Akokisa Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: June 1, 1995

The Akokisa (Arkokisa, Orcoquiza) Indians were Atakapan-speaking Indians who lived in extreme southeastern Texas between the Trinity and Sabine rivers. They were most commonly encountered around Galveston Bay. It seems likely that the Han and Coaque Indians encountered by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca in the early sixteenth century were Akokisas, as well as the Caux, who held Simars de Bellisle captive in the early eighteenth century. Most of what is known about the Akokisas comes from mission records. In 1748–49 some of them entered San Ildefonso Mission on the San Gabriel River near the site of present Rockdale, but they left this area when the mission was abandoned in 1755. Nuestra Señora de la Luz Mission was built near the mouth of the Trinity River for the Akokisas and the Bidais in 1756–57 and lasted until 1772. Thereafter little is reported about the Akokisas, although in 1805 they seem to have lived in two settlements, one on the lower Colorado River and the other near the coast between the Neches and Sabine rivers. It seems likely that the Akokisa survivors joined their relatives, the Atákapas, in southwestern Louisiana shortly before the Texas Revolution.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed. and trans., Athanase de Mézières and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 1768–1780 (2 vols., Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1914). Herbert E. Bolton, "The Founding of the Missions on the San Gabriel River, 1745–1749," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 17 (April 1914). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Melvin Chandler Burch, "The Indigenous Indians of the Lower Trinity Area of Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 60 (July 1956). Joseph O. Dyer, The Lake Charles Atakapas (Cannibals) Period of 1817 to 1820 (Galveston, 1917). Albert S. Gatschet and J. R. Swanton, A Dictionary of the Atakapa Language (Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 108, Washington: GPO, 1932). William W. Newcomb, The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961). John R. Swanton, Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico (Washington: GPO, 1911). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968). John R. Swanton, The Indians of the Southeastern United States (Washington: GPO, 1946).
  • Peoples
  • Native American
  • Tribes (Other)

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

Thomas N. Campbell, “Akokisa Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/akokisa-indians.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995