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This is Native American Heritage month. Why not posts info about the tribes in Texas. It would be fun to perhaps list or have people lists the Indian words that are names of cities or counties or in use in our everyday language. For example, Caddo lake is named for the Caddo Indians....Wichita is and Indian tribe and city etc... So much history really.... Sweet Pea and I look forward to your discussion.

Tags: Native_Americans, Texas

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Here is the link to a wonderful website:


The Cherokees are one of the most important tribes in Texas History. They are not originally from Texas. They moved to Texas from the east around 1823. One reason the Cherokees are important is because Sam Houston was an adopted Cherokee. Sam Houston was the first President of the Republic of Texas and the General of the Texas Army that defeated the Mexicans in the Texas Revolution in 1835. From Tennessee, he followed his Cherokee family first to Arkansas in 1828, then to Texas in 1832. Sam Houston's Cherokee name was "the Raven".

The Cherokees are also important in Texas history because they took over the leadership role of the Indian tribes of East Texas from the Caddo. They became the dominant Indian tribe in East Texas.

The importance of the Cherokees in Texas is more historical than cultural. By the time they arrived in Texas their culture had become very much like the Americans and Europeans in many ways. To find the original Cherokee Indian culture you have to go back 200 years before they came to Texas.

The Cherokees are one of the five civilized tribes. They were called this because by the time large numbers of European settlers arrived around them, the Cherokees had already learned to make and use metal tools, European style clothes and European style houses.

In the east and in Texas the Cherokee were primarily farmers who lived in villages. They also hunted and gathered wild plants for food and medicines when they could. Before European contact, they farmed corn, beans, pumpkins, squash, and several other kinds of plants. They did not have domesticated animals like cows or chickens. They did have dogs.

They moved into the area of Texas the Caddo Indians lived in. By 1823 the Caddo had lost much of their former population to European diseases. By the time the Cherokee arrived, the Caddo were down to no more than two thousand. So, much of the land the Caddos had lived on was empty by 1823. Along with the Cherokee, several other tribes from the Southeastern United States also moved into this region of Texas. These were the Alabama, the Coushatta, the Shawnee, the Biloxi, some Creek Indians and a few other smaller groups.

They all arrived at a critical time in Texas history. Texas was part of Mexico in 1823. In the next 25 years there would be a revolution in Mexico, the Texas revolution, and Texas would become a part of the United States. During this same time period thousands of Americans and Europeans immigrated to Texas wanting land - including the land the Indians lived on.

In all these revolutions both sides wanted the Cherokees and the other tribes to take sides with them. This was dangerous for the Cherokees. If they chose sides with a loser, the winner would punish them afterwards and chase them off their land. They stayed neutral in these revolutions.

Even after Texas won the revolution, agents of the Mexican government came to the Cherokees and asked them to make war on the Texans. The Cherokees refused to do this.

In February of 1836 Sam Houston negotiated a treaty with the Cherokees on behalf of the Provisional Government of Texas. When Sam Houston became president of the Republic of Texas in September of 1836, he tried to get the 1836 treaty ratified by the new Texas Government. They did nothing about the treaty until 1837. In 1837 the Texas Senate rejected the treaty signed by Houston. Still, while Houston was president, things were all right for the Cherokee for several years. Then Texas elected a new President, Mirabeau Lamar. Lamar did not like the Cherokees, or any other Indians for that matter, and he said so. Lamar and other were also concerned because the Mexicans were trying to get the Cherokees and other Texas Indians to help them take back Texas.

The Texas Cherokees moved to Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. There, they were reunited with the eastern Cherokees. The eastern Cherokees had also been forced to move from their lands. The government of the United States and the State of Georgia forced the eastern Cherokees off their land and forced them to move to Indian Territory in Oklahoma. The United States Supreme Court ruled that this was an illegal act and broke treaties.
The Tigua are the only Puebloan tribe still in Texas. The Pueblos are a number of different Indian tribes who lived in the southwest. The southwest includes far west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona with bits of southern Colorado and Utah. All these different Puebloan tribes shared similar ways of living, even though they spoke different languages and had slightly different cultures. Other Puebloan tribes in Texas include the long gone prehistoric Pueblos along the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle and probably the Jumano.

So Europeans and Americans share very similar culture, but they are also different in important ways.. The Pueblo Indians were like the Europeans and Americans. They spoke many different languages and had slightly different cultures. There were, and still are, Hopi Puebloans, Taos Puebloans, Jimez Puebloans, Zuni Puebloans and, of course, our Tigua Puebloans. These are all different tribes. But, because they share so much culture in common we group them together as Puebloan.

The main thing that sets the Puebloan Indians apart from other Indian tribes are their distinctive houses. They build Pueblos. Their name, Pueblo, is Spanish and means "town". That is what we still call Pueblo Indian towns, Pueblos. A Pueblo is also a big building with many rooms in it. Sort of like our modern apartment buildings. Families live in a group of rooms in a Pueblo. Often many families live in one Pueblo. Many Pueblos had hundreds of people living in them. Some Pueblos were 4 or 5 stories high. In larger Pueblos there are several individual Pueblo buildings built around a plaza or square. Really big Pueblos like the Zuni or some of the Hopi Pueblos have several squares or plazas. The plazas are used all year round for ceremonies and group activities. Puebloan Indians have lots of ceremonies. So when the Spanish saw the big towns with the buildings, the Pueblos, they named the people who built them Pueblo Indians.

Pueblo Indians, including the Tigua, are farmers. Most of their food comes from crops they plant and tend. Corn is the main crop they plant. Notice I used the verb "is" and not "was". The Pueblos are still here and they still farm. They also raised many other crops. For food they raised beans and squash. They also raised cotton that they used to make cloth. They also raised gourds that could be dried out and used as containers.

They stored and cooked their food in well-made pottery. The Tigua and other Pueblos are famous for their beautiful pottery. Much of this pottery has painted designs that are very pretty.

The men hunted deer, rabbits, antelope, bear and any other wild game they could find for meat. The women and children would collect wild foods like berries when they were in season.

They knew how to grow cotton and weave cotton cloth. So their clothes were made of cotton. They also used leather and fur on their clothes. The men would wear a breach cloth. A breach cloth is what Tarzan wears.

Near El Paso is a special place called Hueco Tanks. Hueco tanks are a rocky outcropping in the middle of a desert. There are many caves and springs with water in Hueco Tanks. The springs form lakes and pools in depressions and hollows in the rock at Hueco Tanks giving it its name. Hueco means bowl in Spanish and refers to the bowl like depressions in the rock and a tank is a small lake or pool of water. The Tigua consider Hueco Tanks to be a sacred place. They go there to worship. Hueco Tanks is now a Texas State park. The Park Service lets the Tigua in to worship. In the caves and cliffs there are pictures drawn on the rocks called pictographs. Many Indians, including the Tigua, made these pictographs.

By the 1930s many people thought the Tigua were extinct. But they were not. In the 1960s they began asserting themselves and laying claim to the land they had lost. In 1968 Texas finally recognized the Tigua as a tribe. Later in 1968 Lyndon Johnson signed an act of the U S Congress recognizing the Tigua as a tribe and making their land a reservation. This is where the Tigua still live.

Alabama-Coushatta to the Rescue: Aid to the Refugees During the Runaway Scrape (1836)
by Victor Vergara
After learning of the defeat at the Battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836, General Sam Houston dispatched a message for the retreat of his troops and advised settlers to follow. As Santa Anna’s army quickly approached east, waves of families fled leaving their homes and properties behind. Throughout the escape, refugees endured an overwhelming low morale due to disease, starvation, and inadequate shelter that reduced them in numbers. While the settlers continued to flee east (reaching as far as Louisiana), the Alabama and Coushatta tribes aided the runaways in their escape to safety from the powerful Mexican army. Thus, the participation of these tribes during the events of the Texas Revolution earned them privileges and rights that were denied to other groups of Native Americans in the new republic. In gratitude of their generous and hospitable deeds, the tribes earned state recognition both under the provisional governments of Sam Houston and successor Mirabeau B. Lamar. Throughout an extensive period, the peaceful Alabama-Coushatta tribes experienced sporadic relocation, beginning with the occupation of British soldiers before the American Revolution. Progressively, they traveled further from what is now present-day Alabama, reaching parts of Louisiana and East Texas. Once arriving within the Spanish and French-American borders, the tribes were prone to the inevitable wages of Spanish-Franco conflict, the Mexican War for Independence, and later the Texas Revolution. Although the tribes remained separate, their common upbringings allowed the two tribes to cooperate and eventually settle together. Through their efforts in the Runaway Scrape, the Alabama-Coushatta determine their significance in the shaping of Texas history, thus creating opportunity for them to appeal to land.

Seeking new refuge, the Coushatta tribe sought to follow their neighboring Alabama allies to the southwestern territories of Louisiana and Texas where the groups hoped to make their new home. Upon the arrival of the Coushatta, the Spanish gladly opened their borders to the tribe. The Coushatta were then able to cooperate as a line of defense alongside the Eastern Texas border. By doing so, the Spanish were able to strengthen their borders and watch for any invaders that were constantly seen smuggling and wandering.[1] Interestingly, Coushatta loyalties would later shift. Texas still under Spanish rule, the tribe engaged their efforts in the fight for Mexican Independence. On March 29, 1813, under the command of Samuel Kemper, thirteen hundred men stood in awe of the sight of twenty-five Coushatta charging towards the Spanish line before the signal was given. The Battle of Rosalis ended in a victory for the Mexican supporters as Spanish troops retreated back to San Antonio. The Coushatta would thus develop a record of faithful service to Texas that would never be fully repaid.[2]

After the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the Alabama-Coushatta again experienced the consequences of western expansion and again, the tribes were forced to relocate further west, where they settled in the Trinity and Neches Rivers. Under Chief Colita, the Coushatta erected three different villages along the Trinity where they remained until their relocation in 1845 after Texas became the 28th state of the United States.[3] Once Texas was opened to American settlers, conflict between the Mexican government and the Americans ensued. Loyalties would again be tested despite the call for neutrality. In the outbreak of the Texas Revolution, fear of retaliation and possible alliance with the Mexican forces, led General Sam Houston to ensure the neutrality of the Alabama-Coushatta and surrounding tribes:

“The parties declare, that there shall be a firm and lasting peace forever, and that a friendly intercourse shall be pursued, by the people belonging to both parties.”

In order to ensure peaceful relations, Houston appoints a representative (agent) to each tribe whose job it was to oversee governmental affairs and see that relations with neighboring Anglo settlers do not cause an outbreak, or rather see that no “injustice”[4] is done to the members of the villages. By establishing a friendly Indian policy, he became a favorable government figure for many tribes, including the Alabama-Coushatta, whom in 1859 appraised his role as Texas Governor, describing him as a “great and good man, a friend to the Indians”.[5] Though he had previously asked the tribes to remain neutral, their support and loyalty to the cause managed to serve him and the Anglo settlers well during the Texas Revolution.[6]

Upon receiving the news of the defeat at the Alamo, Houston then demands for settlers to evacuate their properties and flee to the eastern borders. In an account written by historian Henderson Yoakum, he describes the ill conditions the refugees experienced in the run for their lives during the Runaway Scrape:

"On every road leading eastward into Texas, were found men, women and children, moving through the country over swollen streams and muddy roads, strewing the way with their property, crying for aid, and exposed to the fierce northers and rains of the spring. The scene was distressing indeed: and being witnessed by the small but faithful army of Texas, whose families and wives they were, thus exposed and suffering, nerved their arms and hearts for the contest then not distant."

As principal chief of the Texas Coushattas, Colita was an instrumental figure in maintaining peaceful relations between the tribe and their Anglo counterparts. Evidently, in the events of the Runaway Scrape, he and the Coushatta assisted the fleeing settlers by providing them food and shelter, and personally helping them cross the Trinity River.[7] Through their efforts in the Runaway Scrape, the Coushatta once again showed where their loyalty stood. Their participation in the Texas affairs thus prompts the tribes to appeal for land grants in the 1850's through their respective agent, James Barclay.


Native American ownership of black slaves came about as a way for Native Americans to illustrate their societal sophistication to white settlers.
How would slave ownership prove civilization? In capitalism-crazed America, slaves became tokens of economic success. The more slaves you owned, the more serious a businessperson you were, and the more serious a businessperson you were, the fitter you were to join the ranks of “civilized society.”
#BlackHistory #RealHistory DAY 11
"When you think of the Trail of Tears, you likely imagine a long procession of suffering Cherokee Indians forced westward by a villainous Andrew Jackson. Perhaps you envision unscrupulous white slaveholders, whose interest in growing a plantation economy underlay the decision to expel the Cherokee, flooding in to take their place east of the Mississippi River.
What you probably don’t picture are Cherokee slaveholders, foremost among them Cherokee chief John Ross. What you probably don’t picture are the numerous African-American slaves, Cherokee-owned, who made the brutal march themselves, or else were shipped en masse to what is now Oklahoma aboard cramped boats by their wealthy Indian masters. And what you may not know is that the federal policy of Indian removal, which ranged far beyond the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee, was not simply the vindictive scheme of Andrew Jackson, but rather a popularly endorsed, congressionally sanctioned campaign spanning the administrations of nine separate presidents.
These uncomfortable complications in the narrative were brought to the forefront at a recent event held at the National Museum of the American Indian. Titled “Finding Common Ground,” the symposium offered a deep dive into intersectional African-American and Native American history.
For museum curator Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), who has overseen the design and opening of the widely lauded “Americans” exhibition now on view on the museum’s third floor, it is imperative to provide the museum-going public with an unflinching history, even when doing so is painful.
“I used to like history,” Smith told the crowd ruefully. “And sometimes, I still do. But not most of the time. Most of the time, history and I are frenemies at best.” In the case of the Trail of Tears and the enslavement of blacks by prominent members of all five so-called “Civilized Tribes” (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole), Smith went one step further, likening the ugly truth of history to a “mangy, snarling dog standing between you and a crowd-pleasing narrative.”
“Obviously,” Smith said, “the story should be, needs to be, that the enslaved black people and soon-to-be-exiled red people would join forces and defeat their oppressor.” But such was not the case—far from it. “The Five Civilized Tribes were deeply committed to slavery, established their own racialized black codes, immediately reestablished slavery when they arrived in Indian territory, rebuilt their nations with slave labor, crushed slave rebellions, and enthusiastically sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War.”
In other words, the truth is about as far a cry from a “crowd-pleasing narrative” as you could possibly get. “Do you want to hear that?” Smith asked the audience. “I don’t think so. Nobody does.” And yet, Smith is firm in his belief that it is a museum’s duty to embrace and elucidate ambiguity, not sweep it under the rug in the pursuit of some cleaner fiction.
Tiya Miles, an African-American historian at the University of Michigan, agrees. At the “Finding Common Ground” event, she meticulously laid out primary-source evidence to paint a picture of Indian/African-American relations in the years leading up to the Civil War.
Native Americans, she said, had themselves been enslaved, even before African-Americans, and the two groups “were enslaved for approximately 150 years in tandem.” It wasn’t until the mid 18th-century that the bondage of Native Americans began to wane as Africans were imported in greater and greater numbers. Increasingly, where white colonists viewed Africans as little more than mindless beasts of burden, they saw Native Americans as something more: “noble savages,” unrefined but courageous and fierce.
Perversely, Native American ownership of black slaves came about as a way for Native Americans to illustrate their societal sophistication to white settlers. “They were working hard to comply with government dictates that told native people that in order to be protected and secure in their land base, they had to prove their level of ‘civilization,’” Miles explained.
How would slave ownership prove civilization? The answer, Miles contends, is that in capitalism-crazed America, slaves became tokens of economic success. The more slaves you owned, the more serious a businessperson you were, and the more serious a businessperson you were, the fitter you were to join the ranks of “civilized society.” It’s worth remembering, as Paul Chaat Smith says, that while most Native Americans did not own slaves, neither did most Mississippi whites. Slave ownership was a serious status symbol.
Smith and Miles agree that much of early American history is explained poorly by modern morality but effectively by simple economics and power dynamics. “The Cherokee owned slaves for the same reasons their white neighbors did. They knew exactly what they were doing. In truth,” Smith said, the Cherokee and other “Civilized Tribes were not that complicated. They were willful and determined oppressors of blacks they owned, enthusiastic participants in a global economy driven by cotton, and believers in the idea that they were equal to whites and superior to blacks.”
None of this lessens the very real hardship endured by Cherokees and other Native Americans compelled to abandon their homelands as a result of the Indian Removal Act. Signed into law in the spring of 1830, the bill had been rigorously debated in the Senate (where it was endorsed with a 28-19 vote) that April and in the House of Representatives (where it prevailed 102-97) that May. Despite a sustained, courageous campaign on the part of John Ross to preserve his people’s property rights, including multiple White House visits with Jackson, in the end the influx of white settlers and economic incentives made the bill’s momentum insuperable. All told, the process of removal claimed more than 11,000 Indian lives—2,000-4,000 of them Cherokee.
What the slaveholding of Ross and other Civilized Nations leaders does mean, however, is that our assumptions regarding clearly differentiated heroes and villains are worth pushing back on.
“I don’t know why our brains make it so hard to compute that Jackson had a terrible Indian policy and radically expanded American democracy,” Smith said, “or that John Ross was a skillful leader for the Cherokee nation who fought the criminal policy of removal with every ounce of strength, but also a man who deeply believed in and practiced the enslavement of black people.”
As Paul Chaat Smith said to conclude his remarks, the best maxim to take to heart when confronting this sort of history may be a quote from African anti-colonial leader Amílcar Cabral: “Tell no lies, and claim no easy victories.”
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