It now appears quite clear that we do not know the names of all Indian groups who were associated with each of the park missions. In the absence of complete mission registers, we are forced to rely on other kinds of documents that refer to Indians in missions. The documentary potential for the region is tremendous, and it will take years of search to find additional documents that contain relevant bits of information.
Here it may be of interest to compare our tabulation of names for each mission with that of Schuetz (1980b).
It may be noted that the figures for Concepción and San José are much the same, but our figures for Capistrano and Espada, particularly the latter, are considerably larger. Our larger figures are best explained as the result of chance. We happened to find a few documents that Schuetz evidently had not seen.
As shown in Table 1, a total of 68 Indian group names can be linked with the four missions of the historical park. It would be naive, however, to assume that 68 valid ethnic units were represented at the missions. Without question, some names in Table 1 overlap others. A few names, as has been suggested, may turn out to be variants of other names on the list. It is known that some names were used collectively. Pamaque, for example, is known to be a collective name used in referring to Camasuqua, Sarapjon, Taguaguan, Tinapihuaya, and Viayan. The names Pasnacan and Piguique are also known to have been used collectively, but documents do not identify the component units of each. Thus some names entered in Table 1 probably represent specific groups that were collectively designated by the names Pasnacan and Piguique. Spanish descriptive names also used for collective designation, such as Borrado, Carrizo, and Pinto, may overlap other names on the list, some cases of which have been noted. The collective names Apache, Comanche, and Tejas pose no special problems because so few of these seem to have entered the park missions. In short, we are forced to conclude that inadequate documentation thwarts efforts to determine the actual number of authentic Indian groups at the missions.
The tabulation below indicates the number of group names associated with one or more of the park missions.
These figures do not mean very much because of the lack of uniformity in the recorded information. They do show, however, that the majority of names are associated with a single mission. It seems likely that this reflects the fact that Indians of many groups entered a mission in small numbers and preferred to live together at that mission. Presence at two or more missions may in some cases indicate that the group remnant was of considerable size and that some individuals and families may have preferred not to live in the same mission with the others. Dissatisfaction with one mission and moving to another is known to have occurred in some instances. There are also a few recorded cases of individuals who could not find mates in their mission and went to another nearby mission to live with their spouses.
In Table 2 the Indian groups of the park missions are assigned, whenever possible, to various areas where they seem to have been living prior to entering missions. The areas cannot be defined with precision, but the procedure is useful because it indicates that the major Indian groups came to San Antonio from areas generally south of San Antonio, some of them coming from the more northerly portion of northeastern Mexico, particularly along the south bank of the Rio Grande as far upstream as Laredo. Very few groups came from northeastern Coahuila and the adjacent part of Texas. Indians from that area went to Mission Valero. For the park missions we are unable to identify any Indian groups who originally lived east and northeast of San Antonio. These also entered Mission Valero.
TABLE 2. SOURCE AREAS OF PARK MISSION INDIAN GROUPS
Two factors seem to have influenced Indians from the south to enter San Antonio missions: (1) the massive Spanish colonization of northern Tamaulipas, which reached a peak about 1750, and (2) the movement, after 1750, of Apache groups from the Edwards Plateau down onto the coastal plain of southern Texas. It seems likely that the increasing dominance of Lipan Apache in southern Texas during the second half of the 18th century induced the surviving remnants of native groups to enter missions at San Antonio and Goliad.
In Table 3 are listed eight languages that appear to have been spoken by various Indian groups represented at the park missions. These are Apachean (Athapaskan), Aranama, Caddo (Caddoan), Coahuilteco, Comanche, Cotoname, Karankawa, and Tonkawa. Named Indian groups are assigned to these languages on the basis of recorded language samples and credible statements about language made in various documents. If no credible information on the language spoken by a specific group has been found, the name is placed in a category labelled "Languages Unknown."
TABLE 3. PROBABLE LINGUISTIC AFFILIATIONS OF INDIAN GROUPS AT THE SAN ANTONIO PARK MISSIONS
The majority of these languages were probably spoken by relatively few individuals at the park missions.
Such population figures as are available suggest that this is true for the Apachean, Aranama, Caddo, Comanche, Karankawa, and Tonkawa languages. Two of the languages, Apachean and Comanche, are linked with invading populations who originally lived in distant areas, and few Apache and Comanche individuals seem to have entered park missions. The Eyeish and Tejas, Caddo-speakers from eastern Texas, seem to have been present in very small numbers at Mission San José. The few Aranama-speakers entered only Mission San José. The Coapite, Copan, and Cujan, presumed to be Karankawa-speakers, although no language samples have ever been recorded, were represented by less than two dozen individuals at Mission Concepción. If the Tonkawa language was spoken by any Indians of the park missions, it would have had to be spoken by the two Yojuane individuals recorded in the Concepción marriage register.
The names listed under the heading Coahuilteco refer to Indian groups that appear to have been identified as Coahuilteco-speakers by Vergára (1965), García (1760), and Mazanet (Gómez Canedo 1968:240) and about which Goddard (1979) has expressed no doubts. The identification of specific groups as Coahuilteco-speakers by García is subject to some question. What García does not make clear is whether the Indian groups he identified as Coahuilteco-speakers in missions actually spoke Coahuilteco before entering missions. He published his manual in 1760, or some 30 years after Concepción, Capistrano, and Espada were established at San Antonio, and by that time some of the Indian groups who originally spoke other languages could have become Coahuilteco-speakers because Coahuilteco had become the dominant native language spoken in the missions. Coahuilteco probably became dominant because it was the language spoken by many groups who entered missions in fairly large numbers when the missions were established, or shortly thereafter.
It is our impression that Coahuilteco was a language originally spoken over a large inland area south and southwest of San Antonio, extending into northeastern Coahuila, extreme northwestern Tamaulipas, and perhaps a small part of northern Nuevo León. We are inclined to agree with Goddard that east of the area where Coahuilteco was spoken, that is, nearer to the Gulf Coast, other languages were spoken that were never documented.
Only three names are listed under the heading Cotoname, and the evidence for this is largely circumstantial. It is based upon association of these three groups with the Cotoname and sharing a few recorded cultural traits.
In Table 3 about 60% of the group names appear under the heading Languages Unknown. The names are so placed because the documents examined contain no useful information about the languages spoken. Some groups on this list probably spoke Coahuilteco, and others Cotoname, but we are unable to cite credible documentary evidence. Many of these groups undoubtedly spoke some of the undocumented languages of southern Texas. It can only be hoped that, as new documents are found, some will contain information about the languages spoken.
Unfortunately, the documents contain very little detail about the cultural characteristics of groups represented at the four park missions, particularly those who can be reasonably identified as Coahuilteco-speakers. The documents do indicate that practically all of the Indian groups represented at these missions were originally hunting and gathering groups. No Indian groups of southern Tamaulipas, where native agriculture is documented, came to these missions. The Caddoan Indians of eastern Texas were agricultural, but the Caddoan Eyeish and Tejas of Mission San José were evidently too few in number to have affected mission Indian farming methods. What the mission Indians learned about agriculture was taught to them by Spaniards, whose methods of irrigation agriculture are well known and clearly indicated by mission-related documents as well as by archaeological excavations at the San Antonio missions.
It does not appear to be reasonable to assume that, despite all the displacement and the societal disintegration that resulted from displacement, remnants of Indian groups who entered these San Antonio missions somehow managed to retain their aboriginal cultures intact. It is not commonly realized that disruption of the stable conditions necessary to maintain hunting and gathering populations had profound effects on their cultures. As might be expected, Spanish documents do not say very much about such changes in Indian cultures. Hence caution must be used when making statements about the elements of aboriginal culture that may have survived among remnants of diverse Indian groups represented at each of the four park missions. It is especially important to avoid attributing specific cultural traits from Ruecking's description of "Coahuiltecan culture" to these Indians without checking the data against primary documents. Errors should be corrected, not perpetuated.
Last Updated: 26-Apr-2007