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Karankawan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                   

  • Karánkawa, Gatschet in Globus, XLIX, No. 8, 123, 1886 (vocabulary of 25 terms; distinguished as a family provisionally). Gatschet in Science, 414, April 9, 1887.

The Karankawa formerly dwelt upon the Texan coast, according to Sibley, upon an island or peninsula in the Bay of St. Bernard (Matagorda Bay). In 1804 this author, upon hearsay evidence, stated their number to be 500 men.56 In several places in the paper cited it is explicitly stated that the Karankawa spoke the Attakapa language; the Attakapa was a coast tribe living to the east of them. In 1884 Mr. Gatschet found a Tonkawe at Fort Griffin, Texas, who claimed to have formerly lived among the Karankawa. From him a vocabulary of twenty-five terms was obtained, which was all of the language he remembered.

The vocabulary is unsatisfactory, not only because of its meagerness, but because most of the terms are unimportant for comparison. Nevertheless, such as it is, it represents all of the language that is extant. Judged by this vocabulary the language seems to be distinct not only from the Attakapa but from all others. Unsatisfactory as the linguistic evidence is, it appears to be safer to class the language provisionally as a distinct family upon the strength of it than to accept Sibley’s statement of its identity with Attakapa, especially as we know nothing of the extent of his information or whether indeed his statement was based upon a personal knowledge of the language.

A careful search has been made with the hope of finding a few survivors of this family, but thus far not a single descendant of the tribe has been discovered and it is probable that not one is now living.

Kersan Family

  • Keres, Turner in Pac. R. R. Rep., III, pt. 3, 55, 86-90, 1856 (includes Kiwomi, Cochitemi, Acoma).
  • Kera, Powell in Rocky Mt. Presbyterian, Nov., 1878 (includes San Felipe, Santo Domingo, Cóchiti, Santa Aña, Cia, Acoma, Laguna, Povate, Hasatch, Mogino). Gratschet in U.S. Geog. Surv. W. 100th M., VII, 417, 1879. Gatschet in Mag. Am. Hist. 259, 1883.
  • Keran, Powell in Am. Nat., 604, Aug., 1880 (enumerates pueblos and gives linguistic literature).
  • Queres, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Ana.), 479, 1878.
  • Chu-cha-cas, Lane in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, 689, 1855 (includes Laguna, Acoma, Santo Domingo, San Felipe, Santa Ana, Cochite, Sille).
  • Chu-cha-chas, Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 479, 1878 (misprint; follows Lane).
  • Kes-whaw-hay, Lane in Schoolcraft, Ind. Tribes, V, 689, 1855 (same as Chu-cha-cas above). Keane, App. Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.), 479, 1878 (follows Lane)

Derivation unknown. The name is pronounced with an explosive initial sound, and Ad. F. Bandelier spells it Qq´uêres, Quéra, Quéris.

Under this name Turner, as above quoted, includes the vocabularies of Kiwomi, Cochitemi, and Acoma.

The full list of pueblos of Keresan stock is given below. They are situated in New Mexico on the upper Rio Grande, on several of its small western affluents, and on the Jemez and San José, which also are tributaries of the Rio Grande.


San Felipe.
Santa Ana.
Santo Domingo.

Population.—According to the census of 1890 the total population of the villages of the family is 3,560, distributed as follows:

Acoma58  566
Cochití 268
Laguna59 1,143
Santa Ana  253
San Felipe 554
Santo Domingo 670
Sia 106

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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