Waco tribe

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"Hueco" redirects here. For the area in Texas, see Hueco Tanks. For three different mountains in Peru, see Wiqu.

The Waco tribe (also spelled Huaco[1] and Hueco[2]) of the Wichita people is a Midwestern Native American tribe that inhabited northeastern Texas.[3] Today, they are enrolled members of the federally recognized Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, headquartered in Anadarko, Oklahoma.


The Waco were a division of the Tawakoni people. The present-day Waco, Texas is located on the site of their principal village, that stood at least until 1820.[4] French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe travelled through the region in 1719, and the people he called the Honecha or Houecha could be the Waco.[5] They are most likely the Quainco on Guillaume de L'Isle's 1718 map, Carte de la Louisiane et du Cours du Mississipi.[6][7]

The Waco village on the Brazos River was flanked by two Tawakoni villages: El Quiscat and the Flechazos. In 1824, Stephen F. Austin wrote that the Waco village was 40 acres large, with 33 grass houses and approximately 100 men. They grew 200 acres of corn, in fields enclosed by brush fences. As late as 1829 the village was protected by defensive earthworks.[5] In 1837, the Texas Rangers planned to establish a fort at Waco village but abandoned the idea after several weeks. In 1844 a trading post was established eight miles south of the village.[8] The anthropologist Jean-Louis Berlandier recorded 60 Waco houses in 1830.[9]

The tribe had a second, smaller village located on the Guadalupe River.[9]

In 1835, 1846, and 1872, the tribe signed treaties with the United States and the Wichita. The 1872 treaty established their reservation in Indian Territory, where they were removed. In 1902, under the Dawes Allotment Act, the reservation lands were broken into individual allotments, and the Wacos became citizens of the United States.[5] Today they are part of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes.


The tribe lived in beehive-shaped houses, with pole supports, typically covered with rushes, but sometimes buffalo hides. The houses stood 20 to 25 feet tall. Besides corn, Wacos also grew beans, melons, peach trees, and pumpkins.[8]


The Waco people spoke a dialect called Waco, which is a branch of Wichita (one of the Caddoan languages). As there is only one speaker of Wichita left, the dialect is extinct.


The city of Waco, Texas is named for the tribe,[10][8] as probably is Hueco Springs (Waco Springs) near New Braunfels, Texas.[9][11]


  1. ^ Straley, Wilson (1909). The Archaeological Bulletin. p. 132. [...] the city of Waco, Texas, the former home of the Huaco (Waco) Indians. 
  2. ^ Henry, Joseph; Baird, Spencer Fullerton (1856). Reports of explorations and surveys. A.O.P. Nicholson. p. 27. the Huéco tribe [...] Hueco Indians 
  3. ^ Sturtevant 6
  4. ^ "Waco Springs, Site of the Waco Indian Village - Waco ~ Marker Number: 5692". Texas Historic Sites Atlas. Texas Historical Commission. 1936. 
  5. ^ a b c Waco Indian History. Access Genealogy. (retrieved 26 Oct 2010)
  6. ^ Ricky, Donald (1998). Encyclopedia of Texas Indians. North American Book Dist. p. 353. ISBN 978-0-403-09774-6. 
  7. ^ de L'Isle's map.
  8. ^ a b c Waco Convention & Visitors Bureau, "Waco History." (retrieved 26 Oct 2010)
  9. ^ a b c Moore, R. Edward. "The Waco Indians or Hueco Indians." Texas Indians. (retrieved 26 Oct 2010)
  10. ^ Mencken, H.L. (1948). American Language Supplement 2. Knopf Doubleday (1990 reprint). p. 1050. ISBN 978-0-307-81344-2. Many other non-English place-names have been subjected to the same barbarization. [...] Waco in Texas was the Spanish Hueco. 
  11. ^ Greene, Daniel P. (2010). "Waco Springs, TX". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. There are differing explanations for the name of the site: that it was named for the Indian tribe; that the name comes from Spanish hueco (empty) and was chosen because the springs occasionally run dry. 


  • Sturtevant, William C., general editor and Raymond D. Fogelson, volume editor. Handbook of North American Indians: Southeast. Volume 14. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution, 2004. ISBN 0-16-072300-0.

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