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CÍBOLA INDIANS. This name, which means "bison," was used by the Spanish to refer to various Indian groups that specialized in bison hunting. In the Texas area one group of Cíbola (Cíbolo, Cíbula, Síbolo, Síbula, Zívolo) lived in western Texas in close association with the nomadic branch of the Jumano Indians. In the late seventeenth century both groups were bison hunters and traders who traveled widely in Texas and northern Mexico. In the warm season they ranged the area between El Paso and the Hasinai country of eastern Texas but spent the winter in the Indian towns near the site of present Presidio. Such evidence as is available suggests that the Cíbola were originally occupants of the southern plains between the Pecos and Colorado rivers. They appear to have been displaced by the southward movement of Apache groups and to have moved into the Trans-Pecos region. Continued Apache pressure in the eighteenth century led to their disappearance as an ethnic group. Some Cíbolas were evidently absorbed by the Apaches and others by the Spanish-speaking population of northern Chihuahua. The linguistic affiliation of the Cíbola Indians remains unknown.


Herbert E. Bolton, "The Jumano Indians in Texas, 1650–1771," Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association 15 (July 1911). 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). Charles W. Hackett, ed., Historical Documents Relating to New Mexico, Nueva Vizcaya, and Approaches Thereto, to 1773 (3 vols., Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1923–37). J. Charles Kelley, "Factors Involved in the Abandonment of Certain Peripheral Southwestern Settlements," American Anthropologist 54 (July–September 1952). J. Charles Kelley, "The Historic Indian Pueblos of La Junta de Los Rios," New Mexico Historical Review 27, 28 (October 1952, January 1953). J. Charles Kelley, "Juan Sabeata and Diffusion in Aboriginal Texas," American Anthropologist 57 (October 1955). Carl Sauer, The Distribution of Aboriginal Tribes and Languages in Northwestern Mexico (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1934).

Thomas N. Campbell


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Thomas N. Campbell, "CIBOLA INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed August 29, 2015. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.