Ethnohistoric Notes on Indian Groups associated with Three Spanish Missions at Guerrero, Coahuila




Campbell, Thomas N.

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Center for Archaeological Research, The University of Texas at San Antonio


One of the major goals of the Gateway Project was to undertake a thorough ethnohistorical study of the Indians that populated the missions of San Juan Bautista, San Francisco Solano and San Bernardo. The missions are located near present-day Guerrero, Coahuila. Earlier research had documented the presence at these missions of a number of Indian groups who were derived from what is now southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. However, the situation was a confused one, as many of the previously identified groups probably never existed, but had been "created" by well-meaning scholars who had not carefully scrutinized available ethnohistoric materials. Additionally, no intensive effort had been made to develop cultural information about any of the neophyte groups. The generalities about "Coahuiltecans" needed to be cleared away and replaced with facts about specific, identifiable groups: who were these groups? where did they come from? what do we really know about their cultures? Early in the project, it had been hoped that a link could be established between archaeological materials from the mission Indian quarters and particular Indian groups. This has not been possible to date, although we can attribute some distinctive tool forms found in the middens where some of these groups originally lived (see Lithic Technology, Vol. VI, Nos. 1-2, p. 11) to certain parts of South Texas. Dr. Thomas N. Campbell, emeritus professor in the Department of Anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin, carried out the task of compiling a comprehensive study of the Indians at the Guerrero missions. The present monograph consists of essays on 88 distinct Indian groups recorded at the mission at various times during the 18th century. Dr. Campbell has also synthesized these data for publication in a book on the Gateway Project now in preparation. Dr. Campbell has made a number of significant contributions to the ethnohistory of southern Texas in recent years, and through his exhaustive archival research, we are now able to speak more confidently about specific Indian groups in southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. I believe that archaeologists, anthropologists, ethnohistorians, historians, and all who are interested in the Spanish mission system will find this monograph to be a treasury of information to which they will continually refer. The Gateway Project was supported in large part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Additional funding was generously provided by the Kathryn O'Connor Foundation and the Sid Richardson Foundation. Research done in Mexico was under terms of a permit from the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia.



Texas History, Indians of North America--Antiquities