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Angelina River, west of Nacogdoches, Texas, ancestral Hasinai homeland
Total population
under 5,757[1]
Regions with significant populations
formerly  Louisiana,  Texas,
currently  Oklahoma
Hasinai, English
Native American Church, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Hainai, Nabedache, Nabiti, Nacogdoche, Nacono, Nadaco, Nasoni (Lower), Nechaui, Neche, and other Caddo people

The Hasinai Confederacy (Caddo: Hasíinay[2]) was a large confederation of Caddo-speaking Native Americans who occupied territory between the Sabine and Trinity rivers in eastern Texas. Today, their descendants are enrolled in the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma and the Natchitoches Tribe of Louisiana.


The name Hasinai (with the variants Hasini, Asenai, Asinai, Assoni, Asenay, Cenis, Senis, and Sannaye) means "our own people" in Caddoan. The Spanish knew the Hasinai as the Tejas or Texas, from a form of greeting meaning "friend", which gave the state of Texas its name.[3]


When the Spanish and the French encountered the Hasinai in the 1680s, they were a centrally organized chiefdom under the control of a religious leader, known as the Grand Xinesi. He lived in a secluded house and met with a council of elders.

The chieftainship consisted of several subdivisions, which have been designated "cantonments". Each was under the control of a Caddi. There were also men designated as Canahas and Chayas, who helped the Caddi run the system.[4]


The historic domain of the Hasinai and other Caddo tribes

During the 17th century, the Hasinai traded with the Jumano at the western Hasinai city of Nabedache.[5] Some consider the residents of Nabedache to have been a distinct people designated by that name.

Historic populations[edit]

It is estimated that in 1520, the people who would become the Hasinai, the Kadohadacho and the Natchitoches, numbered about 250,000.[6] Over the next 250 years, the population of these Caddoan-speaking peoples was severely reduced by epidemics of endemic diseases carried by Spanish and French colonists and spread through indigenous trading networks. Native Americans had no acquired immunity to the new diseases, and suffered high mortality.

In 1690, the Hasinai numbered in the vicinity of 10,000 people or a little more. By 1720, as a result of infectious diseases such as smallpox, the Hasinai population had fallen to 2,000.[7]

Closely related peoples[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2011 Oklahoma Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory. Archived 2012-04-24 at the Wayback Machine Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. 2011: 7. Retrieved 20 Aug 2013.
  2. ^ Edmonds 27
  3. ^ "Hasinai Indians". Texas State Historical Association.
  4. ^ Gary Clayton Anderson, The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830: Ethnogenesis and Reinvention (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999) p. 44
  5. ^ Anderson, The Indian Southwest, p. 47
  6. ^ Juliana Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007) p. 20
  7. ^ Anderson, The Indian Southwest, p. 57


  • Edmonds, Randlett. Nusht'uhtiʔtiʔ Hasinay: Caddo Phrasebook. Richardson, TX: Various Indian Peoples Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-884655-00-9.

External links[edit]