History

We are still here
“We are the Sun Rise and Sun Set people”

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Our Name:

Attakapa is pronounced "ah-tah-kah-pah." In Choctaw "people-eaters." not literally in reference to cannibalism.

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What language did the Attakapas speak?

Tunican

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Who are the Attakapas?

The oral history of the Attakapas stated they came from the sea and that the ancestral prophet laid out the rules of conduct. The Attakapas were aborigines who were native and most ancient of southwestern and southeastern Louisiana who traditions date back to the time of the prehistoric mammoth. The Attakapas is one of six linguistic bands to inhabit Louisiana. The Caddo, Tunica, Natchez, Attakapa, Chitimach and Muskogee each occupied a different region of Louisiana, each band speaking a different language.

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Where the Attakapas lived?

In brush shelters huts made of grass and reeds in both Louisiana and the Texas Coast. Today they are spread across the areas of Opelousas, Lafayette, Vermilionville, St. Martinsville and other states of the United States.

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What was the early description of the Attakapas?

The first European settlers described the indigenous Attakapas as being light brown to dark brown in complexion, short to tall in height, and often stout in size, even today we are still of many complexions as were our ancestors.

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What did the Attakapas use for healing?

The Attakapas used herbs, roots, and berries to make medicine. Alfalfa was a flowering plant high in protein, calcium, and vitamins used to relieve digestive disturbances. Sage was used for warding off evil spirits and to cleanse the body. Today the Attakapas still use herbal medicine to treat for varies diseases, and ward off evil spirits, and cleanse the body.

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What was the folklore tradition of the Attakapas?

Of a time many ages back when a great animal thundered through the forests from the north country, making a great noise and destroying a pathway of trees as he pushed his way toward the gulf, how this mastodon (Mammut) had got himself into a great slough, then began sinking by his great weight; how the buzzards gathered from far and near; how the sun was darkened by the vast cloud of these carrion crows; how animals finally died, his body being securely anchored to the ground. Then came the carnage of flesh, moons upon moons until after many seasons there was left a pile of great white bones as a monument to the greatest catastrophe their annals and tradition could trace. This was the story that had come down from father to son.

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What did Attakapas build?

The Atakapas were mound builders who built mounds and huts in Louisiana.

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What weapons and tools did the Attakapas use?

Bows and arrows for hunting and nets, traps, or hooks made of bone for fishing.

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Who did the Attakapas trade with?

The Attakapas trading post was located in St. Martinville Louisiana as well as St. Landry parish. They traded with other Indian tribes including the Spanish and French settlers.

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What did Attakapas eat?

The women gathered bird eggs, the American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) for its roots and seeds, as well as other wild plants. The men hunted deer, bear, and bison, which provided meat, fat, and hides. The women cultivated varieties of maize. They processed the meats, bones, and skins to prepare food for storage, as well as to make clothing, tent covers, tools, sewing materials, arrow cases, bridles and rigging for horses, and other necessary items for their survival.