Cujane Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: July 1, 1995

The Cujane (Cohanni, Coxane, Cujano, Guyane, Kohani, Qujane, Quxane) Indians were Karankawans who, when first mentioned by this name in the early eighteenth century, lived on the Texas coast near Matagorda Bay, where they were closely associated with the Coapites and the Karankawas proper. At this time they seem to have ranged between the Colorado and Guadalupe rivers, but later this range was extended westward along the coast at least as far as Aransas Bay. In 1722 Espíritu Santo de Zúñiga Mission was established near Matagorda Bay for the Cujanes and their Karankawan associates, but it was soon abandoned because of frequent hostilities between Spaniards and Indians. In the 1730s a few Cujane Indians were persuaded to enter Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña Mission at San Antonio. In 1745, when Espíritu Santo de Zuñiga Mission was moved to the vicinity of present Goliad, some of the Cujanes came but soon deserted the mission. Then in 1754 Nuestra Señora del Rosario Mission was established in the Goliad area for the Cujanes, whose name at this time became a general name for all Karankawan groups except Copanes. The Cujane Indians were in and out of this mission until it was secularized in 1831. When Nuestra Señora del Refugio Mission was founded in 1793, some of the Cujanes took up residence there, remaining until it was abandoned in 1828. The Cujane Indians who did not enter missions continued to live along the nearby coast. Soon after Anglo American colonization of the coastal region the Cujanes began to lose their ethnic identity among the coastal Indians generally referred to as Karankawas, who disappeared about 1858. Attempts have been made to identify the Cujane Indians with several groups named in records of the La Salle expedition, particularly Ebahamo, Kouan, Kouyam, and Quinet. Since all of these groups evidently lived in or not far from the original Cujane area, sound correspondences in names provide the only basis for identification. Quinet and Kouan seem to be phonetically most similar to Cujane, but this needs the support of reliable documentary evidence. Identification of the Quevene of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca with the Cujane is dubious because 175 years or more separate the initial records of these groups.

Herbert E. Bolton, "The Founding of Mission Rosario: A Chapter in the History of the Gulf Coast," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 10 (October 1906). H. E. Bolton, "Records of the Mission of Nuestra Señora del Refugio," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 14 (October 1910). Herbert Eugene Bolton, Texas in the Middle Eighteenth Century (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1915; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970). William E. Dunn, "The Founding of Nuestra Señora del Refugio, the Last Spanish Mission in Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 25 (January 1922). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). William H. Oberste, History of Refugio Mission (Refugio, Texas: Refugio Timely Remarks, 1942).
  • 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, “Cujane Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995