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Gavilan Indians

Thomas N. Campbell General

Baptismal records at the San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio indicate the presence there of a few Gavilán (Gabilán) Indians, presumably remnants of the Gavilán (Spanish for "sparrow hawk") who in the late seventeenth century lived in the Bolsón de Mapimí of Coahuila and Chihuahua but sometimes ranged northward to the Rio Grande. J. R. Swanton listed Gavilán as a Coahuiltecan band, but J. D. Forbes has recently presented evidence that suggests that the Gavilán spoke a Uto-Aztecan language.

Jack D. Forbes, "Unknown Athapaskans: The Identification of the Jano, Jocome, Jumano, Manso, Suma, and Other Indian Tribes of the Southwest," Ethnohistory 6 (Spring 1959). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). John R. Swanton, The Indian Tribes of North America (Gross Pointe, Michigan: Scholarly Press, 1968).


  • 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, “Gavilan Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 18, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.