Ouachita people

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The Ouachita are a Native American tribe from northeastern Louisiana along the Ouachita River.[1]


The Ouachita were loosely affiliated with the Caddo Confederacy.[2] Their traditional homelands were the lower reaches of the Ouachita River[3] and along the Black River.[4] Around 1690, the tribe is believed to have settled at Pargoud Landing near present-day Monroe, Louisiana.[5]

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, a French-Canadian colonizer, encountered the Ouachita in 1700. He first met members of the tribe transporting salt to the Taensa. Bienville traveled on to the principal Ouachita village, which he described as housing 70 people in five houses.[4]

Ultimately, the Ouachita assimilated into the Natchitoches tribe by the 1720s.[5] Today's descendants are enrolled in the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

The Ouachita are known for their traditional practice of burying horses.[5]


The Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma and Arkansas and Ouachita River of Arkansas and Louisiana were named for the tribe, as was Lake Ouachita. The Washita River, Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, and Washita County, Oklahoma, were also named for the tribe,[6] as well as the town of Washita, Oklahoma.

The name comes from the French spelling of the Caddo word wishita, meaning "good hunting grounds."[7]


The Ouachita tribe is commonly called the Washita tribe, and they may also be known as the Yesito.[3]


  1. ^ Sturtevant, 617
  2. ^ Sturtevant, 616
  3. ^ a b Sturtevant, 630
  4. ^ a b Small Indian Tribal History. Access Genealogy. (retrieved 9 Sept 2009)
  5. ^ a b c The Caddo Indians of Louisiana. Louisiana Division of Archaeology. (retrieved 9 Sept 2009)
  6. ^ Origin of County Names in Oklahoma. Chronicles of Oklahoma. Volume 2, No. 1: P. 81. March 1924 (retrieved 9 Sept 2009)
  7. ^ Cole, Shayne M. and Richard A. Marston. "Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Ouachita Mountains.". Retrieved May 24, 2014. 


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