Then they would take Mesquite beans from a Mesquite tree and put the raw beans into the hole. Using sticks, they would mash the beans up with dirt from the hole getting mixed in. Sometimes they would add special dirt they had collected at another location. Then they would take the muddy pulp and add some water to make it soupy. Then they would eat it quickly with their hands. She says it is a cure for stomach problems not a recipe for food. Only certain kinds of dirt were used.
This makes sense. Certain minerals in the right kind of dirt could help may stomach problems. The special dirt I mentioned is actually a special kind of mold that grows on Mesquite trees. Many molds have medicinal value. Penicillin is a mold used to cure infections. My informant says her mother used to use the mold for badly upset stomachs because they were too poor for a doctor and it worked.
Think about all this and you realize these people were pretty smart. Here is another favorite dish. Where there was water Go Out - No Sound - Indians Of The Plains (Cassette) fish, they would catch a fish. Instead of eating the fish they would set the fish on a rock in the sun for several days.
When the fish was rotten and full of maggots they would eat the fish and the maggots and any other insects that might be in or on the fish.
Sounds pretty gross. It was to people like us. To people who were starving and often went days without food, these were just ways of getting more to eat. The men hunted animals like deer, peccary, and rabbits with bows and arrows.
They used simple traps to catch small animals. They also hunted stuff like lizards, snakes, and insects for food. While hunting animals was a way of getting some food, they probably got most of their food from the women and children gathering plants, roots, and fruits.
Some of the many kinds of cactus that live in this area set fruits that are sweet and good to eat. Other kinds of cactus have roots that can be cooked and eaten. As we have seen, Mesquite trees have beans.
But most of these plant foods are only available for a short time at certain times of the year. There were many times when there was no food. For shelter, the pre-holocaust Coahuiltecans used wickiup huts sometimes. There are Spanish descriptions of these huts called wickiups. Check out our Wickiup page to see one of these huts being built. Before the climate changed there was more food and sometimes it was possible to Go Out - No Sound - Indians Of The Plains (Cassette) in one place for a longer time.
Staying put like this made it worth the time and work to build huts. The post holocaust Coahuiltecans did not have much in the way of shelter. Because food was so Go Out - No Sound - Indians Of The Plains (Cassette), they moved around almost daily so it was not worth the time and effort to build anything.
When they did camp at one place for more than a day or two they might build simple windbreaks or lean-toos of brush and tree limbs. Usually they lived and slept in the open. The climate in South Texas is fairly warm year round so living without a shelter is practical. A wickiup frame. Picture this covered with animal skins or grass. The post holocaust Coahuiltecans wore little clothing if any. Often they simply went naked. They did make sandals from the fibers of the lechuguilla plant.
You would think they would have made pants of some sort to protect their legs with all the cactus and shrubs with thorns that are common in this area. But they did not. The women would always wear short skirts made of animal skins.
The men wore breach cloths sometimes. The children went naked. The pre-contact people probably had buffalo robes to wear in the colder weather during the colder winters back then. The eye witness accounts do not tell us much more about what they wore. They did make simple baskets to carry things in and wove grass mats to sit and sleep on.
To see how they made cords of plant fibers go here. To see how they made a dye go here. The Coahuiltecans are gone now. But they did leave living descendants who still live in South Texas, but not as Indians. Once the Spanish came and started missions, many of the Coahuiltecan bands moved into the missions. The steady source of food and water and the protection from stronger tribes was very appealing to them. Once in the missions many of them married Spanish solders and settlers.
Later more Spanish and Mexican immigrants settled in the region and started ranches that attracted local Indians for the same reasons the missions did.
Again, some of them married Spaniards or Mexicans. Later, around the middle s, the Apaches were forced south by the Comanches and into Coahuiltecan territory. By the time American settlers reached the area only a few scattered bands survived.
As a Native people they were all gone by the end of the s. Many families who are members of the Catholic Churches at the old missions in San Antonio can trace their families back to Coahuiltecan ancestors. Almost any Hispanic family in South Texas who can trace their ancestors back to the early s probably has Coahuiltecan blood in the family. The culture and languages these people spoke are completely gone now. The Medina is west of San Antonio. They called their territory Yanaguana. Spanish records indicate there may have been several hundred Payayas at first contact with the Spanish.
They peacefully shared their territory with other bands of Indians. We have T N Campbell's paper on the Payaya. We have T. Campbell's paper on the Payaya.
It is sad to see what happened to these people. All the early records tell of prosperous and often friendly peoples living in the Coahuiltecan region. All the later records tell of miserable poor starving survivors of a terrible holocaust. People who seem to have lost most of their culture and traditions and who are reduced to doing whatever it takes just to live another day.
The name Comecrudo is Spanish for "eat-raw". Carrizo is Spanish for "reed" - as in cane or bamboo. The Comecrudo has often been considered a Coahuiltecan language although most linguists now consider the relationship between them unprovable due to the lack of information.
Now we know that there are many other Indians using "Carrizo" as a name. For many years historians said that the Comecrudo were extinct. They are not. Now we know that they are alive and in the Eagle Pass area - mostly in Mexico. They speak Spanish, not Comecrudo. The last Comecrudo speakers died But the modern Comecrudo Indians are alive - in Spanish. All we have are books on the language. What a shame. Near the River there are large areas of cane bamboo along the River.
They Go Out - No Sound - Indians Of The Plains (Cassette) cane for many things. Comecrudo "tribe" names were first recorded in by the Spanish. Comecrudo names and language Good Day! Let's start with an Indians song in Comecrudo. Not all of it. But you can see what they are talking about.
The Dancing Song in the Comecrudo band Kuana'ya we'mi kewa'naya we'me, We'wana kua'naya we'mi, E'we paskue'l pe-a-una'ma. Kere nami nu'we seyota'-i-ye kerena'mi. Newe ma'-eyo' wena' newe meka'r eyo wena'.
Pa-iwe'uni newe' Itis going to enter on the mountain. Pa-iwe'uni newe'mleta' -u pa-iwe -uni. Goes skipping about. Ewe' yekerena' wene.
The deer is alive! Kuama' mekayena kuamane mekaye'na, kuama mete'wela The deer was silent. Nuwe' nua'ya ma, peya-una'ma nuwe' wayaka'ma. He is in the. Panayowe'n, yowe n panayowen, yowe'n. He is alive! Nuwe' nuwa'yama'n kua'ya maya The deer is looking. Nuwe'mapeme ma nawa'yama nuwe' mapeme'ma. The deer. Newe' semi'-eke' peya-una'ma, newe' wa'i aka'ma. Newe ne'-eke senowe ya payo wera yename ra.
Deer round about. Payo'warewa pa'yo waiye'ye ke'nema pakna'x klatai'l. He went hunting to the mountain [the] femaile deer call it. It is hard to understand. Some of the names are Go Out - No Sound - Indians Of The Plains (Cassette). What do you think? Here are some names in Comecrudo, mostly animals. Cochineal : mape'n, pamso'l.
Cash: This was back in the nineties? Picotte: Oh yes, way back in the eighty, nineties. Cash: What other things do you remember about back then? Picotte: Well, in the early days of old Indian people, you know, we were set here in and prior to that time, why our Indian people depended altogether on the buffalo hunt.
And the last buffalo that was killed—there were seven of them located over here about twenty miles west of here. And they got all six of 'em and the last one they got in about And in earlier days, years ago Cash: Um hum. Picotte: Well, that was known as the Gate of the Buffalo. In the late fall—November and December—all these potholes out across here, they were just full of buffalo.
And even here not too many years ago, my wife was down here at the laundromat and washing and I was sitting outside smoking a cigar and pretty soon a man come down from the rooming house up there. Cash: Yeah, Go Out - No Sound - Indians Of The Plains (Cassette).
They had a regular program. No one private Indian could go out and, and kill a buffalo unless they went together. Let that meat dry. There was no flies. There was no potato bugs even during my time in the early days. Cash: Really? I saw some of that, that bottom grass just this morning. It grows about so high. Cash: About three, three feet high? Three or four feet high? Picotte: Yeah, all of that. Then the camp would move on to the next buffalo hunting stop.
In the meantime, these, these lookout fellas would be on, on duty going out there, trying to locate more buffalo. They slept right on the ground.
They were healthy. Cash: Hmm. Picotte: And she was the one that gave me all of this, all of this history, because she was a pretty progressive old Indian lady and she, she knew the Indian ways and, and all that stuff.
And she gave me that history, because we stayed with her four years and took care of her before she died. Cash: Well, tell me some more. So on down the line.
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