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Tonikan Family

 Native American Nations | Linguistic Families                    

  • Tunicas, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 115, 116, 1836 (quotes Dr. Sibley, who states they speak a distinct language). Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 341, 1850 (opposite mouth of Red River; quotes Dr. Sibley as to distinctness of language).
  • Tonica, Gatschet, Creek Mig. Legend, I, 39, 1884 (brief account of tribe).
  • Tonika, Gatschet in Science, 412, April 29, 1887 (distinctness as a family asserted; the tribe calls itself Túni?ka).

Derivation: From the Tonika word óni, “man,” “people;” t- is a prefix or article; -ka, -?ka a nominal suffix.

The distinctness of the Tonika language, has long been suspected, and was indeed distinctly stated by Dr. Sibley in 1806.98 The statement to this effect by Dr. Sibley was quoted by Gallatin in 1836, but as the latter possessed no vocabulary of the language he made no attempt to classify it. Latham also dismisses the language with the same quotation from Sibley. Positive linguistic proof of the position of the language was lacking until obtained by Mr. Gatschet in 1886, who declared it to form a family by itself.

Geographic Distribution
The Tonika are known to have occupied three localities: First, on the Lower Yazoo River (1700); second, east shore of Mississippi River (about 1704); third, in Avoyelles Parish, Louisiana (1817). Near Marksville, the county seat of that parish, about twenty-five are now living.

Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891

Linguistic Families


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