Payaya people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Payaya Indians)
Jump to: navigation, search
Click map: Payaya range (orange area) in south central Texas

The Payaya were the original indigenous converts at the 1718 establishment of the Alamo Mission in San Antonio in the U.S. state of Texas. They were a Coahuiltecan band who are the earliest recorded inhabitants of San Pedro Springs Park, the geographical area that became San Antonio.[1] They called their village Yanaguana . Because this village was along what became the San Antonio River, some believe the tribe referred to the river as Yanaguana, but records from Spanish Franciscian priest Damián Massanet indicate it was the name of the village .[2][3] Payaya were a hunter-gatherer culture, and accounts by the Spanish detail the Payaya nut-gathering activities. Historians have speculated that the tribe's movements in the Edwards Plateau is an indication that pecans were a substantive diet source to the Payaya.[4] The band are known to have inhabited the areas of the San Antonio River, the Frio River to the west, and Milam County to the east where they lived among the Tonkawa. By the year 1706, Payaya had been among the indigenous converts baptized at Mission San Francisco Solano, 5 miles (8.0 km) from the Rio Grande in Coahuila, Mexico. Today's municipality of Guerrero is the approximate location of Mission San Francisco Solano.[5][6] The Payaya were a small band of sixty families by 1709.[7]

The Spanish first encountered them in the 17th century and counted ten different encampments.[8] Spanish Franciscian priest Damián Massanet logged his impressions of the Payaya in the June 13, 1691 entry to his diary. His account described an indigenous people who were friendly and accommodating toward the Spanish, but warlike and combative within their own group. Massanet described a tribal war dance, clothing of deerskin, and a tendency to steal horses and women. He did, however, depict the Payaya as a people adept at learning the Spanish language, and having a fondness for Spanish clothing.[9] In Massanet's diary, he portrayed the Payaya as having a respectful attitude towards a higher spiritual power, and noted they had erected a wooden cross in their village. Massanet recounted that the day after their arrival he and his group observed the Feast of Corpus Christi with a Mass, during which the Payaya were present.[10]

In 1716, the Payaya befriended Franciscan priest Antonio de Olivares and were the mission Indians at San Antonio de Valero Mission, later known as the Alamo Mission in San Antonio.[11] The mission began the process of assimilating the Payaya into Spanish culture by giving them Spanish communication skills, trade skills, and creative skills. The tribe had an elected form of self-government within the mission. In the latter half of the 18th century, communicable disease began to decimate the mission Payaya.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NRHP-THC San Pedro Springs Park". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  2. ^ Federal Writers Project (1940). Texas: A Guide to the Lone Star State. Hastings House. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-403-02192-5. 
  3. ^ "San Pedro Springs Park". Texas Historical Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Who Were the "Coahuiltecans"?". Texas Beyond History. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  5. ^ Campbell, Thomas N. "Payaya Indians". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved September 18, 2012. 
  6. ^ Weddle, Robert S. "San Francisco Solano Mission". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  7. ^ Anderson, Gary Clayton (1999). The Indian Southwest, 1580–1830: Ethnogenesis and Reinvention. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-8061-3111-5. 
  8. ^ "Coahuiltecan Indians". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Commission. Retrieved September 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ Guerra, Mary Ann Noonan. "Indians of the San Antonio River: Yanaguana". University of the Incarnate Word. Retrieved September 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ Matovina, Timothy (2005). Guadalupe and Her Faithful: Latino Catholics in San Antonio, from Colonial Origins to the Present. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-8018-7959-3. 
  11. ^ a b De Zavala, Adina; Flores, Richard R (1996). History and Legends of the Alamo and Other Missions in and Around San Antonio. Arte Publico Press. pp. 3–6. ISBN 978-1-55885-181-8.