Our new Frequently Asked Questions page has reached its first stage of completion! It dispels common misconceptions about the Karankawa peoples and shows visitors that the Karankawas are still active today. Some of the corrected myths include the coastal peoples’ “giant” height and their supposed Caribbean origins. Each answer is accompanied by footnotes with primary sources that can be directly viewed.
Over the next few months, new topics will be added to the FAQ page. Some of these subjects include clan structure, hunting practices, musical instruments, smoke-signaling, and tattoos.
The Karankawa Archive will also be receiving an update in January. This time, secondary sources related to the Karankawas will be added in their entirety.
If you have any questions that you would like addressed, or if you have any unique documents, pictures, or stories related to the Karankawa peoples, feel free to reach out.
The Karankawa Archive is fully functional! There are over 2,500 unique primary sources ranging from 1528 to 1967 that in some way involve the Karankawa peoples.
Nearly every document is saved as a searchable PDF. If looking to do heavy-duty research with this source base, I highly recommend downloading Adobe Acrobat DC (free but make sure to remove McAfee add-ons) and using the “advanced search” function to browse through multiple PDFs. If searching by keyword, beware that the Anglo-Americans, the Spaniards, and the French all refer to the Karankawas in different ways. I have made a list of these “Karankawa” variations as a guide.
In the coming weeks, I intend to upload secondary sources that have referenced the Karankawas. I also will be creating tags such as “tattoos,” “food,” and “shelter,” to help users unfamiliar with archival research.
Also in the pipeline, is an updated Frequently Asked Questions page that will be completed by the end of 2021.
If you have any suggestions on how to improve the archive or sources to contribute yourself, please reach out.
Erin Douglas of the Texas Tribune, wrote a phenomenal article on the Karankawa Kadla’s reclamation of their history and the importance of stopping the proposed oil export terminal at Ingleside on the Bay. For more on stopping MODA visit the Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend’s website or Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association’s website.
Photo by Chris Stokes for The Texas Tribune
This Wednesday (9/22/21) the Indigenous Environmental Network is hosting a webinar featuring Indigenous frontliners: Love Sanchez (Karankawa-Kadla), Taysha Martineau, and Kanahus Manuel!
When: Live at 4pm AK | 5pm PT | 6pm MT | 7pm CT | 8p ET
Where: Watch through Facebook, through Zoom, or the IEN website.
Karankawa Kadla – Mixed Tongue -: Medicine for the Land & our Peoples is a memoir and a record of the Native languages spoken on the Texas Gulf Coast. In the author’s words, “Academic Texas history falls short from the Native American perspective. For historic Native people caught up in a rapidly crumbling world, priorities shifted to self-preservation rather than the keeping of stories, belief systems, tribal affiliations, and language.
The Native language records of the Texas missions and other sources in the 1800s are sparse, but had it not been for them, even the few surviving words of the Karankawa, Chitimacha, Atakapa, Coahuilteco, Cotoname, Comecrudo and other groups in this volume would have been lost forever.
Join the Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend and the Karankawa Kadla tomorrow on Facebook live as they discuss Rockport artist Steve Russell’s “Cultural Interface.” According to the Rockport Cultural Arts District, the statues “symbolize the impact of Europeans on the area.” According to the Native peoples of the region, like Love Sanchez, “the priest represents assimilation, the conquistador represents slaughter, and the pirate represents trafficking and rape.”
Pictured is another controversial statue–this one located in Indianola and featuring the intrepid and intractable Sieur de La Salle.
𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗔𝗺𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗰𝗮𝗻𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗟𝗼𝗰𝗮𝗹 𝗥𝗲𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗦𝘂𝗲 𝗨.𝗦. 𝗔𝗿𝗺𝘆 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗽𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗘𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗲𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗢𝗶𝗹 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁 𝗧𝗲𝗿𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝗘𝘅𝗽𝗮𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗔𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘃𝗮𝗹
Love Sanchez: 361-558-2945, IndigenousPeopleCoastalBend@gmail.com
Patrick Nye: 361-658-1089, email@example.com
Efforts by MODA Ingleside Oil Terminal, LLC (MODA) (the country’s leading oil export terminal) to double its capacity will destroy Karankawa cultural site, seagrasses, and wetlands.
Corpus Christi, Texas – The Indigenous Peoples of the Coastal Bend, Karankawa Kadla Tribe of the Texas Gulf Coast, and Ingleside on the Bay Coastal Watch Association have filed a lawsuit in federal court against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for issuing a permit for MODA to expand its operations into an undeveloped area sacred to local Indigenous people, without addressing environmental and community concerns as required under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.
Continue reading “Karankawas Sue U.S. Army Corps of Engineers”
Southwestern Historical Quarterly has published my latest article on the Karankawa-Spanish War. The following is an abstract:
This article is a narrative history of the little-known Karankawa-Spanish War. It has two primary purposes. The first is to uncover and name the actions attempted by the Spaniards against the Karankawas as genocidal by documenting three major attempts of annihilation led by Athanase de Mézières, Domingo Cabello y Robles, and Nicholas de La Mathe. The second purpose is to show how this attempted annihilation acted as a mechanism for various Karankawa tribes to consolidate into a more unified body. In the process of achieving these goals, this piece also demonstrates how Native Americans familiar with the Spaniards’ customs and language acquired advantages for themselves and their tribe and how shipwrecks served as a means of bypassing typical webs of trade for the Karankawas.
For a full version, visit the Texas State Historical Association.
If you are unable to access the article through TSHA please reach out to me personally.
Continue reading “The Karankawa-Spanish War from 1778 to 1789: Attempted Genocide and Karankawa Power”
In 1684, the famed explorer René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle embarked from France to establish a military settlement on the lower reaches of the Mississippi River. Roughly two hundred and eighty souls on four vessels accompanied La Salle—only a handful would survive the expedition.
From a present-day perspective, the voyage began poorly. Illness struck fifty men with two dying. Spanish corsairs captured the colonizers’ supply ketch, limiting the expedition’s supplies. And La Salle and the fleet captain continually clashed, sowing discord among the sailors and the colonizers. Despite these hardships, officers on the ship exclaimed that “it had been a long time since they had such a fortuitous crossing,” a testament to the usual hazards of a trans-Atlantic voyage in the seventeenth-century.
After two months of overseas travel, the colonists temporarily landed at the port town of Petit Goâve in Saint Domingue (Haiti) to resupply. While at Petit Goâve, locals persuaded six of La Salle’s colonists to desert the expedition by listing dangers awaiting them on the voyage to the mystical Mississippi: keel-crushing reefs, relentless Spanish fleets, blinding winds, mountains of fog, and most fearfully, “miserable savages who live on roots.” Continue reading “La Salle’s Doomed 17th Century French Colony on the Texas Gulf Coast”
This article is a history of the historical works about the Karankawa Indians of the Texas Gulf Coast. Recently, the Karankawas’ image in the historical record has improved greatly, but I argue there is still an immense amount of work to do. Scholars need to better integrate Karankawa historical actors into their work. Authors need to start their histories of Native Peoples prior to European contact. And finally, Karankawas are alive today—the writing of their history requires their voice.
To keep the post manageable, I only touch on a handful of secondary works related to the Karankawas.
Continue reading “Historiography of the Karankawa Indians”