Atakapans and Karankawas along the coast ate bears, deer, alligators, clams, ducks, oysters, and turtles extensively. Caddos in the lush eastern area grew beans, pumpkins, squash, and sunflowers, in addition to hunting bears, deer, water fowl and occasionally buffalo.
The most important part of the Atakapa diet was fish and seafood (including oysters, shrimp, and crabs.) Atakapa men also hunted big game like deer, buffalo, and alligators, and women gathered fruit, nuts, and wild honey.
Atakapa communities developed very different ways of life based on where in this territory they lived. Atakapas who lived in inland areas far from the Gulf of Mexico had good land for farming. They grew many vegetables, but corn was their most important crop.
The food that the Caddo tribe ate included their crops of corn, beans, squash and pumpkin. They also hunted for meat from bear, fox, turkey, deer, rabbit and other smaller game. The rivers near their villages provided fish and they also gathered wild plant foods. Food was cooked into cornbread, soups and hominy.
Much of what is known about the Atakapas’ appearance and culture comes from eighteenth and nineteenth century European descriptions and drawings. They were said to have been short, dark, and stout. Their clothing included breechclouts and buffalo hides. They did not practice polygamy or incest.
All of the tribes of Louisiana would be interesting to study in depth; but, because of their gruesome habit of eating people, one tribe occupies a particular position of interest- the Atakapa of Southwestern Louisiana.
Due to a high rate of deaths from infectious epidemics of the late 18th century, they ceased to function as a people. Survivors generally joined the Caddo, Koasati, and other neighboring nations, although they kept some traditions. Some culturally distinct Atakapan descendants survived into the early 20th century.
From the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Texas The Atakapan people are a Southeastern culture of Native American tribes who spoke Atakapa and historically lived along the Gulf of Mexico.
They grew corn, beans, melons, tobacco, pumpkins, squash, gourds, and plums. They also gathered fruits and nuts. Although they lived near rivers the Wichita did not eat fish. After the harvest had been gathered in the fall women roasted and dried corn and pumpkin.
We, the Atakapa-Ishak (uh-TAK-uh-paw – ee-SHAK), are a Southwest Louisiana/Southeast Texas tribe of ancient Indians who lived in the Gulf of Mexico’s northwestern crescent and called ourselves Ishak.
Caddo farmer Caddo men hunted for deer, buffalo, and small game and went fishing in the rivers. Traditional Caddo foods included cornbread, soups, and stews. The Caddo Indians in Texas also mined salt from underground mines, which they boiled down to use in their cooking.
Archaic (as well as later) Indians used many different kinds of wild plants for food. In the drier parts of Texas, some of the most commonly eaten were the bulbs from plants of the agave family. Other frequently eaten plant foods were mesquite beans, acorns, pecans, plums, grapes, persimmon and prickly pear fruits.
The Coahuiltecans of south Texas and northern Mexico ate agave cactus bulbs, prickly pear cactus, mesquite beans and anything else edible in hard times, including maggots. Jumanos along the Rio Grande in west Texas grew beans, corn, squash and gathered mesquite beans, screw beans and prickly pear.
Atakapa (/əˈtækəpə, -pɑː/, natively Yukhiti) is an extinct language isolate native to southwestern Louisiana and nearby coastal eastern Texas. It was spoken by the Atakapa people (also known as Ishak, after their word for “the people”). The language became extinct in the early 20th century.
“(Europeans) put us in poverty,” said Edward Chretien Jr., principal chief of the Atakapa-Ishak Nation, which formed in 2006. “They wanted your land. If they didn’t kill you for your land, they drove you into hiding. … It was shameful to be Native Americans.”
Bison, deer, and fish, were staples of the Karankawa diet, but a wide variety of animals and plants contributed to their sustenance.