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SIAGUAN INDIANS

SIAGUAN INDIANS. In 1690 and 1691, when first seen by Spaniards, the Siaguan Indians lived between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande, mainly in the area of modern Maverick, Dimmit, and Zavala counties. They shared this area with other Indian groups. Shortly thereafter they moved southward into the area of western Webb County and across the Rio Grande into northeastern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and the extreme northwestern part of the Tamaulipas panhandle. This move seems to have been induced by pressure from Apaches to the north, who at that time dominated the Edwards Plateau area of Texas. At various intervals after 1698, remnants of the Siaguans entered five missions south of the Rio Grande. In Nuevo León some went to Nuestra Señora de los Dolores de la Punta at modern Lampazos; others went to such Coahuila missions as San Miguel de Aguayo at Monclova and the three missions near the Rio Grande at Guerrero (San Bernardo, San Francisco Solano, and San Juan Bautista). Later some of the Siaguan Indians entered San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio, Texas. The Valero registers contain the names of fifty Siaguan individuals who resided there between 1718 and 1760. It is clear that the Siaguans declined in numbers and eventually lost their identity in the various missions. Damián Massanet's observations on Indian languages spoken in southern Texas suggest that the Siaguans may have spoken a dialect of the Coahuilteco language, but no direct linguistic evidence seems to have been recorded. Nothing is known about Siaguan culture except that they ate prickly pear fruit in season. Thus far over fifty variants of the name Siaguan have been collected by scholars. Some of these are the result of clerical and typographical errors; and three variants, Ohaguam, Paguan, and Mahuam, have been mistakenly regarded as names of separate Indian groups. Ohaguam and Paguan are misreadings of handwritten Chaguam and Chaguan, and Mahuam is a similar misreading of Chahuam.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Thomas N. Campbell, Ethnohistoric Notes on Indian Groups Associated with Three Spanish Missions at Guerrero, Coahuila (Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1979). 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). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940). Robert S. Weddle, San Juan Bautista: Gateway to Spanish Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

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, "SIAGUAN INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bms27), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.