Universal Trade Language-Mobilian-Dr Sibley
Although focused on Mobilian Jargon’s “descendant” languages, Berquinuvallon apparently applied his description also to the pidgin, if an abridged and questionable English translation that appeared within a few years after the French original ( Berquin-Duvallon 1806; see also Crawford 1978: 113 n. 12) is any indication:
It [Mobilian Jargon] is not without melody, but rendered unpleasant to the ear by the harsh, inarticulate and guttural pronunciation of the savages. I have seen many vocabularies collected from the dialects of these people, but they are all so vague and distorted that they promote no useful purpose. ( Berquin-Duvallon 1806: 95)
Berquin-Duvallon’s description could indeed have applied to Mobilian Jargon. The supposed inarticulateness then referred to its phonological variation, and that of gutturalness perhaps to the mistaken identification of apical-veolar and lateral fricatives. The most convincing comment has been his observation about its tendency towards consonant-vowel alternation, which is evident more in Mobilian Jargon than other Southeastern Indian languages. As regards earlier vocabularies as sources, Berquinurallon could have drawn on only a few instances, such as that by Bourgeois, and did not offer any better description, as far as is known. Berquin-Duvallon’s comments ultimately provide no new information other than a measure of Mobilian Jargon’s acceptance and significance in colonial Louisiana.
In a letter of 24 April 1802 addressed to the explorer William Dunbar in Natchez and accompanying vocabularies of Atakapa and Chitimacha, Martin Duralde, commandant of the Attacapas Post near present-day Opelousas in south-central Louisiana, gave two reasons for the difficulty of learning native languages, especially those of the Opelousa and Coushatta Indians: ____________________
‘The Mobilian language is the mother tongue from which derive the different dialects that these diverse tribes use and by means of which all can understand and communicate with each other. Although the majority of words that make up these dialects, being intermixed with vowels and not abounding in reduplicated consonants, are not harsh to the ear, they seem all the same to be–in the mouth of the Indians and from an effect of their pronunciation–muted. inarticulate, and guttural. As to the vocabularies or collections of isolated words from these dialects that have been published in French, English, Spanish, etc. to date, the most positive thing that I can say about them is that one ought to give them hardly any credence or heed whatsoever, considering that the manner in which these words are pronounced and therefore written in each European language differs from case to case and deviates more or less from the real pronunciation and that to properly pronounce such collection of vague and desultory words only nurtures a vain curiosity, far from being an object of true usefulness’ (author’s translation).
l’une que ces nations ne Se communiquant avec les blancs qu’au moyen de la langue mobilienne commune, personne ne prend interêt à en connaître l’originaire; l’autre que quand on n’est pas certain Sol même du vrai original, on ne doit point l’exposer aux yeux des Savans. [sic] ( Duralde 1802 MS: 2) 25
This statement reveals Duralde’s own insecurity about which language was which in the complex sociolinguistics of Louisiana, just as it indicates that Mobilian Jargon was the Native Americans’ preferred medium in contact with colonists and presumably other outsiders.
Incidental references to Mobilian Jargon appeared in other sources of the period. For the same year, the newspaper Moniteur de la Louisiane mentioned a 30-year-old slave born in Senegal who could speak not only Spanish, French, and English, but also “Mobilian” ( Fortier 1904: 219), confirming its use by African Americans.
From 1802 to 1806, another French visitor, Claude C. Robin, repeated much conventional wisdom about Mobilian Jargon, yet added the Talabouche Indians among its speakers, and emphasized its function as a diplomatic medium; according to Robin, the pidgin in fact was the means by which the larger groups had gained influence and status:
A travers ces grandes régions habitaient particulièrement les nombreuses nations des Chactas, des Alibamons, des Chichacas, des Pascagoulas, des Biloccis, des Talabouches, des Mobiliens. Il faut que ces nations, riveraines de la Mobile, fussent devenues puissantes et fameuses dès les siècles les plus reculés, puisque, quoique chacune d’elles parlât une langue particulière et très différente, elles avaient adopté pour langue commune la Mobilienne, qui, comme l’a été long-temps en Europe la langue latine, était devenue et est encore leur langue publique et politique. ( Robin 1807: ii. 54-5) 26
In addition, Robin mentioned an encounter with some unidentified Native Americans on one of Louisiana’s many rivers, during which the different parties drew on a few words of French, the Native Americans’ language or likely Mobilian Jargon, and hand signs for mutual communication (see Sect. 8.3).
In 1803 and 1804, after the Louisiana Purchase, by which the United States obtained much of the territory between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, John Sibley, US Indian Agent at Natchitoches, sur- ____________________
‘one being that, with these nations communicating with the whites only by means of the common Mobilian language, nobody takes an interest in knowing the original one; the other that, when one is not certain oneself about the true original, one must not expose this to the eyes of the scholars’ (author’s translation).
‘Across these vast regions lived in particular the numerous nations of the Choctaw, the Alabama, the Chickasaw, the Pascagoula, the Biloxi, the Talabouche, and the Mobile. These nations, bordering the Mobile river drainage, must have become powerful and renowned many centuries ago, for although each of them spoke a particular and very different language, they had adopted as a common language Mobilian, which–as the Latin language once was in Europe–had become and still is their public and diplomatic language’ (author’s translation).
veyed Indian groups within the Red River drainage, and reported the following inventory-like assessment about their languages:
BOLUSCAS [ Biloxi] . . . Their native language is peculiar to themselves, but speek Mobilian [Jargon], which is spoken by all the Indians, from the east side of the Mississippi . . .
APALACHIES . . . have their own language, but speak French and Mobilian [Jargon].
ALABAMAS . . . they speak the Creek and Choctaw languages, and Mobilian [Jargon]; most of them French, and some of them English . . .
PACANAS [unidentified] . . . their own language differs from any other, but speak Mobilian [Jargon] . . .
TUNICAS . . . Their native language is peculiar to themselves, but speak Mobilian [Jargon] . . .
PASCAGOULAS [unidentified] . . . speak Mobilian [Jargon], but have a language peculiar to themselves; most of them speak and understand French.
TENISAWS [Taënsa] . . . All speak French and Mobilian [Jargon] . . .
CHACTOOS [Chatot, unidentified and not to be confused with the Choctaw] . . . have their own peculiar tongue; speak Mobilian [Jargon]. [sic] ( Sibley 1807: 724-5)
Sibley further noticed that, besides their native language, the Coushatta spoke Choctaw, which in this case cannot reliably be interpreted as Mobilian Jargon because Sibley distinguished between Choctaw and Mobilian Jargon among the Alabama. For several other groups (specifically the Natchitoches, Atakapa, Opelousa, Washa, Choctaw, and Arkansas), Sibley ( 1807: 724-5) made no mention of Mobilian Jargon. Yet his absence of references to the pidgin among these Native Americans hardly constitutes negative evidence; such in fact would contradict his initial statement that all Native Americans east of the Mississippi spoke Mobilian Jargon. Of greater interest is his observation that Mobilian Jargon persisted next to French among the Alabama, the Apalachee, the Pascagoula, and the Taënsa; some Alabama also knew English.
Sibley’s survey eventually became the source for two other travel reports of the early nineteenth century. Henry Marie Brackenridge, a lawyer who had travelled in Louisiana in 1810 and 1811, listed under the heading of Biloxi most of the same Louisiana Indian communities as speaking Mobilian Jargon: Apalachee, Alabama, Pacana, Pascagoula, Tunica, plus Coushatta ( Brackenridge 1962 [ 1814]: 82). Probably drawing on Adair’s views, Brackenridge ( 1962[ 1814]: 82) also described it as “the court language amongst the Indian nations of Lower Louisiana.” Sibley’s and Brackenridge’s information then became the major source for a survey of Indian groups west of the Allegheny Mountains by John F. Schermerhorn ( 1814: 23, 26-7), who prepared it for the Society for Propagating the Gospel and listed many of the same groups among Mobilian Jargon speakers–only to disagree strongly with Sibley about linguistic differences among Louisiana Indians:
The last ten tribes [the six mentioned listed earlier plus the Biloxi,Coushatta, Taensa, and Choctaw] mentioned as distinct, and many of which, Silby observes, have a distinct language, though they speak the Mobilian [Jargon], have all emigrated from Missisippi territory and Georgia, and are or were parts of the Chactaws, or Creek Indians. What Silby observes, therefore, as to their possessing a language distinct from the Mobilian [Jargon], I apprehend is erroneous; for it is a fact that the Chactaws and Chickesaws speak the same language; and [Le Page] Du Pratz observes, that the Chickesaws and Alibamans speak the same language. But the Alibamans, says Dr. Silby, speak the Mobilian [Jargon]; of course, to those parts of the nation that have crossed over the Missisippi, the Mobilian [Jargon] is their former tongue, and not a different language, as Silby observes. [sic] ( Schermer horn 1814: 27-8)
Manifestly, Schermerhorn understood few of the sociolinguistic complexities of Louisiana Indians that Sibley and others before him had begun to unravel, and demonstrated little personal experience in interacting with Louisiana Indians (see Crawford 1978: 55-6).
From 1810 until 1813, John Maley, another traveller through what then was the US Southwest, made incidental observations about Louisiana Indians along the Red River. On his visits to Coushatta, Caddo, and Choctaw Indians, he learned their language, which he identified as “Choctaw,” but which differed little from tribe to tribe according to Maley ( Flores 1972: 103, 160). In this case, he undoubtedly referred to Mobilian Jargon, and provided some linguistic evidence: “tompullu” or †tãfola ‘hominy’ among Coushatta and Caddo as well as “Chicamaw, Chicamaw, Chicamaw feenee” or †čekama, čekama, čekama fen ǝ ‘good, good, very good’ among Coushatta Indians ( Flores 1972: 57, 72, 93).
In the next decade, a resident of Natchitoches, J. H. Cosgrove, noted the use of Mobilian Jargon by clerks in local stores trading with Indians, presumably Caddo. Similarly, the “Indian language” was the medium of plantation owners in their interactions with native peoples ( Kniffen, Gregory, and Stokes 1987: 96-7). Few details remain, however.
In 1826, a resident of Navasota northwest of Houston reported two basic words of Western Muskogean origin among the nearby Bidai Indians (possibly Atakapan): púskus ‘boy’ and tándshai ‘maize’ ( Gatschet 1891: 39 n. 2). These words clearly have corresponding equivalences in Mobilian Jargon, poskoš poškoš ‘baby, child’ and tanče ‘corn.’ Rather than single loanwords, they possibly represented Mobilian Jargon, by the fact that they constituted basic vocabulary. The pidgin may indeed have extended even to the central Gulf Coast of Texas. For 1839, an observer by the name of J. O. Dyer ( 1917:1) described an intertribai community speaking Karankawa (isolate), Tonkawa (isolate), Comanche (Uto-Aztecan), and other languages as follows: “The clan was a conglomeration of outcasts from neighboring tribes, who kept alive by begging, stealing, and fishing, and their language in 1839, [was] a jargon mostly of Spanish-English mixed with Indian
dialects.” Some suggestive evidence for this medium to have been Mobilian Jargon comes from an apparent Natchez or originally Muskogean loanword: Karankawa lá-ak ‘goose’ ( Gatschet 1891: 77, 98) with its similarities to Natchez laalak ( Haas 1956: 65), Choctaw/Chickasaw šalaklak (Munro, forthcoming), and Mobilian Jargon †šalaklak ).
Between 1836 and 1838, a major-general of the US army named Ethan Allen Hitchcock ( 1930: 168, 174), learned from two sources that Biloxi in the Indian Territory ( Oklahoma), originating from Texas, “can understand the Choctaw language, but their own tongue has so much changed that they can hardly be understood by the Choctaws.” The limited intelligibility of the Biloxi’s “Choctaw” to Choctaw Indians suggests that it was Mobilian Jargon instead, but that it was also in decline among the Choctaw of Oklahoma.
The period between 1837 and 1841 was the time when the German poet Gustav Dresel ( 1920-1: 407) observed how Texas and other Indians communicated with Europeans. In 1838, he recorded an Alabama of eastern Texas to have said: “No, Qshaw, Papeshille; plata, plata, shoke me fina,” or †no, (e)kšo, papešele; plata, plata čokǝma fena as a sample of a Hispanicized version of Mobilian Jargon (for further discussion, see Sect. 8.3). Dresel ( 1920-1: 371) further quoted a Coushatta’s response: “You good man, you good papeshillo, you Dutchman.” While Dresel had learned some Indian expressions and sign language, his Alabama host also spoke some Spanish and English. As reflected in these linguistic attestations, Mobilian Jargon coexisted with Spanish and English. Similarly, Dresel ( 1920-21: 348) had earlier observed some unidentified Indians north of St Louis in Adams County, Illinois, to mix French and “Indian” in their speech, and may have witnessed Mobilian Jargon in its northern extension. Although there exist no clues to corroborate the latter hypothesis, the translator of the English version, Max Freund (in Dresel 1954: 140-1), confirmed Dresel’s example among the Alabama-Coushatta near Livingston in eastern Texas a century later, in the 1930s: “A particularly intelligent member of the tribe was invited by this editor to examine the Indian words and phrases quoted by Dresel in his diary . . . He declared them to be perfectly correct and still in colloquial use.”
In 1840, a French traveller, Victor Tixier, encountered Choctaw some twenty miles “above New Orleans,” and partook in their sagamité or hominy by invitation with the apparently proverbial, almost formulaic encouragement of “Tchoukouman-finan, ce qui voulait dire: C’est très bon” ( Tixier 1844; 40) 27 or †čokomã fenã ‘very good.’ While Tixier did not care for the Choctaw’s offering, he responded similarly out of courtesy. His pronunciation of the phrase made his hosts laugh.
In 1849, the ethnologist William Bollaert ( 1850: 277) reported that Lipan
‘which meant: “It is very good”‘ ( Tixier 1940: 56).
12.4. Other Native American Contact Languages of Greater Southeastern North America
As a major interlingual medium of southeastern North America, Mobilian Jargon raises the question of other indigenous contact media in the area, in which case it may serve as a model for their study. The discussion on the pidgin’s variation has already included the lingua francas Creek and Apalachee as Eastern Muskogean varieties (see Sect. 8.5). As in these cases, modern linguistic data for other Native American lingua francas in the area are sparse or non-existent; but the ethnographic and historical literature does contain incidental references to a few unrelated indigenous contact languages. 10
For the early nineteenth century and for today’s four-state area of Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas, the ethnologist John R. Swanton
This section draws in part on earlier surveys by Crawford ( 1978: 5-7) and Silverstein ( 1973 MS: 12-13. 21-8).
SIBLEY, JOHN ( 1807), ‘Historical Sketches of the Several Indian Tribes in Louisiana, South of the Arkansa River, and between the Mississippi and River Grand,’ in [Meriwether] Lewis, [William] Clark, [John] Sibley, and [William] Dunbar, Travels in the Interior Parts of America, Communicating Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri, Red River, and Washita ( London: Richard Phillips), 40-53.
( 1911: 7), following the US Indian agent John Sibley, mentioned a Caddo trade language, presumably spoken among alloglossic Caddoan groups and perhaps in contact with their Muskogean, Siouan, and Plains Indian neighbors. Currently, there are no details available about the linguistic structure or social history of Caddo as a lingua franca.
Daniel G. Brinton ( 1859: 134-5) argued for Timucua of northeastern Florida as an indigenous lingua franca throughout much of the peninsula in the early seventeenth century. He based his finding on sociolinguistic observations by the missionary Francisco Pareja, who had apparently experienced no difficulty in speaking Timucua to neighboring groups of different linguistic backgrounds. Unfortunately, Brinton did not provide further supportive information. Julian Granberry ( 1987: 20-1, 26-55) has since described Timucua as a creolized blend of Macro-Chibchan, Arawakan, Muskogean, and other languages, without, however, specifying its preceding process of language convergence. 11
Another native contact medium was apparently based on the language of the Shawnee Indians, a widely scattered group of Algonquians who in colonial times wandered across much of eastern North America from the Ohio River valley and even Pennsylvania as far south as Georgia and eastern Texas. In the early eighteenth century, the French-born Anglican missionary Francis Le Jau ( 1956 [ 1706- 1717]: 11, 19, 41, 68-9, 73, 87) learned from a trader about “Savannah,” “Saonah,” or “Savannock,” and described it as “fine smoth [sic] and easy to be got.” The missionary called it “the transcendent language of America,” apparently understood from colonial Carolina to Canada, and compared it not only with Latin and Arabic as international languages, but also with the lingua franca Creek of Southeastern Indians. Because of its easy intelligibility and extensive use, Le Jau engaged European traders with knowledge of the lingua franca Shawnee to help him translate the Lord’s Prayer in a first step towards the Native Americans’ conversion to Christianity, and he sent one of several versions to his superiors in England, published by John Chamberlayne ( 1715: 89) and again by Edmund Fry ( 1799: 258). There exist other, incidental mentions of a possible lingua franca Shawnee. An early source on Creek as intertribal medium, the naturalist William Bartram ( 1958 [ 1791]: 245, 294) also made a reference to the “Uches” (Yuchi) speaking “Savannuca” or “Shawanese.” Several decades later, Thomas S. Woodward, who made pertinent observations about Mobilian Jargon and especially its eastern variety
In describing the Tawasa dialect of Timucua as “a blend of both Timucuan and Muskogean characteristics.” Granberry ( 1987: 20) drew an analogy to “the same kind of creolization that we see in the neighboring Mobilian ‘jargon’.” This reference suggests that Granberry understands creolization simply as language mixture rather than in the technical linguistic sense, as there are no indications that Mobilian Jargon creolized or became the first language of a community.
For the mid- eighteenth century, James Adair, trader among the Cherokee and Chickasaw, mentioned a “mixed language” used between the once powerful and numerous Catawba and their neighbors in the Piedmont area of upper South Carolina and adjacent North Carolina northeast of the Creek Indians. According to Adair ( 1968 [ 1775]: 224-5), this contact medium was made up of more than twenty different “dialects or languages,” among which he mentioned the following: Catawba (distant relative of Proto-Siouan), which apparently served as the “court” or standard language; Wataree (unidentified); Eno (Siouan?); Chowanoc (Algonquian?); Congaree (Siouan?); Natchez (Gulf); Yamasee (unidentified); and Coosa (unidentified). By Adair’s indications, speakers of the lingua franca Catawba drew on linguistic elements from three or four different language families, possibly even more. Unfortunately, there are no other known attestations that confirm or elaborate Adair’s observations.
The language of the Tuscarora, once a sizable and influential group of Iroquoians in eastern North Carolina, likewise functioned as a lingua franca, understood by at least some members of every adjacent alloglossic community such as the Pamlico (Algonquians) and the Woccon (Siouans). In the early eighteenth century, the English explorer John Lawson ( 1967 [ 1709]: 233-9) recorded a vocabulary of almost 200 entries and a few phrases. He further described this “Indian Jargon” to be imperfect in its moods and tenses and so deficient that the Indians could not express themselves with any elegance; apparently they barely understood each other, and younger members could not follow the elders’ abbreviated speech in councils and debates ( 1967 [ 1709]: 239). However, Lawson’s vocabulary consisted of everyday expressions, numbers, and words related to the trade in hides and European goods, the latter suggesting the use of the lingua franca Tuscarora also in contact with Europeans.
Still farther north in the early eighteenth century, linguistically diverse Indians of south-central Virginia apparently spoke a common medium associated with the influential Occaneeche (Occaneechi) Indians. On a visit with them, the local historian Robert Beverley ( 1855 [ 1722]: 148, 157) compared their general language to the intertribal medium of Algonquin among Great Lakes Indians and to the lingua franca Sabir of the Levant; he further
observed “broken and imperfect sentences,” and mentioned the medium’s use in religious ceremonies similarly to Latin in the Catholic mass. The nineteenth-century ethnologist Horatio Hale ( 1883: 12-13) equated the lingua franca Occaneeche with Tutelo (Siouan), and may have been accurate in his assumption short of supporting evidence. Recently, Edward P. Alexan der ( 1971) discovered a small vocabulary of so-called Saponey (Saponi), recorded by a young Irish veteran by the name of John Fontaine at Fort Christanna in southern Virginia around 1716. Many words are Siouan in origin, close to Tutelo; but most numbers are Algonquian except for one or two identified as Iroquoian, and several entries remain unidentified (see Alexander 1971: 309-13). Especially noteworthy is the similarity of the word for ‘six’ in Saponey (“Quiock,” probably an incorrect copying of “Ouiock”), Pamlico (“Who-yeoc”), and the lingua franca Tuscarora (“Houeyoc”), whose etymology is Tuscarora (see Alexander 1971: 310, 312 n. 71, Goddard 1972, and Lawson 1967 [ 1709]: 233). This vocabulary represents a mixed vocabulary collected from Indians of different linguistic backgrounds or, more likely, an intertribal contact medium rather than Saponey proper. By all indications, “Saponey” was not exclusive to the Indians of the same name, but was also the language of their affiliates, namely Occaneeche (Siouans), Stenkenocks (Algonquians?), Meipontski (Algonquians?), Tutelo, and possibly other Indians, which helps to explain their conflicting linguistic classifications. In early 1700, these groups had all fled from marauding Iroquois to Fort Christanna, and probably used Saponey as the basis for an interlingual medium. Moreover, this lingua franca Saponey apparently served as a trade language, as suggested by numerous references to exchange in the vocabulary and by the role of Fort Christanna as a trading center for Occaneeche and other Virginia Indians at the time ( Alexander 1971: 304-7). If the Occaneeche and Saponey Indians in fact were closely related associates, “Saponey” was a variety of the lingua franca Occaneeche.
There are incidental references to a lingua franca in use among the member groups of the Powhatan confederacy of the Virginia coastal plain. In 1844, a clergyman by the name of E. A. Dalrymple collected a vocabulary of a few numbers and additional terms among the Pamunkey Indians, once a dominant tribe of the Powhatan. Surprisingly, these words do not resemble the vocabularies of Algonquian or other languages in the area, and have remained unidentified except for the numeral ‘one’ with its similarity to equivalent forms in Powhatan and Delaware ( Howell, Levy, and Luckenbach 1979). This instance recalls the case of Nanticoke (Eastern Algonquian), spoken by the neighbors of the Powhatan Indians across the Chesapeake Bay, who borrowed the numerals ‘one’ through ‘ten’ from Mandingo-speaking African slaves ( Brinton 1887). While the Mandingo loans in Nanticoke do not provide etymologies for Dalrymple’s unidenti-
fied entries, they suggest the possibility of borrowings from other, distant languages. Curiously, Dalrymple’s word list also present both l and r as apparently distinctly variable sounds, whereas Eastern Algonquian languages have exhibited either /l/ or /r/, but not both. However meager, these features point to a possible contact medium ( Howell, Levy, and Lucken bach 1979: 79-80) or “jargonized Powhatan” ( Goddard 1977: 41) rather than Pamunkey proper, an Eastern Algonquian language. Some indirect support for a Pamunkey or Powhatan Jargon comes forth from the fact that, as a result of early, prolonged, and close contacts by English speakers with Virginia Indians,
Powhatan is the source of more loans into English than any other single Algonquian language. These loanwords include the English terms: chinquapin, chum, hominy, matchcoat, moccasin, muskrat (a loanblend), opossum, persimmon, pone (and corn pone as a loanblend), puccoon, raccoon, terrapin, tomahawk, tuckahoe, and wicopy (Dirca palustris L.). All or most of them entered English during the first two decades of contact and probably before the outbreak of hostilities in 1622. ( Siebert 1975: 290) 12
On the northernmost border of southeastern North America, there existed Delaware Jargon, an indigenous contact language of New Netherland in the early seventeenth century between the Delaware Indians (including the Munsee, the Unalachtigo, and the Unami) and their associates. It, too, served as primary medium in early contacts by the Delaware Indians and their affiliates with European immigrants, especially Dutch colonists and later Swedish and English settlers, with the fur trade as a major activity. Delaware Jargon was a genuine pidgin with a lexical base in Unami, a dialect of Delaware or Lenape (Algonquian), but included words from other languages such as Natick, a dialect of Massachusett (Algonquian), and a few single “loan-words” from European languages (including Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, and English). Delaware Jargon exhibited little inflectional or derivational morphology and limited morphosyntactic redundancy, but revealed distinct syntactic patterns of negative-subjectpredicate constructions and object-verb as predominant word order, shared by the area’s Algonquian and Iroquoian languages ( Prince 1912; Thomason 1980). Sarah G. Thomason has interpreted these areal-typological characteristics of Delaware Jargon as evidence for its pre-Columbian existence, and has placed it in the sociohistorical context of Algonquian-Iroquoian contact, in particular a loosely organized alliance of eastern Algonquian groups led by the Delaware in opposition to Iroquois Indians. By some historical indications, the Delaware and other Algonquians used the pidgin as a sociolinguistic buffer behind which they could withdraw, and misled Europeans into thinking of the pidgin as Delaware proper ( Goddard 1971: 15-16; Thomason 1980: 182-6). 13
We slept at the house of the great chief on beds of canes which are plaited and tied, like beds of sacking (lits de sangles), interlaced with each other and covered with buffalo skins. The next morning we went to walk in their fields where they sow their corn. The women were there with their men, working. The savages have flat, bent sticks, which they use to hoe the ground, for they do not know how to work it as is done in France. They scratch the soil with these crooked sticks and uproot with them the canes and the weeds which they leave on the earth in the sun during fifteen days or a month. Then they set fire to them, and when they are reduced to ashes they have a stick as large as the arm, pointed at one end, with which they make holes in the earth 3 feet apart; they put into each hole seven or eight grains of corn and cover them with earth. It is thus that they sow their corn and their beans. When the corn is a foot high they take great care, as in France, to get rid of the weeds which get into it, and repeat it two or three times a year. They make use even now of their wooden hoes, because they find them lighter, although we have given them hoes of iron.
We remained some days in this village, and then we returned to our fort. a
Like Pénicaut, Iberville speaks of this village as if it belonged to the Pascagoula tribe alone:
The 29th [of April, 1700] I repaired at 7 in the morning to the village, in which there are about 20 families. This nation has been destroyed, like the other [i. e., the Biloxi], by diseases; the few who remain are well-formed people, especially the women; they have the best figures of any I have seen in this country. Having known that I was going to come to their village they made me a cabin entirely new. One can go from this village to the fort [ Biloxi] in a day by land. * * * [The Choctaw] are five days’ journey from this village, straight to the north. The village of the Mobile is three days [journey] from here, to the northeast. * * * b
After this time, however, French endeavor was divided between Mobile on one side and the Mississippi on the other, little attention being paid to the small tribes intervening. The only reference to them in La Harpe is to the effect that the Pascagoula declared war against the Tawasa in March, 1707, but Bienville reconciled the two. c This probably had something to do with the first settlement of the Tawas at Mobile. Unlike the Biloxi, the Pascagoula appear to have remained near the place where we first find them. Dumont gives an account of their temple and mortuary ceremonies as if, in his time, they constituted one village with the Biloxi, d in which case he probably visited them just after the return of the latter from the neighborhood of New Orleans.
Du Pratz ( 1718- 1726) has the following to say of them:
Returning toward the sea and to the west of Mobile is the little nation of Pachca-Ogoulas, which the French call Pascagoulas. This nation is situated
on the shores of the bay which bears their name, which signifies Bread Nation. This nation is composed of but one village, containing at most 30 cabins. Some Canadians have established themselves near them, and they live together like brothers, because the Canadians, being naturally peaceful, and understanding, besides, the character of the natives, know how to live with the nations of America; but what contributes principally to this durable peace is that no soldier frequents this nation. In speaking of the Natchez I have shown how the presence of soldiers destroys the good understanding which ought to be preserved with these people in order to obtain the advantages hoped for. a
This was one of the tribes that in 1764 moved from Mobile to Louisiana. From Hutchin’s narrative it appears that they settled first on the west side of the Mississippi not far from Red river, where they had a village counting 20 warriors, b but in 1787 permission was granted them to locate at the confluence of the Rigolet du Bon Dieu and Red river, a permission confirmed in 1792. Their territory was bounded above by Bayou de la Ceour and below by Bayou Philippe, which falls into Red river from the left in descending. Louis de Blanc, their chief, occupied an eminence at the upper end of this territory, but their principal village was on a point called Mount Pleasant. In 1795 the Baron de Carondelet desired that the Pascagoula should be assembled, elect a chief, and form a new village on Catahoula bayou, c but instead they determined to move to Bayou Boeuf, and settled on the Choctaw land there the same year. Land was granted them by a body of Choctaw, who had been the first to make this bayou their home. d Just below them were the Biloxi, who had preceded them by a year or two. Early in the nineteenth century the Pascagoula and Biloxi sold their lands to Miller and Fulton, two of the early settlers of Rapides parish, and the sale was confirmed May 4, 1805. The Pascagoula signers were the chiefs, Big Bread, La Culotte, Ajadonah, Cosauh, Ningo, and Big Head. At the time the two tribes and the Choctaw near them numbered “not less than 500 souls.” e Sibley, writing at about this time, but basing his statements on information gathered prior to 1798, has this to say of them:
PASCAGOLAS, live in a small village on Red river, about 60 miles below Natchitoches; are emigrants from Pascagola river, in west Florida; 25 men of them only remaining; speak Mobilian, but have a language peculiar to themeselves; most of them speak and understand French. They raise good crops of corn and garden vegetables; have cattle, horses, and poultry plenty. Their horses are much like [those of] the poorer kind of French inhabitants on the river and [they] appear to live about as well. f
Morse, in his statistical tables of 1822, gives three bodies of Pascagoula Indians, one numbering 80, on Red river, 160 miles from its mouth and close to the Apalachee; a second of 60 persons, 160 miles higher up; and a third of 100 on Biloxi bayou, 15 miles above its junction with the Neches. a In 1829, 111 Pascagoula are reported living with 65 Biloxi in eastern Texas on Red river. b For their later history see pages 31 – 32. They now appear to be entirely extinct, but a group of Biloxi, their close companions, is shown in plate 12,b.
This tribe is scarcely referred to later than Iberville’s first expedition, and there is some reason to think, since individuals belonging to it make their first appearance in company with the Biloxi, that the name may have been that by which the Pascagoula were known to their neighbors. At any rate they must have been a very small group. In some places they are called Capinans, and Capinans was the name of a plantation or small settlement in their neighborhood. References to them occur in Margry, Découvertes, IV, 154, 155, 193, 195, 311, 451, 602; V, 378, 547.
THE MOBILE BAY AND APALACHICOLA RIVER TRIBES
These have been enumerated, so far as it is now possible to do so, in the first part of this paper, and their linguistic affinities have been carefully inquired into. c Their history, however, is interwoven with the histories of the Apalache and the Creeks and requires a study of those peoples to bring out its full significance; therefore it will be well to postpone it until a later occasion.
THE TUNICAN GROUP
The name of this tribe signifies simply “men” or “people” in their language, but they prefer to call themselves as a nation by another term, Yoron. They are perhaps referred to as the town of “Tanico” of the Elvas De Soto narrative, d ecountered somewhere in northeastern Louisiana or southeastern Arkansas, where the Indians made salt. This is considerably north of their location in 1682, but Chickasaw and Choctaw tradition places “Tunica oldfields” on the Mississippi river near Friar point, not many miles below the present Helena, Ark., which would indicate that they had formerly lived in that neighborhood. a When first encountered by Europeans, however, they occupied several small villages on the south side of Yazoo river, about 4 leagues from its mouth. The name appears on Marquette’s map, based on his expedition of 1676, under the form “Tanik8a,” b but he places them inland west of the Metchigamea and Arkansas along with the “Akoroa” and several other tribes.