TAOVAYA INDIANS

The Taovaya, a Wichita group probably originally from Kansas and southern Nebraska, was forced by Osage and Comanche pressure into southern Oklahoma and northern Texas in the eighteenth century. In 1719 Jean Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe found Taovaya, Tawakoni, and Yscani Indians on the lower Canadian in present Oklahoma, and by 1759 the Taovayas were in a more or less permanent settlement on upper Red River near present Spanish Fort. They were one of the "Nations of the North" that gave the Spanish much trouble in the eighteenth century, participating in the raid on the mission of San Sabá de la Santa Cruz in 1758 and successfully defending their village against the retaliatory expedition led by Diego Ortiz Parrilla in 1759. In 1772, through the efforts of Athanase de Mézières, a nominal peace was established between the Spanish and the Wichitas. Taovaya economy was similar to that of other plains tribes-joint dependence upon agriculture and bison hunting, with fairly permanent settlements, except for semi-nomadic hunting parties that followed the herds. The best and most detailed descriptions of the Taovaya Indians were made by De Mézières, who found them cultivating large fields of corn, beans, melons, gourds, and tobacco. They raised enough surplus crops to carry on extensive trade with the Comanches, who provided horses and captives in exchange for the agricultural products. As a result of a treaty with the United States in 1835, the Taovaya and related Wichita Indians settled peaceably in Indian Territory. Their descendants are living in Oklahoma at the present time.