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Native Tribes - Louisiana

As with most of the continent, the native Indians can lay a claim to most of the continent, having inhabited the land for thousands of years. The Louisiana region was settled by them as early as 6,000 years ago. At the time of European exploration in the 16th century, there were more than 10,000 Indians in the Louisiana territory.

Tribes of the Muskogean language family occupied the east-central and southeast region, Tunican tribes lived along the coast and in the northeast, while tribes of the Caddoan group inhabited the north and northwest. Generally these Indians lived in permanent villages and depended upon agriculture for their subsistence.

At first, the European explorers were a curiosity and only a minor irritant, but by the middle of the 18th century their numbers and need for land had increased beyond toleration.

Most tribes fought with either the French, Spanish or English at some point, but many lives were lost fighting between themselves and raiding one another for slaves.
The end result was always the same, loss of life and the need to move from familiar territory. If war and outright slaughter was not enough, the invaders brought diseases to which the natives had no immunity such as smallpox, influenza, measles and malaria with the loss of thousands of lives. Entire villages were wiped out.

Many natives were enslaved and worked alongside African slaves, which formed a bond between them. Intermarriages were not uncommon and many of today's Creole can claim ancestors from this early alliance. Some tribes merged, such as the Tunica and Biloxi, giving them strength in numbers,. Eventually the new Americans ruled the land and the indigenous people were moved onto reservations, where many have preserved their history and traditions. Those remaining had no choice but to integrate into the society of the New World.

Some reservations have prospered with the construction of hotels and casinos such as the Chitimacha and Coushatta.

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Tunica - Biloxi
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The French
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The Slave Trade
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