The primary food sources of the Karankawa were deers, rabbits, birds, fishes, oysters, shellfish, and turtles. They supplemented their hunting with gathering food such as berries, persimmons, wild grapes, sea-bird eggs, prickly pear cacti, and nuts.
They hunted deer and buffalo, and smaller animals such as armadillo, rabbits, birds and snakes. They were a tribe that lived along the Gulf of Mexico in southern Texas. The Karankawa traveled around hunting and gathering their food, and they built small villages of several families.
Karankawa Indian Language. Karankawa is an extinct language of the East Texas coast. Karankawa is generally considered a language isolate (a language unrelated to any other known language), though some linguists have tried to link it to the Coahuiltecan, Hokan, or even Carib language families.
Cabeza de Vaca, who lived with the Karankawa tells us that the Karankawa traded regularly with inland tribes to the north of them, probably the Caddo and Tonkawa. They traded conch shells and other sea shell for pigments like ocher and for buffalo robes.
Karankawa, several groups of North American Indians that lived along the Gulf of Mexico in Texas, from about Galveston Bay to Corpus Christi Bay.
The Karankawas lived in wigwams – circular pole frames covered with mats or hides. They did not have a complex political organization. The Karankawas were unusually large for Native Americans. The men grew as tall as six feet and were noted for their strength.
The Arapaho, Assiniboine, Blackfoot, Cheyenne, Comanche, Crow, Gros Ventre, Kiowa, Plains Apache, Plains Cree, Plains Ojibwe, Sarsi, Shoshone, Sioux, and Tonkawa. and were all nomadic tribes who followed the buffalo herds and lived in tipis.
In the 21st century, the Comanche Nation has 17,000 members, around 7,000 of whom reside in tribal jurisdictional areas around Lawton, Fort Sill, and the surrounding areas of southwestern Oklahoma.
Many of the Karankawa warriors were over 6 feet tall. People were shorter back then and 6 foot tall Indians were really big. They had bows almost as tall as they were and shot long arrows made from slender shoots of cane. It is said they would suddenly show up in their canoes, seemingly out of no where, to attack.
The Karankawa government was divided into two groups. One was led by the Civil Chief and the other was led by the War Chief. The Civil Chief was chosen by the other tribe members. He was in charge of organizing his people and keeping things peaceful when they moved before the summer months.
The Coahuiltecan were various small, autonomous bands of Native Americans who inhabited the Rio Grande valley in what is now southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. The various Coahuiltecan groups were hunter-gatherers.
There are lagoons, or bays, spread out along the Texas Coast where the Karankawa made their camp sites; mainly because the bottoms were mostly smooth and the water was shallow. These waters enabled them to go out into the pools and in the clear, slowly ebbing water taking the fish and oysters they desired.
Their homes were simple structures made from willow sticks and hides, grasses, palm fronds or leafed branches. The structure was called a ba-ak. They were nomadic and rarely took their homes with them. They made simple crafts, such as flutes and rattles.
The Karankawa were tall and athletic with a special affinity for living on the islands and lower waterways along the Texas coast. By the year 1850, the Karankawas had all disappeared. Spanish slave traders, disease, harsh treatment, and war with the French all contributed to the total destruction of their culture.
The Spanish conquistador Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca is shipwrecked on a low sandy island off the coast of Texas. Starving, dehydrated, and desperate, he is the first European to set foot on the soil of the future Lone Star state.