Aranama Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: June 1, 1995

The Aranama (Aname, Arrenamus, Auranean, Hazaname, Jaraname, Xaraname) Indians lived along the lower Guadalupe and San Antonio rivers near the coast. Although the evidence is scant, most writers today classify the Aranamas as Coahuiltecan speakers. Attempts to link them with groups named in the narrative of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca (Muruame) and in records of the La Salle expedition (Anachorema, Erigoana, Quara) have not been very convincing; the affiliations must be considered only as probabilities. Most of what is known about the Aranamas comes from Spanish mission records. Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga Mission was moved in 1722 from Matagorda Bay to the lower Guadalupe River in order to serve the Aranamas and Tamiques. In 1749 this mission was moved to the vicinity of present Goliad, and many Aranamas followed it to the new location. At various times in the late eighteenth century the Aranama deserted this mission and went north to live with other groups, particularly the Tawakonis. Each time the Spaniards induced them to return. A few Aranamas were present at other missions-San Antonio de Valero at San Antonio and Nuestra Señora del Refugio near present Refugio. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries the Aranamas slowly declined in numbers and finally disappeared about 1843. The last survivors were probably absorbed by Spanish-speaking people near the coastal missions. Some writers have implied that the Aranamas were agricultural Indians in the pre-mission period, but acceptable evidence for this has never been presented.

Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed. and trans., Athanase de Mézières and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 1768–1780 (2 vols., Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1914). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). Thomas R. Hester, Ethnology of the Texas Indians (New York: Garland, 1991). Juan Agustín Morfi, History of Texas, 1673–1779, trans. Carlos E. Castañeda (2 vols., Albuquerque: Quivira Society, 1935; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1967). William W. Newcomb, The Indians of Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1961). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940). Texas Indian Commission, The Texas Indian Commission and American Indians in Texas: A Short History with Definitions and Demographics (Austin, 1986).
  • 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, “Aranama Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995