The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 43
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The Indigenous Indians of Lower Trinity Area of Texas 43
wore a strong strap around their left wrists which served as a
knife sheath to hold the weapon securely while fishing or swim-
ming. Flounders and other fish, when cooked, were larded with
alligator or fish fat. The Indians used long, sharp fish bones
for skewers. Oysters in the shell were barbecued in a pit. Small
fish were placed in the cavities of larger ones for baking. The
women's skirts were primitive. Skin was trimmed into a cir-
cular shape with a round hole cut in the center. The garment
was put on over the head and tied at the waist with a thong.19
After 182o, according to Dyer, the Attacapa were soon sur-
rounded by white settlements. Those of the tribe who survived
smallpox, syphilis, and tuberculosis were gradually absorbed by
the white race. Late in the nineteenth century descendants of
the Attacapa resided in Beaumont and Orange."
The Orcoquiza or Trinity River Attacapa differed little from
those living on the Calcasieu and Sabine. According to Dr. Gat-
schet, the western Attacapa had many chiefs, one of which was
head of all the rest. It was considered wrong to have more than
one wife, and relatives were not allowed to inter-marry. Men
and women alike wore long hair and dressed scantily. The In-
dians decorated themselves with a red and white paint, changing
to black to mourn the death of a relative.21
The Attacapa followed the practice of combatting disease by
having conjurers suck out the blood of the sick person. Sick-
ness, it was thought, resulted from bad medicine. Another prac-
tice in curing disease consisted of entering the house of a man
who was ill and dancing all night, shaking gourd rattles. Con-
jurers, who were called in to treat the sick were paid for their
services. If death came it was attributed to something wicked.
A dead person's face was customarily covered before burial,
and the door of his house was left open until after the funeral
so that spirits could visit the dead. Burial in a grave followed a
ceremonial dance, the grave being a long mound with a hole
at the top to allow the spirit to come out. It is believed that the
Attacapa never burned their dead. With the dead were ordinarily
21Gatschet and Swanton, "A Dictionary of the Atakapa Language," Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin zo8, pp. 1-2, 11-12.
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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/m1/56/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.