Mittie, Towaconie

I love it when I can find photographs of some of the people I find in the records I transcribe for the Native Names project.  I first find Mittie, noted as a Towaconie Indian, in the Carlisle School records.

Seldom do I locate a photo of a person with only a first name, at least not one that I can connect successful with a record.

That’s not the case, for Mittie.  However, due to significant restrictions, I can’t include her photo, but you can see it by clicking here.  I have to wonder….did Mittie marry?  Who did she marry?  Did her children have surnames?  Are her grandchildren or great-grandchildren reading this blog right how??  Who was Mittie?

The next question is who were the Towaconie?

I found a reference in a treaty and counter offers from Indians to the US government in 1891.  Two Towaconie Indians signed the counter offer, requesting payment for land, Ta Wakaney Jim and Nas as Toe, in addition to several other Indians who sign their tribal affiliation as Wichita, Caddo, Keechie and Delaware.  Note that Ta Wakeney Jim is said phonetically is Tawakoni Jim, or the Tawakoni Indian named Jim.  It’s evident how his name evolved.

There are a few early references to the Towaconie, but today the tribe is known as the Tawakoni, a group closely related to the Wichitas and who spoke a Wichita dialect of the Caddoan language family.  They are part of the Wichita tribe.

At the beginning of the 18th century, the Tawakoni lived in villages in what is now Oklahoma and Texas. In his 1719 expedition, French explorer Jean Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe encountered a Tawakoni village in present day Muskogee County, Oklahoma. The French wrote that the Tawakoni raised corn and tobacco. La Harpe negotiated a peace treaty between the Tawakoni, eight other tribes, and the French government. Hostilities with the Osage pushed the tribe south into Texas.

In Texas, the Tawakoni were closely allied with the Waco tribe. Until 1770, they were friendly to the French but hostile to the Spanish. European-American settlers fought with the tribes in the 1820s, and disease and warfare had dramatically reduced their numbers. Stephen F. Austin’s Republic of Texas drove the tribes out from central Texas. The Tawakoni helped convince the Comanche and the Wichita to sign a peace treaty with the United States government, which became the first treaty signed between Plains Indians and the US. In 1835, they signed a treaty with the United States at Camp Holmes. This was the first time they were included with the Wichita peoples, a practice that continued in subsequent treaties, signed in 1837 and 1846.

In 1853 an Indian reservation was established on the upper Brazos River in Texas, but settlers ultimately forced the tribes off the reservation. In August 1859, 258 Tawakoni people were forced to relocate to Indian Territory. With the Wichita, Waco, Caddo, Nadaco, Kichai, and Hainai tribes, the Tawakoni settled on a reservation in 1872 between the Canadian and Washita Rivers.

In 1894, 126 Tawakoni people were recorded.

Although these tribes resisted the allotment policy outlined in the Dawes Act, their reservation was broken into individual allotments, and “surplus” lands were opened to non-Native settlers on August 6, 1901.

Under the 1934 Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act, they joined other Wichita peoples in organizing a new tribal government.

You can read more about the Tawakoni tribe here:


About Roberta Estes

Scientist, author, genetic genealogist. Documenting Native Heritage through contemporaneous records and DNA.
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