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Snow Owl September 2004



The name Tangipahoa means "Corn Gatherers" or "Corncob People."

The name of this tribe and its affiliations with the Acolapissa indicate that it belonged to the southern division of the Muskhogean stock.

Location. Probably on the present Tangipahoa River, Tangipahoa Parish.

History. The original home of the Tangipahoa seems must have been as given above, and their relations with the Acolapissa must been very close, for Iberville was informed by some Indians that they constituted a seventh Acolapissa town. In 1682 La Salle's party discovered a town on the eastern side of the :Mississippi, 2 leagues below the settlement of the Ouinipissa, which had recently been distroyed, and one of of his companions calls this "Tangibao" while others speak of it as Maheouala or Mahehoualaima. The last two terms may refer to the name of the town and the first to that of the tribe which occupied it. Probably a part of the Tangipahoa only settled here, but, as we hear little of them after this period, we must assume that they had been absorbed by some other people, most likely the Acolapissa.

Breath of Prayer by Choctaw Artist Mark Eagleheart
Mark Eagleheart
Their name is Choctaw (as is most others) for "Black Water." They lived mostly on two lakes they lived on were dark in color due to the abundance of organic matter in the water, reflecting the richness of the soil for farming.

Untitled by Choctaw Artist
Norma Howard
Rt. 2 Box 1687
Stigler, OK 74462 USA
Numbering approximately 200 in 1699, the Opelousas (sometimes rendered Opelousa) Indians were a small tribe inhabiting present-day St. Landry Parish. According to legend, the term Opelousas, which means "black hair or black skull," was derived from two lakes near the area they occupied. The lakes evidently appeared black from the excessive quantity of leaves along the lakeshores.

Considerable linguistic evidence indicates that the Opelousas group was closely allied with the Attakapas (Attakapa) and possibly even a member of the Attakapan assembly of tribes. The Opelousa understood the Attakapas and the language of the Opelousas is deemed to have been nothing more than an Attakapas dialect, but the Opelousas Indians' language unfortunately has not survived.
Untitled Oil on Canvas by Choctaw Artist Dawn Morningstar
PO Box 841
Valliant, OK 74764 USA
The tribe also did not survive. By 1814, the Opelousas were reduced to only twenty warriors as a result of the introduction of smallpox and typhus. The surviving Opelousas retreated in the face an antebellum influx of whites and the Muskhogean Indians from east of the Mississippi invaded their territory. The name of the Opelousas Indians, however, persists, for the St. Landry parish seat of justice bears their name.
Alana A. Carmon American Tribes/Opelousas.html
Wood Carving by Choctaw Artist Clark Harp
Rt. 2 Box 213
Bennington, OK 74723 USA


Handbook of American Indians (1906) ~ Frederick W. Hodge
Villages of the Algonquian, Siouan, and Caddoan Tribes West of the Mississippi (1922) ~ David I. Bushnell
Drakes Indians of North America (1880) ~ Samuel G. Drake
History of the Indian Tribes of the United States (1857) ~ Henry R. Schoolcraft
The Indian Tribes of North America (1910) ~ John R. Swanton

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