WHO ARE THE KARANKAWAS?
There are five commonly-held groupings of Karankawas: the Carancaguases (from whom the label of Karankawas is derived), Cocos, Copanes, Cujanes, and Guapites. Their borders rested from roughly Matagorda Bay to Baffin Bay. As semi-nomadic Indians, the Karankawas migrated following the availability of food sources. These migrations typically aligned with the changing of the seasons. Buffalo, deer, and fish made up the most calorically-dense items in their diverse diets.
Prior to European contact, the Karankawas likely numbered more than eight thousand. They thrived. After European contact, the Karankawas remained in control of their Gulf Coast territories and advantageously played would-be colonizers off each other. Foiled by these coastal Indians, Europeans depicted the Karankawas as the most savage First Peoples in Texas—a myth that persists to this day.
Over time the Karankawas’ population dwindled from appropriation, disease, displacement, and warfare. In the middle of the nineteenth century, after being forcibly removed from their homelands, the Karankawas were either tracked down and killed or compelled to integrate into Mexican and Anglo-American society. Though there is no governmentally recognized Karankawan entity today, their blood runs through the veins of many who reside on their homeland.
Karankawas.com has two primary purposes: to be an accurate and authoritative source of information on the Karankawas and to provide an outlet where I can write about interesting topics relating to the Karankawas that do not quite fit into my dissertation.
ABOUT TIM SEITER
Howdy, I am Tim Seiter, a graduate student at Southern Methodist University. My research interests are that of borderlands, colonialism, Native American Studies, and the North American West.
After spending my day sufficiently clanking on the computer, I go about clanking on rock. My sights are set on multi-pitching Enchanted Rock, a nasty, Elvis-leg inducing slab jutting out of the Texas Hill Country.
Another hobby of mine is kayaking. Recently three friends and I kayaked from Port O’Connor to Matagorda Island to take pictures of the Karankawas’ environment and the location of La Salle’s Grand Camp. Check out Excursion Five on the Photography page for more on the adventure.
When I am not kayaking, rock climbing, reading, writing, or working on my dissertation, I’m probably enjoying a film. Some of my favorite movies include Barry Lyndon, In Bruges, and Fargo — reflecting on the list, I suppose I am a fan of dark comedies.
I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email.