Nacau Indians

By: Thomas N. Campbell

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: August 1, 1995

The Nacau (Nacao, Nacoho, Nocao) Indians, a Caddoan tribe of the southwestern or Hasinai division, lived in eastern Texas during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. Herbert E. Bolton's analysis of Spanish documents led him to place the Nacau Indians in the area of present northeastern Nacogdoches County, but J. R. Swanton's map of Caddoan tribes places them farther to the northeast, apparently in the area where the present counties of Nacogdoches, Rusk, and Shelby join. In 1716 the Nuestra SeƱora de Guadalupe de los Nacogdoches Mission was established for the Nacogdoche and Nacau tribes. After this date little is heard of the Nacaus, who were probably absorbed by the Nacogdoches. On the basis of sound correspondences in the names, J. R. Swanton has suggested that Hacanac, Lacane, Nacachau, Nacau, Nacaniche, Nacono, and Nakanawan Indians were probably fragments of the same Caddoan tribe. This cannot be verified by such documentary evidence as is now available.

Herbert E. Bolton, "The Native Tribes about the East Texas Missions," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 11 (April 1908). John R. Swanton, Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 132, Washington: GPO, 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, “Nacau Indians,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995