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Muruam Indians

Thomas N. Campbell General Entry

The Muruam (Moroame, Moruame) Indians were first recorded in 1707 at San Francisco Solano Mission near the site of present Eagle Pass. Later, between 1721 and 1775, considerable numbers of Muruam Indians were at San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio. Their early presence in the Eagle Pass area suggests that they were Coahuiltecans. At San Antonio they frequently intermarried with both Coahuiltecan and Tonkawan groups, a fact which is probably the basis for J. R. Swanton's judgment that they may have been either Coahuiltecan or Tonkawan in language. The Muruam Indians have long been equated with Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca's Mariames, who lived near the Texas coast (vicinity of Matagorda Bay). This identification seems to be based entirely on similarity in names. The Mariame Indians were known nearly 175 years before the Muruams entered written records. The presence of the Muruam Indians in the Eagle Pass area when first known casts doubt on their identification with the Mariames who lived a considerable distance farther east. Identifications based on phonetic similarities in names should meet the test of locational geography as well as chronology.

Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). Fray Francisco Céliz, Diary of the Alarcón Expedition into Texas, 1718–1719, trans. F. L. Hoffman (Los Angeles: Quivira Society, 1935; rpt., New York: Arno Press, 1967). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940).

Categories:

  • 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, “Muruam Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 17, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/muruam-indians.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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