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MENANQUEN INDIANS

MENANQUEN INDIANS. A clear ethnic identity has never been established for the Menanquen Indians, mainly because some variants of the name have been regarded as names for separate Indian groups. H. E. Bolton, in Hodge's Handbook of American Indians, identified the Menanquens solely on the basis of citations in registers of San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio. These registers indicate that at least eleven Menanquen individuals (four adults, seven children) lived at that mission during the period 1741–55. The name is recorded twenty-four times in three different ways: Menanquen (nineteen times), Menanque (four), and Menequen (one). According to the majority of spellings, therefore, in the Handbook Bolton should have rendered the name as Menanquen instead of Menenquen. Documents other than mission registers contain two names that appear to be variants of the name Menanquen. One of these is Manam, which was recorded in 1690 by Damián Massanet for one of eight Indian groups he had encountered on the Guadalupe River, apparently in the area between the sites of modern Cuero and Seguin. The eight groups were listed in the following order: Tohaa (Tohaha), Toho, Emat (Emet), Cava, Sana, Panasiu, Apasxam (Apayxam), and Manam. Massanet noted that all of these groups lived by hunting and gathering (he listed unspecified wild plant products, fish, and bison as foods). The mission name Menanquen seems to be Massanet's Manam with the addition of a suffix (-quen). Massanet indicated that the Manam and Cava Indians were associated in the valley of the Guadalupe River in 1690, and the Valero register shows that the seven Menanquen children had Menanquen fathers and Cava mothers. The parents involved were already married when they entered San Antonio de Valero Mission. The second name was recorded in 1708 by Isidro Félix de Espinosa in a list of forty-nine Indian groups said to have been living in what is now southern Texas. This name was written either as Mananteana or Mananqueana (in eighteenth-century handwriting it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the small letters t and q in Indian names). It seems more likely that Espinosa actually wrote the name as Mananqueana. The first part of the name, Manan, is essentially the same as Massanet's Manam, and the whole name, if read as Mananqueana, is very close to the name Menanquen recorded at San Antonio de Valero Mission. It may also be noted that Espinosa's list of 1708 includes most of the names Massanet recorded for the Guadalupe River association of 1690. Bolton misread Espinosa's Mananteana (Mananqueana) as two names, Manan and Teana. In the Hodge Handbook Bolton entered Teana as the name of a separate Indian group in southern Texas. He failed to connect Espinosa's first part of the name, Manan, with Massanet's Manam. Teana in this particular context, which involves a reading error, cannot be regarded as the name for a separate ethnic unit of southern Texas. It is not relatable to the Indians known as Teaname, who were associated with the southwestern margin of the Edwards Plateau. The confusion that surrounds the names Manam, Mananteana, Teana, and Menanquen has been increased by unrestrained speculation. These four names have been mistakenly equated with names of various widely distributed groups, such as the Mazames of central Coahuila, the Monans of central Tamaulipas, and Manicos, Meracoumans, Muruams, and Teanames, all of whom lived in different parts of Texas. Most of these erroneous linkages are based on slight resemblances in names, and little or no attention has been paid to geographic location. The language spoken by the Menanquen Indians cannot be identified. J. R. Swanton, who followed the errors in Hodge's Handbook, listed Manam, Menanquen, and Teana as separate Indian groups that probably spoke the Coahuilteco language. Massanet's observations on Indian languages spoken in southern Texas indicate that his Manams and their Guadalupe River associates of 1690 spoke a language, or languages, other than Coahuilteco. Without additional information it seems unprofitable to speculate about the language spoken by the Menanquens. In the registers of San Antonio de Valero Mission eight native personal names of Menanquen individuals are recorded. Five are male names: Aujup, Aureian, Bobeon, Sicnereum or Sicnereun, and Sunaguqum; and three are female names: Caiara, Tequejan, and Ujuiagua. No meaning is given for these names, and linguists have been unable to connect them with any known Indian language.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Lino Gómez Canedo, ed., Primeras exploraciones y poblamiento de Texas, 1686–1694 (Monterrey: Publicaciones del Instituto Technológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1968). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). P. Otto Maas, ed., Viajes de Misioneros Franciscanos a la conquista del Nuevo México (Seville: Imprenta de San Antonio, 1915). F. H. Ruecking, Jr., The Coahuiltecan Indians of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1955). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940).

Thomas N. Campbell

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas N. Campbell, "MENANQUEN INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmm26), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.