FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
More answers and questions coming soon: I am a slow writer.
WERE THE KARANKAWAS GIANTS?
Short Answer: No, but they were taller than average for the time period.
Long Answer: See “Sizing-Up the Karankawa”
WHERE DID THE KARANKAWAS LIVE?
Short Answer: The Karankawas inhabited the land from around Matagorda Bay to Baffin Bay.
WHAT DID THE KARANKAWAS LOOK LIKE?
Short and Long Answer: See “What Did the Karankawa Look Like?”
WHAT WEAPONS DID THE KARANKAWAS UTILIZE?
Short Answer: The bow, the club, and the lance. The bow primarily. “With it they were most dexterous,” Cabeza de Vaca described.
WHAT DID THE KARANKAWAS EAT?
Short Answer: The most important food sources for the Karankawas were scallops, oysters, buffalo, deer, various roots and plants like cattail and dewberries, and fish like red and black drum, trout, and sheepshead.
Long Answer: See “What Did the Karankawa Eat?” and more blog posts coming soon.
WERE THE KARANKAWAS CANNIBALS?
Short Answer: On the surface level, the Karankawas anthropophagy appears to be another piece of conquest-driven propaganda. The abundance of grisly accounts made by Spanish priests and bellicose Texans certainly reinforces that notion. Yet, books such as William Arens’s The Man Eating Myth, which denies the existence of ritualistic cannibalism entirely, have turned rightful skeptics into overzealous cynics who discount all reports of cannibalism, despite their validity.
In my thesis, I show that the Karankawas practiced a community-oriented, post-mortem, rare, and ritualistic cannibalism that colonizers embellished and used as a mechanism to destroy the Karankawa People. Although some historians believe that “cannibal” is too tainted by colonial rhetoric to hold any semblance of truth, to outright deny or overlook this cultural facet of not just the Karankawas, but of many Texas Native American groups, washes away their history and agency. Fully treating First People as human means that as historians we must recognize that Indians, like Europeans, had cultural practices that are now considered stomach-churning.
Long Answer: My honors thesis grapples with this question. I have uploaded my full, award-winning thesis here.
IS YOUR QUESTION ABOUT THE KARANKAWAS NOT LISTED?
Short Answer: That’s unfortunate. Contact me.