The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 49
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The Indigenous Indians of Lower Trinity Area of Texas 49
were supposed heretofore to be Caddoan, were actually related
to the Orcoquiza and therefore also belonged to the Attacapan
stock.35 The Bidai, like the Orcoquiza, were often on friendly
terms with the Karankawa on the Coast.38
The name Bidai is a Caddo word meaning brushwood and
probably refers to the characteristic growth of the region in
which they lived. Their neighbors to the northeast were the
Caddos. The Bidai villages were scattered over an extensive area.
The Trinity River was their chief place of residence; some, how-
ever, ranged as far north as the Neches and even beyond. There
is a creek emptying into the Trinity River between Walker and
Madison counties which bears the name of this tribe. There are
a number of geographic names, originating from this tribe, which
survive in the region of the lower Trinity and in surrounding
areas. In spite of the fact that the Bidai were surrounded by
tribes belonging to the Caddoan confederacy they maintained
their independence for a long time. According to B6nard de la
Harpe7 in 1721 the Bidai were on friendly terms with the Cad-
doan tribes while waging war with the Indians on Matagorda
Bay. During the latter part of the eighteenth century the Bidai
appeared as the chief intermediaries between the French and
the Apache in trade of firearms and later suffered from the po-
litical controversies between the French and Spanish as well as
from the introduction of new diseases and from inter-tribal con-
flicts. It was found necessary for remnants of the different vil-
lages to combine, bringing about a breakup of the old tribal
organizations. Little is known of the customs and beliefs of these
people. They were probably similar to those of the surrounding
tribes. They lived in fixed dwellings, cultivated the soil, and
hunted buffalo which frequented their territory.88 Fray Jos6 de
Solis in his trip through Texas in 1767 and 1768 wrote in his
On the 29th June we continued our journey. After walking a short
a8Swanton, "Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley," Bureau of American
Ethnology, Bulletin 43, P. 36.
86Bolton, Athanase de Mdzidres, I, 261, 377n, and II, 173.
87Hodge, Handbook of American Indians, I, 145.
8Isbid., I, 145; Sibley, "Historical Sketches," American State Papers, Indian Affairs,
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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/m1/62/: accessed August 16, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.