The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 38
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and serve to throw some light on the lives of these people. Vocab-
ularies of the two languages have likewise been preserved. Mar-
tin Duralde, or some person from whom he copied, is respon-
sible for one of the earliest known accounts of these Indians.
Dr. Albert S. Gatschet, at a later date, compiled a dictionary of
the Attacapa language. Two copies of the account of the customs
and mythology of both the Chitimacha and the Attacapa Indians
are known to have been made. Both the Chitimacha and the
Attacapa sections were signed by Duralde, but Gatschet states
that the vocabularies themselves were originally collected by a
man named Murray. Duralde implied that he himself was re-
sponsible for the Attacapa words and mythology. What little is
known of Attacapa ethnology is to be found in Duralde's let-
ter cited in connection with the Chitimacha, written on April
23, 18o2. It applies particularly to the eastern Attacapas. It is not
known whether the beliefs of the western Attacapa-Bidai,
Orcoquiza, and the like-were the same. It is true, however, that
some of the Chitimacha stories were known to the western groups,
which leads to the probability that there was little difference in
the beliefs of the eastern and western groups."
According to the Attacapa section:
The Attacapas pretend that they are come out of the sea, that a
prophet or man inspired by God laid down the rules of conduct of
their first ancestors which consisted in not doing any evil. They
believe in an author of all things: that those who do well go above,
and that those who do evil descend under the earth into the shades.
They speak of a deluge which swallowed up men, animals, and the
land, and it was only those who resided along a high land or moun-
tain (that of San Antonio, if we may judge) who escaped this
According to their law a man ceased to bear his own name as soon
as he has a child born, and he is then called "the father of such a
boy," giving the name of the child. If the child dies the father again
assumes his own name. The women alone are charged with the chores
of the field and of the household.
The mounds according to them were intended to elevate and dis-
tinguish the dwellings of the chiefs, and were thrown up under the
supervision of the women. 7
8Swanton, "Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley," Bureau of American
Ethnology, Bulletin 43, pp. 356-363.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/51/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.