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PAMAYA INDIANS

PAMAYA INDIANS. The Pamaya Indians seem to have been first recorded under the name Panaa, which refers to one of the Indian groups known to Jean Jarry, a Frenchman who deserted the La Salle expedition and became a leader of Indian groups near the southern margin of the Edwards Plateau east of the site of modern Eagle Pass. Jarry was taken into custody by Spaniards in 1688 and was questioned about the Indian groups he knew. In 1691 the missionary Damián Massanet recorded an encounter with the Pamayas and five other Indian groups between the Río Sabinas and the Rio Grande in what is now northeastern Coahuila. When next recorded, in 1716, some but perhaps not all of the Pamaya Indians were seen some 275 miles to the northeast in the area of present-day Milam County, Texas, west of the junction of the Little and Brazos rivers. Here some 2,000 Indians were living in a rancheria and hunting bison in the Blackland Prairie. Most of the Indian groups present were remnants of various bands who had been displaced by Spaniards and Apaches from their homelands in northeastern Coahuila and the adjacent part of Texas. The next year, 1717, Pamayas and Indians from five additional groups were seen by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, a French traveler, farther south in the Blackland Prairie, apparently just east or northeast of the site of modern Austin. Most of the Pamaya Indians who entered Spanish missions went to San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio. The Valero registers permit identification of approximately forty-five Pamaya individuals for the years 1719–53. Some of these were recorded as having come to the mission from the Blackland Prairie region. Two individuals designated Pamajo were listed in a census taken at San Bernardo Mission of northeastern Coahuila in 1734. These are believed to have been Pamayas. It has been supposed that the Pamaya Indians spoke a dialect of the Coahuilteco language because they were first recorded in an area where Coahuilteco was dominant, but it is possible that they spoke one of the unrecorded languages of southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. All that can be said about Pamaya culture is that these Indians were hunters and gatherers who were good at hunting bison.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Thomas N. Campbell, The Payaya Indians of Southern Texas, (San Antonio: Southern Texas Archeological Association, 1975). 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). Alonso de León et al., Historia de Nuevo León (Monterrey: Centro de Estudios Humanísticos de la Universidad de Nuevo León, 1961). C. C. Shelby, "St. Denis's Declaration Concerning Texas in 1717," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 26 (January 1923). Gabriel Tous, trans., Ramón Expedition: Espinosa's Diary of 1716, Preliminary Studies of the Texas Catholic Historical Society 1.4 (April 1930).

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, "PAMAYA INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmp21), accessed August 27, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.