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HISTORICAL – Native American Tribes of Montgomery County


Illustration of the Bidai Indians and neighboring tribes during the 18th century from the author’s book, Indians & Pioneers in Original Montgomery County.

Illustration of the Bidai Indians and neighboring tribes during the 18th century from the author’s book, Indians & Pioneers in Original Montgomery County.

By Robin Navarro Montgomery

The original Montgomery County stretched from the Brazos River in the west to the Trinity River in the east, and south to north from Spring Creek to the Old San Antonio Road. Within this area, in earlier times, roamed many Native American tribes.

To the northeast, along the Trinity, was a limited representation of the Hasinai branch of the Caddo, while near present Huntsville was a Cherokee village. In the northwest roamed the Tonkawa and Comanche. Occasionally making an appearance in the southwest were the cannibalistic Karankawa. Upon tying a victim to a post before a fire, designated women of the tribe would eat a victim’s flesh, little at a time, even as the victim watched his life being dribbled away.

To the southeast, near the present The Woodlands, was a tribe which also embraced cannibalism, but not to the morbid level of the Karankawa. This was the Orquoquisac, sometimes referenced as the Akokisa. In later times, though not native to the area, groups of the Alabama, Coushatti and Kickapoo tribes would pass through en route to the open lands of the West for periodic buffalo hunts. While on the other hand native to the region, the Deadosi and the Patiri are the least well known or understood.

Believed to be related to the Deadosi and Patiri was the Bidai (pronounced “bee dye”), the tribe which is most endemically associated with Montgomery County history. This tribe is also the most intriguing, for history records that it was perhaps the oldest tribe of the whole state of Texas. The origin of the Bidai language is yet a mystery to scholars.

In their prime, the Bidai claimed to be the sovereigns of all of Texas. Their claim reached to all the buffalo and deer in the state. Furthermore, the official Mexican expedition of General Mier y Terán in 1828 recorded that the Bidai were the builders of the great Caddo Mounds of East Texas.

Most intriguing are shades of the Bidai found in a book entitled Latest Aztec Discoveries. The author, Guy E. Powell, makes a
compelling case that the origin of the Aztecs of ancient Mexico lay just east of later Montgomery County. The author also believed that a
kindred tribe resided nearby to the west of a great river. The context points to the Trinity and the Bidai.

Underpinned with mystery and fascination is the Native American history of our area.

For further information see Robin Montgomery, Indians & Pioneers in Original Montgomery County (San Antonio: Historical Publishing Network, 2006).

 

Author Robin Navarro Montgomery, Ph.D., is a member of the Montgomery and Walker County Historical Commissions, chair of the latter and author of numerous books and articles.
Contact him at zippoboo@aol.com.

 

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The Montgomery County Historical Commission provides the content for this page.

For information on the commission and its efforts, visit montgomerycountyhistoricalcommission.com.

 


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