Mariame Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 1, 1995

The Mariame (Marian, Mariane, Mariave) Indians were those with whom Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca lived for a while between 1528 and 1534. Their precise location cannot be determined, but it is generally held that the Mariames lived near but not on the Texas coast, somewhere in the vicinity of Matagorda Bay. Certain features of Mariame culture were briefly described by Cabeza de Vaca. The Mariames have long been equated with the Muruam Indians, who lived at the San Antonio de Valero Mission during the eighteenth century but were first recorded in 1707 as living in the vicinity of present Eagle Pass. When one considers the fact that the Mariames were reported some 175 years before the Muruam Indians became known and also that the two groups lived in widely separated areas, the identification of Mariame with Muruam becomes questionable. Herbert E. Bolton once suggested that the Mariame Indians may have been the same as the Mahuame Indians, but the same criticism applies. The Mahuames, who were first recorded in 1674, lived in northeastern Coahuila. It is of interest to note that no one has suggested identification of the Mariames with the Mariguan Indians of southern Tamaulipas. The Mariguans did not live much farther from the Mariames than the Muruams and Mahuames of northeastern Coahuila. The question of Mariame identity is still open.

Adolph F. Bandelier, ed., The Journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528–1536 (New York: Barnes, 1905). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940).
  • 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, “Mariame Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 08, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995