living on this branch' might be explained on the sup-
position that the Indians imagined the branch that these travelers
talked about must be the Manchac, or Iberville, and referred to the
Choctaw villages toward which it conducted. The second point for
which the spurious Tonti has been attacked is its description of the
Natchez temple, while, as a matter of fact, it nowhere describes
the Natchez temple, but only that of the Tainsa, and in this descrip-
tion does not differ from that made by Tonti himself in any essential
particular. The critics of this book appear to have been very hasty
readers or to have derived their knowledge of it from hearsay-unless
there is another narrative unknown to the writer-or they would
a It should be added, however, that the memoir published by French is itself incon-
sistent and difficult to understand in places.
b Shea, Disc. and Expl., 173.
SIbid., 174.


have recognized what temple was being described. Possibly this
confusion was due to the fact that the Taensa temple was destroyed
in 1700 and later writers assumed that the descriptions given of
it must apply to the well-known temple of the Natchez. At any
rate, this seems to be the only way to account for Le Petit's blunder
already alluded to. Both Le Petit and Charlevoix describe the
catastrophe which befell the Taensa temple as having happened
to that of the Natchez, and in 1702, two years later than the correct
date. Confusion between the two tribes must have been encouraged
by the manner in which the letters and reports of the first explorers
were mangled either during their transmission or by court scribes.
Thus, in the Account of the Taking Possession of Louisiana, by
M. de la Salle," the narrative jumps from the Tainsa to the Koroa,
and though the latter arc said to be two leagues distant from the vil-
lage of the Natchez one is led to suppose, as does Gatschet, that they
were above the latter people, when as a matter of fact they were
below. The Koroa chief is plainly made to come to La Salle at the
Taensa town, when lie actually came to the Natchez town. In fact
La Salle's visit to the latter people is entirely omitted. In Tonti's
Memoir," where, if anywhere, we ought to expect accuracy, La Salle's
stay among the Natchez is dealt with at length, but his visit to the
Koroa is utterly ignored. Stranger still, the events which on their
return trip happened to the explorers among the Koroa are placed
in the Natchez town, the Koroa being entirely expurgated from their
narrative. Another palpable error is the statement that the Taensa
(spelled TaSnca) were six leagues distant" from the Arkansas.
The original was probably sixty."
Next to Du Pratz, Dumont, and the Charlevoix-Le Petit manu-
script, our largest source of information regarding the Natchez is
the Historical Narrative of P6nicaut as contained in Margry. As ha-
just been remarked, this writer is a sad failure as a chronologist, but
there is reason to think that the date he gives for his Natchez visit
(1704) is approximately correct. A short but interesting account of
the people, containing the earliest long description of their temple, is
that in the Journal of the Voyage of Father Gravier made in the year
1700, and many valuable data may be gathered from the rare and
-little known memoir of Luscemberg. The rest of the material used in
this paper consists of short excerpts from the journals and letters of
La Salle, Tonti, Iberville, and others.
While published sources of information dealing with other tribes
in the area under consideration are fewer, the Bayogoula, Acolapissa,
Houma, and Tunica were described at considerable length by PWni-
a French, Hist. Coll. La., 45-50, 1846.
SIbid., 52-78.
SIbid., 61.

[BULL. 43


caut, Gravier, La Harpe, and in the journals of Iberville's first ex-
pedition to Louisiana, while in recent years we have had Gatschet's
paper on the Chitimacha.
In arranging this material it has been found best to consider the
Natchez first and the other tribes with reference to them. Ethnological
information regarding the Natchez and a few other tribes, such as
the Tunica and the Chitimacha, has been segregated from the purely
historical narrative and arranged much as would be done for a
modern ethnological report. In other cases it is so slight that it has
been incorporated into the historical narrative itself. It has also
been found best to extract everything bearing on the linguistic affini-
ties and population of the various tribes and treat these subjects by
themselves at the outset.


Tie tribes treated in this bulletin, which at the present time are
almost extinct, formerly occupied the banks of the Mississippi river
and its tributaries from about the neighborhood of the northern
boundary of the present State of Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico and
the shores of the gulf for some distance east and west. The region and
its ancient occupants as they appear to have been distributed at the
beginning of the eighteenth century are shown in accompanying map
(pI. 1). Northwest of it, in the area colored yellow, were peoples be-
longing to the Caddoan linguistic stock, of which the nearest were the
Washita of Washita river, and the Natchitoches and Doustiony (or
Souchitiony) in the neighborhood of modern Natchitoches, while
farther off were the Adai, Yatasi, Nakasa, Caddo, and Cahinnio.
None of these falls within the limits of the present discussion." Fol-
lowing around to the eastward we find the Siouan stock (colored
red), the greater part of which lay next north of the Mississippi
tribes under consideration, and extended in an unbroken mass north-
ward nearly to the Saskatchewan river. The nearest tribe in this
direction was the Quapaw at the junction of the MNi--i--ippi and
the Arkansas, but two detached bands, the Ofo, or, as they are more
commonly called, Ofogoula, on the lower Yazoo, and the Biloxi of
SThe Caddo language is known from vocabluliries and the speech of the survivors.
The Nattchiloches and the Yatasi are remembered as their relatives, and it is known
through Silbley that Caddo was their trade language. (Annals of the 9th Congress,
107S, 10S4, IS-52.) The Nakasa and the Dousliony were small tribes close to the two
last mentioned, whose relationship will them can hardly be doubted. The same may be
said of the Washila. whose history so far as it is known shows them to have come from
the neighborhood of I le Nalchitoches andt to have returned later either to that tribe or
to the Caddo proper. (French, IIist. Coll. La., 72, 1846; La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 32,
1831 ; Documents relating to the Purchase of Louisiana, 18-19, 1904.) For a time it was
thought that the Adai should be excluded from the Caddoan stock, but Gatschet's careful
analysis of a vocabulary taken by Sibley shows that this was a mistake. (Gatschet,
MS., B. A. E.) Finally the Caddoan position of the Cahinnio is proved by the name of
one of their chiefs, linma KIiapmlch6, or Big Knife, recorded by Joutel in 1687. (Margry,
Decouvertes, v,, 421, 1880.)


lower Pascagoula river, were within it. Vocabularies proving
Siouan relationship have been obtained from both, and as historical
accounts of the two tribes will be prefixed to the published lin-
guistic material they will be passed over in the present paper. The
Muskhogean linguistic stock, indicated in light-green, is the most
important large stock with which we have to deal. Roughly speaking,
it extended from the Mississippi river to the Savannah river and
the Atlantic ocean, while on the south it reached the gulf of Mexico
except where interrupted by the Biloxi above referred to and the
Timucua of Florida. The tribes composing it form two separate
groups or substocks, the Muskhogean proper and the Natchez group,
of which the latter falls entirely within the province of our discus-
sion, while of the former only some smaller and comparatively insig-
nificant divisions concern us. The large and powerful tribes which
have played an important part in history and many of which con-
tinue to play it require independent treatment. These are the Yamasi
of the Georgia coast, the Apalachi, on Apalachee bay between Apa-
lachicola and Ocilla rivers, the Creeks-in reality a confederacy of
tribes-of the Chattahoochee, Flint, Alabama, Tallapoosa, and Coosa
rivers, the Chickasaw of northern Mississippi and western Tennessee,
and the Choctaw of southern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama.
Although they lie outside the area of which it is proposed to treat
at length, it will be convenient to include in this chapter a considera-
tion of the coast tribes between Pascagoula and Apalachicola rivers,
embracing the Mobile, Tohome, Naniaba, Pensacola, Chatot, Tawasa,
and some small bands associated with the two last. Westward one
of the cultural areas with which we deal extended not only to the
Rio Grande, but into the Mexican State of Tamaulipas as well, until
it reached the Huastec of Panuco, the northernmost representa-
tives of the Mayan linguistic family. So far as is known, however,
the tribes of southern Texas are utterly extirpated. Twenty years
ago two small bands existed near Camargo, on the Mexican side of
the Rio Grande, but it is doubtful whether even their language is re-
tained at the present time; while all the manuscript information ob-
tainable is now being made the subject of a special investigation by
Dr. H. E. Bolton, of the University of Texas. We shall therefore
draw a somewhat arbitrary line of demarcation in this direction at the
Sabine river, or at most near Galveston bay and Trinity river, where
the Atakapa stock appears to have terminated.
Within the region thus outlined the number and names of the
tribes which history reveals to us seem very definite and well
established. Leaving aside words which are evidently distorted
forms of the names of well-known peoples, there are very few tribes
referred to so seldom that their independent existence is in doubt.
On the basis of language, the most convenient method of classifica-



tion, five groups may be distinguished which, with the tribes belong-
ing under each, are as follows:
(1) Natchez group, including the Natchez, Taensa, and Avoyel.
(2) Muskhogean group, including the Washa, Chawasha, Okelousa,
Quinipissa (or Mugulasha), Tangipahoa, Bayogoula, Acolapissa,
Chakchiuma, Houma, Taposa, Ibitoupa, Pascagoula, Mobile, To-
home, Naniaba (or Gens des Fourches), Pensacola, Chatot, Tawasa,
and the allies of the two last.
(3) Tunican group, including the Tunica, Koroa, Yazoo, Tioux,
and Grigra.
(4) Chitimachan group, including only the Chitimacha.
(5) Atakapan group, including the Atakapa, Akokisa, Opelousa,
and perhaps Bidai and a few other tribes of which we have little
more than the names.
As stated above, the first and second of these are known to be
related, and it may be added that relationship probably exists be-
tween the fourth and fifth, with which the Tunican group also shows
certain points of resemblance, while they are perhaps responsible
for the non-Muskhogean element in Natchez.
This classification is not final, and rests in part on circumstantial
evidence only; therefore it will be proper for the writer to give his
reason for placing each tribe in the group assigned to it. It should be
understood that the only ones among them from which we have
vocabularies approaching completeness are the Natchez, Tunica,
Chitimacha, and Atakapa. In-1907 the writer collected about eighty
words from an old Houma woman, and a few words are to be found
in the writings of French authors and elsewhere. The language of the
remainder can be determined only by means of statements of early
travelers and scanty bits of circumstantial evidence.
The relationship of Tainsa to Natchez was affirmed by all French
writers who speak of their language, and no question would probably
have been raised regarding it had it not been singled out about thirty
years ago by an ambitious French youth as an occasion for putting
forth a fraudulent grammar and dictionary. The story of this fraud
and the controversy to which it gave rise is as follows:
At the commencement of the year 1880 the publishing house of
Maisonneuve et Cie. received by mail a manuscript of six leaves en-
titled Fragments de Littdrature Tansa, sent by M. J. Parisot, rue
Stanislas, 37, at PlombiBres (Vosges). This manuscript was trans-
mitted with a request to utilize it for the Revue de Linguistique. It
was accordingly submitted to Prof. Julien Vinson, one of the editors
of that publication, who wrote M. Parisot for further particulars
regarding it and received a reply at some length in which the latter
explained how the manuscript had come into his possession.


The appearance of these F,.... .... under the title Notes sur la
Langue des Taensas, was followed in 1881 by seven supposed Tainsa
*ongs in the original, unaccompanied by translations, printed at
Epinal under the title Cancionero Americano. A preface in Spanish
was inserted, however, in which it was claimed that the texts had been
collected in 1827 or 1828. This did not bear M. Parisot's name, but
on writing to the publisher M. Adam, who had received a copy of
the work, was referred to Parisot, pupil of the Grand S6minaire de
Saint-Di6." M. Adam then wrote to M. Ch. Leclerc, of the Mai-
sonneuve publishing house, and by his advice on the 8th of May, 1882,
he asked M. Parisot for the manuscripts in order to publish them in
the BibliothBque Linguisttique Amnricaie. M. Parisot, then aged
19 or 20, came to see M. Adam at Nancy in the course of the follow-
ing July; in October he sent him the manuscript of the grammar and
the printing began.
The article in the Revue and the pamphlet published at Epinal
excited only local interest, but the grammar a was widely circulated
and was acclaimed as a notable addition to our literature on the sub-
ject of Indian languages. The fact that Dr. A. S. Gatschet, a leading
student of American languages, furnished an introduction rendered
its acceptance all the more ready. In his work on Aboriginal
American Authors, published the following year, Brinton speaks
appreciatively of it and quotes one of the songs entire. In comment-
ing on these songs he says: Some of the songs of war and death are
quite Ossianic in style, and yet they appear to be accurate transla-
tions. The comparatively elevated style of such poems need not cast
doubt upon them (pp. 48, 49). The comparison with Ossian was
perhaps more significant than the commentator at that time realized,
though even then he admitted that the Tai;nsa songs were unusual.
It was probably not long after this that the noted ethnologist began
to change his mind regarding them, but it was not until March, 1885,
that he came out against them with the direct charge of forgery. His
article appeared in the American Antiquarian for that month and
was entitled The Taensa grammar and dictionary; a deception
exposed." This attack bore so heavily against the part of the com-
pilation which embraced the Taensa songs that Adam made no
attempt to defend them, but in the three successive brochures which
he issued in reply tried to prove that all of the material, especially
the grammatical sections, had not been forged. These brochures were
entitled Le taensa a-t-il dtc forge de toutes pieces? RIponse
M. Daniel Brinton; Le taensa n'a pas etc forge de toutes pieces, lettre
de MI. Friedrich Miiller a Lucien Adam; Dom Parisot ne Produira
pas le Manuscrit Taensa, lettre a M. Victor Henry. These brought
an answer from Brinton in the American Antiquarian for September,
a Grammaire et Vocabulaire de la Langue Taensa, Bibbiothique Linguistique Amdricaine,
ix, Paris, 1882.

[BULL. 43


and in November of that year the whole controversy to date was
noticed at length in The Kansas City Review (vol. ix, no. 4,
pp. 253-254). The most thorough history of the case, however,
embracing the earlier chapters, that had hardly been touched
upon so far, was written by Prof. Julien Vinson under the title
La Langue Taensa, in January, 1886, and published in the April
issue of the IRevue de Linguistique et de Pl,..; ..'.' C(omparCe. Al-
though he had first introduced Parisot to the public and was largely
responsible for the publication of the grammar by Adam, Vinson
now sided with Brinton, at least in the belief that the authenticity
of the work had not yet been established. The Renue for January,
1888, contains a letter from Doctor Brinton, entitled Linguistique
Ambricaine, in which he refers to several differences of opinion be-
tween himself and Doctor Gatschet, and closes with another reference
to the Tanisa apropos of the introduction furnished by the latter
gentleman. This brought out a Rkplique from the noted philologist,
in which he for the first time enters the Taensa controversy in person,
and a counter rejoinder in the October issue. The whole question was
reviewed once more by Brinton in a special chapter in his Essays of
an Americanist (pp. 452-467, 1890), and here the active controversy
practically ended, apparently with neither side convinced. So much
doubt was thrown upon the new material, however, that in making up
his linguistic map of North America north of Mexico Powell excluded
it from consideration, and it is probably regarded as fraudulent by
most prominent ethnologists. At the same time, until very recently
sufficient evidence had not been brought forward to absolutely
discredit the grammar of Parisot and remove it from the category
of possibilities. In determining the ethnological complexion of the
lower Mississippi tribes and attempting so far as possible to recover
their past history, it is most unpleasant to have to deal with a possi-
bility of such radical importance, and it is therefore of the utmost
consequence, if not to demonstrate the fraudulent or genuine character
of the grammar, at least to properly classify the language of the
Tainsa tribe itself. Rather unexpectedly material has recently come
into the writer's hands which he believes to be decisive.
Having reviewed the course of the controversy in outline it will
be in order, before bringing in this new evidence, to take up the
points brought forward pro and con in the articles above mentioned.
Those adduced by Brinton in his initial attack were that no scholar
of standing had had access to the original manuscript from which
the material was taken; that the language could not have been re-
corded by a Spaniard, as claimed, because from the time when the
Tainsa tribe was first known until their destruction as minutely
recorded by Charlevoix in 1730-1740 they were under French in-
fluences entirely; no Spanish mission was among them, and no Span-


iard in civil life could have remained among them without having
been noticed, owing to the national jealousies everywhere prevalent
at the time." Turning to the'grammar itself this critic finds that the
pronunciation of Tainsa sounds is explained by means of the French,
English, German, and Spanish. Now, inasmuch as neither M. Hau-
mont6, among whose papers the manuscript was supposed to have
been found, nor M. Parisot could have heard the language spoken,
it is conceived that the original compiler must have had a knowledge
of languages quite remarkable for the early part of the eighteenth
century. He also finds references to the Nahuatl, Kechua, and Al-
gonkin tongues, which must certainly have been introduced by the
translator, although no explanation of this is vouchsafed. Regard-
ing the structure of the language itself Doctor Brinton says:
That an American language should have a distinctively grammatical gender;
that it should have a true relative pronoun; that its numeral system should
be based on the nine units in the extraordinarily simple manner here pro-
posed; that it should have three forms of the plural; that its verbs should
present the singular simplicity of these-these traits are, indeed, not impos-
sible, but they are too unusual not to demand the best of evidence.b
The most convincing proof as to the humbuggery of this whole
business he finds, however, in the Taensa songs. According to these,
the sugar maple is made to flourish in the Louisiana swamps; the
sugar cane was raised by the Ta6nsa, although the books say it was
introduced into Louisiana by the Jesuits in 1761; potatoes, rice,
apples, and bananas were familiar to them, and the white birch
and wild rice are described as flourishing around the bayous of the
lower Mississippi." To the argument that these might be mistrans-
lations of misunderstood native words he asks what sort of editing
it is which could not only commit such unpardonable blunders, but
send them forth to the scientific world without a hint that they do not
pretend to be anything more than guesses?" The same ignorance
of climatic conditions appears in the Calendar of the Tainsa, particu-
larly in the references to snow and ice here and in other places. The
style of the songs themselves is also utterly unlike that reported
from any other native tribe. It much more closely resembles the
stilted and tumid imitations of supposed savage simplicity common
enough among French writers of the eighteenth century." As an
example of this un-Indian style and the geographical ignorance
accompanying it Brinton quotes one of these songs, The Song of
the Marriage," and contents upon it as follows:
The Choctaws are located ten days' journey up the Mississippi, in the wild-
rice region about the headwaters of the stream, whereas they were the imme-
diate neighbors of the real Taensa and dwelt when first discovered in the
middle and southern parts of the present State of Mississippi. The sugar

[BULL. 43

a Amer. Antiq., viI, 100-110.

b Ibid., 110.

c Ibid., 111.


maple is made to grow in the Louisiana swamps, the broad-leaved magnolia
and the ebony in Minnesota. The latter is described as the land of the myrtle
and the former of the vine. The northern warrior brings feet rings and infant
clothing as presents, while the southern bride knows all about boiling maple
sap and is like a white birch. But the author's knowledge of aboriginal cus-
toms stands out most prominently when he has the up-river chief come with
an ox cart and boast of his cows! After that passage I need say nothing more.
He is, indeed, ignorant who does not know that not a single draft animal and
not one kept for its milk was ever found among the natives of the Mississippi
In conclusion the writer recalls the grammar of a fictitious Formosa
language brought forth by George Psalmanazar, and adds the state-
ments of I)e Montigny, Gravier, and Du Pratz to the effect that the
Ta;nsa spoke the Natchez language, which is known to be entirely
distinct from that contained in the Tainsa Grammar. "Moreover,"
he says. we have in old writers the names of the Tainsa villages
furnished by the Tainsa themselves, and they also are nowise
akin to the matter of this grammar, but are of Chahta-Muskoki
derivation." I
Two of the three brochures which contain M. Adam's reply to this
attack show in their titles a confession of weakness, since they
merely maintain that the grammar had not been forged in all portions.
In fact, M. Adam at once abandons any defense of the texts," saying:
" In my own mind I have always considered them the work of some
disciple of the Jesuit fathers, who had taken a fancy to the Tainsa
poetry." The brochures also contain copies of correspondence be-
tween MM. Adam, Parisot, and others relative to the original manu-
script which Adam demanded and Parisot declared to be no longer in
his possession. It further developed that M. Haumont6, M. Parisot's
maternal uncle, among whose papers the Taensa manuscripts were
supposed to have been found, was no linguist, and could have had
nothing to do with the documents. Parisot furthermore admitted
that the originals were not all in Spanish, and that he had written
out and altered the grammar, besides augmenting the vocabulary
with terms which had been translated only by conjectures. Not only
was Parisot unable to produce the original, but a thorough search
among the family papers on the part of his father failed to reveal
anything of the sort. Nevertheless, M. Adam explained the presence
of the manuscripts among M. Haumont6's papers by supposing that
they had been left there by some visitor, M. Haumont6 having kept a
lodging house, and proceeded to defend the grammar itself by reply-
ng to the philological objections raised by Doctor Brinton. He
supported his position by means of a letter from the noted German
philologist, Friedrich Miller, who also gave it as his opinion that the
grammar was not altogether fraudulent.

SSee p. 10.

'Atiter. Antiq., vii, 112-113.

b Ibid., 113.


After recapitulating the various concessions and showing up the
weak points developed by the defense, Brinton meets the grammatical
part of the French philologist's reply by stating that he had never
denied the existence of the exceptional grammatical features he had
referred to in American languages, but maintained that it was un-
likely they should all occur in one language. He concludes his argu-
ient by saying that "even if some substructure will be shown to have
existed for this Taensa Grammar and texts (which, individually,
I still doubt), it has been presented to the scientific world under con-
ditions which are far from adequate to the legitimate demands of
students." a
With this view Professor Vinson, the next contributor to the dis-
cussion, entirely concurs, and in detailing his early association with
Parisot is able to show further discrepancies between the claims of
that individual in earlier and later years.i
In his letter to the Revue de Lingquistique for January, 1888,
Brinton touches upon Taensa long enough to expose several glaring
blunders in the pamphlet of texts published at Epinal in 1881. This,
occurring in connection with criticisms on certain opinions expressed
by Dr. A. S. Gatschet, brought forth from the latter student the best
defense of the Tainsa Grammar that has appeared. Gatschet agrees
with Brinton, indeed, in his criticism of the Epinal pamphlet," but
attempts to defend the rest, including the texts thrown over by Adam,
although he allows for the possibility of their fraudulent nature by
saying that the eleven songs might be the work of a forger without
the language itself being necessarily unauthentic." To the statement
that the Tainsa did not survive the year 1740 he produces documen-
tary evidence of their existence as late as 1812. Nor was it necessary
that a Spanish monk should have recorded this language, since
any Spaniard straying over from Pensacola, only 10 leagues from the
later location of the Tainsa near Mobile, might have performed that
service. Like M. Adam, Gatschet finds the exceptional grammatical
forms cited by Brinton in various other American languages, and he
meets the obstacle raised by references to various American and
European languages by supposing that they had been inserted by
M. Adam in revision. The mention of sugar cane, rice, apples, pota-
toes, bananas, cattle, and a cart are to be explained on the ground that
the Tainsa had existed long after the introduction of those things.
The month of December was called the white month," not on ac-
count of the snow, but on account of the frost, which the critic him-
self had seen in Louisiana in parishes much farther south than that
in which the Taensa lived. The sugar maple is found not only in the
north, but in mountainous sections of the south.c
a Amer. Antiq., vit, 276. Ibid.. xxi, 20203-204.
"Rcvue de Linguislique, xix, 147-160. Ibid., 204-207.
Ibid., 207.

[BULL. 43


In answer Brinton states that he has nothing to say about M.
Gatschet's advocacy of the Tannsa language. If," he adds, he de-
sires to employ his time in bolstering up the manufacturers of that
bold forgery, posterity will reward him with a pitying smile." L In
the later work before referred to he gives a sketch of the controversy
but adds no new arguments.
In this discussion the opponents of the Tainsa. Grammar, namely,
Messrs. Brinton and Vinson, had made the following points: They
had shown that the claimed original manuscript was not in the hands
of the person by whom the linguistic material had been furnished
nor among the documents of his family, that it could not have been
entirely in Spanish as at first claimed, and that the grammar could
not have been compiled by M. Haumont6, to whom it had been
ascribed. M. Parisot. was also shown to have been inconsistent in
the statements he gave out from time to time. Thus, though he does
not claim to have made more than one discovery of Taiensa manu-
scripts, in 1880 he possessed only some principles of grammar, a
fairly long list of words, two songs or stories, and the translation of
the Pater, the .1Ar, and the Credo," all of which occupied 11 pages
in the Rece,, de Lingistique, while in 1882 his material covered
42 larger pages and the two songs had swelled to 11. In 1880
he expressed himself as unable to complete an account of the gram-
mar of the language for lack of material, but in 1882 he did
that very thing. In 1880 he was unable to find any numbers above
8 except 10 and 00, while in 1882 9, 11, 12, 13, 20, 21, 30, 40, 50, 70,
80, 90, 100, 101, 110, 119, 200, 300, 1,000, 1,002, 1,881, 2,000, and
10,000 had made their appearance. During the same period the
language had developed two dialects, five new alphabetic signs, and a
dual not even hinted at in the beginning.
As suggested by Adam, the texts might have been put together by
some priest or student for his own pleasure, strange as the under-
taking would appear to be, but the rejection of this material as
aboriginal tends to throw discredit on the rest, for if we admit that
it had passed through the hands of some one willing to make such
original use of it, why might not his creative faculty have been
devoted to the manufacture of the whole? Gatschet's attempt to
defend the climatic and other inconsistencies which these texts con-
tain will hardly appeal to anyone who has examined them as a wise
or well executed move. Admitting that the texts were collected in
1827 or 1828 as claimed for the seven published at spinal, it is of
course probable that the Taensa were acquainted with the foreign
fruits and vegetables there referred to, but it is questionable whether
they would have introduced them prominently into their songs, and
Rc'ue dc Linguislique, xxi, 341.


granted that they knew of the sugar maple, it is not conceivable that
they should have treated it as a tree of every day knowledge or desig-
nated one of their months by its name. If the texts were recorded
in the years mentioned, the Tanisa were then in central Louisiana
not far from Red river, and were reduced to a very small band. By
no possibility, therefore, could the Choctaw be represented as de-
scending to them from the north. In fact there was but one time
when the Choctaw ever did live north of them, and that was when
the Tainsa were in the neighborhood of Mobile. Supposing that
" The Song of the Marriage." which the writer has in mind, was com-
posed at that period, are we to believe that the Choctaw chief came
to Tensaw river for his bride, across Alabama and Tensas rivers,
with an ox cart full of presents? But if this song must be placed
at tile period when tlhe tribe was near Mobile The Poisoned River "
goes back to the very beginning of the eighteenth century, since it
refers to wars between the Taensa and the Yazoo, who were near
neighbors at that time only. The poisoning of Tensas river, suppos-
ing that to have been possible, could, however, have had little effect on
persons who did not live upon it, the home of the Tainsa having been
on Lake St. Joseph.
The whole tone of the Cancionero Taensa is, however, so utterly
un-Indian that no one familiar with Indians will accept for a moment
songs in which one party gravely asks another whether his people
know how to hunt buffalo and deer, whether there are squirrels in his
country, and what plants grow there.
These being dismissed from consideration as at least subsequent
compositions, we are reduced to a consideration of the grammar and
vocabulary apart from the use that has been made of them in
In one particular Doctor Brinton has made an egregious blunder,
and that is in supposing that the Tainsa Indians had been destroyed
in 1730-1740. If Charlevoix makes any such statement for the years
mentioned the writer has yet to find it, and must suppose that
Brinton is thinking of a reference to the Tainsa village site in Charle-
voix's Journal (letter of January 10, 1722), in which the destruction
is indeed affirmed." Charlevoix was mistaken, however, the tribe
being at that time in the neighborhood of Mobile and according to
some accounts occupying 100 cabins. In 1764 they moved again to
the west side of the Mississippi and settled on Red river, and about
the time of the cession of Louisiana to the United States they sold
their lands and moved south of Red river to Bayou Boeuf. Later
still they sold their land there, but continued to live in the neighbor-
hood for some time longer, being noted, as Gatschet states, as late
as 1812. At this time they drop out of sight, but it is known that they
SFrench, Hist. Coll. La., 178, 1851.

[BULL. 43


moved farther south and settled on a small bayou at the head of
Grand lake which came to be known by their name. Some after-
ward interinarried with tile Chitimacha, and Chitimarcha of Tainsa
blood are still living, but the tribe, as such, has disappeared from
sight, whether by death or migration being unknown. lBrinton is
mistaken, therefore, regarding the possibility of linguistic material
having been collected from them in 1827 or 1828. The improbable
part of the story is that a tribe which numbered lbut 25 men iln 15'.
should, twelnt-two years later, and after all had been living together
for a hundred years. retain two distinguislable dialects. There were,
indeed, two tribes called Taensa, though as yet the writer has
found but one reference to the second under that name, but the state-
nments of the grammar regarding them do not fit the facts. (atschet,
with strange inlconsistencvy, strives to identify one division with the
Tangipahoa, though at the same time admitting that these probably
spoke a dialect of Choctaw." The second Taensa tribe, or "little
Taeinsas," spoken of 1) I lerville were another people wlo lived west
of the Mississippi and were evidentl identical with the Avoyel.1' But
while the languages spoken by the Talnsa proper and the Avoyel
may have been two dialects of the same tongue, the tribes speaking
them correspond not at all with those described by the grammar. Ac-
cording to that authority the northern dialect was current among
those who spent most of their time in hunting and were less refined.
while the southern dialect was among the more refined Tainsa living
along the Mississippi. On the contrary, the more refined of these two
tribes, Taensa and Avoyel, were the former, who lived to the north
but whose home was not along the Mississippi but on an oxbow
cut-off west of it now known as Lake St. Joseph. The Avoyel, on
the other hand, lived to the south and west on Red river. There
is no evidence, however, that the Tainsai and Avoyel lived together
in historic times, and in 1805 Sibley states that all that remained of
the latter were 2 or 3 women on Washita river. The chance in
1827 of collecting the more polished southern dialect," on which
more stress is laid than on the other, would thus seem to have been
very slight. As we have seen, it developed in the course of the con-
troversy that all of the manuscripts could not have been in Spanish,
but that even a small part of them should be in that language is sur-
prising. During the Spanish occupation of Louisiana it is true that
many Spaniards settled in the country, but the presence of a Spanish
Taensa manuscript in Europe would almost necessitate the supposi-
tion that it had been written by an intelligent Spanish traveler, and
the records do not teem with instances of intellectual Spaniards
burying themselves in the canebrakes of Louisiana after its cession
La Langu, e Taensa, xvii-xix, Paris, 1882. See p. 26.
83220-- nll.4--10--2


to the United States. If, on the other hand, we consider the date
given for the collection of the texts published at Epinal to be erronc.-
ous, we must argue in the face of one more inconsistency, and the
change of base does not help us much, since Spanish influence over
the whites of central Louisiana between 1764 and 1803 was little
enough and still less over the Indians. Before that period they were
always under French government, and it is not likely that a Pensa-
cola Spaniard, lay or clerical, would have been tolerated in the tribe
at that period.
The writer has not attempted a minute analysis of the language
here presented, believing such an analysis not needed for a con-
demnation. Notwithstanding Adam's skillful reply, it must be
admitted that the force of Brinton's grammatical argument is but
slightly shaken. Take for instance the number nine. rat. This is a
simple syllable and differs not at all in form in the two dialects,
though smaller numbers such as three, five, and seven show such
variation. Constancy in the form of this particular number is pos-
sible but unlikely, but where in North America shall we look for a
word for nine composed of a simple syllable? In most of the lan-
guages with which the writer is familiar this numeral is indicated by
a form meaning ten less one," and in any case he does not recall a
single instance of a simple syllable presenting no resemblance to
the other numerals being used for nine. Brinton's objections to the
" three forms for the plural and the simplicity of the verbs ap-
pears to the writer not well taken, for, as (latschet points out, the
former might be only variations of one form while simplicity in verb
stems is not so uncommon as Brinton seems to suppose. The existence
of a pronominal form used like our relative is somewhat remarkable,
but far less wonderful than the entire morphological difference
between it and the forms for the interrogative and indefinite. This
distinctiveness is, indeed, hard to swallow." The existence of a dis-
tinctively grammatical gender, by which Brinton means a gram-
matical sex gender, is also singular, but the fact instead of being an
argument against the authenticity of the material has become
one of the strongest arguments in its favor through the discovery
by Doctor Gatschet of a sex gender in the Tunica language which
was spoken in the immediate neighborhood. More remarkable still,
and a coincidence strangely overlooked by Gatschet in arguing
for the genuineness of Tainsa, is the fact that the two agree in
distinguishing gender in the second persons as well as in the third.
When we consider that there is no evidence that the Tunica language
was recorded in any form until Gatschet visited the tribe in 1885,
three years after the appearance of the Tainsa Grammar, we must
admit that, if the latter is altogether a forgery, fate was very kind to
the perpetrators. Looking deeper, however, we find a marked con-

[BULL. 43


trast between Taensa and Tunica gender, for while gender in the
latter language divides men and women and masculine and feminine
animals, it also divides inanimate objects, such as sun and moon,
wind, clouds, rocks, and trees, while in Tainsa the feminine includes
all inanimate things, the male being confined to men and male
animals. This constitutes a point of difference between the two lan-
guages as wide as if no gender existed. Although Algonquian lan-
guages distinguish between animate and inanimate and Iroquois
presents analogies to Taensa in this particular, it is natural to In-
dians to personify inanimate objects sometimes as masculine and
sometimes as feminine, and therefore the Tainsa line of demarcation
is less probable than the Tunica one which agrees in this particular
very closely with the Chinook system. The method of distinguishing
masculine and feminine pronominal forms is also decidedly unlike,
Tamnsa employing a suffix while Tunica uses entirely distinct forms.
A difference not mentioned by Brinton which marks this language
off from anything in its immediate vicinity is the presence of a long
series of instrumental prefixes, a phenomenon common in Siouan
dialects and in many others but nonexistent in those spoken along the
lower Mississippi. Perhaps the strongest objection from a linguistic
point of view is one that would not at first occur to most students,
and that is the absolute lexical difference between this language and
any of its supposed neighbors. However self-sufficient a language
may be it is almost certain to have a few borrowed words, and the
languages of the south are no exceptions in this particular. Several
words, notably those for war-club,' buffalo,' opossum,' and 'fish,'
are common to a number of related stocks, but in this new grammar
we recognize not one of them, nor indeed more than two or three
slight resemblances to any American language whatever. The only
exceptions are, perhaps, in the case of the pronominal stems for
the second and third persons singular, in which sounds ci and s
occur prominently, agreeing closely with those appearing in Tunica.
The phonetics are no less strange, not only on account of their num-
ber but from the occurrence in one language of i, or f, and r, which
elsewhere on the lower Mississippi are confined to different stocks.
The writer has left until the last, because this is the point on which
new light has recently been thrown, the direct statements of early
travelers and missionaries regarding the Tainsa language of their
day. Brinton, it will be remembered, adduced the testimony of three
writers to the effect that the TaUnsa language was the same as that of
the Natchez. This testimony is by De Montigny in 1699," by Gravier
in 1700," and by Du Pratz, whose information dates from 1718 to
1734,' and their meaning is plain and unqualified. Gatschet replied
SShea, Early Voy. Miss., 70, 1861.
b Ibid., 130.
e Du Pratz, Iist. de La Louisiane, I, 213, 225.


to this argument, however, by saying that at the time when these
travelers wrote none of them was personally familiar with both tribes.
Thus De Montigny had visited the Taiensa, but not the Natchez;
Gravier had not visited the Tanisa or Natchez, but had evidently de-
rived his information from St. Cosine, who had lately settled among
the latter people, but was not necessarily familiar with the former;
and Du Pratz was sufficiently familiar with the Natchez, but had not.
so far as we know, ever seen a Tainsa, the Ta nsa tribe having in hi-
time moved to Mobile bay. It was quite possible, therefore, as argued
by Gatschet, that these men had merely assumed a linguistic connec-
tion to exist on the strength of well-known resemblances between the
tribes in manners and customs. Against the new evidence, however,
no such objection can be made.
In order to understand the strength of this new evidence, which
emanates from missionary sources, it will be necessary to review in a
few words the movements of the early missionaries on the lower
Mississippi. After the Recollect fathers who accompanied La Salle
and Tonti, the first missionaries to descend below the country of the
Quapaw were three missionary priests named De Montigny, Davion,
and La Source, sent out under direction of the ecclesiastical center at
Quebec. These descended the river in the summer of 1698 as far as the
Tunica and the Tainsa, but returned to the Quapaw without going any
farther, and it is from the letter of De Montigny, dated from the latter
tribe on January 2, 1699, and published in Shea's Early Voyages Up
and Down the Mississippi," that the statement referred to by Brinton
and Gatschet relative to the Tainsa and Natchez languages is taken.
Later in the year 1699 De Montigny and Davion again visited the
tribes below and began missions among the Tainsa and Tunica, re-
spectively. In June they voyaged down the Mississippi together,
accompanied by four Shawnee Indians, two Taensa, and some Ca-
nadians, visited the Natchez and the Houma, and reached Iberville's
new settlement at Biloxi July 1.i A few days later they returned to
their charges, and Davion continued to minister to his chosen tribe
for about twenty years. De Montigny, on the other hand, had deter-
mined to transfer the seat of his labors to the Natchez as being more
important, and seized the opportunity presented by Iberville's visit to
the Taensa to return with him to the former tribe." Later on, how-
ever, he left these also,'repaired to Biloxi, and accompanied Iberville
on his return to France., Soon after his departure, if not indeed
before it took place, St. Cosme came down from the upper Mississippi
to assume his duties and remained there until December, 1706, when

- Pp. 75-70.
bLa IIarpe, Jour. Iist., 16, 1831; Margry, I)deouvertes. iv, 451-452.
SMargry, Dueouvertes, iv, 417, 1880.
d Ibid., 480-431.

[BULL. 43


he was killed by a Chitimacha war party when on his way to Biloxi.a
For one reason or another no further missionary efforts were made
among the Natchez or Tainsa except incidentally in connection with
white congregations, and it is evident that of all men De Montigny
and St. Cosine, especially the latter, were best fitted to pass upon the
relationship of Natchez to the language of its neighbors. As already
noted, we have the direct or indirect opinion of both of these men on
the question before us, but, what has hitherto not been known, we
have their opinion expressed a second time and in a way to which the
same objections can not be applied as were raised by Gatschet.
At the Fifteenth Congress of Americanists held in Quebec in 1906,
M. l'abb6 Amde6e Gosselin, professor in Laval University, presented
a paper entitled, Les R.,, .,,.;. du Mississipi (1698-1708) d'apres la
Correspondance des lissionnaires des Missions Etrangeres de Qud-
bec." I The information contained in this is drawn partly from the
original documents published by Shea, but in greater part from letters
which still remain in manuscript, as they were sent by the missionary
priests to their superior, the Bishop of Quebec. From these most val-
uable information is adduced regarding the population, languages, re-
ligion, government, warfare, character, manners, and customs of the
tribes of that region, much of which will be quoted in this paper.
The only reference to the language of the Taensa, however, is to the
effect that "the Tonicas [Tunica], the Tainsa, and the Natchez spoke
the same language, but it differed from that of the Chicachas
[Chickasaw] and that of the Akansas [Quapaw]." c As authority
for this statement the letters of De Montigny of January 2 and
August 25, 1699, are cited. The coupling of Tunica with the other
two languages being at variance with statements in De Montigny's
letter of January 2, and so far as Tunica and Natchez are concerned
at variance with known facts, the writer supposed that the missionary
must have expressed different views in his unpublished letter of
August 25. In order to settle this question, and if possible to elicit
further information regarding the linguistic position of the tribe
under discussion, he addressed a letter to Professor Gosselin, calling
attention to the matter and asking for any excerpts relating to the
language of the Ta;nsa which the unpublished letters might contain.
Professor Gosselin very kindly and promptly replied to his request.
He explained that the erroneous statement was the result of an un-
fortunate confusion in his own notes and did not exist in the origi-
nals. In answer to the second query he inclosed several extracts in
the original which are of the utmost value and contain the decisive
information alluded to. It is to be hoped that the whole of these
"La Harpe, .our. Iist., 101, 1831.
S('ompte Rendu (ong. Internat. des Amer., 15th sess., I, 31-51.
cIbid., 38.


important manuscripts will soon be given to the public, but for
the present the following rough translations will serve well enough
for our purpose:

From a letter of D Mlontigny, written August 25, 1699, page 6

The 12th [of June] we reached the Natchez, or, as others call them, the
Challaouelles, who are almost twenty leagues from the TaPnsas. *
They were warring at that time with almost all the nations which are on the
Mississippi and out of consideration for us, although they were at
war with the Taensas, they gave those [Taensa] who were with us a very
good reception. We told the chief that the black robes, like ourselves, were not
warriors, that we had not come to see them in that spirit, and that on the con-
trary we exhorted every one to peace, that they would know it well one day
when I should know their language, which is the same as that of the TaPnsas
(qui est la mdme que celle des Tatlnsas) and then, after having made them some
little presents, we separated very well satisfied with each other.

From a letter of St. Cosine, August 1, 1701

I have past the winter among the Natchez; I have applied myself a little to
the language and I find myself in a position to compose something of the
catechism and prayers. I have made a journey to the Tahensas, distant 12
leagues from the Natchez. As that village is much diminished I think no mis-
sionary will be needed there, since it now numbers only about 40 cabins, but it
is necessary to try to draw them to the Natchez, the languages being the same
(n'dtant que d'une mncm langue) *.

From a memoir without name of author or date, but which goes back to the
first years of the eighteenth century

After the departure of Mons. Tonty, M. De Montigny and the two other
missionaries pursued their way as far as the Tonicats. where they thought it
well to make an establishment and to leave there Mons. Davion, and from
there to the Tahensas and Natchez, which have the same language (qui ont la
minei languc), and are only a day's journey apart. *

The last of these may have been based on De Montigny's letters
and would therefore contain only secondhand information, but the
others leave little room for doubt. Before writing the former
De Montigny had visited one tribe in company with members of the
other, and had had abundant opportunity to hear the two peoples
converse together. Had they been of alien speech they would not
have employed Natchez but the Mobilian jargon, and he would hardly
have failed to observe the fact. St. Cosme's evidence is yet stronger,
since at the time of writing he had had the advantage of one winter's
study of Natchez; nor is it probable that he would have made a
recommendation to his superior to draw the two into one mission
until he had fully satisfied himself that their languages were indeed
identical. It should be added that in other excerpts from this un-
published correspondence, sent to the writer by Professor Gosselin,

[BULL. 43


occur references to the linguistic affinities and divergences of the
Chickasaw, Tunica, Houma, Quinipissa, Osage, Quapaw, Kansa, and
Missouri, and in the light of all our present knowledge not a single
mistake is made. The information of the priests extends even to the
point of determining the closer relationship of Osage, Quapaw, and
Kansa to one another than of any of them to the Missouri. If this
were true of the comparatively remote tribes, why should they have
blundered regarding the nearer ones ?
The writer had hoped to render assurance doubly sure by dis-
covering some living representative of the tribe in question from
whom a few words in the old Taensa language might be gathered.
From the Chitimacha, at Charenton, La., he learned that the father
of the oldest woman of that tribe was a Tanisa, and that she herself
had formerly been able to use the language. A few days after receiv-
ing this intelligence lie called upon this woman and endeavored in
every way to stimulate her memory into the resurrection of at least
a word of the old tongue, but in vain. All that lie could learn was
that ki'pi, which signifies 'meat' in Chitimacha, had another mean-
ing in Tacnsa, but what it was she could not say. This is indefinite
enough, but perhaps it may have really been the Natchez infinitive
ending -kip, -k"ipi, -k uap, -kupi, which is employed very frequently,
and consequently may have retained a place in the memory after
everything else had gone. At any rate ki'pi is a combination of
sounds not conspicuous, if indeed it is existent, in Parisot's Tainsa
The writer is informed that not merely the old woman just referred
to had once been familiar with Ta6nsa, but a number of the other Chi-
timacha Indians, and the old negro Baptiste himself, from whom Ioc-
tor Gatschet obtained practically all of his Chitimacha linguistic mate-
rial. Thus, by a curious irony of fate, in the same year in which the
grammar which occasioned so much discussion appeared, its prin-
cipal American defender was in communication with a man who pos-
sessed information which would have nipped the controversy in the
bud, and yet he never appears to have been aware of the fact.
Summing up, then, we find the following state of affairs: So far as
is known, the original Tainsa manuscript has never been seen by
any person except the gentleman who professed to copy from it. The
statements made by that person regarding it in 1880 and 1882 do not
agree. The Tainsa songs" are un-Indian in tone and contain geo-
graphical, botanical, and ethnological blunders which Gatschet has
not satisfactorily explained, while Adam has conceded that they are
later compilations of "some disciple of the Jesuit fathers who had
taken a fancy to the Tainsa poetry." The language itself is in almost
every respect unlike any in the region where it is supposed to have
been spoken and contains no words that may be recognized as having


been borrowed from any of those tongues. That it does contain certain
features found only in the neighboring but subsequently discovered
Tunica, combined with a few lexical similarities with that language,
is the strongest argument in its favor, but on looking closer these
resemblances are found to be very superficial. Finally, the direct
statements of several early French writers must be cited, including
two missionaries personally acquainted with both tribes, that the
Tainsa language was identical with that of the Natchez, which we
know to have been quite different from the one brought out by
Parisot. It may be safely set down, therefore, that if the language in
the work under discussion was ever a living speech it was not that of
the Taensa, and since, in consequence, the texts, containing as they do
references to this tribe, must have been the work of white men,
we may conclude with probability that the whole of the material had
the same origin and is entirely fraudulent.
The only direct statement bearing on the relationship of the
Avoyel is given by P6nicaut, an authority none too accurate, but in
this particular borne out by a considerable mass of circumstantial
evidence, all of which points in the same direction. lie says:
Their cabins are made like those of the Natchez and covered in the same
manner. They have a similar manner of life, having remained a very long
time with them, until they were constrained to leave on account of the wars
which they have had with each other, which obliged them to seek refuge in
this place.a
It will be observed that this does not necessarily assume an organic
connection between the two tribes under discussion, but it does not
entirely preclude that supposition and, if any credence whatever is
to be given to it, it certainly establishes a former proximity. The
circumstantial evidence is furnilshed by their own name and the
names applied to them by neighboring tries and recorded by various
writers. In the Margry edition of 1enicaut, from which the above
paragraph is taken, they are called '" Toux Enongogolla," but in that
translated and published by French Tassenogoula," b which is evi-
dently the name which appears in the journal of Tberville's first
voyage as Tassenocogoula and is applied to Red river." P6nicaut
translates it People of the Rocks.' but it is evident that it should
rather he Flint people,' flint' in Choctaw being fts(ann, accord-
ing to Byington. while rock is tuli. From this it would also ap-
pear tlat Iberville's form of the tribal name is the best. It is fur-
thermore significant that this interpretation agrees closely with the
Tunica name for the same tribe, S/i 'xkal-tini, Flint-[arrow]-point-
people.' La Harpe (1718) refers to them as the 'Tamonoougoula,
A Mnrgry, DWcouviertes, v. 497.
F' ench. I lisl. 'oll. La., 11li, 1S00 .
'cMargry, D1couvertes, Iv, 178-17), 18S0.
dIbid., v, 497.

[BULL. 43


otherwise called Anoy," a and probably the first of these names is a
misreading by Margry, or some copyist, of Tassenocogoula. The other
name in just this form does not appear elsewhere, but it is evident
that it should be Avoy, having been misread n. That being the case,
it would be only a shortened form of Avoyel, or Avoyelles, the name
applied by Du Pratz (1718-1734),' Morgan (1707),' Sibley (1805),j
and all the late writers, and that borne by a Louisiana parish in the
region where these people formerly lived. From the French aspect of
the plural form of this word many have assumed that it was derived
from that language, and Gatschet has interpreted it as a diminutive
of aroic, small vipers." C The designation of an Indian tribe by a
word taken from the French language is very unusual in Louisiana,
however, and this fact, combined with the absolute silence of the
very earliest French travelers regarding the significance of the name,
renders it practically certain that it was of purely native origin,
probably that which the tribe applied to itself. If this were the case
their language can hardly have been related to Mobilian or no
alternative term would have been necessary. Not only does it differ
from words in the ordinary Muskhogean dialects, however, but, on the
other hand, it presents a striking likeness to some tribal and town
names among the Natchez, particularly to an alternative term applied
to the Natchez themselves, Gllli'nei "'~ll 1 rlJ rtigny), Clielouels,a
Techloel, Theloil, Tl4ucU:';c\ T*he oelrTs:' (I b.-il .j: The 1 or 71
near the end in all o .'thise is probably the Natclh'ez'.,~.~u'iary I or I
which is a conspivno'tis feature .(t.tle huigaiuge.. A poit4l.f further
interest in thi'*gfin;ection i e*iip"tjl ,ici'edSmblance i etieon the
first two lettesf Avovel anl the conmmloni atchez term for"' stone."
As given by Gatschet this is V'fa, t'fa, or ,if,i but Pike has oh,! and
the writer does not feel sure that a pure f sound, even of bilabial
character, exists in this tongue.i This particular word he hears as
(r or o followed by a palatal aspirate x. At the same time, the nature
of the sound itself is such that it could readily be heard and
recorded / or by a European, as indeed was done by Gatschet. It
is a plausible suggestion, therefore, that Avoyel has the same mea'n-
ing in Natchez as the Mobilian or Tunica term, People of the Rocks '
or Flint people,' though in the one case the ordinary word for
A Margry. Deconvertes, vi, 249.
bD l'uratz, Hist. d L Lon L isiane, 11, 241.
o 1epi. of qth Int. ( ong'. (Cun .. 1)54, 1904.
dAnn. 9tht Con(g., 2d sess., liOss, 1S52.
SBu. Am. Ethf., bulletin 30, pt. 1. 11R.
f MS., Laval Univ.
.lour. Le Itiriii, Margry, 1i)counvrtoes, iv, 260.
hi Margry, ID)Souvrtes, iv, 155, 171), 400.
i I:. A. E., MSS.
t The existence of an f was assumed by 11he writer in his paper on tli ethnological posi-
tion of tle Natchez Indians (Amer. .Inthrop., ix. 513-528) on the authority of (Gatschet
before e e had heard the language spoken.


'rock' appears to be used and in the other the word for flint.' Still
other evidence is furnished by Iberville in the journal of his second
voyage to Louisiana. Under date of the 5th of March, when he was
in the Houma village, he says, There were with them about 40
Little Ta6nsas, who had come to see them and to offer their services
against the Bayogoulas. These Tainsas are wanderers, living ordi-
narily three days' journey west of this village. The
position indicated would place them on lower Red river or its
southern effluents, and since there was no good location for a tribe
short of Marksville prairie and we nowhere hear of such a tribe again,
it is a fair presumption that the Little Taensas were one and the
same people with the Avoyel. That being the case, the relationship
of the latter to the Ta6nsa proper, or Great Tainsas," and therefore
to the Natchez, becomes almost a matter of course.
Our first information regarding the interrelationship of the Mus-
khogean tribes proper is the following in Iberville's journal of his first
expedition to Louisiana: The Oumas, Bayogoulas, Theloi;l Ii. e..
Natchez], Taensas, the Coloas, the Chycacha, the Napissa, the Ouachas
[i. e., Washa], Choutymachas, Yagenechito, speak the same language,
and they and the Bilochy and Pascoboula understand each other."
This is erroneous, since it.iiieludes, besidess Muskhogean tribes proper,
the Natchez anal Tai fdfa if'.the '*Katc'le,.grqoup, and the Chitimacha.
His reference'.4t "Wh' Biloxi can not e'*s'.juUty criticised, however,
since he 'r,;'\.'-l.t that they and the Pas~m~Ata made themselves
understpdi .'b the rest: :'IbeAvit' F',trot is evide tly,.due first to the
fact tlat all of these: t/ibes' Ctfdl.Anlxrse with (n'Ill another in the
Mobilian trade language, and secondly to his ignora n' e of most of the
tribes of which lie speaks. He had visited the Houma and the Bayo-
goula in person, and had met some Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Washa,
and a single Tainsa, but his acquaintance with these had extended over
only a few hours and gave him very little opportunity to hear them
converse among themselves. The others lie knew merely by report.
The journalist of Iberville's second vessel, Le Marin, says The village
[of the Bayogoula] is composed of two nations, which are the Mon-
goulachas and the Bayogoulas, which have the same language."
Three months after this time the missionary priests De Montigny and
Davion descended the Mississippi from their posts higher up to
Biloxi, and in an unpublished letter narrating the events of this
voyage De Montigny says, The 14 [of June, 1699] we arrived among
the Oumats, who are much lower down than the Natchez. *
This village is of about one hundred cabins; their language is the
same as that of the Kinipissas, the Chicachas, and many other na-
a Margry, D4couvertes, Iv, 408-409, 1880.
Ibid., 184.
o Ibid., 262.

[BULL. 43


tions, being one of the most widely extended in this country. ."
At the time of his next ascent of the Mississippi, the year following,
Iberville's information has improved, thanks to the industry of his
brother, Bienville, who had remained in the country during his
absence. Speaking of the Natchez, whom he was visiting at the time
of writing, he says:
This language is different from that of the Oumas. There is not one of this
latter nation who speaks it. We make ourselves understood by means of my
brother [Bienville], who begins to make himself understood in Bayogoula,
in Ounma, Chicacha, Colapissa, and [the language] of the three nations which
are on the branch of the river, which is but the same [stream]; [they] show
little differences
The three nations which are on the branch of the river can be no
other than the Washa, Chawasha, and Okelousa who lived, or were
supposed to live, on or near Bayou La Fourche. In Iberville's jour-
nal of his third voyage occurs the following: I also sent with the
chief of the Chicachas the little Saint Michel, who speaks Ouma very
well, which is almost the same thing as Chicacha, in order that he
may become accomplished in that tongue." A number of years later
Du Pratz tells us that the Acolapissa speak a language which ap-
proaches that of the Tchicachas,'' and the Chakchiuma, Ofo,
and Taposa do not pronounce the r's at all, and appear to be
branches of the Tchicachas, so much the more as they speak their
language." C
Regarding the Mobile tribes our first information is again from
Iberville. On his visit to the Tohome (March 9, 1702) he remarks:
"These savages speak the language of the Bayogoulas; at least there
is little difference." f Le Page du Pratz, after discussing the tribes
which were settled about Mobile bay in his time, the Chatot, Tohome,
Tainsa, and Mobile, adds:
All these little nations were in peace at the arrival of the French, and are
so still, because the nations which are to the east of Mobile protect them from
the incursions of the Iroquois; the Tchicachas, moreover, regard them as their
brothers, because they have almost the same language as well as those to the
east of Mobile who are their neighbors.g

We are to understand that the Taensa are to be excepted from this
description, for Du Pratz has just declared them to be a branch of
the Natchez.
Regarding the Bayogoula, Houma, and Chakchiuma languages,
moreover, we have a slight amount of additional information. In
a Referred to by Gosselin in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amer., 15th sess., I, 38.
bMargry, D6couvertes, iv, 412.
C Ibid., 521.
: Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, 11, 219.
Ibid., 226.
f Margry, Ddcouvertes, Iv, 514.
a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I1, 214, 1758.


the first place Iberville records that the Bayogoula called his ships
pinanis, evidently from the Choctaw word peni,' canoe,'' boat,'0 while
an animal represented in their temple and evidently the opossum
is called choucoiiacha, i. e., cukuaca, the Choctaw diminutive of
cukata, 'opossum.' Gravier (1700) tells us that the Houma called
their sacred fire loiiak or loughec which is, as we know, the word for
'fire' in Choctaw, and finally the writer, as has been noted, was
enabled to collect about 80 words from an old Iouma woman which
are little different from the equivalent Choctaw expressions. The cor-
rectness of most of these was confirmed by another old woman, yet
it is evident on comparing the list with their Choctaw equivalents
that some errors have crept in, owing to the defective memories of the
informants. Other variations may be dialectic. The words are as

bear ni'ta
big tci'to
black lfi'sa
blackberry tcakla'
boy (see son)
bread palaska'
chair di'asa
come, to mete'
corn tUntce'
cow waka'
crane watonla'
crawfish saktce'
cypress tree calkolo'
daughter, my matayi'k
deer ese'
dog ofe'
duck fatcf"lse/
eat, to apa'
eye niski'n
fat (see pine) niya'
father, my a"ke'
fire lua'k
fish nani'
five (.should be six; liana'le
see four)
flour( "dumaispili' ) dadjini'
foot eye'
four (should be five) dala'pe
girl, little dlkose'
go, to nia'ya
grandfather fo'fo
grandmother gwini'
great (see big)
gun, his tan6npa'
a French, Hist. Coll. La., 70, 1875.

his (see gun)

kettle (see pot)

leave, to
little (see girl und
look, to
man, a big
man, a small
man, a white
mother, my
my (see father, moth-
er, son, daughter)
pine (bois gras)?


tcu'ka (big house,
tcu'ka tci'to)

ko'ncak (big knife,
ko'ncak tetto)

tcabe' tci'to
a'tak na'holo
ase' nina'k

oke' lawafe'na
ete' niya'

AMargry, Dtcouvertes, iv, 170; Creek Mig. Leg., 113, 1884. c=English sh.
c Shea, Early Voy. Miss., 144.

[BULL. 43


rabbit tcu'kfe two to'klu or do'kln
rattlesnake sAnte' lo water oke/
red ho'na whisky oke' lua'k ("fire
return, to (see come) water")
rice unu'c white a'ta
six (see five) wind (see also tor-
small (see little) nado) monhele'
snake site' woman dairi'k
son, my amonce' If you want to eat, espate' bana'
sun aise' or do you want to
three dotce'nu eat?
tiger cat kow6' You do not know nakio'
tornado, big wind monhele' me'nte anything
tree (any kind) nasape' Look! the man is a'tak md'nte pe'sa
turkey paki't coming
Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that the HIouma and
Chakchiuma were parts of one original tribe, the difference in their
names having been brought about by an abbreviation of one of them.
Chakchiiuma, or saktci-homa, as it is more correctly spelled, signi-
fies red crawfish," while houma (or homa) means simply red; but
we are informed by Dumont that the red crawfish was the war em-
blem of the I-ouma,a and the old Indian woman from whom the
words above given were obtained seemed to know of this also. It is
worthy of mention, too, that the chroniclers of La Salle's expedition to
the mouth of the Mississippi give the name of that tribe, which
had destroyed the Tangipahoa, sometimes as Chouchouma and
sometimes as Houma," though we know that the latter tribe was the
one intended. Although he does not mention their language specif-
ically, Adair states that the Chakchiuma had come from west of
the Mississippi in company with the Choctaw and the Chickasaw,
and had been compelled to settle between the two other tribes, indi-
cating plainly that the three were supposed to be related." This fact
is confirmed by Choctaw testimony recorded by Mr. H. B. Cushman.6
With the exception of Iberville's first statement regarding the lan-
guages of the lower Mississippi,r and Du Pratz's natural but erro-
neous supposition that the Ofo were related to the Chickasaw,.7
all that the early writers and missionaries have to say of the speech
of these tribes is borne out both by the mutual agreement of the state-
ments themselves and by later information from survivors. The Mus-
khogean relationship of the Bayogoula, Quinipissa or Mugulasha,
Acolapissa, Houma, Chakchiuma, Mobile, Tohome, and Chatot can
scarcely be doubted. The Taposa are always spoken of as closely
SDumont, M1m. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 184.
b Margry, Ddcouvertes, I, 604.
SIbid., 563.
d Adair, Hist. Am. Ind., 66, 352, 1875.
e Hist. of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians, 242, 1809.
I See p. 26.
SDu P'ratz, Hist. de La Loulsiane, II, 226.


[BULL. 43

allied with the Chickasaw, and we know from Du Pratz that their
language was unlike that of the Koroa and Yazoo of the lower Yazoo.a
It is a fair inference, therefore, that it was Muskhogean, though the
statement can not be made absolute. For the Ibitoupa a short dis-
tance lower on Yazoo river we have still less evidence, but the name
is readily translatable into Choctaw, and its position points to Choc-
taw, or rather to Chickasaw, affinities. La Harpe, in 1722, reported a
tribe called Choula (" Fox in Choctaw) living 25 or 30 leagues
above the Yazoo and their allies.b This would place them close to
the territory formerly occupied by the tribe just considered, which
at the time of La Harpe's visit had moved higher up, above the
Chakehiuma, and this fact, combined with their subsequent disappear-
ance from history, suggests that the Choula may have been a band
of Ibitoupa, who remained a while in the ancient territory of the
tribe after the main body had moved away. Or it is possible that
they were a branch of the neighboring Chakchiuma, since Fox appears
among the names of chiefs in that tribe. At any rate, there is no
good evidence that there was ever a permanent, well-recognized tribe
called Choula. For the Tangipahoa our information is almost equally
scanty, but the name itself is plainly Choctaw, and Iberville was told at
the Bayogoula town that the village of the Tangibaos ... [formerly]
made one of the seven [villages] of the Quinipissas," who at that time
did not number more than six.c By Quinipissas Iberville means
in this place Acolapissa, since at the time he supposed the two to be
identical. It is therefore natural to suppose that the language of the
Tangipahoa agreed closely with that of the Acolapissa. The Washa,
Chawasha, and Okelousa are spoken of as allied and wandering
people of the seacoast." d Baudry de LoziBres appears to class then,
temperamentally with the Chitimacha and Atakapa in contradistinc-
tion to the more industrious and warlike Houma and Acolapissa, and
therefore the writer was at first inclined to regard them as related to
one of the first-mentioned tribes, supposing that the Okelousa must
be identical with the Opelousa of later writers. Okelousa and Ope-
lousa (or Abalusa), however, have well-recognized but distinct mean-
ings in Choctaw, and it hardly appears likely that a mistake has been
made, especially since Du Pratz refers to the Okelousa later and gives
an explanation of their name,c while we have independent references
to Opelousa from about the same period. Again, almost the first
notice we have of the Washa is in company with the Bayogoula, and
after the French had established themselves upon the Mississippi the
Chawasha and Washa remained on good terms with them. When the
a Du Pratz, Irist. de La Louisiane, II, 226.
La IIarpe, Jour. Hist., 311, 1831.
Mc argry, D6couvertes, Iv, 168.
SLa Harpe, Jour. Hist., 18.
SDu Pratz, Hist. de La Loutsiane, II, 241.


Chitimacha war broke out, in 1707, they and the Bayogoula furnished
three-fourths of the native contingent in the first Chitimacha ex-
pedition, and the former acted as guides for the party." In 1718
they came to the Mississippi to live, and subsequently remained on
or near it, instead of retiring westward among the Chitimacha or
the Atakapa." Finally, there is reason to believe that they united
with the other small Muskhogean tribes of the lower Mississippi, the
Houmia, Acolapissa, and Bayogoula, and accompanied them to the
seacoast of the present Terre Bonne and La Fourche parishes. There
a lake still bears their name on the atlases, although it appears to
be unknown by that term in the immediate locality. When we add
to these facts Iberville's statement, above quoted, that there was little
difference between the languages spoken by the Bayogoula, Houma,
Chickasaw, Acolapissa, and that of these three tribes there appears
to be very good circumstantial grounds for considering them Mus-
khogean. If not, they would form the only exception to the correct-
ness of Iberville's statement; at the same time it must not be for-
gotten that Bienville. from whom the information came, had spent
but a few hours among the Washa, who received him in an unfriendly
manner, and that he had not apparently met any representatives of
the other two tribes.
On Pascagoula river, above the Biloxi, lived the tribe from which
this stream received its name, and the Moctobi. The Moctobi are
referred to only in the earliest documents, and probably formed a
subdivision of the Biloxi, or Pascagoula, unless, indeed, it was a
synonym for the name of one of those tribes. Although the Pas-
cagoula are frequently mentioned, not the slightest hint is given
regarding their language, and since the Biloxi have been discovered
to be Siouan it is now commonly thought that the intimate associa-
tion of the Pascagoula with them argued for a similar origin. No
living Pascagoula are known to the Biloxi still in Rapides parish,
but a considerable number of them moved to Angelina county, Tex.,
before the year 1817," and settled not far from the Alibamu. Hoping
that a few of these might still be found, the writer, in November,
1908, stopped at Livingston, Tex., to look for them. By the merest
accident he had the good fortune to meet near that place two Indians
of Pascagoula descent, who, although brothers, are called by different
names-Tom Johnson and Sam Lockhart. The father of these men
was a Biloxi, pronounced by them Atabal6'ktci; their mother, a Pas-
cagoula, and they asserted that there were no other descendants of the
latter tribe among the Indians of Polk county. The rest they declared
"La LIarpe, .our. list., 102.
Magrgry, DIcouvertes, v, 557.
See p. 27.
d Morse, Report to the Sec. of War, 37:1, 1822.


had gone back to (pelousas." As the parents of these men had died
when both were young, they could tell little about the languages which
they had used, but after considerable thought Johnson recalled the
following words, though he could not be certain whether they be-
longed to his father's language or to that of his mother:
Nogwa', mld. i'no iskc', my another.
Noksomilu', nnythingi wild. Maleli', to run (like a horse or other
I'no i'lnk, my father. aiinial).
To'ip, sick. Takobe', lnzy.
Tcitokso', or iskiti'nli litlHe. ,'u'skus tritokso', ilies."
Tcitokso' was said to lie used more often than i'iti'n, The most of
these are at once recognizable as Choctaw. The exceptions are to'pa,
which perhaps really means bed; takobc', which resembles taloba,
' belly,' and tcitoko', which may, however, mean what is not large."
Since these words are not Biloxi, it follows either that they belonged
to the Pascagoula language, which would thus have been a Mus-
khogean dialect, or, what is more probable, to the Mobilian trade
language. In the latter case, however, the fact that it was employed
by a Biloxi and a Pascagoula in conversation is evidence that the
languages of the two tribes were not enough alike to enable members
of the two to converse easily. This would indicate that the Pas-
cagoula language was probably not Siouan, and that being the case
the chances are in favor of a Muskhogean relationship, all the more
that the name which this tribe always bears is plainly Choctaw.
The Naniaba, sometimes called Gens des Fourches, because they
lived opposite the junction of the Tombigbee and Alabama rivers,
are spoken of in but few places. They were evidently a division either
of the Mobile or the Tohome. The Pensacola lived about the bay of
the same name. They early disappeared from history, and all the
evidence we have regarding their relationship is their Choctaw name,
~Pa"ca-okla, Hair people,' and the fact that they were surrounded
on all sides by tribes of known Muskhogean lineage.
Beyond them, on the lower course of Apalachicola river, was a
group of tribes known to the Spaniards by the same name as the
stream itself. Iberville intimates that before 1702 some of these had
joined the lower Creeks in order to trade with the English,' but a
map secured by the historian Berkeley in 1708 from a Tawasa Indian
who had been carried away captive, and reproduced by D. I. Bushnell
in the American Aitir/,,l,,/;,f.t, gives the following 10 nations"
or villages as existing on that river just before the year 1700: "
Towasa, Socso6ky, Pohlika, Tomo6ka, Sow6olla, Aul6dly, Ephip-
pick, Ogolamighoos, Choct6uh, and SonepAih. Towasa and Choct6uh
L t is pronounced like i in hiill; like c in 1en ; q like a in assist.
b Margry, Dicouvertes, iv, 594.
Brlushnell, The Account of Iamlatty, in lAmcr. Aithrop., n. s., x, 568-574, 1908.

[BULL. 43


are the Tawasa and Chatot, respectively, but the remainder can not be
identified very satisfactorily. Mooney -i._',e.-t that Sowoolla is per-
haps what was afterward the Lower Creek town of Sawokli, PoIihka
the later Alibamu settlement of Pawokti, and Tomo6ka an exiled
village of the Timucua (called by the English Tomoco) which had
been driven out of Florida. Excepting this last suggestion, evidence
regarding these people points to relationship with the IIitchiti and
the Alibamu.l that is, to the Stinkard element among the Creeks.
Thus the Tawasa are known to have united with the Alibanm,
Pawokti was an Alibanm town, and Sawokli and Apalachicola were
IIitchiti towns. Reasons for classifying the Chatot as Muskhogean
have already been given." Unlike the others, they separated entirely
from the Creeks and followed the fortunes of the small tribes under
French protection.
The relationship of Koroa, Yazoo, Tioux, and Grigra to Tunica
rests merely on circumstantial evidence. Du Pratz, whose inforna-
tion, in spite of slips here and there, is generally accurate, states that
the languages of all of these tribes contained an i', whereas none of
their neighbors could even pronounce that sound.' For the Koroa
this is confirmed by the tribal name itself, and the Yazoo and Koroa
tribes were always so closely associated that their relationship to
each other seems plausible. The Choctaw chief, Allen Wright,
whose grandfather was a Koroa, also affirmed that the language of
(hat people was entirely distinct from Choctaw.' In Du Pratz's day
the Tioiix were under Natchez protection, and this was true of at
least part of them as far back as Iberville's first voyage, 1699." There
is every reason to believe, however, that they had come there shortly
before from Yazoo river, where nearly all of the other tribes of this
group were situated." Of the Grigra we know nothing more than
the fact that their language possessed an r and that they had been
taken under the protection of the Natchez at a still earlier date.f
The relation of all of these to Tunica is indicated though not finally
proved by the following considerations. In the first place the lan-
guages of all contained the phonetic r. which was conspicuously ab-
sent from the speech of the tribes about them; all except the Grigra
are known to have lived along Yazoo river at some former time;
and the name of one of these tribes, the Koroa, resembles certain
Tunica words, as oroa, white,' 'white man.' In 1722 La Harpe
ascended from New Orleans to the Arkansas, and stopped for about
ten days at the Yazoo post. There he found, as he says, settlements
See p. 27.
Du Pratz, list. de La Louisiano, II, 222-226, 1758.
Gatschet, Creek Mig. Leg., I, 48.
"Margry, Dieouvrites. iv, 170.
Du I'ratz, IHist. de I.a Louisiane, II, 2'?
SIhid.. 222.
S3220-Bnll. 4;--10--3


of the Yasons, Courois, Ofogoula, and Onsp6e nation:;," scattered
about for the most part on artificial earthen mounds." Onsp&e is,
we know, one form of the Tunica name for the Ofogoula. But
Ofogoula,' or rather Ofo, being the name applied by this tribe to
itself, and the Tunica having moved away eight years before to settle
opposite the mouth of Red river, the word Onmspe can only have
come from the Yazoo or Koroa. or both. The case is made still
stronger by the fact that La Harpe had.passed the Tunica without
stopping, and therefore it was unlikely that lie had on board any
Tunica Indian from whom such information might have been ob-
tained. Now, if the Ofo were known to the Yazoo and Koroa by the
same term as that employed by the Tunica, a term at the same time
different from the one used by the Ofo themselves, a presumption of
relationship among the three other tribes is at once raised.
Another argument is furnished by the following quotation from an
earlier journal of La Harpe when on his way from the Nasoni country
to New Orleans via Red river:
The 28th [of October, 17191, having descended the river Ifromi the Cado-
hadachol about 10 leagues, we met three pirogues o our n'avnges coning from
hunting bison. They told me that near the lillle river [ahout 10 leagues farther
on] they had met many newly nmde rafts, worked by the ''onicu nation
(nation Tonicarus) who are the Yasons, a fact which compelled them to return
to their villages.b
This statement is rather confusing since we do not know whether
La Harpe means the Tonicaus were identical with the Yazoo or
simply that they lived upon the Yazoo river. The Yazoo and the
Tunica were certainly not identical, and at the time when he wrote the
latter had moved from Yazoo river. None knew this better than La
Harpe himself, for lie had stopped several days with them just before
his ascent of Red river. It is true that he there spells their name
Tonica and here Tonicau, but he could hardly have meant two dis-
tinct tribes of Tunica or have been deceived into believing there
were two; otherwise lie certainly would have noted the distinction lie
believed to exist. Perhaps a perusal of the original manuscript would
cast some light on the question, but failing that, it seems most likely
that he means that the Tunica of whom his men told him at this time
were really Yazoo. If that had not been the case there would have
been no reason to insert the statement; if he had wished to record
the fact that the Tunica traced their origin to Yazoo river he would
have done so in his earlier discussion of the tribe. Finally we must
consider that, if these languages are unrelated-and there is good
reason for excluding them from either the Muskhogean or Siouan
families-we have to assume one or more additional independent
a La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 311. b Margry, Decouvertes, vi, 302.

[BULL. 43


stocks within a very limited area, which is possible but rather unlikely
under the circumstances.
The Chitimacha seem always to have constituted one compact
people, the only divisions being into villages. A few early narratives
couple with this tribe the Yagenatcito, a name signifying in Choctaw
' Big country,' but there is no clew as to what tribe was intended by
it. Possibly it refers to the Opelousa or the Atakapa, but more likely
it was used to cover a part of the Chitimacha. In that case, however,
the distinction was probably imposed from without rather than by the
people themselves.
Of the Atakapa proper there were at least three bands, on the Ver-
inilion. Mermentau. and Calcasieu rivers, respectively. It is likely
that the small Opelousa tribe, near the present city of that name,
spoke a language belonging to this stock. Sibley states that they
possessed a Ianguage different from all others," but understood
Atakapa," which shows at least that they could not have been Mus-
khogeali. because in that case their trade language would have been
Mobilian, and Sibley would have noted the fact as he has in so many
other instances.' Westward of the Sabine, on the lower Neches and
Trinity were a people called by the Spaniards Orcoquisac. That
portion of their country about Galveston bay was the scene of the
adventuress of Simars de Belle-Isle, a Frenchman abandoned by the
vessel in which he was making the voyage to Louisiana. After wan-
d ,riing about for some time and being on the point of starving,
he fell in with a band of these people, by whom he was held
captive until rescued by the Hasinai and taken to St. Denis at
Natchitoches. Later he acted as La Harpe's guide when the latter
was sent to examine the feasibility of establishing a French post in
that country, and from his own account preserved in Margry and the
narratives of La Harpe we have considerable information regarding
the life and manners of these Indians.c Unfortunately, although he
declares that he was familiar with the language, M. de Belle-Isle has
not left us any specimen of it. The fact that these people are also
called Atakapa may have some significance, but it is very slight.
At a later period the Spaniards established a mission among the
Orcoquisac, but it was soon given up. and the tribe left in compara-
tive obscurity for a long period. This much we do learn, that the
Orcoquisac were distinct from the Caddoan tribes and in manners
and customs resembled the Atakapa very closely as well as the
Karankawa and other people on or near the coast of Texas. All
that we knew of their language, however, is the name of the tribe
itself: Yegsa. the term which they applied to the Spaniards; and
k Ann. 9th Cong.. 2d sess.. 1086, 1852.
Ibid.. 1070 rtl rlq.
I Margry, ID)couvertes, vi, 320-347; La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 263-276, 1831.


Quiselpoo, the native name of a woman contained in one of the mission
records.t Although little enough to prove anything, these certainly
show remarkable points of similarity with words in the recorded Ata-
kapa tongue. The term for people in Atakapa is irak, formed
from the root ca, which means somebody,' anybody.' Consulting
Doctor Gatschet's Atakapa vocabulary, we find that the final k of ieakX'
is sometimes omitted, showing that it was not always pronounced, or
was not always pronounced clearly enough to be caught by a hearer
new to the language. The name of this people occurs in several
different forms-(Orcoquisac, (rcoquiza, Arkokisa, IIorcoquisa, IIor-
caquisac, etc., in which it will be noted that some do and some do
not have a final c. In Spanish this c must have been pronounced like
English k, therefore the endings iswc, iza, isa, may be assumed with
reasonable probability to represent the Atakapa word for people.'
We may suspect this again in the word Ycysa, although here the sa
is perhaps the indefinite ca. Although an ingenious interpretation
might be I,-L-,r-l..1 for the first part of the word Orcoq'ui.ac, it would
have no real value. 'Ye, however, may be from the stem yik, 'to
trade,' for there are some cases in which white men were known as
'traders.' The first part of the feminine name Quiselpoo may,
perhaps, be the Atakapa Z'i,, woman,' and thle whole might plaus-
ibly be interpreted Full-moon woman.' While too much confidence
can not be placed on such explanations as these, it is interesting to
find that explanations can be so easily -II. g -I.,1 ( and it is certain
that the words have an Atakapan aspect. Until more evidence is
forthcoming the Orcoquisac may be classified as probably Atakapan.
Investigations among the mission archives by Professor Bolton seem
to indicate, furthermore, that the Bidai, heretofore supposed to be
Caddoan, the Deadoses, and some other tribes of which we know
little more than the names, were related to the Orcoquisac. and there-
fore, if our classification of the Orcoquisac is correct, they also belong
to the Atakapan stock.
A few names other than those already given are found here and
there in the narratives of early writers as applied to tribes in the
region under consideration, but it is probable that they are synonyms
of some of the tribal names already discussed which have become dis-
torted almost beyond recognition. Thus Daniel Coxe mentions" Sam-
boukia as a tribe on Yazoo river, but while it is possibly a bad
misprint, the name varies so widely from that of any Yazoo tribe
known to us that there is no certainty regarding it.o In the journal of
Iberville's second vessel. Le Marin, people called the Scouquas are men-
For these last two we are indebted to the investigations of Prof. H. E. Bolton, of the
University of Texas.
SIn these words r =English sh.
SFrench, Hist. Coll. La.. 227, 1850.

[BULL. 43


tioned, who accompanied his party on their return from the Houma and
one of whom was accused of having stolen a brevitiry belonging to
the Recollect priest Anastasius." This tribe may have been the Tioux,
the name being badly transcribed and some nonessential syllable
added. During the same expedition Iberville and a few of his com-
panions returned to the ships via the Manchac. It is stated in the
journal just referred to that he carried with him presents to give
to the Ananis and the Mouloubis who are in this river." 7 At first
sight two new tribes appear to be indicated, but in his own journal
Iberville says nothing about them, and it is apparent that Ananis
is a slight misreading of Anaxis referred to in the narrative of the
Marquis de Chasteanumorant,' where they are evidently the Biloxi,
this particular form bIeiing taken from their native designation,
Tani'ksi. The writer of the journal was apparently deceived by the
fact that the Manchac was, as Iberville expresses it, the river which
goes to the Bilochy." d The Mouloubis are evidently the Moctobi.
The Napissa, Napyssa, or Napyosa were said to be united with the
Chickasaw,e and' as they never appear again in history it is probable
that they were merely a part of the Chickasaw nation, possibly some
outlying villages, since the word means an eyewitness or beholder"
and therefore perhaps a "scout or spy." In a list of tribes which
came to sing the calumet before him Iberville mentions among
those on the east side of the river the Bayacchito and Amilcou.f
Bayachlito signifies Big bayou in Choctaw, but there is no other
clue to the location or classification of either. Nicolas de la Salle,
in his narrative of the expedition of 1682, says that some Quinipissa
women whom the explorers met told them the Tangipahoa had been
destroyed by "the Ouma and Chigilousa." -, Ouma is, of course,
Houma, but Chigilousa is nowhere else referred to, though the name
is certainly Choctaw, lousa signifying black,' as in Okelousa, Ope-
lousa, etc. In 1686 Tonti encountered, somewhere between the
Houma and Quinipissa, a tribe which he calls Pischenoas." These
are never heard of again under that name, but it is possible that they
were the people afterward known as Bayogoula. Pishno in Choctaw
signifies 'we, us, our,' and perhaps Tonti, on asking who the people
were, was told They are ours." Innatchahez seems to be used in one
document as a synonym for Atakapa; its origin is unknown. Other
names of this character belong for the most part to a later (late and
are misprints or misreadings of some of the foregoing. In this con-
nection mention should be made of the Mosopelea, or Monsopelea.
a real tribe of supposed Algonquian affinity. They are first noted by
SMargry, Decouvertes, iv, 274. f Ibid., 155.
SIbid., 272. a Ibid., I, 563.
e Ibid., 113. b Ibid., II, 557.
Ibid., 184. 1 Ibid., VI, 235.
Ibid., 164. 180, 184.


Marquette, who places them on the west bank of the Mississippi some
distance below tle mouth of the Ohio. They, or part of them, united
with the Taensa a shortly before 1682 and are scarcely referred to
It is worth noticing that in spite of all that has been said to the
contrary the name which a tribe bears is a fair index of the language
spoken by it wherever it may be shown that the traveler who reports
the name has had direct communication with it. Thus the Chak-
chiuma, Houma, Quinipissa, Mugulasha, Tangipahoa, Bayogoula,
Acolapissa, Ibitoupa, and Okelousa bear names readily seen to be
Muskhogean, and every other fragment of evidence we have regard-
ing them points to their having belonged to that stock: while Tunica.
Koroa, Yazoo, Tioux, Grigra, Natchez, Tainsa, Biloxi, Avoyel, and
all the other names found on or near Red river, can not be interpreted
by means of the ordinary Muskhogean dialects, though unsuccessful
attempts have been made to do so. It is true that the names of some
other Muskhogean tribes, as the Mobile, Tohome, Chatot, Tawasa,
and Taposa, can not be readily resolved, while a few non-Muskho-
gean tribes, like the Chitimacha, Opelousa, and Atakapa, have Mus-
khogean names. That we could readily interpret all the tribal names
of any stock is not to be expected, however, while the Muskhogean
names applied to non-Muskhogean tribes may be explained by an
examination of the facts. It is then seen that at the time when
the names Chitimacha, Opelousa, and Atakapa were adopted by the
French the latter had not visited the tribes in question, and scarcely
saw any representatives of them for several years afterward. Such
being the case, they acquired the habit of applying that term in com-
mon use in the Mobilian trade language and by the time they came
to settle among the tribes in question the tribes had themselves be-
come accustomed to it. It is at any rate a fact that. nowhere on the
Mississippi, Yazoo, or Red rivers, or on the Gulf coast east of the
Mississippi do we know of a tribe whose historical name was received
from foreign sources. The Avoyel are, indeed, sometimes called
by their Mobilian name, Tassenocogoula, and the Siouan Ofogoula
appear to have names derived from Choctaw or Tunica. In the
former case, however, the proper term for the tribe is the one more
often used and that which has survived to later times, while the
proper designation of the Ofogoula has not been replaced but merely
obscured by the addition of a Mobilian ending, okla. The chance
resemblance of Ofo to ofe, which means dog' in Choctaw and Mo-
bilian, apparently led their Muskhogean and Siouan neighbors to
speak of them as the Dog people," but this is an accident not likely
to occur often. The Tunica name U'shpi, on the other hand, is
SSee pp. 262-263.

[BULL. 43


applied but once to the exclusion of Ofogoula, and in the other cases
it appears side by side with that term, being erroneously supposed to
refer to another tribe.
In conclusion we may say that, in the light of the material avail-
able, the only tribes about the linguistic classification of which we
still have some reason to hesitate are the Pascagoula, Washa, Cha-
washa, Okelousa, Opelousa, and Grigra. When all the unpublished
material on early Louisiana has been made public this number will
probably be reduced still further, if it is not entirely obliterated.


The subject of Indian population is one of the most difficult with
which one can deal. In North America the angel of death seems to
have preceded rather than followed the white man, and testimony is
practically unanimous that the aborigines decreased steadily and in
many instances rapidly from the time of their first appearance.
De la Vente says:
Touching these savages, there is a thing that I can not omit to remark to you,
it is that it appears visibly that God wishes thal they yield their place to new
peoples. One lmay learn flroln the most aged that they were formerly incom-
parably more numerous tlani they now are].
The Natchez assure us that they came here to the number of more
than 5,000. The other nations say that many centuries ago they were, some
3,000, others 2,000, others a thousand, and all that is reduced now to a very
moderate number. What is certain is that our people in the six years in which
they have been descending the river know certainly that the number has
diminished a third, so true is it that it seems God wishes to make them give
place to others *.
The reason for it is very clear. It is that, for I do not know how many years,
they have placed all their glory in carrying away scalps of their enemies on
the slightest pretenses. Add to this that the English give [presents] to them
and excite them to make war in order to obtain slaves by it. a
These causes were, however, of less importance than diseases,
neglect of children, and immorality. Iberville, writing in 1700,
mentions a flux of which the savages almost always die," b and
the Luxembourg memoir says:
The women of the Mississippi are fecund, although the country is not ex-
tremely well peopled with savages. The severe way in which they rear their
children makes a large part of then die; and diseases like fever and smallpox,
for which they know no other remedy than to bathe however cold it be, takes
off a great number of them. The girls, although given as they are to their
pleasures, have means of guarding against pregnancy.c
SLetter of De la Vente, Sept. 20. 1704, quoted in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des
Amtr., 15th sess., I, 36-37.
SMargry, Dfcouvertes, iv, 411, 1880.
M Mdmolre sur La Louislane, 138.


Following is a tabular statement of the population of the various

tribes-including the Mobile, Tohome, Naniaba, and Chatot-as given

by different writers and at different periods:

Date. Popula- Fa li

1682 .................

1686 ..... ....99.

1699 ......... .

1700 ...... .. ...---. .

1702 .........----- 1,5
1715 ....... .......

1716 ....... .

1721 .......... ....

1718-26 ....... .........

1722 ........ .......

1729 ..... ... .......
1710 .

1731 .......... .... .

1731 .......... ......

1732 .......... .... ..
















1715 (?)



.......... .... .

.......... .......

.......... I

S 00...

2-3 .......


Natchez ........

a Among Chickasaw alone.
bAmong Creeks.
C With Apalache and Pakana.

es. Warriors. Cabins. References.

... 300(?) ......... Tonti in French, Hist.
Coll. La., 63, 1846.
S 1.500 ...-. Tonti in Margry, D6cou
vertes, IIl, 556.
... ............ 300-400 Iberville, ibid., IV, 179,
.. ...-..-..- 300 De Mlontigny in Compte
Rendu ... Internat
des Amni, I I. sess., 1,

... ............ 400 De ltigny in Margry,
| Dconvertes, IV, 411.
00 ..... ................ l erville, ibid., 602.
... 4,00 .......... Charlevoix in French,
Hist. Coll. La., 162, 1851.
.. +80 .......... IDe Richebourg in French,
list. Coll. La., 2.12, 1851.
2,000 .......... ('lhrlevoix in French,
SHist. C'oll. La., 162, 1851.
1,200 .......... ln Pratz, Hist. de La
Louisiiine i, 223, 1758.
600 .......... Ga varr, Hist. Louisiana,
1, 286.
... 700 .......... Ibid.
:.. U00 .......... Le Petit in Jes. Rel.,
LXVil, 221.
20 ........... Diron d'Artaguette in
(tilynlrr, Hist.Louisiana,
1, 449.
300 .......... I'rrier quoted in Wis.
Hist. Soc. Coll., xvII, 162,
S 100 .......... Charlevoix, Hist. N e w
France, Shea ed., vi, 115,
200-300 .......... Letter from the Court,
ill Wis. Hist. Soe. Coll.,
xvil, 157, 1906.
S al .......... Report of a French cap-
live, in Gayarrd, Hist.
Louisiaina, 1, 465.
b 1.5 .......... Bouquet in.1 elerson, Notes
.. i 04- .
S ,50 .......... II 1 .1 .. ..i- ,, Hl ist.
-1. ..1 .1 r 1, 42,
... ...... ...... Gallatin in Trais. and
Coll. of the Anier. Aitiq.
Soc., 11, 114, 1836.
... +700() ..........Tonti in Margrv, DIcou-
vertes, II, 18,9.
........ ..... .... D Montign in Shea,
Early Voy. Miss., 76.
... 300 120 Iberville in Margry,
Dicouvertcs, IV, 413, 414.
... 2 .......... La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 29,
1 S31
.... 40 St. Cosine in Compte Rn-
S.... Iternat. des
5, \ i .1 1, sess., I, 36.
50 --.. ..... Iberville inl M I r._ry,
Diecouvertes, I .
... ............ 100 Du Pratz, Hist. de La
Louisiane, II, 213.
.............. .......... D'Abbadie quoted in Amer.
SAnLtiq., Sept., 1891.
S 25 .......... Sibley in Ann. 9tl Colg.,
1087, 1852.
+40 .......... Iberville in Margry, Dicon-
vertes, IV, 408, 1880.
40 ......... Bandry de LoziBres. Voy.
a La Louisiane, 249,1802.
... ..... Sibley in An. 9th Cong.,
I 1088, 1852.

Tans ..........

Avoyel ..........



Tribe. Date. Popula Families. W

Bayogoula, in- 1699 ....................
cluding Quini-
pissa or Mugu-
1699 400-500 .............

1699 ....................
1699 .......... .. ..... ...

1700 200 ........

1702 .......... 100 ...

1715 () -- ......

b 1739 .......... ...........
Acolapissa ...... 1699 .......... ..........

c 1758

c 1784
c 1803














107 IbervilleinMargry, D6cou-
vertes, Iv, 171.

100 ..........
......... 100

40 ..........

150 ..........

S.......... ... + 00 ..........
........ 250 ..............

.. ..... ... 000 ..........

.... -7 ......... .. 350 ...........
(0-- -700 ... ..... .. .......... .. .

.- ......... .. .. .. 780
.. 200 60

t270-300 ..... .... 90-100 .......

.......... .. .........

.--- ......... _25 ....... .
60 .......... ........... .........

8S00-900 ......... ............ ..........
......... ......... ... .... ... .. 20(?)

.-..-.-... .......... 130(?) ..........
......... f 20 ............ g 30-40

.. 100 ... .....
......... .. .. ........... f 130

....... .. ......... + 100 ..........

1 30 .. 25 ..........

i +500


tl.... 71i,


.--------- ------.

aThe Mugulasha being destroyed.
SSee lounnii.
With Bayogoula and Acolapissa.
' Exclusive of children.
SA very small per cent Indian blood.
t Pascagoula.

350 ..........

h 10. ..........

Jour. of Le Marin, ibid.,
La Harper, Jour. Hist., 9.
Compete Rendu Cong. In-
ternat. des AmBr., 15th
sess., 1, 36.
Gravier in Shea, EarlyVoy.
Miss., 150.
Iberville in Margry,Ddcou-
vertes, iv, 602.
Baudry de Lozibres, Voy.
A La Louisiane, 247.

Bienville quoted by San-
volle in Margry, D6cou-
vertes, Iv. 449.
La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 14.
Iberville in Margry,Ddcou-
vertes, iv, 602.
Charlevoix in French,
Hist. Coll. La., 177, 1851.

Ibervillein Margry,D6cou-
vertes, Iv, 177.
La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 12.
Jour. of Le Marin in Mar-
gry, Dicouvertes, iv, 270.
Gravierin Shea, Early Voy.
Miss., 143.
Ibid.. 145.
La Harpe in Margry, Dd-
couvertes, vi, 244-245.
Journal of an Officer with
M. de Nouailles, in Clai-
borne, Hist. Miss., 64-66.
De Kerlerec in Compte
Rendu Cong. Internat.
des Am6r..15thsess., 1,75.
Hutchins, Hist Narr., 39.
Jefferson, Account of Loui-
See p. 291.
Sauvolle in Margry, Ddcou
vertes, IV, 451.

La HIarpe, Jour. Hist., 16.
D .. r .11.. ,r. l,. i., ,D cou-
r. i., 1 1i 7.
Ibid., 602.
Du Pratz, Hist. deLa Loui-
siane, II, 214.
De Kerl6rec in Compte
Rendu Cong. Internet.
des AAmr., 15thsess.,, 85.
Sibley in Ann. 9th Cong.,
1085-1087, 1852.
Amer. State Papers, Pub-
lic Lands, II, 794.
Morse, Rep. Sec. War on
Indians, 373.
Schooleraft, iI, 596.
vertes, Iv, 427.
Ibid., 514.
Ibid., 602.
De Kerl6ree in Compte
Rendu Cong. Internal.
des Amr,, 15th sess., 85.

" Biloxi.
h Including the Chatot.
I Including a band of Choctaw.
J 240 Pasagoula ; 70 Biloxl.
S111 Pascagoula ; 65 Biloxi.
S300 Mobile; 300 Tohome,

Houma ..........

Pascagoula, Bi-
loxi, and Moc-
tobi (or Capi-

Mobile, Tohomie.
andr Naniaba.

- - -


Tribe. Date.

Chatot........... 171S-30

a 1758

posa, Ibitoupa,
and Chouli.

\VWashi, ('Cha-

Tunica ..........

Yazoo, Koroni, I

and O()f.






1718 -30


1702 ..........

1715 .-.-. .. ..

1698 k2,OO ......

l10 ;9
1698 ......... ..... .
1700 .... ....
1702 ..........

1719 460 .. .
17 8 ...............

1803 50-60 ......

Ihl5 .......... .. ...

1822 30 ......

1908 5l) ....
1,M ) ---- ----


1700 ..... .... ......

718-26 .......... .....

1722 250 ......
1730 .......... ......
17-58 1 ......




b 70

d 7.


I... .i


Du Pratz, Hist. deLaLoui-
sianc, II, 212-213.

Sibley in Ann. 9th Cong.,
2d sess., 1087.
Morse, Rep. Sec. War on
Indiains, 373.
De Montigny in Compte
Relldu Cong. Internat.
des Ai6r., 15th sess.,l, 36.
Bienville, quoted by De
: -. 1 i. .. .. I .i h ,
D)u Pratz, Hist. de La Loui-
Niane, 11. 226.
La Harpe, Jour. Hist.,311.
lbid., 18.

Ibervil le in Margry, Decou-
\v rtes, IV, 102.
Baudry de Lozieres.Voy.a
La Louisiane,246.
Journal of an Officer with
M. de Noinailles, in Clai-
borne, Hist. Miss., I, 66.
De Kerlerec in ('ompte
1. ..i,. 1 I.. .i 'lar t.
I. ... *i ., 74.
Sibley in Ann. 9th Cong.,
1087, 1852
Doe lontigny in Shea,
Early Voy. Miss., 76,1861.
La Source, ibid SO.
G(ravier, ibid., 133.
Iberville in Margry, Dfcou-
'vertes, iv, 602.
La IIunrle, ibid.,vl, 217.
De Kerleree in Compte
Rendi ., n.... Internal.
des .- ri sess., I,
Jelferson, Account of Lou-
Sibley inl Ann. 9th Cong.,
2d sess., 1086, 1852.
Morse, {Rep. See. War on
Indians, 373, 1822.

.. ............ 0 10-12 Gravier in Shea, Early
Voy. Miss., 133.
j.... ............ Du Pratz, Hist. de La Loui-
1sin II, 226.
-- .. ... ..-... .... La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 311.
... 10 .. Le l'etit ilnJes. Rel., LXVIII,
.. r I .......... De Kerlfree in Compte
R elldn Cong. Internat.
des Am6r., 15th sess., I,

.. r 2 .......... Hutchis, Hist. Narr., 44.


17 ......... e Kerlrec in Co
Renllll Cong. Inte
des Aiiltr.. 15th sess.
1784 .......... ....... .. v2 7 .......... Hutchins, Iist. Narr
1908 1 :50 .......... i ......................
a See Mobile. Tohome. and Nanialia. Including Yazoo and Ofo.
"Exclusive of Ibitoupa (and thoula?)L. i Including Yazoo. Ofo, and Koroa (?).
' hakchiuma. '' In Louisiana alone.
0' Chakhiuma ; 25 Taposa. See under Tunica.
e 150 Chakchiuma; 40 Choula. 30 Yazoo; 10-12 Ofo.
" Ibltoupa. P 100 Yazoo ; 40 Koroa; 60 Ofo.
0 With Okelousa. q Yazoo and Koroa.
* 50 Washa; 40 Chawasna. rOfo.
SChawasha. Those near the Mississippi.
J Washa.

,, i75.
., 39.


[BULL. 43

La Har e Jour Hist


I'ol'i1la- Families. Warriors. Cabins.

... ...... ..........
20 ..........


130 .......... Baudry de Lozieres, Voy.
a La Louisiane, 247.
40.........Sibley in Ann. 9th Cong.,
2d sess., 1086.
.................. Aner. State Papers, Public
Lands, III, 85.
a 10 ........... Ibid., testimony Feb.. 1814.
'50 .......... Sibley in Ann. 9th Cong.,
2d sess., 1086.

a 2 eastern bands.
bIncluding 30 Ilouma and Tunica living with them.

These figures are so fragmentary and conflicting that it is nearly
impossible to base any satisfactory conclusions upon them. A close
examination of the more reliable among them has led the writer to
conclude that on an average two and a half warriors should be allowed
to a cabin and one warrior to every three and a half of the population.
Fortunately, in the case of almost every tribe some one figure occurs
which seems to be approximately correct, and by using this and the
estimates given as guides it is possible to form some idea, although a
very general one, of the numbers of Indians in the region under
consideration at the end of the eighteenth century. The following
table has been constructed in the manner suggested, and is supposed
to apply to about the year 1698, except in the two cases otherwise

Tribe. op a- n Warrior. Cabins.
T~ribe. tionl.

Natchez ............ ................. ................ .............
Taensa ... ...... -. ... -------- --..-----
Avoyel .......................... .........................
Bayogoula and Quinipissa (or Mugulasha).......................
Acolapissa .................- -.. ..............................
Hounla ........ ........... ..- .....----- -.- -.. ...................
Upper Yazoo tribes (Chakchiuma, Taposa, Ibitonpn, an l Choula)..
Washa, Chawasha, and Okelousa .. .....................
Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Moctobi ...................................
Mobile, Tohome, and Naniaba ...................... ... ......
Chatot(in 1720)........ .... ...... ................ ...
Lower Yazoo tribes (Tunica, Koroa, Ofo, and Yazioo) .. .......
Chitimacha....................... .. ................ ---
Atakapa, A kokisa, Bidai, Deadoses, etc.......--. .............
Opelousa (in 1715) ....................... ............. ..........
Total ....... ........... .... .. ............ ........- ..

a400 ('hakehiuma.
140 ('lakehiuma.
5* 5 (Chakehiuma.
S455 1'ascagoula.
e 130 L'ascagoula.

3,500 1,000
S75 250
280 80
875 250
1,1)50 300
1,225 3;50
a750 b 215
700 200
d875 250
1,225 3:50
350 100
g2,450 6 700
2,625 750
3,500 1,000
455 130
20,735 5,925

1 52 Pasnagoula.
S1,.575 Tunica. 112 Yazoo and Koroa, 26,1 Ofo.
S4540 Tunica, 175 Yazoo and Koroa, 75 Ofo.
1 180 Tunica, 70 Yazoo and Koroa, 30 Ofo.

De la Vente's estimate of 5,000 as the ancient strength of the Natchez
when they arrived in the country they occupied in historic times a
would appear to be rather an under than an over estimate, but Mr.
Mooney has suggested that this figure probably refers to the number
of warriors. Such an understanding would be necessary if we would

a See p. S9.


Opelousa --....

Ataktpa .........



c 85
i 280


try to reconcile their claims here with those made to Du Pratz and
other writers. According to the former, they anciently extended
from east to west a distance of more than twelve days' journey, and
fifteen from north to south, and counted more than 500 Suns.a From
this data Du Pratz supposes that they had occupied all of the coun-
try from the Manchac to the Ohio.b On this point Le Petit says:
" In former times the nation of the Natchez was very large. It
counted 60 villages and 800 Suns, or princes; now it is reduced to
6 little villages and 11 Suns." And La Harpe: "According to
their report they had formerly counted 1,900 Suns in their nation
and more than 200,000 persons." d
While such statements have small historic value, there is no doubt
that the Natchez had formerly been a larger tribe than when the
French first met them. In view of the rapid decrease which these
peoples are known to have suffered, it is not at all improbable that
Tonti's figure of 1,500 warriors in 1686( is correct, and that between
this date and 1698 they had lost one-third. An examination of the
later figures for this tribe leads the writer to suggest the following
estimates: 600 warriors and 2,100 people in 1730, 250 warriors and
825 people in 1734, 135 warriors and 470 people in 1800. At the
present time there remains only a small neighborhood and some
scattered individuals in the Cherokee Nation, among whom but four
speak the language. The figures for other, tribes show a similar
though not in all cases as striking a decline.
The following may give a rough idea of their total population at
various periods:
Tainsa, 875 in 1690, 400 in 1730, 100 in 1764, 70 in 1805. Now
Avoyel, 280 in 1098, 140 in 1715, 2 or 3 in 1805. Now extinct.
Quinipissa, practically destroyed in 1700.
Bayogoula, 825 (with Quinipissa) in 1698, 350 in 1702, 140 in 1715.
Fused with Acolapissa and Houma by 1739.
Acolapissa, 1,050 in 1698, 700 in 1722. Fused with Houma by 1739.
Houma, 1,225 in 1698, 700 in 1700, 450 in 1718, 300 in 1739 (includ-
ing the remnants of the two preceding), 180 in 1758, 75 in 1784, 60 in
1804. (See p. 291.)
UTpper Yazoo tribes, 750 in 1698, 250 in 1722. United with Chicka-
saw by 1770.
Washa, Chawasha, and Okelousa, 700 in 1698, 315 in 1715, 100 to
120 in 1739, 60 to 75 in 1758. Now extinct or united with Houma.
Pascagoula, 455 in 1698, 260 in 1720, 150 in 1805, 111 in 1829.
Now extinct.
SDu Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, ii, 338. d La Harpe, Jour. Hist., 29, 1831.
SIbid., 223. e Margry, Dkcouvertes, III, 556.
Jes. Rel., LXVIII, 135.

[BULL. 43


Biloxi, 420 (with Moctobi?) in 1698, 175 in 1720, 105 in 1805, 65 in
1829, perhaps 6 to 8 in 1908.
Mobile and Tohome, 1,225 in 1698, 210 in 1758. Now probably
fused with Choctaw.
Chatot, 300 in 1720, 140 in 1758, 100 in 1805. Now extinct. Morse's
figure, 240 in 1822, must be grossly exaggerated.
Tunica, 1,575 in 1698, 1,000 in 1702, 400 in 1722, 180 in 1758, 60 in
1803, 50 mixed bloods in 1908, including all the scattered remnants.
Yazoo and Koroa, 612 in 1698, 175 in 1722, 150 in 1731. By 1740
fused with Chickasaw and Choctaw.
Ofo, 263 in 1698, 50 in 1722, 45 in 1758, 42 in 1784, 1 in 1908.
Chitimacha, 2,625 in 1098, 700 in 1758, 350 in 1784, 50 in 1908.
Opelousa, 390 in 1715, 120 in 1805, 20 in 1814. Now extinct.
Atakapa, 3,500, with allies, in 1698, 1.750 of whom were in
Louisiana in 1698, 175 in Louisiana in 1805, 9 Louisiana Atakapa in
1908. The other tribes extinct.
These figures must be understood to be simply approximations, and
far from close ones at that. It. is believed that they correctly repre
sent the relative strength of the various tribes, however, and they tell
clearly enough the one story of decline and ultimate extinction.
Aside from the Houmna, who at the present time are almost a new
race, and those bands incorporated into the Choctaw or Chickasaw,
the Indian tribes of the region we are discussing are represented at
the present day by not more than 200 mixed bloods, rapidly verging
to extinction in the surrounding population. Of these, probably not
a quarter are able to use the ancient languages of their people.


The Natchez villages were scattered along St. Catherines creek,
cast of the present city of Natchez, at short intervals. According to
Tonti, it was 3 leagues from the French camp on the Mississippi to
the Natchez village whither La Salle had been invited.a This would
probably be the Great village, which, according to later writers, was
not more than a league from the river, but La Salle's camp, instead of
being at the nearest point on the river, was probably below, near the
mouth of St. Catherines creek. Iberville was told that the Natchez
or Thelol occupied nine villages, whose names were given
him,b and, so far as the number is concerned, this statement is con-
firmed by Penicaut," while De Montigny says ten or twelve." d
Margry, Decouvertes, I, 603.
b Ibid., iv, 179.
c Ibid., V, 445.
a Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Am6r., 15th sess., i, 36.


Thie cabins constituting these villages were so far apart that tile
latter might rather be described as neighborhoods, and in conse-
quence they often covered a considerable tract of country. De la
Vente states that "the Natchez, the Tonicas, the Chattas, the Chica-
chas. etc., are in villages of 6, 10, and as many as 20 leagues,"" while
on the other hand St. Cosine says that the Natchez and the Arkansas
cabins were often a quarter of a league apart."
P6nicaut describes the general location of the Natchez villages in
the following romantic and decidedly exaggerated manner:

The village [meaning either the Natehel, villages collectively or the Great
village] of the Natchez is the most beautiful one can find in Louisiana. It
is situated I league from the shore of the Mississipy. It is embellished with
very beautiful walks, which nature has formed there without artifice. Theie
are prairies around it, ornamented with flowers, cut up with little hillocks,
on which are groves of all kinds of fragrant trees. Many little rivulets of
very clear water come from under a mountain, which appears at 2 leagues
from these prairies, and, after having watered very many places, they unite
into two great rivulets, which pass around the village, at the end of which
they join, to form a little river [St. Calherines., which runs over a fine gravel
and passes through three villages, which are half a league apart, and finally,
2 leagues from there, it falls into the Mississipy. Its water is very agreeable
to drink, because it is cold as ice in summer, and in winter it is tlelid.'

Very curiously, the names of all nine villages are enuminrated but
once, and then by Iberville in the place referred to above on the
authority of a native a year before he had seen one of them. The
names given are as follows: Nach6s, Pochougoula, Ousagoucoulas,
Cogoucoulas, Yatanocas, Ymacachas, Thoucoue, Tougoulas, and
Achougoulas. This information was obtained through the medium
of the Mobilian jargon, and ougoula or oucoula suffixed to five of
the names means people in that language. From this circumstance
Doctor Gatschet has assumed that the rest of each name is also
in Mobilian, and on the authority of Allen Wright he interprets them
Pochougoula, 'pond-lily people,' from Cla'hta pdntrhi. 'pond lily;' Ousa-
goltcoulls, 'hickory people,' from Clih'hfa i's.,sl,. os.s/ak 'hickory; C(ogocoullaes,
* swan people,' from lokc swan; Tougoulas, wood or forest people,'
from ifi, 'wood: .Aclogoilas, 'pipe people,' from asl. inga, 'pipe,' literally,
' e thing they smoke from.' a

These interpretations must be understood as conjectural on Wright's
part. Of the other names Gatschet considers Thoucoue probably
identical with Th6lol and the Thioux of later authors," and notes
that Ymacachas is almost homonymous with the Arkansas village
Iinahao, mentioned above." It is well-nigh impossible, however, that

Letter of Sept. 20, 1704, Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amer., 15th sess., I, 47.
C'ompte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Am6r., 15th sess., I, 48.
"Margry, Dneonvertes, v. 444. 1SS;3.
Gatschet, Creek Mig. Leg., :17, 1884.

[BULL. 43


there cain have been alny connection between the names of a Natchez
and an Arkansas town, nor is the resemblance convincingly close.
Margry notes that instead of Thbloel we should perhaps read Th6coel,
in which case Gatschet's suggestion regarding the identity of Thou-
coue with it becomes rather strong, especially in view of the fact
that the other name for the entire people, Natchez, is also taken from
that of a town. But, if this be the case, it is quite certain that it
does not refer to the tribe of Thioux, or Tioux, a small subject group,
which certainly would not give its name to the entire body. It is
more likely that the Tioux town is represented by the next in the
list, Tougoulas, which would then be translated Tioux people in-
stead of wood or forest people.' Possibly Thoucoue also refers to
the Tioux, but in that case it was not the same as Th6coel. Of the
remaining names with one exception it is impossible to judge of the
interpretations at the present time, especially since the designations
given by later writers differ entirely. The exception is in the case
of the third name on the list. Ousagoucoulas, interpreted as hickory
people,' which is evidently that referred to by M. de Richebourg in
his memoir on the first Natchez war" along with White-earth, and
the village of the (rigra as the village of the Walnuts." The cor-
rectness of Wright's interpretation in this instance seems better as-
sured than in most other cases, because the Natchez and the Choctaw
words for hickory are very similar-aca (Natchez), i'ssak or
o'ssakl (Choctaw). By the first French colonists of Louisiana the
hickory was always called walnut (noyer), although sometimes
distinguished as the white walnut in contradistinction to the
true or black walnut." Therefore de Richebourg undoubtedly
refers to the hickory. Outside of the Tioux village or villages which
seem to have been added to the Natchez nucleus in comparatively
late times, all authors after P6nicaut speak of but five settlements,
of which two were usually on friendly terms with the French,
while the other three, though not always in open enmity, were uni-
formly the authors of disturbances between the two peoples and
ultimately furnished the incentive for the last great Natchez war.
The two first mentioned were the Great village and Flour village,
the three latter, as given by Dumont, the White Apple, or Apple,
village, Jenzenaque or Jansenac, and the village of the Gris.
These three hostile towns are mentioned by De Richebourg under
the names of the village of the Walnuts (or Hickories), White-
earth, and the village of the Grigas." This last is evidently the same
as that of the Gris, and it was occupied by a small -iili..i tribe called
Grigra, probably as Du Pratz says. because they often pronounce
French, Hist. Coll. La., 248, 1851.


these two syllables when they speak together." Wllite-earth has
usually been identified as the White-apple, or Apple village, and if
this is accepted, as seems reasonable under the circumstances,' we
must expect, to find in Jenzenaque the village of the Walnuts or
Hickories. While such appears probable on circumstantial evidence,
the word Jenzenaquc does not resemble the Natchez equivalents for
either walnut' or hickory' (yu''fta, walnut '; a'ca, 'hickory').
Tsi'nits-nA'gi, 'childish,' was the nearest combination of sounds
my Natchez informant could -,i'_-,( for this, but it can hardly be
regarded seriously. The White Apple village and the village of the
Gris can not be satisfactorily identified with any names ill Iber-
ville's list, and the same is true of the Flour village. The native
name of the Great village is never given by later writers, but it was
evidently that originally known as Natchez, the Nach6s of Iberville,
the original significance of which can not now be determined. Gats-
chet's derivation from the Chitinlacha or the Mobilian trade jargon
has no solid basis.


The Natchez, like many other American tribes, impressed travelers
as tall, strong, robust, and "of a proud air." c They are," say;-
PWnicaut, fairly handsome in the face and their women also. They
have rather agreeable voices, not speaking so strongly from the throat
as the other savages." d ('harlevoix remarks: The women are pretty
well shaped for savages, and neat enough in their dress and every-
thing they ldo," and Dumont gives similar testimony. Besides,"
he says:
All these savage women have very well-proportiohed figures and are gener-
:!ly quite agreeablee in appearance, but sole more than others, according to
difference in nationality. Among the Paskagonlas and the Billoxis, for example,
they are very negligent of themselves and are not extremely neat, while [the
women] of the Natchez take very good care of their appearance and pride them-
selves on an extreme cleanliness.f
Du Pratz says:
All the natives of America in general are very well formed. One sees very
few under 5j feet, and many taller. The leg is made as if in a mold. It is
sinewy and the flesh on it is firm. They have long thighs, the head erect
SDu Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 222. Gatschet strives to refer this word to a
French origin, but this seems improbable.
'A village called White Earth is rarely mentioned, but inasmuch as this designa-
tion was subsequently given to one of the two large concessions on St. Catharine's creek
it is possible that it was earlier applied to a village on the same site. In that case
it would have been distinct from White Apple village, which is placed on Dumont's
map higher up near the Grand village. Possibly White Earth was the name of a
chief rather than a village, and this is intimated in one place by Do Richebourg himself.
'See the Luxembourg Msmoire sur La Loulsiane, 1:15, 1752.
d Margry, DL)ouvertes. v, 440.
French, Hist. Coll. La., 165, 1851.
I Dumont, Mem. [list. sur La Louisiane, I, 139, 1753.

[ BLU LL. 43


and a little flat on top. Their features are regular. They have black eyes,
and hair of the same color, coarse and straight. If one never sees those who
are extremely fat, no more does he see those as thin as consumptives. The
men are ordinarily better formed than the women. They are more sinewy and
the women more fleshy. The men are all tall and the women of medium
height, but both are well enough proportioned in figure and height, there being
none, as in Europe, of gigantic stature or as short as dwarfs. I have seen a
single person who was only 44 feet high and who, although well proportioned,
dared not appear among the French until three or four years after their arrival,
and then he would not have done so had not some Frenchmen accidentally dis-
covered him.a
Estimates of Indian character by white men are seldom satis-
factory, being based on the standards current among whites at a
certain place and time or colored by romantic or dogmatic consider-
ations, yet it may be profitable at the outset to quote a few opinions
of early writers regarding the tribe under discussion. It must not
be supposed, however, that we shall find the Natchez much differ-
ent from Indians in other parts of the North American continent.
In fact, as Charlevoix very well remarks, the only striking distinction
was in their social organization and government.
Iberville, whose familiarity with Indians was that of a soldier,
lets fall an opinion of the people in commenting on the great chief
of the Natchez of his time (1700) :
.This chief is a man 5 feet 3 or 4 inches tall, rather thin, with an intelligent
face. He appeared to me the most absolute savage I had seen, as beggarly
as others, as well as his subjects, all of whom were large, well-formed men,
very idle, but showing much friendship toward us.b
Gravier, who descended the river the same year, gives the verdict
of the priest as follows:
The Natches, Mr. St. Cosine assured me, are far from being as docile as the
Tounlka. They practice polygamy, steal, and are very vicious, the girls and
women more than the men and boys, among whom there is much to reform
before anything can be expected of them.0
St. Cosme writes: One is persuaded that they are all thieves and
try only to do harm, and that if they had no fear they would kill a
man in order to get his knife." ,
De la Vente's opinion is more optimistic, however. He says:
It seems to me that there remains yet among these barbarous people ex-
cellent remnants of that beautiful natural law that God engraved on the heart
of men in the state of innocence.e
ITnion reigns to such an extent among them that not only d6es one see no
lawsuit among them, but they even receive in common the outrages perpe-
trated upon a single person and the village, even if it perishes entirely, will
a Du Pratz, Ilist. de La Louisiane, II, 308-309.
'Margry, Decouvertes, Iv, 412, 1880.
c Shea, Early Voy. Miss., 136, 1861.
d Letter of Oct. 21, 1702, in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amer., 15th sess., I,
SLetter of De la Vente, July 4, 1708, ibid., I, 45.
83220-Bull. 43-10---4


perish rather than abandon the quarrels of one of their brothers, however unjust
they may be.
Envy, anger, oaths and pride are unknown among the greater part of them,
and to put everything in a word, they have nothing savage but the name,
since good sense, which is of all places, has been willing to live among tlenm.
* Here is a part of what they have preserved without writings or
reading, without any other thing than what their fathers have left them by
tradition as a heritage of the natural law. "
Their honesty regarding that which one sells to them is inviolable on their
part, and it would be desirable that the French had as niuch good faith in their
trading as they use themselves in what they trade to us.Y
Dumont nowhere takes the trouble to make an estimate of the
character of the Indians, contenting himself with scattered expres-
sions to the effect that all of the Indian tribes, even those supposed
to be on terms of friendship, are utterly perfidious, and that per-
haps not one of the nations of Louisiana can be said to have any
religion or worship." c Du Pratz, who seems to have appreciated the
Indian character best, even to the extent of overestimating it. assures
us that his opinion of Indians when lie first came to Louisiana was
that they were like brute beasts. Having expressed this idea to Bien-
ville one day the governor answered that I did not yet know those
people, and that when I did know them I would do them more justice.'
And he then remarks:
He told the exact truth. I have had time to undeceive myself, and I am con-
vinced that those who would see the true portrait of them which I will make
presently will be convinced with me that it is.very wrong to call men savages
who know how to make such very good use of their reason, who think justly,
who have prudence, good faith, generosity much more than certain civilized
nations who will not suffer themselves to be placed in comparison with them
for want of knowing or wishing to give things the value they deserve.4
It should be noticed that Du Pratz never calls the Indians sau-
vages bnt always naturels."
Farther on he says:
The Natchez nation was one of the most estimable in the colony in the firsc
times, not only according to their own tradition, but also according to those of
other peoples, to whom their greatness and the beauty of their customs gave as
much jealousy as admiration.c
And in another place he remarks of the same tribe, after noting
that the characters of the various nations of Louisiana were different:
Their manners were besides gentler, their way of thinking truer and fuller of
feeling, their customs more rational, and their ceremonies more natural and
more serious, which made this nation more brilliant and distinguished it from
all others. It was indeed easy to recognize that it was much more civilized.f
SLetter of De la Ventc, July 4, 1708, in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amdr.,
15th sess., 1, 46.
bLetter of July 8, 1708, ibid., 45.
SDumont, Mlm. Tist. sur La Louisiane, 1, 135, 157, 1753.
n Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 88.
I Ibid., i, 221.
f Ibid., 308.


But, after all, the final moral estimate of a tribe or nation is a
thing that no other tribe or nation is competent to undertake. It
will be made by different individuals differently, depending on the
standards, environment, and prejudices, or, on the other hand, the
sympathetic appreciation of the person acting as judge.


()n the Indian mode of wearing the hair Dumont says, speaking
They never have any heard nor even the least hair on any part
of the body. which comes from the fact that from their youth they take great
pains to plulck it out. With regard to the hair of the head the men wear it dif-
ferently. according to difference in nationality. Some cut it entirely, leaving
only a tuft on the top of the head in the Turkish fashion. Others cut it on
one side only, on the right or the left, and keep the other side very long. Many
also have the head completely shaved and have only a braided tress which
hangs on each side, and others are clipped like our monks, having only a crown
of short hairs. The women and girls, on the other hand, wear their hair very
thick and very long; moreover, they have no other headdress. They have very
black and beautiful locks and wear them either braided in tresses or bound into
a cue with a belt of that bison hair which I have said to be as fine and soft as
wool. instead of a ribbon. These tresses are ordinarily interlaced by way of
ornament with strings of blue, white, green, or black beads [made of glass],
according to their taste, sometimes also with quills of the porcupine, a kind of
hedgehog larger than that which we know and which is more common in
Ca;lnada tllan in Llouisiana, where I have never seen any.n
I)u Pratz, evidently confining himself to the Natchez, remarks as
The natives cut their hair around, leaving a crown like the Capuchins, and
leave only enough long hair to make a twisted tress no larger than the little
finger, and which hangs over the left ear. This crown is in the same place and
almost as large as that of a monk. In the middle of this crown they leave
about two dozen long hairs for the attachment of feathers.
Although the natives all wear this crown, yet the hair is not removed or
pulled from this place, but it is cut or burned with burning coals. It is not
the same with the hair of the armpits and the beard, which they take great
care to pull out, so that they never come back, not being able to suffer any hair
to appear on their bodies, although naturally they do not have more of it
than we.t
They (the women) wear nothing on their heads; their hair is at full length,
except that in front, which is shorter. The hair behind is fastened in a cue
by means of a netting of mulberry threads, with tassels at the ends. They
take great pains to pull out the hair and leave none on the body except the hair
of the head."

SDumont, M6m. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 136, 137.
b Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 198.
O Ibid., 195.


Regarding their dress generally we read as follows:
The men are dressed in deerskins, which are made like our jackets, and
descend halfway down the thighs. They have breechcloths and mytes a under-
neath, which cover them from the feet to the hips.b
The women are covered with a garment of white cloth, which extends from
neck to feet, made almost like tihe Andriennes of our French ladies. *
The clothing of the girls is different from that of tile women; they wear only
the breechcloth, which is made like the little taffeta aprons which girls in
France wear over their skirts. The ltreechcloths of the girls are ordinarily
made of a fabric of white thread and cover their nudeness only in front from
the belt halfway down the legs. They fasten it behind with two cords, at the
end of each one of which hangs a tassel which falls behind. There are fringes
sewed to the lower part of the breechcloth along the front which hang down to
the ankle. The girls wear this until they reach the age of puberty, for then
they put on the dress of the women.'
Now that the savages have traded with us they leave off as much as they
are able the skins with which they formerly covered themselves. The richest-
that is to say, the mIost skillful hunters-have shirts which they usually wear
on their bodies without ever washing them. Some wear over this shirt one of
the great coverings of which I have spoken when it is cold and go bare except
for their shirts during the hot season. The others, as the chiefs, wear clothing
of cloth of Limboury, which we give them ready made. The modest colors are
not to their taste. No savage in America wears breeches; they content them-
selves with a breechcloth, or with a piece of cloth or skin with which they
conceal what ought to be concealed. They fasten it to the belt in front and
behind. In place of stockings lhey envelop the leg in another piece of stuff,
which they tie under tlie knee, and which is called miitansse. Their shoe is a
piece of skin cut and sewed to the size of the foot. Many women, and espe-
cially those belonging to the chiefs, have skirts and always wear a kind of
skirt which covers them from the waist to the knee. The best clothed have
woolen coverings, the less wealthy have neither shirts nor coverings: they go
naked from the waist up, unless the cold obliges them to cover themselves
with a skin.a
These people go almost naked. The men wear only a kind of belt, through
which they pass a fourth of a piece of red or blue cloth, which in that country
is called Limboury, which serves to conceal their nudity. Sometimes they
employ for the same purpose a piece of linen. This is what they call a brayet.
This cloth, fastened in front to their belt, passes between their thighs and
reaches the same belt behind, where it is also fastened, leaving a rather large
end to hang down behind at the two sides.
With regard to thie women, they have a kind of short petticoat made of an
ell of this same cloth, which reaches the lower leg only and which they call an
alconand. It is never permitted the girls to wear this petticoat so long as they
keep their virginity. It is only after they have lost it, whether through
marriage or otherwise, that they can make use of it. Until that time in place
of this arrangement they wear a kind of net attached to their belt and termi-
nating in a point just like a kind of corps (d''nfant, the two sides of which are
ornamented with ribbons of bass thread, also worked into a netting. From
their belts to their knees hang many strings front the same cord, at the ends of

Perhaps this should be mitasse.s, leggings.
P 1'niranut in Mnargry. DOeouvertes. v, 44(1.
SIbid.. 445-44ti.
d The Luxembourg M6moire sur La Louisiane, 132-133, 1752.


!- 7- i __


a Summer clothing of a Natchez man


_j _._Z


b Winter clothing of a Natchez man

(From Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, ii, 308, 309, 310)

c Clothing of a Natchez woman and girl


which ire attached claws of birds of prey like angl iercelets, hliuzzards, etc.,
which when these girls walk make a kind of clicking, which pleases them. This
sort of ornament does not ill resemble those nets with which our horses are
covered to protect them from the flies."
During the hot season the men wear only a breechcloth (braycr) (pl. 2, a).
This is the skin of a deer dressed white or dyed black, but few except chiefs
wear breechcloths of black skin. Those who are near the French wear breech-
cloths made of Liniboiurg. The latter are made of a quarter of anl ell of cloth,
which, being an ell and a quarter wide. makes a breechclollh five quarters long
by one quarter wide. In this way there is some binding at each end. To
sustain this breechcloth they have a belt about the hips, into which they pass
one end, at a height of 4 inches above the loins. The rest, passing between
the thighs, comes up into the belt next the skin, and the end, to the length of
about a foot and a half, falls back on the thighs. Those who have deerskins
use them ill the same manner. *
SWhen it is cold the men cover themselves with a shirt made of two dressed
deerskins (pl. 2, b), which resembles rather a nightgown than a shirt, the sleeves
having only such a length as the breadth of the skin permits. They also
make a garment for themselves such as the French (call miii i.fiiss, but which they
ought rather to name cuissx(risil, since it covers the Ihighs and descends from the
hips as far as tile region of (lhe millocsinls and11 enters these to the ankles. When
they have red or blue Limboui/ry they lake plea sure ill dressing themselves up,
whether with blankets or moitisi~s.
Over all these, if the cold is a little severe. they wear a bison robe left un-
colored on the side toward the Ilanimal's] flesh, and with the hair left on, which
they place against the body because it is warmer. Iin lhe country where beavers
are found they make robes composed of six skins of these animals. When the
days begin to grow finer and lle cold is no longer so violent. the men and women
cover themselves only with a deerskin dressed while, and sometimes colored
black. There are some of tllese which have daubings ill designs of' different
colors, as in red or in yellow with black lines.
The women in the warm season wear only half an ell of Linmbotrg, with
which they cover themselves. They wind this cloth about their bodies, and are
well covered from the belt to the knees. When they have no more Linmboirg
they employ for the same purpose a deerskin. With women, as with men,
the remainder of the body is uncovered.
If the women know how to work them, Illey make niantles for themselves
either of feathers or of mulberry bark. *
When it is hot, the women wear only a mantle in the shape of a skirt, but
when the cold makes itself felt they wear a second, tlle middle of which passes
under the right arm, the two corners heing fastened on the left shoulder. In
this manner the two arms are free and only one breast is visible. They wear
nothing on their heads (pl. 2, c).
The boys and the young girls are not dressed at all, but when the girls are from
8 to 10 years of age they are covered from tie belt to the ankle with a fringe
of mulberry threads attached to a band which passes under the belly. There
is also another band over the navel, which is joined to the first behind. The
belly between the two is covered with a netting, which holds them in place,
and there are behind only two large cords, each of which has a tassel. The
boys begin to cover themselves only at tle aIge of twelve or thirteen (pl. 2, c).c

a Male birds of prey
b Dumont, Mli6m. Hist. sur La Louisiane, 1:37-1:9, 175:t.
D' u 'Prtz. List. de La Louisiane, In, 190'-197. T11h paragraphs have been reirranged,


The men and women seldom wear moccasins when they are not traveling.
The moccasins of the natives are made of deerskins. They come together
around the foot like a sock, supposing it had the seam above. The skin is cut
three fingers longer than the foot, and the shoe is sewed only to the same dis-
tance from the end of the foot, and all the rest is wrinkled on the foot. The
hinder part is sewed like a sock, but the ifaps are from S to 1) inches high. They
go all the way round the leg. They are joined in front by means of a thong
of bearskin, which extends to the ankle, and thus makes lace boots. These
moccasins have neither soles nor heels. Those of the men and the women are
the same.a
Gravier says, in speaking of the Natchez women, Most of them
have black teeth, which are considered beautiful among them. They
blacken them by chewing the ashes of tobacco mixed with wood ashes
and rubbing them with these every morning."', It is singular that
no other authority appears to have noted this point, except Iberville
in describing the Bayogoula,c but all agree regarding their excessive
fondness for vermilion. Says Dnumont, "All the women of the
savages love vermilion passionately, which they use to Iawttwacic
themselves; that is, to smear not only on their faces, but sometimes on
the upper part of the shoulders and the stomach." This vermilion
was obtained from the French.'" Failing it and, of course, in prilli-
tive times, they went in search of ocher, which they reddened in
the fire.e
The Luxembourg memoir says:
The men and women of the Mississippi paint the face and employ for that
purpose different colors with more sincerity than we. lied, blue, black, and
white enter into the composition of their complexions. Sometimes half of the
face is red or white; another is marked with stripes as broad as the tlimnb
and of opposite colors. In a troop of savages prepared for some ceremony they
are differently daubed. The taste of each is seen and distinguished in the
manner of applying and placing these colors. It has appeared to me that the
most fantastic were among them the most refined: they are not contented with
the face; they paint also a part of the head.f
Although head-flattening is mentioned by all writers, the only
good description of the method in which it wa; brought ahlout is the
following from the Liuxembourg memoir:
They have the head pointed and almost of the shape of a miter.
They are not born so; it is a charm which is given them in early years. What
a mother does to the head of her infant in order to force its tender bones to
assume this shape is almost beyond belief. She lays the infant on a cradle
which is nothing more than the end of a board on which is spread a piece of
the skin of an animal; one extremity of this board has a hole where the head
is placed and it is lower than the rest. The infant being laid down entirely
naked she pushes back its head into this hole and applies to it on the forehead
a )u Pratz. Hist. de La Loulsiane, I1, 194-19.5.
bGravier, Jes. Rel., LXV, 145.
See p. 270.
d Dumont, Mem. tIist. sur La Louisiane, ,, 155.
e )u Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, Ii, 184, 1758.
fl Mmoire sur La Loiisiane, 133-134.
Sf'f. pp. 89-90, 262, 316.


and under the head a mass of clay which she binds with all her strength
between two little boards. The infant cries, turns completely black, and the
strain which it is made to suffer is such that a white, slimy fluid is seen to
come out of its nose and ears at the time when the mother presses on its fore-
head. It sleeps thus every night until its skull has taken on the shape which
custom wishes it to receive. Some savages near Mobile begin to disabuse
themselves, through our example, of a gratification which costs so dear."

)Du Pratz says of the ornaments of men generally:
Tlie ornaments for festivals are il themselves as simple as the garments.
The youths are as vain as elsewhere, and are charmed to vie with one another in
seeing who shall be most dressed up, so much so that they put vermilion on
themselves very often. They also put on bracelets made of the ribs of deer
which they have worked down very thin and bent in boiling water. These
bracelets are as white and as smooth as polished ivory outside. They wear
glass beads in necklaces like the women, and one sometimes sees them with a
fan in tlie hand. They put white down around the head, which is shaved. But
to the little forelock or skein of hair which they leave inll the middle of the
fontanel of the lead they attach tilte whitest straight feathers they can tild.
They do, in short, everything tlat a young head is cnlable of inventing to adorn
The warriors may also have the lower parts of the ears slit, in order to pass
through them iron or brass wire in the form of worm screws, a full inch in
The women ornament themselves with earrings made of tile core of a great
shell called burgo," of which I have spoken. This ear pendant is as large as
the little finger and at least as long. They have a hole in the lower part of
each ear large enough to insert this ornament. It has a head :a little larger
than thlie rest to prevent it from falling out."
Of the use of this shell Dmnont speaks more at length, as follows:
There are found besides on the shores of the sea beautiful shells of a spiral
shape called burgau." They are very suitable for making pretty tobacco
boxes, for they. carry their mother-of-pearl with them. It is of these burgan
that the savage women make their earrings. For this purpose they take the
ends of them and rub them a long time on hard stones and thus give them the
shape of a nail provided with a head, in order that when they put them in
their ears they will be stopped by this kind of pivot, for these savage women
have their ears laid open very mu(hll more than our French women. One might
pass tile thumb, however large, through [the slitl. The savages also wear on
their necks plates about :3 or 4 inches in diameter, made of pieces of this shell,
which they shape in the same manner on stones and to which they give a round
or oval shape. They then pierce them near the edge by means of fire and use
them as ornaulents.G
The Luxembourg memoir thus confirms the above seemingly exag-
gerated statements regarding the size of the apertures made for ear-
rings :

Their greatest ornament consists of bead necklaces of different colors, with
which they load the neck and tie ears, where they have holes, as well as the
a MImoire sur La Louisi.\n. 5 1.i-36.
I)tu Pratz, Iist. de La Louisiane, II, 197-108.
I Ibid., 200 (190).
Ibid., )195 (196).
ie )umont, M1m. Hitst. sur La Louisiane, I, 94-95.


men, large enough to pass an egg through, which the size and weight of what
they put there from infancy greatly enlarges."

The beads spoken of by French writers seem to have been im-
ported, but the imported article probably replaced something similar
made of shell or stone. Of the beads in use in his time Du Pratz

When they have beads (rassade) they make necklaces composed of one or
many rows. They make them long enough for the head to pass through. The
rassade is a bead of the size of the end of the finger of a small infant. Its
length is greater than its diameter. Its substance is similar to porcelain.
There is a smaller one, ordinarily round and white. They valne it more than
the other. There is a blue one and one of another style which is banded
(bardelde) with blue and white. The medium sized and the smallest are strung
to ornament skins, garters, etc."
To this list of ornaments must be added the pearls referred to bv
several writers among both Natchez and Taensa. P6nicaut says of

They have similarly a necklace of fine pearls which they have received from
their ancestors, but they are all spoiled because they have pierced tliemn with
the aid of a hot fire. Two or three are placed around the necks of the infant
nobles when they come into the world; they wear them to the age of 10 and
then they are replaced in the temple.c


The greater part have fantastic marks imprinted on the face, the arms, the
legs, and the thighs; so far as the body is concerned, this is a right which be-
longs only to the warriors, and one must be noted on account of the death of
some enemy in order to merit this distinction. They imprint on the stomachs
of their heroes an infinity of black, red, and blue lines: which is not done without
pain. They begin by tracing the design on the skill, then with a needle or a
little bone well sharpened they prick until the blood cones, following the de-
sign, after which they rub the punctures with a powder of the color that the
one who has himself marked demands. These colors having penetrated between
the skin and flesh are never effaced. (
But the greatest ornament of all these savages of both sexes consists in certain
figures of suns, serpents, or other things, which they carry pictured on their
bodies in the manner of the ancient Britons, of whom Ctsar tells us in his
Commentaries. The warriors, as well as the wives of the chiefs and the Hon-
ored men,e have these figures pictured on the face, arms, shoulders, thighs, legs,
but principally on the belly and stomach. It is for them not only an ornament.
but also a mark of honor and distinction, which is only acquired after many
brave deeds, and here is how these pictures are made: First, in accordance with
the color that is desired, a lman makes either a black mixture of pine charcoal
or, indeed, of gunpowder dissolved in water. or a red of cinnabar or vermilion.
After this five mledium-sized sewing needles are taken, which are arranged on a
little fiat, smooth piece of wood and fastened to the same depth, so tlat one

Almoire sur La Louisiane, 133.
D Iu Pratz, list. de La Louisiane, 11, 195 (196).
'A argry, DPcouvertes, v, 452.
dMemoire sur La Louisiane, 134-135.
SThe term adopted by the writer for the French Considerd.


point does not extend out beyond the others. These needles are then soaked in
the color and moved quickly, being applied lightly to the design, which had before
been traced on the body, and the color insinuates itself between the skin and the
flesh through these needle holes. This operation never fails to give a fever to
those who submit to it, and a mange rises on the skin, which afterward dries
and falls into dust, but the figure imprinted on the flesh through these needle
prickings, whether in red or black, is never effaced. It is carried to the tomb.a
From youth the women have a line tattooed across the highest part of the nose,
some in the middle of the chin from above downward, others in different places,
especially the women of those nations which have an r in their language.
I have seen some of them tattooed over the entire upper part of the body.
Even the breast was tattooed all over, though this part of the body is extremely
sensitive *.b
The youths also have themselves tattooed on the nose, and not elsewhere until
they are warriors and have performed some valorous act. But when they have
killed some enemy and have brought back his scalp, they have a right to have
themselves tattooed and to ornament themselves with figures suitable to the
These tattooings are so much ill vogue among the natives that there are
neither men nor women who do not liave them made. but the warriors especially
have taken no pains to deprive themselves of them. Those whlo have signalized
themselves by some important feat have a war club tattooed on the right
shoulder, and beneath one sees the hieroglyphic sign of the conquered nation.
The others have themselves tattooed each according to his taste. To perform
this operation they attach six needles to a flat piece of wood, well fastened
three by three, so that the points do not protrude more than a lian [beyond
the wood]. They trace the outline of the figure with charcoal or cinders. Then
they prick the skin and when they have done this over a section about two
fingers in length they rub the place with fine charcoal: this powder is pressed
so strongly into the punctures that they never become effaced. However simple
this operation is, it inflames the body considerably, sometimes gives a fever,
and lakes tle tattooed person extremely sick if he is not very careful while
the inflammation lasts to eat nothing but corn, drink nothing but water, and
keep away from womenl.c


Du Pratz describes the Natchez method of making fire as similar to
that in vogue with the great majority of Indian tribes-that is, by
twirling one stick in a small cavity in another. For this purpose he
states that a man took a little dead branch, of the thickness of a finger,
which had dried on the tree, and applied one end to a dead but not
rotted tree, meanwhile turning it violently until he saw a little smoke
come forth. Then collecting in the hole the dust which this rubbing
has produced he blows gently until it takes fire, after which he adds
to it some very dry moss and other inflammable material." ,
a Dumont, M6m. List. sur La Louisiane,, 1, 13-140.
tDu; Pratz. Illst. de La Louisiane, I1, 195l 1;. There is a mistake in numbering the
pages here in the original.
i" lid., lI)S-200. Page 200 is misnumbered 190 in the original
t Ibid., 165.


Du Pratz may also intend to convey the information that flints were
used for this "purpose, but his language is too indeterminate to be
relied upon.'
For axes they employed deep gray stones of fine grain, almost
like touchstone." They were ground down on pieces of sandstone

These stone axes are fully on inch thick at the head [or butt], and half an
inch thick three quarters of the way down. The edge is beveled, but not sharp,
and may be 4 inches wide except that the head is only 3i inches wide. This
head is pierced with a holeb large enough to palss the linger through in order
to be better bound in the cleft at one end of the handle, and this end itself
is well bound so as not to split farther.e
Knives were ordinarily made of a rather small variety of cane.
This was split into four pieces, each of which made a knife that cut
very well for a little while. New ones had to be obtained constantly,
but the canes from which they were manufactured were very common.
Du Pratz says of these:
The canes or reeds of which I have spoken so often may be considered of
two kinds. The one grows in moist places, to a height of 1S to 20 feet and as
large as the fist. The natives make of them nits, sieves, little boxes, and
many other articles. The others, which grow in dry lands, are neither as
high nor as large, but they are so hard tlint these people used split portions
of these canes, which they call conshatc [the lMolilian term, with which to c(.I
their meant before the French brought them knives.''

IHe also states that a kind of meal was obtained from lle larger
variety out of which they made bread or porridge.'1
They make bows of acacia wood which is hard and easy to split. They furnish
them with cords made of the Iark of trees.' They fashion their arrows from
wood of the tree which bears this name and which is very hard. The points are
put into the fire to harden.f
Feathers were fastened to these arrows by means of fish glue.
Arrows for killing birds or small fishes were made out of little pieces
of hard cane, but those intended for tle bison or the tleer were
nrmed witl great splinters of bone adjusted in a split end of the
arrow shaft, the cleft, and the casing being bound with splints of
feathers and the whole soaked in fish glue. War arrows were ordi-
narily varied with scales of the garfish (poisson-iurnm')!' fixed in place
in the same manner. Arrows intended for large fish, such as the carp
sucker or catfish, were merely provided with a bone pointed at both
ends so that the first point pierces and makes an entrance for the

u Pratz, Hist. de La Lo uisiano 1, 135.
bProfessor liolmes says, however, that among the archeologiatl remains of America no
ax of this kind has been found.
)Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 166.
Ibid., 5,S-59, 11 7.
e Also of steeped and iwistld sinow.
l i Pratz, Ilist. de La L_-uisiane, 1, 167.
o In Ibid. l, i, le says lthe tail of the 2arflsh.

[BUrLL. 48


arrow, and the other end, which stands out from the wood, prevents
the arrow from falling out of the fish's body." This arrow was also
attached by a cord to a wooden float which prevented the fish from
diving to the bottom or becoming lost."
Their houses are described as follows:

[The cabins] of the Arkansas and of the Yazoos are quite round and have
almost the shape of our ice houses (glacidrcs). They are constructed of large,
long poles planted in the earth about 2 feet apart in a great circle 40 to O5
feet in diameter which approach each other above, where they are brought
together and tied, forming a kind of dome. Around these poles the savages
plait pliant pieces of wood arranged horizontally at vertical distances of about a
foot which they attach with cords from pole to pole. Afterward, kneading well
with their feet some clay which they nix with that kind of moss of which I
ilave spoken, which is called Spanish beard," they make a mud with which
they plaster their cabins, which, when this work is finished, appear as if
built entirely of earth. They are then covered with the bark of the cypress
or with palmetto. Such are the houses of the savages in which one discovers
neither windows nor chlimneys but only a narrow door 5 feet high. There are
also some square cabins in which many holes hane been pierced at regular
intervals. These are something like loopholes, serving to discover the enemy
and to shoot through. From this circumstance these cabins have been called
" fort cabins." It is probably to protect themselves from the mosquitoes and
gnats (Tiaringouins) that the savages do not leave any openings in their cabins.
Moreover, as it is in the middle of the cabins that they make the fire, it hap-
pens that the smoke rising and not finding any exit, after having filled the
dome, spreads into the entire cabin and goes out by the door, so that on enter-
ing one at first sees nothing and is stifled with smoke. In summer and when
the weather is fine the fire is made in front of the cabin outside.b
The cabins of tie great village of the Natchez, the only one I saw. are in the
shape of a square pavilion, very low, and without windows. The top is rounded
much like an oven. The majority are covered with the leaves and stalks of
corn; some are built of clay mixed with cut straw, which seemed to me to be
tolerably strong, and which were covered within and without with very thin
imats. That of the great chief is very neatly plastered on the inside. It is also
larger and higher than the rest. placed on a somewhat elevated spot, and stands
alone, no other building adjoining it on any side. It fronts the north and has a
large open space in front, not of tlie most regular oultline.C
The cabins of the natives are all perfectly square. There is not one which
measures less than 15 feet each way, but there are some more than 30.a This
is their method of constructing them :
The natives go into the young woods in search of poles of young walnut
(hickory) trees 4 inches in diameter by 18 to 20 feet long. They plant the
largest at the four corners to determine the dimensions and the size of the
(dome. But before planting the others they prepare the scaffold (rafters).
This is composed of four poles fastened together above, the ends below resting
at the four corners. On these four poles they fasten others crosswise 1 foot
apart, all making a four-sided ladder or four ladders joined together.

a Du Iratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, T. 117-108.
i Dumont, 31m. List. sur La Louisiane, 1, 142-144.
e Charlevoix in French, Ilist. Coll. La., 159-160, 1851.
a Elsewhere he gives the dimensions of the great chief's house as 30 feet square by
abont 20 high.


That done they plant the other poles in the earth in straight lines between
those at the corners. When they are thus planted they are bound firmly to a
cross pole on the inside of each face [or side]. For this purpose they use
great cane splints to bind them, at the height of 5 or 6 feet, according to the
size of the cabin. This is what forms the walls. These erect poles are not
more than about 15 inches apart. A young ian then nlounts to the top of a
corner post with a cord between his teeth Ie fastens the cord to the pole, and
as he mounts inward the pole bends because those who are below draw the cord
to make the pole curve as much as is needed. At the same time another young
man does the same to the pole forming the angle opposite. Then the two poles
bent to a suitable height, are firmly and smoothly bound together. The same is
done to the poles of the two remaining corners which are made to cross the first.
Finally all the other poles are joined at the top, giving the whole the appearance
of a bower in a greenhouse such as we have in France. After this work canes
are fastened to the lower sides or walls crosswise about 8 inches apart, as high
il) as the pole which I have spoken of as determining the height of the walls.
These canes being fastened in this manner, they make inud walls of earth
mortar (morticr d(1 tcrrc) in which they put a certain amount of Spanish
beard. These walls are not more than 4 inches thick. No opening is left
except the door, which is but 2 feet wide at most by 4 in height, and some are
very much smaller. Finally Ihey cover the framework I have just described
with cane mats, placing the smoothest on ilhe inside of the cabin, and they
fasten them to each other carefully i'o that they join well.
After this they make many bundles of grass, of the tallest they can find in the
low grounds, which are 4 or 5 feet long. It is laid down in the same manner
as the straw with which cottages are covered. They fasten this grass by means
of large canes and splints also made of cane. After the cabin has been covered
with grass they cover all with cane nmats well bound together, and below they
make a circle of lianas all the way around the cabin. Then the grass is
clipped uniformly, and in this way, however high the wind may be, it can do
nothing against the cabin. These coverings Ilst twenty years without repairing."
When out hunting, rough brush shelters were erected, closed on
the north side on account of the cold." The furniture of even the best
of these cabins was evidently very simple, since Charlevoix says of
the cabin of the great chief of the Natchez himself: "All the furniture
I found in it was a narrow couch of boards raised about 2 or 3 feet
above the ground."'' This, however, would mean nothing more than
that the couch was the only immovable piece of furniture, since the
town was deserted at the time of Charlevoix's visit, all the people
having gone to a feast at another place. The beds are described by
Dumont and Du Pratz as follows:
Around these cabins are ranged at regular intervals the beds of all those who
dwell there. These beds are neither turned nor polished. They are only four
forked posts planted in the earth and raised about 2 feet, on which are placed
lengthwise, two round poles which with five or six crosspieces make the length
and breadth of the bed such as is desired. These crosspieces are covered with
a mat made of long green canes, and this is what the bed of a savage consists
of, without clothing, without mattress, or feather bed. On this cane mat is

ST) PraItz, Hist. de La T.onisinne. 172-175
b* l id., 1, 2:14-235.
I French, Hist. Coll. La., 160, 1851.


spread either a woolen covering which has been obtained from the French or,
failing that, a bison skin. Two of these skins are enough covering for one
savage. He lies between them, in winter between the hairy sides and in sum-
mer between the sides without hair."
These beds are raised a foot and a half from the earth. Six small forked
sticks planted in the soil bear two poles crossed by three pieces of wood, on
which they place canes so near each other that this kind of flooring which
forms the straw mattress is very smooth and well bound to the three pieces
of wood that cross the two poles. The furnishings of these beds consist of
some bearskins. A skin filled with dry Spanish beard takes the place of a
bolster. A bison robe is sufficient covering in a place as close as are their
cabins, in the middle of which the fire is made, and the smoke goes out partly
by the door, partly through the roof, though with difficulty. The beds are
arranged end to end all around the wall of the cabin.b
In the account of the Natchez given by Le Petit one or two addi-
tional items of information are contained. In speaking of the cabin
of the great chief, he says:
There are in this cabin a number of beds on the left hand at entering, but
on the right is only the bed of the great chief, ornamented with different painted
figures. This bed consists of nothing more than a very hard mattress of canes
and reeds with a square log of wood, which serves as a pillow.c
When out on a hunt or traveling, the ordinary Natchez bed con-
sisted of nothing more than a deerskin and a bison robe.d
Another article of furniture is thus referred to:
The natives have small seats or stools on which they sit. I do not know
whether they made use of them before having our axes. 1 much doubt it when
I consider their small inclination to sit on them. These seats are only 6 or 7
inches high. The feet and tie seat are of the same piece."
Nevertheless the manufacture of a peculiar chair of this kind by
Indians in imitation of the French seems rather unlikely, especially
when we remember that one of them formed the throne of the Great
Mats are ordinarily 6 feet long by 4 broad and are worked in designs.
The gloss of the canef yellows in aging. There are those the designs of which
besides being indicated by difference in workmanship are marked by splints
colored some in red, some in black, making three different colors in these mats.9
These were used to sit or lie upon, and the beds were covered with
them. When the chief of the Tainsa came to visit La Salle a servant
brought a beautifully woven mat in advance for him to sit upon
during the interview."

SDumont, Mdm. Hist. sur La Louisiane, 1, 144-143.
SDu Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 181-182.
c Jes. Rel., LXVIII, 127.
d Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 235, 236.
e Ibid., n, 182.
r For the kind of cane used see p. 58, under Knives.
a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 182-183.
A Margry, Decouvertes, II, 210.


With the skin which they take from the upper part of the canes they make
very fine sifters (tatis). They also make some with larger openings which
serve as sieves (cribl's), and they work others without openings which take the
place of winnowing baskets (ran). They sell these little pieces of work to the
French, who obtain them for trifles. They also make hampers (panicrs) worked
very neatly, and baskets for corn.a
To finish off the grain after it has been crushed, there is need of sifters,
sieves, and winnowing baskets. These are made of cane splints. The sifters
are tiner or coarser, according to the nse to which they are destined.b
The women also make varieties of burden baskets for carrying grains, meat,
fish, or other provisions which they have to transport from one place to another.
The French have named them manncx, although they rather resemble mannc-
quins. They are round, with a depth greater than the diameter, and as large
below as above. They make them of all sizes. The medium sized are for the
young girls. There are very little ones for gathering strawberries.
The women of these countries, as of other regions, need to protect their jewels
and all that contributes to ornament their persons. For this purpose they
make double baskets, or those which have no reverse (one basket fitting into
another). The cover is large enough to inclose all the lower part. and it is
into these that they put their earrings, bracelets, garters, beads, hair ribbons,
and vermilion (or ocher) to paint themselves.c

Du Pratz describes the process of manufacturing pottery as taking
place at an imaginary previous period, when the people first came
from Asia, but it is perhaps what he had seen going on before hinm,
and with the tense altered runs as follows:
They go in search of heavy earth, examine it in the form of dust [i. e., before
it had been wet throwing out whatever grit they find, make a sufficiently firm
mortar, and then establish their workshop on a flat board, on which they shape
the pottery with their fingers, smoothing it by means of a stone which is pre-
served with great care for this work. As fast as the earth dries they put on
more. assisting with the hand on the other side. After all these operations, it is
cooked by means of a great fire.
These women also make pots of an extraordinary size, jugs with a medium-
sized opening, bowls, two-pint bottles with long necks, pots or jugs for bear's
oil, which hold as many as 40 pints, also dishes and plates like the French. I
have had some made out of curiosity on the model of my earthenware. They
were of a quite beautiful red."
In another place he says that the red color was due to ocher ob-
tained from veins in a bluff called the White Bluff (l'Ecore Blanc).
This was smeared on the pots before they were hardened, and dried
over the fire.
Says Dumont:
What is more remarkable is that without a potter's wheel, with their fingers
alone and patience, they [the women] make all kinds of earthen vessels, dishes,
plates, pots to put on the fire, with others large enough to contain 25 to 30 pots
of oil.a

a Dumont, Mom. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 154.
Du Prniz, Ilist. de La Louisiane, II, 179.
Ibid., 183-184.
d Ibid., 178-179.

L[BULL. 43


The mantles referred to in describing the dress of women are
usually spoken of as being made of mulberry bark, but P6nicaut men-
tions the bark of the nettle also.
When they have steeped these harks in water for eight days (he says) they
dry them in the sun for a very long time, and when they atre dry beat them until
they have changed into bast. Then they put them in lye and wash them three
or four times until they are white. Then they spin them and make of them the
cloth out of which they manufacture their clothing."
The following is I)n Pratz's description:
To make mulberry-bark mantles they go into the woods in search of shoots
or sprouts of mulberry which come from these trees after they have been cut
down. The shoots are from 4 to 5 feet high. They cut them before the sap is
gone, take oft the 1ark, anld dry it in the sun. When this bark is dry they
pound it to make thle gross part fall away. The interior, which is like bast, re-
mains entire. This they pound anew,-to make it tiner. They then expose it to
the dew, in order to bleach it.
When the aIrk is iln this state they spin it roughly, like shoemaker's thread
or thread for sewing shoes. They cease to spiln as soon as they have enough
of it. Then they set upl their frame, which consists of two stakes extend-
ing 4 feet out of the ground. betwenll the tops of which runs a large thread
on which other threads are double knotted. Finally they make |weave] a
crossed texture, which has a border worked in patterns extending all the way
around. This stuff is at least an, ell square mid a1 line in thickness. The man-
tles of mulberry-bark thread are very white and very neat. They are fastened
on by ineans of cords of tihe same thread, havillng tassels lillngilig at each en(d.b
We find the following regarding feather work:
With the thread whih thliey obtain from tilhe barlk of the bass tree c they make
for themselves :a kind of mantle which they cover witth the finest swan feathers
fastened on this cloth one by one, a long piece of work in truth, but they
account their pains and time as nothing when they want to satisfy themselves.1
The feather mantles are worked onil a frame similar to that on which wig
makers work hair. They lay out the feathers in the same manner and fasten
them to old fish nets or old mulberry-bark mantles. They place them in the
manner already outlined one over :another and on both sides. For this purpose
they make use of little turkey feathers. The women who can obtain feathers
of the swani or Indian duck make mtantles of them for the women of the Honored
The last writer also states that the feather crowns of the sovereigns
were composed of swan feathers, and that the young people of both
sexes make tippets of the skin ornamented with its down." f
Dumont adds that with the tail feathers of turkeys which they
know how to arrange they make fans, which not only serve them,
but which our French women themselves do not disdain to use," a
statement also made by Du Pratz.

MAargry, li"'onverit's, s v. 446.
l)u 1'ratz, Hist. de( La Louisiane, II, 192-193.
Ropes and cords for all sorts of purposes were made out of the bark of this tree.
Dumont, Mmn. List. sur La Louisiane. 1. 155.
Du I'ratz, Hist. de La Louisiano, 11, 191-192.
f Ibid.. 1I..
0 Dumont. MSm. Hist. sur La Louisiane, 1, 154.
D Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, 1I, 125.


Regarding another industry Duinont says: Tlhey also spin without
spinning wheel or distaff the hair or rather wool of the bison, of
which they make garters (jarreti/dc's) and ribbons."a The belts worn
by men, which Du Pratz refers to as having been manufactured by
the women, were probably of the same material,/ though in another
place he refers to the fur of the opossum (" wood rat ") as being spun
and used to make garters, which they afterwards dye red." c
The best account of the manner of dressing skins is by Dumont,
and is as follows:

When they have the skin of a bison, deer, or other animal they begin by
making many holes all around it with a knife, after which they steep it ili water
for two or three days. Then they stretch it on a wooden framne where they
fasten it with cords, binding it strongly, and they make the hair fall from it.
Afterward they rub and scrape this skin. in order to soften it, with a flint
which has been forced into a cleft in one end of a stick of wood, and in order
to make it soft and white they make use of the cooked brain of a deer. After
this operation the skin is as soft and as white as our calf or sheep skins can
be made. It is oil the skins thus dressed that they daub or paint all kinds
of figures, the designs for which they trace in accordance with their fancy,
employing for these paintings red, yellow, black, green, blue, without making
use of oil to dilute the colors, but only of the glue which they extract from
these samnl skins. T11i skins thus daubed serve the French as coverings for
gaming tables. The savages also have sufficient skill to dress and prepare
bison skins in tile same manner on one side only, carefully preserving the lalir
or wool on the other. These latter serve as bed quilts and are very warm. It
is also in the skins dressed in this manner that the savages lie, as I have said,
during the winter, and I can certify that they are fully as good as a good
It is true that although these are well dressed and very white they can not
le wet, for as soon as they are wet when they afterward dry they shrink in
such a manner that neither leggings. nor stockings without feet, nor shoes,
drawers, or other kind of clothing can le made of them. In order to make use
of them for these purposes it vwoul1I he necessary for them to le dressed with
oil, but the savages do not know how. They have only discovered how to make
them supple, and here is the way they do it:
They first dig a hole in the earth about 2 feet deep, having at the top a
diameter of 6 inches and a little less toward the bottom. They fill this hole with
cow dung, rotted wood, and maize ears and place over it two rods in the shape
of a cross, the four ends of which are planted in the earth so as to form a
kind of cradle on which they stretch the skin which they wish to tan. They
then set fire to the combustible substances in tlle hole and fasten the skin
down all around by means of many little pegs which they plant in the earth
and which hold it. Then they cover it with earth above and along the edges,
so as to close the passage to the smoke. Then, the materials in tle hole becom-
ing consumed without throwing out flame, the thick smoke which comes out of
it, especially owing to the cow dung, not finding any exit. attaches itself to the
skin, which it boucancs (smoke dries) and dyes it of a yellow color. After this
first dressing, it is turned on the other side and a second given to it. and when
a Dumont, Mem. IIist. sur La Louisiann I, 154-155. For Du Pratz's reference to this
see p. 86.
bDu Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, 11, 184.
C Ibid., 94.

[ULLL. 43


it is thus prepared it may be used for all kinds of purposes. However much
it is washed or lathered, provided one takes the precaution to let it dry in
the shade, it never hardens and is always as soft and supple as chamois. Our
Frenchmen make very neat drawers and vests of it, and the voyagcurs leg-
gings or stockings without feet, as well as a kind of shoe very much like our
pumps, with the only difference that it is folded on the foot and shuts together
like a purse. These are proof against canes and roots, but would be of little
use on our roads paved with pebbles and gravel.a
Du Pratz is very brief but to the same general effect, so far as the
preliminary dressing is concerned. He says that the hair was made
to fall off by soaking and the skin afterward scraped with the flat-
tened bone of a bison, after which each animal was dressed by means
of its own brain. He also speaks of skins being dressed with the
hair on, out of which particularly robes or coverings were made.
" For sewing these skins," le adds, they make use of sinews beaten
and spun. For piercing the skin they employ a bone from the leg
of the heron sharpened in the form of an awl." I
The skins of deer, which were purchased in early times from the natives
and which take at Niort, where they are perfected, the name of doeskins, did
not please these manufacturers at all, because the natives changed the quality
of the skins in dressing them, but since these skins have been demanded with-
out any preparation except the removal of the hair, they take more of them
and give them to a better market than before.c
One special use to which skins were put was in the manufacture of
burden bearers.
Du Pratz says:
These are formed of two hands of bearskin worn with the white side
out. These bands are of the breadth of the hand and are joined together by
means of little straps of the same quality of skin. These straps are long enough
to fasten burdens to, which they (the women) carry much more often than the
men. One of these bands passes over the shoulders, embraces them, and holds
them tight. The other passes over the forehead and supports it (the burden)
in such a manner that they relieve each other."
Besides painting skins in different colors the native women often
ornamented them with porcupine quills.
For this purpose they take off the quills of the porcupine which are white
and black.e They split them fine enough to use in embroidery. They dye a
part of the white red. another part yellow, while a third part remains white.
Ordinarily they embroider on black skin, and then they dye the black a reddish
brown. But if they embroider on the tree bark the black always remains the
Their designs are rather similar to some of those which one finds in Gothic
architecture. They are composed of straight lines which form right angles
Dumont, M6m. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 146-140.
I Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 169.
r Ibid., III, 378, 379.
d Ibid., II, 184.
1 In ibid., 09, he says white and brown."
83220-Bull. 43-10- 5


where they meet, which a common person would call the corner of a square.
They also make designs of the same style on the mantles and coverings which
they fashion out of mulberry bark.'
In another place Du Pratz describes the manufacture of their red
and yellow dyes as follows:
The bois-ayac is a tree which is ordinarily small and does not grow larger
than the leg. perhaps because it is cut very often. The natives use it in
making [yellow] dyes. They cut it into little bits, crush it, and then boil it in
water, after which they drain olf this water and put the feathers and hair, which
they customarily dye yellow before dyeing it red, into this to steel). In perform-
ing this operation they take care to cut the wood in winter, but when they wish
to give only a slight color to their skins, for they are not very fond of yellow,
they pay no attention to the season and cut tie wood at all times.b
It is of the root of this plant (rcihctcliy) that the natives make their red dyes.
After having dyed an object yellow and a beautiful citron color with bois-ayac,
as I have said before, they boil the roots of the achctclh in water and squeeze
them with all their strength. Then they steep what they wish to dye in this
boiling water. What was naturally white before having been dyed yellow takes
on a beautiful poppy color, and what was brown, as bison hair, which is chestnut
colored, becomes red-brown.c
The only canoe in common use on the lower Mississippi was the
dugout, called by the French pirogue. The manufacture of these
required single trees of enormous size, which demanded great skill
and patience even to cut down. This is said to have been accom-
plished as follows:
These nativel axes could not cut wood neatly, but only bruise it.
For this reason they always cut a tree close to the ground so that the fire that
they built at the foot of the tree would more easily consume the filaments and
fibers of the wood which the axe had mashed. Finally, with much trouble and
patience, they managed to bring the tree down. This was a long piece of work,
so that in those times they were much busier than at present, when they have
the axes we sell them. From this it happens that they no longer cut a tree
down at the base, but at the height which is most convenient."
After having felled the tree, which for this purpose was usually a
cypress, but in the case of very large canoes poplar was used, it was
cut off to the required length in the same manner, and fire was also
used in hollowing it out. Du Pratz says:
This occasions them an infinite amount of labor, since they have no other
utensils in this work than wood for making fire and wood for scraping, and
only small wood is required to burn. In order to set fire to this tree destined
for making a pirogue, a 1pad of clay, which is found everywhere, has to be
made for the two sides and each end. These pads prevent the fire from passing
beyond and burning the sides of the boat. A great fire is made above, and when
the wood is consumed it is scraped so that the insides may catch fire better
and may be hollowed out more easily, and they continue thus until the fire
has consumed all of the wood in the inside of the tree. And if the fire burns
into the sides they put mud there which prevents it from working farther than

a Du Pratz, Ilist, de La Louisiane, II, 00-100, 184-185. c Ibid., 63.
SIbid., 44-45. d Ibid., 166-167.

[BULL. 43


is demanded. This precaution is taken until the pirogue is deep enough. The
outside is made in the same manner and with the same attention.
The bow of this pirogue is made sloping, like those of the boats which one
sees on the French rivers. This bow is as broad as the body of the pirogue.
I have seen some 40 feet long by 3 broad. They are about 3 inches thick
which makes them very heavy. These pirogues can carry 12 persons and are
all of buoyant wood. Those of the Arkansas are of black walnut.
To guide these pirogues the natives make little oars, which are not fastened
to the boat. They are called paddles (pagaies). They are similar to those
given in illustrations, where they are placed in the hands of river gods when
they are represented. They are only 6 feet long. The French make them only
an inch thick, and they are infinitely lighter.a
The raft (cajeu) was a temporary ferry used in crossing rivers or
bayous lying in the way of a party traveling across country. It is
thus described by Du Pratz:
It (the rafi) is a float composed of bundles of canes bound side by side then
crossed double [i. e., a second tier being placed at right angles crosswise].
Travelers employ these vessels in crossing rivers. They are made on the spot
when one encounters a river. This happens only to those who travel far away
from the habitations of the natives, and when one does not go by water. In
all Louisiana one is always assured of having continually at hand something
with which to cross a river because canes are found very near the water.1
Mortars for pounding corn were hollowed out of sections of trees
in very much the same manner as canoes. They-
made a pad of kneaded earth on the upper side, which was that which they
wished to hollow. They put fire in the middle and blew it by means of a reed
pipe, and if the fire consumed more rapidly on one side than on the other they
immediately placed some mud there. They continued in this way until the
mortar was sufficiently wide and deep.c


The principal animals hunted were the bear, deer, and bison. Re-
garding the bear, Dumont says:
The savages feed willingly on the flesh of this animal, but for that purpose
it must be thin. In any other condition only the four feet can be eaten. The
rest is nothing but fat. *
In this province of Louisiana instead of caverns these animals choose
hollows of trees into which to retreat, on which point it may be observed that
these domiciles are raised more than 30 or 40 feet above the earth, and that
two bears never lodge there together. Toward the end of March or the begin-
ning of April. before quitting their retreat, the females of these animals bear
their little ones. They are then not at all thin in spite of their long fast, and
it is in this season that the natives pay them a visit, either to capture their
cubs or to make use of their fat. In order to discover them, they go through
the woods examining whether on the bark of the trees they notice the imprint
of this animal's claws. When they have found one that bears these marks they
do not yet content themselves with this indication, and in order to assure

a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 188-189. b Ibid., 186-187. Ibid., 177.


themselves so much the more they imitate the cry of the bear, which is that of
a little child. The mother bear, hearing a cry at the foot of her tree and
thinking that it is one of her little ones that has suffered itself to fall down,
puts her head outside of the hole and thus discloses herself. Then the
savages, sure of their prey, prepare to dislodge her, but how is it to be accom-
plished? To uproot a large and tall tree or cut it down with axes would be too
long an operation. They have a more expeditions method. Here it is.
They first choose tie nearest tree they can lind to that where the animal has
made its retreat, after which one of them clinmbs into this tree, and seats him-
self astride a branch of the height, if it is possible, of the opening of the bear's
hole. Then his comrades wiho are below place in his hands a large cane 25 to 30
feet long, at the end of which is attached a creeper or a string. At the
extremity of this creeper or string the savages tie some dry canes to which
they set tire, and the one who is on the tree swinging the cane throws the fire
into Ihe hole which serves the animal as a retreat. If he is unable to succeed
in this manner he fastens a little string to the end of an arrow and to this
string a piece of tinder, a kind of touchlwood (iladloil), which he lights, after
which lie shoots the arrow into the hole. 'The tinder, which is then sus-
pended perpendicularly in the middle of the hole, takes fire little by little,
burns the string to which it is tied, and falls on the animal, which in moving
about to shake it off sets fire to the srraw, the dry grass, or the rotten wood
with which its dwelling is ordinarily provided. Then the female bear, not being
able to endure the ardor of this element, determines to move, which it does
backward, descending sedately and showing from time to time its teeth and
tongue, which is of a most beautiful scarlet. it is not given time to descend
far enough to place its feet on the ground. While it is on the way it is knocked
down or shot. Of its little ones some. wishing to imitate their mother, follow
her and descend after her, but scarcely have they reached a height from the
ground equal to that of a man than they are seized ann a cord is passed around
their necks. It is thus that they are tanellc otIers in trying to save them-
selves hold to the branches of the trees, where they are shot.a

Du Pratz covers the same ground, but with certain variations:
After a sojourn of some time in the country and, having found fruits in
abundance, the bears are fat, and it is then that the natives go to hunt them.
They know that in this state the bears place themselves under cover-that is to
say, settle themselves in Irunks of old dead trees still standing of which the
heart is rotted. It is there that the bear lodges himself. The natives make a
tour through the woods and visit trunks of this kind. If they notice claw
marks on the bark they are assured that a bear is lodged in this place.
However, not to be deceived in their conjectures, they strike a very heavy
blow on the foot of the trunk and then run rapidly away to conceal themselves
behind another tree opposite the lowest of the bear's openings. If there is a
bear in this tree he hears the blow which makes the trunk tremble. Then he
mounts as far as the opening to see what importunate persons come to trouble
his repose. He looks at the foot of his fortress, and not perceiving anything
thdre capable of interrupting him returns to the bottom of his dwelling, dis-
pleased no doubt at being disturbed by a false alarm.
The natives having seen the prey which they are persuaded is not able to
escape them, collect dead canes which they crush with their feet so that they
may burn more easily. Then they make a bundle of them which one carries up
into the nearest tree together with fire. The others place themselves in ambush

a Dumont, MCm. Hist, sur La Louisiane, I, 76-80.


on other trees. The one who has the fire lights one of these pieces of cane and
when it is burning well throws it like a dart into the hole of the bear. If he
does not succeed the first time he begins again until the bear is forced to come
out of his refuge. When there is enough tire in the trunk to light the rotten
wood within it the bear, who is not a lover of such a lively heat, comes out back-
ward and abandons his home to the ardor of the flames. Then the hunters, who
are all ready. shoot arrows at hin ais fast as possible, and with so much
promptness that lie is often killed before he has been able to reach the foot of
the trunk.
This chase is very useful, for besides the flesh, which is very good and very
healthful, the skin andl the fat, front which oil is extracted, are of great us(,
much value being placed on them, for both are of daily use.
As soon as the bear is in the power of the hunters some persons detach them-
selves to hunt deer, and never fail to bring back one or two.
When they have a deer they begin by cutting off its head, then skin the neck,
rolling the skin as one would a stocking, iand cut up 111e flesh ald bones as fast
as they advance. This operation ca'n not fail to lie laborious because it is neces-
sary to take out all the llesh and the bones through the skin of the neck in order
to make a sack of this skin. They cut it as far as the hams and other places
where there are outlets. When the skin is entirely empty lhey scrape it and
clean it. Then they make a kind of cement will the fat of the same deer and
a few fine ashes. They put it around the oritices which they close very tightly
with the bark of the bass tree and leave only the neck through which to cask the
bear's oil. It is this which the French call a falon of oil. The natives put the
flesh and the fat to cook together so that they nmiy detach themselves from each
other. They do this cooking in earthen pots of their own manufacture, or in
kettles if they have them. When this grease or oil is lukewarm they put it into
the faon.
They come to trade this kind of oil to the French for a gun or ell of cloth or
similar things. That was the price of a fico, of oil at the time I lived there.
But the French use it only after having purified it."

This is the manner of hunting deer, as described by Dumont:

When a savage has succeeded in killing a deer he first cuts off its head as
far down as the shoulders. Then he skins the neck without cutting the skin,
and, having removed the bones and the flesh from it, lie draws out all the
brains from the head. After this operation lie replaces the bones of the neck
very neatly and fixes them in place with the aid of a circle of wood and some
little sticks. Then lie re-covers llenm with their skin, and, having dried this
head partly in the shade and partly in the smoke, he thus has an entire deer's
head, which is very light, and which with its skin preserves also its hair, its
horns, and its ears. He carries it with him hung to his belt when he goes hunt-
ing, and as soon as he perceives a bison or a deer he passes his right hand into
the neck of this deer. with which he conceals his face, and begins to make the
same kind of movements as the living animal would make. He looks ahead,
then turns the head rapidly from one side to the other. He lowers it to browse
on the grass and raises it immediately afterward. In fact, always concealing
his face with this head, lie deceives the animal which he wishes to approach by
means of his gestures, and if during this time it happens that the animal stops
to observe him the savage, though he has his leg in the air to move forward,
stays it there, and has enough patience to remain in this posture until the living
animal, taking him for another animal of his species, begins to approach him.

a Du Pratz. Hist. de La Louisiane 1, 8-89.


Then the savage, seeing him within gunshot, lets the deer head fall to the"
earth, passes his ready bandd) gun from his left hand to his right with
admirable skill and rapidity, shoots the animal, and kills it, for he very rarely
misses it.a

Du Pratz thus describes the hunting of deer:

The natives go to hunt the deer, sometimes in common and often singly.
The hunter who goes alone provides himself for this purpose with the dried
head of a deer, the brain being removed and the skin of the neck being still
hanging to the head. This skin is provided with circles made of cane splints,
which are kept in place by means of other splints lengthwise of the skin so
that the hand and arm can easily pass inside. Things being so arranged, the
hunter goes into those parts where he thinks there are likely to be deer and
takes the precautions which he thinks necessary not to be discovered. As soon
as he sees one he approaches it with the step of a wolf, hiding himself behind
one thicket after another until he is near enough to shoot it. But if before
that the deer shakes its head. which is a sign that it is going to make caprioles
and run away, the hunter, foreseeing his fancy, counterfeits this anilnal by
making the same cry that these animals make when they call eclh other, which
very often makes the deer come toward the hunter. Then he shows tlhe head,
which he holds in his hand, and causes it to make the movement of a deer
which browses and looks up from time to time. The hunter while waiting
alwayss holds himself concealed behind the thicket until the deer has approached
within gunshot, and although the hunter sees little of its side lie shoots it in the
shoulder and kills it. It is in this way that a native without hunting comnpan-
ions, without dogs, and without chasing comes finally, by means of a :patience
which we do not have, to kill a deer, an animal of a swiftness which at most is
only exceeded by the number of excitements which take hold of it at each
instant and carry it very far off, where the hunter is obliged to go to hunt it
with patience for fear a new fantasy will take it away forever and make its
enemy lose time and trouble. Let us now see how they chase in company and
take a deer alive.
When tie natives wish to hold the deer dance, or wish to exercise themselves
pleasantly, or even when the desire seizes the great Sun, a hundred go to hunt
this animal, which is brought back living. This is why many young men go,
who scatter in the prairies where there are thickets to find a deer. As soon as
they have perceived it the band approaches it in the form of a very open
crescent. The bottom of the crescent advances until the deer springs up and
takes to flight. Seeing a company of men in front of it, it very often flees
toward one of the ends of the crescent or half circle. This point stops it. makes
it afraid, and thus sends it back toward the other point which is a quarter of a
league or thereabout distant from the former. This second does the same as
the first and drives it back.
The play is continued for a fairly long time, which is done expressly to
exercise the young people, or to give pleasure to the great Sun, or to some
little Sun whom he names in his place. Sometimes the deer tries to flee and
go out of the crescent by the opening between the points, but then those who
are at the very points show themselves to make himn reenter and the crescent
advances to keep hin always inclosed between the youths. In this way it
often happens that the men have not gone a league while the deer has made
more than twenty with the different turns and caprioles which it has made
from one side to the other, until at last all the men come together a little

a Dumont, Mim. IIist. sur La Louisiane, I, 150-151.


farther and make only a circle when they perceive that the animal is very
much fatigued. At that time they crouch almost to the earth when the deer
comes to their side, and as soon as it gets near them rise with shouts and drive
it from one side to the other so long as the deer is able to sustain itself. But
finally, not being able to do anything more from fatigue, its limbs fail it, it falls,
and allows itself to be taken like a lamb. They take care, however, to attack it
only from the runip, in order to escape any blow of its antlers or fore feet,
which, however, happens to tlenm sometimes in spite of all the precautions which
they take.
Having seized the deer they present it to the great Sun, if he is present, or
to that one he has sent to give him this pleasure. When lie has seen it at his
feet and has said, It is good," the hunters cut open the deer and bring it
back in quarters to the cabin of the great Sun, who distributes it to the leaders
of the band who have gone on this hunt.a
As noted in the account given by Dumont, the bison was sometimes
hunted like the deer. Anciently it appears to have ranged well down
toward the mouth of the Mississippi, but in Du Pratz's time it had
already retired some distance from the Natchez country. Still it
would appear that at certain seasons of the year hunting parties from
that tribe pursued it into its nearer grazing grounds. Regarding
this animal, after having given a description of it, Du Pratz says:
This bison is the principal meat of lhe natives, and has also been for a long
time that of the French. The best piece, and one which is extremely delicate,
is the hump, of which I have just spoken. This animal is hunted in winter,
anid at a distance from lower Louisiana and the river St. Louis [the Mississipli],
because it is unable to penetrate there on account of the thickness of the woods,
and besides it is fond of the tall grass which is found only in the plains of
the highlands. In order to approacll and shoot it a person goes against the
wind and tais at the shoulder, so as to knock it down at the tirst shot, for if
i! is merely wounded it runs upon the nman. In this chase the natives usually
kill the cows, having found that the flesh of the males smells badly (lc bouquin),
an inconvenience from which it would be easy for them to preserve themselves
if they knew as soon as the beast is dead to cut off the back sides (suites),
as is done to stags and boars. That would not be the only advantage they
would derive from it. The species would not diminish, much tallow would be
obtained, and the skins would be better and larger.5
Unless the hunt was far from home game was always brought into
camp by the women:
When the husband goes hunting near the village, if he kills a deer or bison
he never brings it back to the house, but only the tongue of the last animal or
the head of the first, which on arriving he throws at the feet of his wife, as
much to pay her the homage of his hunt as to tell her to go and search for
what he has killed. lie indicates to her about where lie has left the beast,
and in order that she may le able to find it with more certainty he takes
care on his return to break the branches of the shrubs along his route at in-
tervals, a thing which marks the fact that he has passed there. The woman
sets out with her slaves, if she has any, following the tracks of her husband,
and when she has found the beast she brings it back to the cabin. There she
cooks as much of it as she considers necessary, and sells the rest to the French,
a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 60-73. b Ibid., 67-68.


if there are any in the neighborhood. If there are none, she bicans it-that
is, she dries it in the smoke in order to preserve it."
Although many other kinds of animals were of course hunted and
trapped, the method of doing so has not been preserved. I)u Pratz
was informed by his Natchez companions that turkeys must be taken
by means of a dog, which forced them to fly up into a tree. where
they would sit and allow themselves to be shot without attempting to
leave. But if a man chased them on foot they would quickly distance
him." The Indians never shot birds on the wing.c The nations
which he mentions as eating alligators % were probably those of
southwestern Louisiana, not the Natchez.
Large fish, such as the carl) sucker and catfish, were caught by
means of lines or shot with arrows, as described above.c Smaller fish.
especially the sardine [?], were taken, as they ascended the Missis-
sippi, in nets made solely for this purpose of the bark of the bass
tree. When a large number of these fishes had been taken, too great
to be carried off in the net itself, or when large fish had been caught,
a special device was resorted to.
For this purpose they take a green and supple tree branch an inch and a half
thick and join the two ends firmly, which gives it the shape of a large-sized
racket. Across this branch they extend man111y pieces of b:1ark and spread a great
quantity of leaves upon them, place the fish on these leaves, ind cover them
with the same. When the fish and leaves have b1,en bounl firlly lo the tree,
which is the basis of everything, they attach it to their [carrying] collars f and
transport the burden as they would a carrying bI:lsket.g
Regarding their treatment of meats generally, Du Pratz says:
The meats which they eat ordinarily are bison, deer. bear, and dog. Among
birds they eat all the aquatic kinds and all kinds of dishes. Whether it be meat
or fish, they eat it only boiled or roasted. They smoke the meat to preserve
it. First let us see how they have their meat cooked when they are out hunting.
We will afterward discuss how they smoke it.
When the natives wish to roast meat in order to eat it at once, which seldom
happens except during the hunting season, they cut off the portion of bison
which they wish to eat, which is ordinarily the fillet. They put it on the end of
a wooden spit planted in the earth and inclined toward the fire. They take
care to turn this spit from time to time, which cooks the meat as well as a spit
turned before the fire with much regularity.
That the meat may keep during the time they are hunting and that it may
serve as nourishment for their families for a certain time, the men during the
chase have all the flesh of thighs, shoulders, and most fleshy parts smoked,
except the hump and the tongue, which they eat on the spot. All the meat that
is smoked is cut into flat pieces in order that it cook well. It is not cut too
thin, however, for fear lest it dry up too much. The grill is on four fairly
strong forked sticks and poles above a foot apart and above these canes 4
aDumont, MWm. Hist. sur La Louisiane, i, 152-153.
SDu Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, i, 220-221.
c Ibid., 236.
*Ibid., II, 104.
SSee pp. 58-50.
f Made of bark of the bass tree.
o Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, it, 180.

[BULL. 43


inches apart. This grill is raised about 3 feet above the earth, in order that one
may be able to put a fire made of large sticks of wood underneath. They turn
the meat and withdraw it only when it is cooked to such a degree that the
upper side is roasted and very dry. Then they take off what is cooked and put
other pieces on. Thus they smoke their meat, which can be carried everywhere
and preserved as long as it is desired. They never eat raw meat, as so many
persons have falsely imagined. Even in Europe we have entire kingdoms which
do not give their meats as much time to cook as the natives of Louisiana allow
to the most delicate morsels of bison, which is their principal nourishment.a
Originally the sole domestic animal was probably the dog which
Du Pratz describes as differing from the native wolf only in its bark.'
The only suggestion of any other he gives on the authority of his
Chitimacha slave. He says: My slave told me that in her nation and
in her village they have them [turkeys] and have raised them with-
out more care than is required for young chickens." c If anything of
this kind were done, however, it was probably in very recent times,
after the Indians had received chickens from Europeans, and at all
events it is not made to apply to the Natchez. Of the rearing of hens
by these people, Dumont speaks thus:
These [Natchez] women also raise many hens without having need of a
henhouse. Their hens and their cocks go to roost in the evening on trees near
the cabin, where they pass the night, and in the morning at the cry uttered by
their mistress all present themselves at the door, where she gives them food.
This [meal] lasts for all day. It is supposed that from that time until evening
they ought to hunt for their nourishment. With regard to the eggs, as the
savages make no use of them, the hens are left at liberty to lay them where it
pleases them. This is ordinarily in the thickets, where they take care to set
upon them themselves, after which, when they are hatched, they lead their
chicks in the morning to the cabin to let the mistress see that without her
caring for them her property has increased and that the number of her boarders
has augmented.1
Agriculture had attained so much importance among the Natchez
that St. Cosme, one of our best authorities regarding them, could say:
" Some [people], like the Natchez, did not have any other means of
living, not being hunters." c This, as we have seen, is an over-
Although the discussion of maize and tobacco by Dumont and Du
Pratz does not pretend to refer entirely to the varieties possessed by
the natives, it is evident that most, if not all, of these varieties were
native to the country. Their descriptions of maize follow:
Few people are ignorant of maize. It is what we call in France
Turkish grain. There is this sole difference that in France this grain yields
only a yellow meal, in place of which the meal of that which is cultivated in
Louisiana is as white as that of the finest wheat. The maize grows ears as big
a Du Pratz, IIist. de La Louisiane, III, 10-12.
b Ibid., ni, 74.
C Ibid., 125-126.
d Dumont, Mem. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 153. Hens are said to have been obtained
from a European vessel wrecked on the Atakapa coast before the time of Iberville.
Letter of St. Cosme, Jan. 8, 1706, in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Am6r., I, 47.


as the fist, some of which bear as many as 300 grains and more arranged hori-
zontally on the ear and as large as peas, from which one is able to judge what is
the infinite bounty of the Creator, since from a single maize stalk which is able
to produce from seven to eight ears and which grows from a single seed,
Providence, always to be admired, knows how to bring from two to three
Two kinds of maize are distinguished, one of which is suitable for making
meal and the other not. This last has a very round grain. The other has one
a little flatter and is distinguished by a kind of scratch or groove which extends
the entire length of the grain. Both have their uses and serve equally for the
nourishment of the savages, the negroes, the French, and travelers voyageurss).
They can be prepared in 42 styles, each of which has its special name. It is
useless for me to enter here in detail all the different ways in which maize
may be treated. It is sufficient to inform the readers that there is made of it
bread, porridge (bouillic), cold meal (farine froide), ground corn (farin,
yrdldc), smoke-dried meal or meal dried in the fire and smoke, which being
cooked has the same taste as our little peas and is as sugary. That is also made
which is called gruel (grnt), that is to say that having beaten and pounded it
for some time in a wooden mortar, mingled with a little water, the skin or
envelope with which it is covered is taken away. The grain thus beaten and
dried is transported to great distances and keeps perfectly. The finest which
remains serves to make hominy (saganiid), which is a kind of porridge cooked
with oil or meat. It is a very good and very nourishing aliment."
Louisiana produces many kinds of maize, such as the flour maize wh:ch is
white, flat, and corrugated, but more tender than the other kinds; the gruel or
grits maize which is round, hard, and glossy. Of this latter kind there is
white, yellow, red, and blue. The maize of these two last colors is more com-
mon in the highlands than in lower Louisiana. We have besides the little
grain or little maize, so named because it is a variety smaller than tile others.
This little grain is sowed as soon as [the settler] arrives in the country, in
order to have something to live on very soon, because it comes up very quickly
and ripens in such a short time that a person can gather two harvests in the
sam, field and the same year. Besides this advantage it has that of flattering
the taste much more than the large kind.
The maize which we call in France Turkish grain is the grain proper to the
country, since it was found cultivated by the natives. It grows on a stem 6, 7,
and 8 feet in height. It puts out great ears of about 2 inches in diameter,
on which have been counted 700 grains and more, and each stalk sometimes
bears 6 and 7 ears, according to the quality of the earth. That which suits it
best is black and light. Heavy earth is less favorable to it.
This grain, as is known, is very wholesome for men and for animals, above all
for poultry. The natives adapt it in many ways to vary their dishes. The
best is by making of it cold meal. As there is no person, even without appe-
tite, who does not eat of it with pleasure, I will give the manner of preparing it
in order that our provinces of France which harvest this grain may be able
to draw from it the same usefulness.
First, this grain is half cooked in water, then drained and well dried. When
it is well dried, it is ground or scorched in a dish made expressly for the
purpose, being mixed with ashes to keep it from burning, and it is moved inces-
santly in order to give it the red color which is proper. When it has assumed
this color all the ashes are removed, it is rubbed well and placed in a mortar
with ashes of dried bean (favioles) plants and a little water. Then it is gently

a Dumont, Mem. Hist. sur La Louisiano, I, 32-34.


pounded, which makes the skin of the grains burst and reduces it completely
to meal. This meal is crushed and dried in the sun. After this last operation
this meal liny be transported anywhere and kept for six months. It must be
observed, however, that one ought nut to forget to expose it to the sun from
time to time. In order to eat it a vessel is filled with it a third full and the
rest almost entirely with water, and at the end of some minutes the meal is
found swollen and good to oat. It is very nourishing and is an excellent pro-
vision for travelers and for those who go trading, that is to say, to enter upon
iany negotiations."
The Natchez prepared their fields for cultivation by means of a
curved mattock made of hickory (" white walnut"). These were
to weed the maize and cut down the canes in order to make a field. When
the canes were dry they set fire to tleni, and to sow the maize, they made a
hole with the hand, in which they put some grains. These nattocks were
made like a capital L. They cut by means of the sides of the lower end,
which is very flat.b
The Journal of Le /(arin says that the Bayogoula cultivated their
fields by means of bison bones, probably the shoulder blades, and there
is every reason to believe that these were used by the Natchez and
other lower Mississippi Valley tribes as well.'
Maize was reduced to flour in the wooden mortars previously
The work was done in common. De Montigry states that the
entire village assembled and, after a general dance, followed by a
great feast, nien and women repaired to the chief's land, and in
half a day worked it, planted it, or gathered the harvest from it.e
" Planting of the grain," wrote M. de la Vente, is always done in
common; to-day the whole village works for one and to-morrow all
of the same village will work for another, and so successively until
all of their work is finished." f
The dishes afterward made of it are described thus:
They make of some of it bread cooked in a vessel, of some bread cooked in
the ashes, and of some bread cooked in water. They nlke of it the cold meal
of which I have spoken in 11he article on maize, ground corn (farine grdlic),
and the coarse and the fine grits (gruau) called in that country sigainitd. In
my opinion this dish and the cold meal are the two best. The others are only
for variety.f
Elsewhere he refers to them again:
There is made of it (maize) ground corn. It is a dish of the infives like the
Co oi;dlou or bread mixed with I)eanls (foriol,'s). Smoke-dried graiin also origi-
a Du Pratz, ITist. de La Louisiane, II, 3-0.
Ilbid., 26. 170.
c See p. 277.
See p. 67.
e Letter of Aug. 25, 1699, referred to by M. Gosselin in Compte Rondu Cong. Internat.
des Am6r., 15th sess., I, 47.
t Letter of July 4, 1708, ibid.
SDu Pratz, IIist. de La Louisiane, II, 8-9; also Dumont's account on p. 74.


nated with them. So far as smoke-dried little grain is concerned it suits us as
well as them.a
Cold meal (farinc froidc) is that which is liked best. If the natives find it
good the French relish it very well. I can say that it is a very good aliment
and at the same time the best that one can take on a long journey, because it
refreshes and is very nourishing.b

Du Pratz describes two sorts of canes, one, much taller than the
other, growing in moist places to a height of 18 to 20 feet and as
large as the fist.
* At the end of a certain number of years [these] bear grain in abun-
dance. This grain, which rather resembles oats, except that it is three times
as thick and longer, is carefully gathered by the natives, who make of it bread
or porridge. This meal swells up as much as that of wheat."
The same writer speaks of two other kinds of grain in the following

They also make food of two grains, of which one is called choupichoul,l
which they cultivate without difficulty, and the other is the widlogovill, which
grows naturally and without any cultivation. These are two kinds of millet
which they hull in the same way as rice.c
The former is referred to in another place:
I ought not to omit here that from the lowlands of Louisiana upward the
river St. Louis [Mississippi] has many sand banks, which become entirely dry
after the waters have gone down at the end of the flood. These sand banks
vary in length. There are some half a league long which do not lack a good
breadth. I have seen the Natchez and other natives sow a grain which they
called choupichoul on these sand banks. This sand is never cultivated and the
women and children cover the grain, with a great deal of indifference, with their
feet, almost without looking at it. After this sowing and this kind of culti-
vation they wait until autumn and then gather a great quantity of this grain.
They prepare it like millet and it is very good eating. This plant is that which
is called beautiful savage lady f and which grows in all countries, but it
needs a good soil, and however good is the quality of any European soil it
there reaches a height of only 11 feet, while on this river sand without culti-
vation it reaches a height of 31 or 4 feet.9
When these grains fail them they have recourse to potatoes which they find
in the woods, but it is only when necessity compels them, just as when they
eat chestnuts.'

Although the beans and pumpkins described by Du Pratz were
those native to the country, he does not state definitely that the
natives cultivated them, though this was certainly the case with

aDu Pratz, Ilst. de La Louisiane, IlI, 345n-46.
b Ibid., 346.
c Ibid., II, 58-59.
a Perhaps cockspur grass (Echinochloa crusgalli).
Du Pratz, [list. de La Louisiane, in, 9. Probably wild rice or water millet.
f Belle dame sausage.
P Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 316-317.
h Ibid., III, 9-10.

[BULL. 43


Beans, red, black, and of other colors, have been found in this country and
they have been named forty-day beans," because they need only that time to
grow and be good to eat green.a
The giromons are varieties of pumpkins. There are two sorts. The one
is round and the other in the shape of corps de chasse. These last are the
better, having firmer flesh of a less insipid sweetness, containing fewer seeds,
and keeping much better than the other. These are the ones of which preserves
are made. For this purpose they are shaped like pears or other fruits and
preserved thus with very little sugar, because they are naturally sweet. Those
who are unacquainted with them are surprised to see entire fruits preserved
without finding any seed inside. The giromons are not only eaten preserved;
they are also put into soups. Fritters (bignets) are made of them, they are
fricasseed, they are cooked in the oven and under the embers, and in all ways
they are good and pleasing.b
Another vegetable cultivated by them was the watermelon.
Du Pratz speaks thus of native fruits:
When it [the persimmon] is well ripened the natives make bread of it, which
keeps from one year to another, and the virtue of this bread, greater than that
of fruit, is such that there is no diarrhea or dysentery which it does not arrest,
but one ought to use it with prudence and only after being purged. In order
to make this bread the natives scrape the fruit in very open sieves to separate
the flesh from the skin and seeds. From this flesh, which is like thick por-
ridge, and from the pulp they make loaves of bread li feet long, 1 foot broad,
and of the thickness of the finger, which they put to dry in the oven on a grill
or, indeed, in the sun. In this latter fashion the bread preserves more of its
taste. It is one of the merchandise which they sell to the French.0
The natives had doubtless obtained from the English colony of Carolina the
peaches and the fig trees which they had when the French established them-
selves in Louisiana.
The peaches are those which we call clingstones (alberges). They are as large
as the fist, do not leave the stone, and have such an abundant juice that a
kind of wine is made of it. The figs are either violet or white, large, and of
very good taste."
The occasional employment of chestnuts as food has been referred
to above.e Of the black walnut Du Pratz says:
The meat is enveloped in such a hard shell that, although its taste is very
good, the difficulty of extracting it makes one lose the desire to do so. How-
ever, the natives make bread of it.f

Another food of peculiar character is thus described:

One [of two excrescences on trees] is a kind of agaric or mushroom which
grows at the foot of the walnut, especially when it is overthrown. The natives,
who pay great attention to the choice of their nourishment, gather these with
care, have them boiled in water, and eat them with their grits. I have had the
curiosity to taste of these, and I have found them very delicate but a little flat,
which could be easily corrected by means of some seasoning.g
a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, in, 8-9. c P. 76.
b Ibid., 11. f Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, Is, 25.
o Ibid., 18-19. o Ibid., 51.
d Ibid., 20,


Says Du Pratz concerning the taste of his Indian friends:
Those [Indians] on the best terms with the French eat of our dishes only
what has been plainly boiled or roasted, never soup or ragout. They are afraid
of the ingredients we put into them. They eat no salads nor anything uncooked
except fruits. Int the way of drinks they want only pure water, or brandy also
very pure, but neither wine nor any other drink pleases them at all. It is
necessary, however, to except the drink which they use at the war feast and
never at any other time."
The war drink here referred to is the famous black drink of the
southern tribes made from Ile.r cassine. It was made very intoxi-
cating, says Du Pratz, by being boiled away considerably.'
To season their food, the Natchez and other Mississippi tribes used
salt obtained usually from Caddoan people to the northwest, bands
of whom were often met by the early explorers bringing sacks of it
across to trade. Regarding the source of supply and the method of
obtaining it, Du Pratz has the following to say:
When one has mounted Black river about 30 leagues one finds on the left a
stream of saline water, which comes from the west. Ascending this stream
about 2 leagues one comes upon a lake of salt water, which is perhaps 2 leagues
long by 1 wide. One league higher toward the north he comes upon another
lake of salt water almost as long and as wide as the first.
This water passes without doubt through some salt mines. It has the salt
taste without having the bitterness of the water of the sea. The natives come
from quite long distances to this place to hunt here during the winter and to
make salt here. Before the French sold them kettles they made earthen pots
on the spot for this operation. When they have enough of a load they return
into their own country loaded with salt and dry meats.c
The description given of the gathering of tribes to make salt and
hunt is natural enough, and probably true, but there appears to have
been some error in the information received by the author. Although
many streams and some lakes are named saline," this seems to have
been rather because there were salt licks in the neighborhood than be-
cause the waters so designated were themselves salt, nor is there any
stream or lakes corresponding to the description. Perhaps Du Pratz
misunderstood his Indian informants who were describing salt licks
farther west or north. A lake called Saline exists between Cata-
houla lake and Red river, and may be one of those mentioned by
Du Pratz.
Regarding their times for eating, it is said:
Although at certain times they have meat or fish in abundance, they eat only
when they have an appetite, without confining themselves to any hour of the
day. It is also unusual to find many of them eating together or at the same
time, unless it be at the feasts, where all eat from the same dish, except the
women, the young boys, and the children, each of whom eats from his own. The
little children eat with their mothers.i
a Du Pratz. Hist. de La Louisiane, iII, 13. c Ibid., i, 307-308.
b Ibid., II, 46. d Ibid., in, 12.

[BULL. 43


The lands of Louisiana are as suitable as can be desired for the cultivation
of tobacco, and without disparaging that which grows in many other countries
where it is much raised, I venture to say, without trying to force my opinion
on anyone, that that of Natchez surpasses in goodness even the tobacco of Vir-
ginia and S. Domingo. I say this of Natchez because the soil of this post ap-
pears to be more favorable than any other to the culture of this plant. How-
ever, it must be admitted that there is very little difference between the tobacco
which is harvested there and that which grows in some other cantons-Point
Coupee, for example, Natchitoches, and even New Orleans-but whether on ac-
count of the situation or the goodness of the land, it can not be denied that that
of Natchez and Yazoo is preferable to all others.a
All the savages are in general very fond of tobacco smoke. They are often
seen to swallow 10 or 12 mouthfuls in succession, which they keep in their
stomachs without being inconvenienced after they have ceased to draw, and
give up this smoke many successive times, partly through the mouth and partly
through the nose.b
The tobacco which has been found among the natives of Louisiana appears
also to be native to the country, since their ancient word (tradition) teaches
us that in all times they have made use of the calumet in their treaties of peace
and in their embassages, the principal usage of which is that the deputies of
the two nations smoke it together.
The tobacco native to the country is very large. Its stalk, when it is allowed
to go to seed, grows to a height of 5 and 6 feet. The lower part of the stem is
at least IS lines in diameter and its leaves are often almost 2 feet long. Its leaf
is thick and fleshy. Its sap is pungent, but it never disturbs one's head.
The tobacco of Virginia has a broader, but shorter leaf. Its stem is not so
large and does not grow nearly as high. Its odor is not disagreeable, but it has
less pungency. It requires more sterns to the pound, because its leaf is thinner
and not so fleshy as the native variety, a fact I proved at Natchez where I tried
the two kinds. That which is cultivated in lower Louisiana is smaller and has
less pungency. What is grown in the islands [West Indies] is more slender
than that of Louisiana, but it has more pungency, which gives one headache.c
Throughout the area occupied by the Gulf States tobacco was
mixed with loaves of a species of sumac to reduce the strength of
the former and make it hold out longer. Of this, Du Pratz says:

The Machonetchi, or vinegar tree (sumac), is a shrub, the leaves of which
somewhat resemble those of the ash, but the stem to which these leaves hang is
much longer. When these leaves are dried the natives mix them with tobacco,
to temper it, because in smoking they do not care to have the tobacco so strong.(
they mix the tobacco with the leaves of a little shrub which is
called the sumac (iriniigricr), w theer to reduce the strength of the first or
because formerly they made use of this last in lieu of tobacco. The two now
mingled and chopped together are called among them feningiue.

SDumont, Mim. Hist. sur La Louisiane, 34-:5.
"Ibid., 189.
,Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, in, 3 0-361.
SIbid., ii, 45.
o Dumont, M16m. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 189.



When the natives are sick they eat no fish and very little meat, and they even
deprive themselves of that if the nature of the malady demands it. Then they
take only hominy or meal cooked in meat broth. If the sick person is worse
they have a small quantity of coarse meal cooked in the same rich broth, and
give of this broth [itself] only to one who is doing well.
As soon as a man is indisposed his wife sleeps with another woman on the bed
which touches that of the sick person at the foot or at the head. The husband
of this neighbor finds another place to lie down. In this way the wife is in a
position to help her husband without inconveniencing him in any manner.a
Du Pratz says of the Natchez doctors:
The charlatans (or jugglers, as the French have named them), who have been
seen in each nation of Canada to perform the office of priests and doctors, and
wlio, among the neighbors of the Natchez, do the work of diviners, are confined
among them to the functions of sucking afflicted portions of the body, after
having made some scarifications with a very slender flint splinter. These
scarifications do not occupy so much space that they can not be sucked all
This would indicate a specialization of the medical functions un-
usual in America, and the statement is unsupported by the rest of our
authorities. Says Dumont:
Since, as has just been seen, the savages have no religion, at least apparently,
and in consequence no external worship, it naturally follows that they have
among them no priests or priestesses. There are, however, certain men who
might be thought to take their place, at least they may be regarded as diviners,
sorcerers, or magicians, since they are in fact consulted as such, and as,
through ridiculous ceremonies, they pretend to accomplish things which, if they
were true, would surpass without difficulty all hunan power.
These men, who are called alc.ris or jugglers, also mix themselves up in
medicine, and it must be admitted that, without science and without study,
without drugs, and ordinarily without any preparations, they many times cure
their sick as surely as the most skillful physicians could do.c
Dumont's statements in this place are so general that we might
assume there was a specialization of functions among the medicine
men of the Natchez which had escaped him, but the same objection can
not be made to the descriptions in the Luxembourg memoir and by
Charlevoix and Le Petit, given on pages 178 to 180.
Dumont thus describes treatment by scarification and sucking in
almost the same words as Du Pratz:
The alexis never use lancets to draw blood, but when they have a sick
person who they think needs to be bled they take a splinter of flint with which
they lake many incisions in the flesh of the sick person in the place where he
feels the pain. After that they suck the blood, either with the mouth or with
the end of a bison horn, which they have sawed off and of which they have made
a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, III, 12-13.
Ibid.. 383-384.
Dumont, Mem. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 169-170.


a kind of cone (cornet) which they apply to the place. This is what they
call a bleeding."
This scarification was naturally identified by the Frenchmen with
their own treatment by blood letting, but it may be suspected from
what we know of similar customs elsewhere in America that the
whole proceeding was gone through in order to draw out a malignant
spirit or some supernatural object which was causing the disturbance.
However, if we are to rely upon the same authors, the Natchez doc-
tors deserved that name more than most aboriginal practitioners in
North America, since a large part of their treatment was by means
of herbs, and it is highly praised by both. Du Pratz was himself
treated by them in both ways and describes his experience as follows:
However, my sickness [consisting of pains in the thighs] did not diminish
at all, and the more it was prolonged the more I apprehended an unfavorable
outcome. For this reason I determined to avail myself of a [native] surgeon
or juggler who was recommended to me and who told me lie would cure me
by sucking the place where my pain was. He nade some scarifications with
a splinter of flint, all about the size of the incision of a lancet, and disposed
in such a fashion that he was able to suck all of them at one time, which he
did, causing me thereby extreme pain. Ile stopped from time to time, appar-
ently to enable me to endure his work. and treated me thus for the space of
half an hour. I had food given to him and sent him back after having paid
him, the usage being too well established in all countries to pay those who treat
diseases, whatever happens.
The next day I felt a little relieved. I went to walk in my field. During my
walk I was advised to place myself in the hands of Natchez doctors, who were
said to have much knowledge and made cures which partook of the miraculous.
Many examples were cited to me, which were confirmed by persons worthy
of confidence.
What would I not have done for my recovery? Into whose hands would I
not have put myself in view of the pains which I then suffered? Besides, the
remedy was very simple, according to the explanation which was made to me.
It involved nothing more serious than a poultice: it was applied to the affected
part, and at the end of eight days I was in condition to go to the fort. I was
entirely cured, for from that time I felt nothing more. What a satisfaction
for a young man who finds himself in perfect health after having been com-
pelled to keep to his house for the space of four months and a half, without
having been able to go out for an instant! b
It is not entirely clear from this whether the doctors were both
Natchez. If this were the case the words would seem to imply a still
further di4ferentiation of function among them between the doctor
who treated by scarification and blood letting and the one who de-
pended on herbs. Later )Du Pratz had a second experience of the
ability of Natchez herbalists, in the course of which he makes rather
disparaging comments on the medical profession of his own people.
However, in his day there was undoubtedly much less difference be-

a Dumont, M1m. list. sur La Louisiane, I, 172-173.
Du IPratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 135-136.
83220-Bull. 43-10- 6


tween the efficacy of European and Indian physicians than would
be the case at present.
He says:
For some days I had had a lachrymal fistula in the left eye which gave out
when it was pressed a humor of very bad augury. I had it looked at by
M. de S. Hilaire, a skillful surgeon, who had worked about twelve years at
the Hotel-Dieu de Paris.
He told me that it would be necessary to use fire on it; that in spite of this
operation my sight would not be at all affected: that it would be as good as
before, except that my eye would be bloodshot, and that if I did not have it
operated on promptly the bone of the nose would decay.
These statements grieved me much. I having to fear and to suffer. I was,
however, resolved to go through with it, when tile great Sun and his brother
arrived early in the morning with a man loaded witl game for me. I thanked
them, and told them that they must remain and eat their part of it. They
accepted the invitation.
The great Sun perceived that I had an enlargement about the eye, and asked
me at the same time what it was. I told him, and explained that to cure it they
had told ine that it was necessary to put tire to it, but that I had made up my
mind to it with dilliculty, because I dreaded the consequences. IHe answered
nothing, and without forewarning mle he ordered the one who had brought the
game to go and bring his doctor, and to tell him that lie was waiting for him at
my house. On account of the diligence of the messenger and the doctor, the
latter arrived an hour later. The great Sun told lilin to look at my eye and
to make an endeavor to cure me. After having examined it the doctor said
that he could cure it with simples and water. I gave him permission with
so much the more pleasure and facility, as through this treatment I did not
run any risk.
The same evening the doctor came with his simples pounded together, and
making but a single ball, which lie placed in a deep basin with water. lie made
me bend my head over into the basin, so that my sick eye, held open, was
steeped in the water. I continued doing this for eight or ten days, evening and
morning, after which I was entirely cured without another operation and with-
out it being evident there, and I never had another attack afterward.a

It is easy to learn by this account, comments Du Pratz-
How skillful are the native doctors of Louisiana. I have seen them make
surprising cures on our Frenchmen themselves, on two, along others, who
were placed in the hands of a French surgeon who was established at this
post. These two sick persons had to take strong remedies, but after having
been treated for some time their heads were so swollen that one of them
escaped from the surgeon with as much agility as would a criminal from the
hands of justice, if he found a favorable opportunity. lIe went to find a
Natchez doctor who healed him in eight days. HiIs comrade reniained with
the French surgeon, where lie died three days after the flight of the first,
whom I saw three years afterward enjoying perfect health.
In the war which I narrated last the Great Chief of the Tonikas, our
allies, was wounded by a ball which pierced his cheek and came out under
the jaw to reenter the body, where it was on the point of going out toward the
shoulder blade, and had remained between the skin and flesh. His wound was
disposed in such a manner because at the time when they shot him he had

a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 207-200.


bent over like those of his troops to fire his gun. The French surgeon who took
charge of him and dressed him with great care, was skillful and spared nothing
for his cure, but the doctors of this chief who visited him every day asked
the Frenchman how much time it would take to cure him; the latter replied
that it would take at least six weeks. They answered nothing, hut went away
at once to make a litter, spoke to their chief, placed him on it, carried him away,
and treated him in their own manner. It took but eight days to cure him
There is no one in the colony who is ignorant of the facts which I have just
reported. These physicians have made a great number of other cures, the nar-
ration of which would demand a special volume; I am satisfied to report only
these three, which I have just cited, to let it be seen that the maladies which are
elsewhere regarded as almost incurable, which are cured only at the end of a
long period and after great suffering being experienced, maladies of this kind,
I say, are cured without a painful operation and in little time by the native
doctors of Louisiana.a

De la Vente appears to have been as much impressed as Du Pratz.
He remarks that they had preserved excellent remedies for their
ills, particularly for external maladies. I have seen many,' lie adds-
Who have received 4 or 5 bullet or arrow wounds through the stomach and
who are so perfectly cured of them that they do not suffer any inconvenience.
* Through the knowledge of simple which they have received from
their fatlhrs they will cure hands, arms, and feet that our best surgeons would
not hesitate lo cut.b
The same writer says also that the natives professed to have a
remedy which would restore one who had been wounded, no matter
how severely, if he only had strength enough to chew and swallow it.
Even in the case of internal diseases, with which they were less famil-
iar. a simple infusion of roots often sufficed to cure them of all ills.Y
Du Pratz tells us that he was requested to make a special investi-
gation of Louisiana plants and the uses to which they were put by the
The Western Company, informed that this province produced a quantity of
simplles, the virtues of which being known to the natives gave them so much
facility in curing all kinds of diseases, gave orders to M. dela ('lhaise, who came
from France in the capacity of director-general of this colony, to have re-
searches inmde for simlples suitable for medicine and dyeing, by means of some
Frenchmen who might have obtained the secret from the natives. I was
pointed out tio M. de la Chaise, who had no sooner arrived than he wrote to me
begging me to give my attention to this research; I did it with pleasure and
gave myself up to it heartily, because I knew that the company was continually
doing what it was able for the good of the colony.
When I thought I had done in this respect what would satisfy the company I
transmitted in earth in cane baskets more than 300 simples with their numbers.
and a memorandum which detailed their qualities and taught the manner of

SDu Iraiz, IIist. de La Louiisiano, i, 209-211.
SDe la Vente, quoted by Gosselin in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amer., 15th
sess., I, 49-50.
Ibid., 50,


using them. I learned that they had been placed in a botanic garden made ex-
pressly for them by order of the company. a

It is to this investigation that we owe several notes regarding the
medicinal virtues or supposed medicinal virtues of certain plants
given by the same author in other places.

I will not undertake to detail all the virtues of the balsam of the sweet gum
(copalm or liquidambar). not having learned all of them from the native doc-
tors of Louisiana, who would be as astonished to see that it serves us only for
making varnish as they were wvhen they saw our surgeons bleed their patients.
I will tell therefore only those which have been revealed to me.
This balsam is an excellent febrifuge. Before meals 10 or 12 drops are taken
in some broth on an empty stomach. Even if more should be put in one need
not fear that it will do any harm. It is too good a friend of nature. The
native doctors purge the sick person before giving it. It cures wounds in two
days without any evil consequences. It is equally sovran for all kinds of
ulcers, after a poultice of pounded ground ivy has been applied for five days. It
cures diseases of the lungs: it removes obstructions: it relieves from colic and
from all internal ills; it gladdens the heart. In fact, it contains so many vir-
tues that I learn with pleasure that something new is discovered in it every
The native doctors employ this simple (" the barbed creeper") in fever
cases in this manner. They take a piece of the barbed creeper as long as
the finger. They split it into as many parts ;as possible and put it into about a
pint of water, Paris measure. They boil all until it is diminished by one-third.
This decoction is then poured out and strained, and the remedy is prepared.
Then they purge the sick person, and the next day, when the attack of fever
recommences, they give him a third part of the water from the creeper to drink.
It happens very often that he is cured the first time. but if the fever comes back
he is purged anew and the next day he is made to drink another third of the
medicinal water, which rarely fails to have its effect at this second dose. It is
only for the greatest certainty that he is made to take the third part of the
decoction. This remedy is, in truth, bitter, but it strengthens the stonumch. a
precious advantage which it has over Peruvian bark, which is accused of
producing a contrary effect.c
Another creeper is called by the native doctors the medicine for poisoned
arrows." a It is large and beautiful. Its leaves are quite long and the pods
which it hears are thin, about 1 inch wide, and 8 to 10 inches long."
Besides the sudorific virtue which the China root possesses like
sarsaparilla, it has that of making the hair grow, and the native women make
use of it for this purpose witl success. With this object they take the root,
cut it into little pieces, boil it, and wash their hair in this water. I have seen
many whose hair reached beyond the buttocks and one among them whose hair
descended to the heels.f
However many virtues we in France know the maiden hair (capillairc) to
possess, the native doctors know still more.g

a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, I, 211-212.
b Ibid., II, 28-29.
SIbid., 55-5i.
d This is the only reference I have to the use of such arrows in Louisiana.
e Du Pratz, Ilist. de La Louisiane, II, 56.
r Ibid., 57.
Ibid., 58.

[BULL. 43


Its sudorific virtue [tllat of the plat dc bois] is so powerful that the native
doctors employ it altogether, although they are well acquainted with sassafras,
sarsaparilla, China root, and other [remedies].a
The ground ivy is known by the native doctors to have many more virtues
than our botanists have told me they knew regarding it. It has, among other
virtues, that of relieving women in childbirth, when a decoction of it is taken;
that of curing ulcers, when it is crushed and put on the ulcerous place; but
above all I ought not to omit mention of one of its qualities, which is that of
being a sovereign remedy for headache, to which it is commonly said that no
remedy has been found. Its leaves, when quite green, being crushed in a suf-
ficiently large quantity and placed on the head as a poultice, cure promptly.b
A kind of wild onion is mentioned by Dumont, which, when
mashed and applied to the wound, acted as an antidote to the poison
of a rattlesnake., This is evidently the same as the rattlesnake med-
icine called by the Natchez oudla-coudlogonille," of which Dn
Pratz speaks. He says that the falling flower leaves a large head
which rattles like the rattle of this snake, and this would suggest, in
the light of what we know of Indian medicine generally, that its
virtue rested rather on this similarity than on any actual curative
De la Vente asserts that after having rubbed their hands with these
herbs the native doctors would take up rattlesnakes, handle them
without fear, and receive no bites from them.,
Dumont has the following to say regarding sweating:
The Spanish beard, that moss which grows on the trees and of which I have
spoken elsewhere, is one of lhe remedies which they employ oftenest in their
cures. They make use of it principally in cases of sluggishness, lassitude in the
limbs, cramps, and even internal disorders, and here is the method which they
observe in these maladies. They first have prepared in the cahin of the sick
person a bed raised about 11 feet from the ground and different from others
in that the canes with which it is covered instead of being close together are
fully an inch apart. The savage physician then spreads the moss or Spanish
beard over this bed to the depth of from 7 to S inches, after which, having made
the rick man lie down on this mattress entirely naked, he covers all his body
with the same moss, so that only his face appears. Then tlese otl.ris put burn-
ing charcoal under the led which they smother with herbs which they have
boiled and surround the bed witl coverings. Thle smoke of these herbs passing
through the moss excites in the sick person an abundant sweat, for it nlay be said
that they are not at all sparing, and that they make him sweat in spite of himself
and to excess. Moreover, when he comes out of this bath they have io need
of towels to wipe him. The corner of the hand performs that office and makes
rivulets of sweat run over his entire body. If after this remedy the sick per-
son is not at once absolutely cured, le at least receives much relief and ordina-
rily some days afterward he recovers his health perfectly.f
a ou Pratz, IHist. de La Louisiane,, II, O.
b Ibid., (61-62.
L Dumont, MAdm. Hist. sur La Louisiane, i, 110.
d Du 'ratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, II, 6i0-i1.
e Compete Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amdr., .1th sess., i, 50.
t Sweating is also referred to by De la Vente, Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des
Amdr., 15th sess., i, 50.


I say that that happens ordinarily, but this remedy is not so certain that it
does not sometimes find stubborn maladies which it is unable to terminate.
This I have seen in a savage of the Yazoos, who for at least two years was
tormented with acute pains. He had only one daughter who took care of him,
and he had passed through the hands of all the alh'is of his village without
being able to find either cure or relief for his malady. Wearied out finally
with suffering and with the duration of a sickness which put him out of condi-
tion to go hunting or to war, even to go out and walk about, he one day told
his daughter to go in search of something of which lie said he had need in a
place which he indicated to her. She started, and scarcely had she gone out
of the cabin when the savage rose, loaded his gun with lhree balls, and broke
his head. This determination and this contempt for life are not unusual
among the savages. Not only do they deliver themselves willingly to death,
as will be seen when I treat of their funeral rites, but even when one among
them has had the misfortune to have a leg or an arm broken, as they are very
sure that their ale.ris have not the art of resetting it, and besides they have
among them neither hunchbacks nor crooked people, they make :n feast to the
one who is thus crippled, and after some days of amusement they strangle him."


This entire ground is fairly well covered by D)u Pratz, who says:
As soon as a native woman has been confined she goes to the edge of the
water. She washes herself there as well as her infant. From there she comes
back to lie down again, and fixes her child on the cradle which is already lre-
pared. This cradle is about 21 feet long by S to it inches broad. It is artis-
tically made of straight canes running the length of the cradle, and at the
end they are cut in half and bent back under to nlake the foot. The whole is
only half a foot high. This cradle is very light, since it weighs not more than
2 pounds. It is on the bed of the mother, who is thus readily able to suckle
her infant, which being in a warm cabin can not be cold however little it is cov-
ered. This child being rocked endways can not have tle head disturbed like
those which are rocked sideways in the manner that is employed in France
and elsewhere, and which in that way run the risk of being overturned, a dan-
ger which the natives do not at all fear. A thin bed of Spanish beard is made
on which the child is placed. The mother fastens to it the legs, t ththighs
and the buttocks, and leaves the belly and the stomach free. The aris and
the shoulders are also fastened. The head is placed on a little pillow of skin
filled with Spanish beard, which does not extend beyond the upper part of the
cradle, in such a way that the head is as low as the shoulders, and is held to
this pillow by thongs which are double strips of deerskin over the forehead.
It is this which makes their heads flat. The child in this state is unable to
move. It is rocked lengthwise by making the cradle move on two pieces of
cane which are two rollers. When the child is a lloth old they put below
its knees leggings for garters] made of bison wool, which is very soft. Then
above the ankle they tie the legs with threads of the s:lme wool to a height of
from 3 to 4 inches, according to the age of the child, which wears these bands
until it has attained its 14th or 15th year.
The children of the natives are fair at birth, but they darken because they rub
them with bear's oil while little in order to stand exposure to the sun. They let
them crawnl on all fours without having them walk on their legs, still too feeble
to bear tile weight of the body. They rub them with oil for two reasons: First,

Dumont, em;r Hist. sur La Louisianc, I, 170-172.


to render the sinews more flexible; in the second place, to prevent the flies from
biting them when they are all bare and left to themselves in this manner.
They do not put these infants on their feet until they are more than a year
old, and when they begin to raise themselves up they always have a young girl of
from 10 to 12 years to hold then under the armpits. They let these children
suckle as long as it pleases them; at least unless the mother finds herself
pregnant, when she no longer nurses.
When the boys approach 12 years a bow and arrow are made for them, pro-
portioned to their strength. To train them, they put a little bunch of grass of
the size of the wrist and long as the hand, bound with four cords on the end of
a pole a little pointed, and which extends about 10 feet out of the earth. The
one of these young boys who knocks down tie bunch of grass receives the
reward of praise which an old man, who is always present, gives him. The one
who shoots best is named the young warrior. The one who shoots less well,
but who is almost as adroit, is named the apprentice warrior, and so with others
who are named on account of their earnestness rather than their hits.
As from their tenderest years they are threatened with the old man if they
are obstinate or do any harm, which happens rarely, they fear and respect him
more than anyone else. *
If the young people should happen to fight, a thing which I never saw nor
heard of during the time I lived among them. they would threaten to make them
live very far from the nation as persons unworthy to dwell with others; and it
is often repeated to lthen that if one strikes them they should be careful not to
return it. I have already said that I have studied them a very long time, but I
have never heard of any of these disputes or beatings among the young people
or the grown men.
They have n11 police among them, for the reason that in following exactly
the law of nature they have no contention, and thus have no need of judges.
As fast as the children grow the men and women take care to accustom those
of their sex to the labors and exercises which are suitable to it, and it is not
at all difficult to interest them in these. But it must be admitted that the girls
and the \women work more than the men and the boys, who have not many
other labors lhan those of hunting, fishing, and cutting wood, of which the
women bring in the very smallest piece. Finally they have the corn fields to
make and weed.a On days of rest they amuse themselves by making mat-
tocks, according to their fashion, paddles, and oars; but these utensils once
made last for a long time. On the other hand the woman has to bring up her
children, to pound tile maize in order to nourish the family, to feed the fire,
to manufacture a quantity of utensils, which involve long labor and do not last
long, like pottery, mats, clothing, and a thousand other similar things, of which
I have spoken in the article on the labors of the natives.b
When the children are from 10 to 12 years old they are accustomed little by
little to carrying small burdens, which are increased with age. A traveler has
told me that the nations of the north make their children carry very large
burdens. I can hardly believe it, because I have always noticed that all the
nations, without exception, are very sparing of youth, and that all are of the
opinion that it is not necessary to lead young people far nor to marry them until
they are about 25, and that otherwise they would become enervated. *
Racing is from time to time the exercise of the youths, but they are not
permitted to exhaust themselves, owing to the length of the ground, nor by

SDu Pratz is mistaken if he means to say that the ordinary fields were cultivated
entirely by the men. This was true only of certain sacred fields.
SSee pp. 62-64.


renewing running for fear lest they heat themselves too much. The swifter
at this exercise jest sometimes at those who are slower, but the old man who
directs them prevents the raillery from going too far, for he carefully avoids
subjects of quarrel and discord among them. It is, without doubt, for this
reason that they never let them wrestle, in order to cut off the road to all that
might give birth to division among them. I am well persuaded that this educa-
tion, added to the gentleness of their character and that of the climate, renders
them as sociable as we see them among themselves and with those who come
to know them.
In order that the youths maintain that agility which running exacts at the
same time that it gives it, the youths are early accustomed to bathe every morn-
ing to fortify the sinews and to harden them in the cold and by the fatigue,
besides teaching them how to swim that they may be able to flee from or pur-
sue an enemy. For this purpose an old man is chosen to call them every
morning in the year until they know how to swim well, boys and girls without
exception, another labor for the mothers who go there to teach their infants,
who are compelled to go from the age of 3 years. Those vwho already know
fairly well how to swim make a great noise in winter beating the water to drive
away the alligators and to warm themselves. The old man tells them this;
they must believe it.
All that I have so far reported enables one to see sufficiently well that the
women are very much tied down by work, and I am able to assure you that I
have almost never seen then enjoying any leisure. However, I have never
heard them complain of their sufferings, unless it was for those which the
children give them, which arise as much from the anxiety which maternal
love gives as from the labors which they have around them. Besides, the
labors of their state having become familiar from their earliest youth, they
give themselves to them without repugnance.
The girls are warned from their earliest years that if they are lazy or awk-
ward they will have only a lout for a husband. By this means they are made
to emulate one another and to see who will do best. I have noticed in all the
countries which I have visited that the girls make good use of this threat.
Let not one think on that account that the young men are entirely lazy.
Their occupations, indeed, are not of such long duration, but they are much
more painful, and, as they need more strength, reason demands that they
husband their youth so much the more without being exempted from the
exercises. Great attention is paid never to beat them in infancy, for fear lest
a bad blow might wound them. I leave the reader to decide which would more
inspire sense in a child, fear or beatings, in order to give them an education
which vanishes as soon as they are away from the impression of the blows
which they were obliged to receive in order to learn to think well.
By sparing their youth in this manner tie body grows, shapes itself, and
becomes strong without trouble. In their youth they follow the men only to
the hunt to learn the rules and to accustom themselves to be patient. Beyond
that they are not employed in any rough work, in order not to weaken them
and render them incapable of going to war and do work which exacts much
strength. But when they are grown men they work the field or waste, and
prepare it to receive seed." They go hunting and to war, dress skins, cut down
trees, make their bows and arrows, and aid each other in building their cabins.
I admit, however, that much more time is left to them than to the women,
but this time is not always lost. On the contrary, I find it very well employed.
These people have no assistance from writing, and are able to preserve their

a See note a, p. 87.


own history only through tradition. Thus it is impossible for them to learn it
except by frequent conversations. The old men are the depositaries of this,
and as it has been very faithfully transmitted from generation to generation
they call it the ancient word." What contributes much to preserve it in all
its purity is that they do not teach it to all the young people indifferently. This
tradition is all their science and the only authority on which they are able to
base their reasoning. This is why reason makes them vividly conscious of the
fact that they ought not to waste this treasure, and that the surest means of
preserving it unaltered is not to intrust such a precious deposit to people who
have not the prudence necessary to make good use of it, or who in a little while
would entirely deform it by additions or by omissions equally unfortunate for the
truth. They therefore choose for this purpose those among the youths of whom
they had the best opinion in order to teach them past things. Moreover, this
choice is very easy for them, because the children are always under their eyes
and the old men are in a very good position to know them, the same cabin
ordinarily embracing the same family.a
In another place he declares:
It is inconceivable with what exactness the preeminence of men is observed
among these peoples. In any assembly whatever, whether of tne nation as a
whole or of many families together or of a single particular family, the smallest
boys have precedence of the most aged women, and when food is distributed at
a meal it is presented to the women only after all the males have received their
share, so that a boy of 2 is served before his mother.
The women, always busy, without being distracted or seduced by the gal-
lantries of lovers, never think of rebelling against a usage in which they have
been steadily reared, and never having seen any example to the contrary they
never shun it. They have not even the least idea of it. Submissive as much
by habit as by reason, they preserve through their docility the peace which they
have in their families, peace which they would very soon make vanish if, like
others, they pretended to have the right to give it.b
This account of Du Pratz is probably correct in most particulars,
but it is rather idealized, and there seems to be a serious mistake
made in speaking of the care of the fields as work performed solely
by men. It is possible that he had in mind the preparation of cer-
tain sacred fields, the product of which was intended for the harvest
feast, to be described later, but such is not the impression conveyed.
Dumont and all other writers invariably assign this work to the
women, and it is evident that it was at least shared by them.
The ground covered in the above is not reviewed so thoroughly by
Dumont, but the following paragraphs bear upon the same subjects:
It may be perceived from what I have said of the ornaments and dress of
these peoples that they ought to be well hardened to cold. Besides, they never
fear it. They are seen, even in quite severe frosts-men, women, and children-
going after daybreak to bathe in the river in order to make themselves harder
and more insensible. They also have the custom of rubbing themselves fre-
quently with bear's oil, which contributes still further to harden the skin and
protect them from the bites of gnats (mawringouins) and mosquitoes. When
their children come into the world they take care to crush and flatten the upper

- Du Pratz, H-ist. de La Louislane, ir, 309-321.

b Ibid., 385-386.


part of the forehead with a plank, so that when they shall have grown up they
may be in a better condition to bear all kinds of loads.a
Among the savages the men in general concern themselves only with war,
hunting, or fishing. Formerly they had for arms only the bow and arrow, but
now almost all are provided with firearms, and they show much skill in using
them. Most of them are excellent hunters. Besides, our Frenchmen employ
them willingly to hunt for them during the winter. They give them for that
gnus, powder, balls, lead, vermilion, Limobourg, kettles, and other articles of
merchandise, and in return these savages furnish them game of all kinds-
geese, ducks, bison, deer, etc. They also trade with them for bear's oil, as well
as dressed bear, bison, or deerskins, which they give them for other articles
of trade.b
The savage women are not less skillful nor less industrious than the men, and
are besides very laborious. Moreover, they are charged with all the details of
life and of the household. They are the ones who prepare the fields, sow them,
gather the harvest, and prepare food for their husbands, who eat alone whenever
it pleases them, which happens very.often.c

Then follow detailed descriptions already given of the work done
by women in bringing in, cooking, and selling or drying game, rais-
ing chickens, making baskets, feather fans and mantles, and pottery,
spinning and weaving bison hair, bass bark, etc.


Next to the ball game to be described in connection with the har-
vest festival, the most important Natchez game was the chunkey
game, common to all southern tribes. Dumont speaks of it as

The savages have still another kind of game in which they exercise them-
selves, not merely for amusement, but also to gain each other's property, to
the point of ruining themselves. This is what is called the cross." This game
consists in throwing at the same time many poles 15 or 10 feet long and as thick
as the fist after a bowl which rolls on a well pounded and very smooth piece
of ground, such as is found in the center of each village. When the bowl stops
that one whose pole is nearest this bowl wins the point. The play continues
as far as pocold, that is 10, and the savages often ruin themselves, as I have
said, wagering on the game their powder, their guns, their skins, their Limbourg,
in a word, all that they may have.e
Du Pratz describes it thus:
The warriors of these nations have invented the game which is called of
the pole," but should rather be named of the cross," since this pole, which
is 8 feet long, resembles in shape a letter F" in roman characters. Only
two play this game, and each has a pole of the same kind. They have a
flat stone shaped like a wheel, beveled on the flat sides like the wheel of the
game of Siam. But it is only 3 inches in diameter and an inch thick. The
first throws his stick and rolls the stone at the same time. The skill of the

Dumont, MAm. Hist. sur La Louisiane, i, 140-141.
b Ibid., 145-146.
SIbid., 151-152.
d Pp. 177, 119-120.
e Dumont, Mem. Hist. sur La Louisiane, I, 202-203.


player consists in managing so that the stone touches the pole or stops very
near it. The second throws his pole the instant the slone begins to roll. The
one whose pole is nearest tie stone scores a point and lais the right to throw
tile stone.
This game, like many others, begins with little and often ends in the ruin
of olne of the players. Iln tle beginning they stake only some single heads,
then entire strings. When they have lost their beads they go stealthily to
search for those of their wives, and sometimes lose then also. Then the game
becomes animated. The loser goes to find his garnlent of cloth or skin.
Everything is good, so that it helps to satisfy his fury for playing. If he loses
this sole garment he is ruined as lInlch as the person who plays and loses his
silver, his wardrobe, and his equipage. The settlers do not like native
gambllers, because after this loss they go to their houses, under some false pre-
text, to buy another garment, which they seldom pay for. The people of their
own nation do. not esteem them more than we do. Happily these infatuated
players ;are rare.
The men become very much fatigued over the game I have just described,
because they run after their poles as if by running they could guide them in
accordance with their desires.,

lie continues as follows, regarding the games of the women and

unt if tie game of the men is rough and fatiguing, that of the women is
extremely gentle and calmn since they sit down to play and all their instruments
weigh scarcely an ounce.
The pieces s will which they play are three bits of cane, S to 9 inches long,
split in two equal parts, and pointed Iat the ends. Each piece is distinguished(
by the designs cut into the convex side. Three play together 1and (eallh Ilis her
bit. In pllying they hold two of these pieces of cane on the open left hand
and the third in the right hand, the rounded side above, will which they strike
on the two others. taking care to touch only tie ends. The three pieces fall, and
when two of them have tile convex side upi the one who has played scores a
point. If there is only one she scores nothing. After the first the two others
play in their turn.
I never noticed that there was anything before these women which might
add interest to their game. I have even thought that they did not dare to
expose themselves to lose anything for fear of disturbing lle peace of the
household. I have been a witness of wllat I report concerning tile game of
these wolllen, but they did not see me, hiecause when they are surprised at
play they are ashamed and conceal themselves at once, a fact which afterwards
caused me never to discover myself, in order not to disturb them. Besides
they take care to sit apart and not to utter a word, and thus they can not
be detected except by means of the small pieces of cane which make little noise.
The lolungest boys, and above ae ll the girls, have no game to which one can
give a Iname, unless it be tie ball gaile with which they sometimes amuse
themselves wlen thel weather is good. This pi'lotte or ball is madel of a hand-
ful of dry Spanish beard, which is rolled together and tied as strongly as
possible with a string. It is then covered with a piece of dressed deerskin.
This ball game consists in knocking the la ll back and forth with the palm of the
hand which they employ with considerable skill.5

- Dii Plratz, 11ist. dc La Lousiano, illr, 2-4.~

b Ibid., 4-6.



When the natives meet Frenchmen with whom they are acquainted, they
grasp the hand and shake it a little, bending the head slightly and saying to
them always in their language, Is it you, my friend?" If one has nothing of
consequence to say to them, or if they themselves have nothing of consequence
to propose, they pursue their way.
If they are going to the same place as the Frenchman whom they meet or
whom they join they never pass him, unless they are pressed by something
well worth the trouble. In this case they pass at some paces from the person
and reenter the road only when they are at a little distance.
When one enters their houses they utter the word of salutation, ichla mon-
goula, which signifies what I have just said, Is it you, my friend? They
give the hand and tell him to be seated (cihp&,td, 'seat thyself'), pointing to a
bed which serves for this purpose. They let the person who has arrived rest
and wait for him to speak first because they presume he must be out of breath
from the walk, and no one dares disturb the silence which then reigns in the
As soon as the one who has arrived begins to speak the wife brings some of
the food which they have already prepared. The master says: "Apas-ich
(eat)." Whatever they present must be taken, however little one wishes it, for
otherwise they imagine that they are despised. After these little ceremonies
one says what one wishes to transact with them or what one desires them to do.
When the natives meet together, however many there be, only one speaks, and
two persons never speak at the same time, but always one after another. If, in
the same company, a woman has something to say to another, she speaks to her
in such a low voice that no one in the company hears anything. No one is inter-
rupted, even for the purpose of scolding all infant, and if the infant is fractious
he goes very far. When a question is agitated and deliberated upon in council,
silence is kept for a short time. Each one speaks only in his turn, and one
never cuts the word of another short.
This usage, which may be considered prudent conduct, is why the natives
have difficulty in keeping from smiling when they see many Frenchmen or
French women talk together, and always many at a time. I noticed this for
two years, and very often asked the reason for it without being able to learn it.
Finally I pressed my comrade so much on this point that lie said to me: "Why
does that trouble you? It does not concern you." Finally I solicited him so
earnestly that he was unable to refuse me, and after having begged me not to
be angry he said to me in the common [i. e., Mobilian] language what I here
translate: Our people say that when many Frenchmen are together they speak
all at once, like a flock of geese." a
Shaking of hands was introduced after the arrival of the French.
The ancient form of salutation was that described by Iberville, al-
though the people who used it were the Bayogoula, living farther
down the river.
Having come to the place where my brother stood, the chief, or captain, of
the Bayogoulas came to the edge of the ocean to show me friendship and civility
in their manner, which is, being near you, to stop, pass the hands over one's
own face and breast, and then pass their hands over yours, after which they
raise them toward heaven, rubbing them on themselves again and embracing.b

[BULL. 43

bMargry, D~couvertes, iv, 154-155.

- Du Pratz, Hist. de La Lou~islane, 111, 6-8.


These are the usages between persons of nearly the same rank, but
in the Natchez nation the idea of nobility was so highly developed
that a special etiquette was employed toward one of the upper classes,
especially the great Sun, and he was approached with the most slavish

When the great Sun speaks to anyone [of the common people] he (the Int-
ter) is obliged to salute him with three hous as soon as he has finished speak-
ing. If a simple Sun is spoken to he is saluted with one hou only, but it is
necessary that this be out of the presence of the sovereign. The Suns them-
selves salute him every time he speaks to them and every morning they go
to pay their respects to him with this salutation of a single hou. Even his
brother (the head war chief) was not exempt, but he did it in a very low tone,
which sufficed for the rest of the day.a

Says De Montigny:

They spoke to him (the great Sun) always with great respect. A woman
or a child never dared to enter his cabin; only the old men and the most im-
portant of the nation could enter there; everything in his words as in his
maintenance witness to the great respect in which lie was held. No one would
be permitted to sit on his bed, to make use of his goblet, to pass between him
and a cane torch or flamnbeau which was lighted every evening in order to illu-
minate his cabin.b

And St. Cosme says:

For nothing in the world would one wish to contradict them (the Suns) or
give them pain. If they fell ill, infants were usually immolated to appease
the spirit, and when they came to die great persons were killed who came to
offer themselves, showing great joy over it.c

Custom is so powerful in matters such as this that the great Sun
expressed the greatest surprise on one occasion that a certain French-
man would not be willing to die with him.'
This reverence is perfectly understandable, however, when it is
considered that the Suns were held to be descendants of the supreme
deity and in reality deities themselves, the chiefs being regarded as
spirits that it was important to be careful of and respect. They had
in their hands abundance, health, and life, as well as poverty, diseases,
and death.e Not that they brought these things about directly, but
by intercession with their ancestor, who was of the blood of the
supreme being, and sent the diseases and the mortality on account
of the small respect which in later times the people had had for his

a Du Pratz, Hist. de La Louisiane, ill, 54.
b De Montigny, letter of Aug. 25, 1699, in Compte Rendu Cong. Internat. des Amfr.,
15th sess., I, 42.
St. Cosme, letter of Jan. 8, 1706, in ibid.
d De Montigny, letter of Aug. 25, 1699, in ibid., 49.
e St. Cosme, Jan. 8, 1706, in ibid., 41.
f Gosselin, on authority of St. Cosme, in ibid., 40.

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