Summary of Native American Tribes – A

Back to Index of Tribes

Summaries:  A  B  C  D  E-I  J-K  L-M  N  O  P  Q-R  S  T-V  W  X-Z

Arkokisa – A people formerly living in villages chiefly along the lower Trinity River in Texas. The Spanish Presidio of San Agustin de Ahumada was founded among them in 1756, and several Mexican families settled there, but it was abandoned in 1772. They were allied with the Aranama and the Attacapa, and were on friendly terms also with the Bidai, but their linguistic affinity is not known. They numbered about 80 men in 1760-70 and subsisted principally on shellfish and fruits. In 1805 their principal town was on the west side of Colorado River of Texas, about 200 miles southwest of Nacogdoches. As more and more white settlers moved into their territory, their numbers were decimated by disease and their tribal relations broken up, causing them to scatter and disorganize.

Armouchiquois – There is much confusion as to who these people were, but the name was given by the Abnaki Indians to the country of the Indians of the New England coast south of Sacro River, Maine. In 1605, when French explorer, Samuel de Champlain visited a  large native village at the mouth of the Saco River, his Etchemin guides called the people Armouchiquois and called the village Chouacoit. It was a large, permanent, palisaded settlement, and the area was filled with small native hamlets, all cultivating corn, bean, and squash fields. In 1607, Chouacoit was hit hard in a raid by the Souriquoi and their allies. Thus began a war that lasted until about 1615, apparently ending with disastrous losses for the Armouchiquois. In 1616, the village was hit hard by disease and most of its inhabitants took sick and died. By 1631, the village was gone.

In Joseph Williamson’s History of Maine, published in 1832, he said they were the same as the Malecite tribe living on the  St. John’s River, but Champlain had earlier said that their language differed from the Micmac and the Etchimin bands which were also of the Malecite tribe. Some Frenchmen used the term to describe several tribes that the English included under the term “Massachusetts.” In Francis Parkman’s book, Jesuits in North America, published in 1867, the term included the Algonquian tribes of New England, including the Mohegan, Pequot, Massachusett, Narraganset and others who were in a chronic state of war with the tribes of New Brunswick and Mova Scotia.

Arosaguntacook – Also called Androscoggin, Amoscoggin, and other variations, they were a tribe of the Abnaki Confederacy, who formerly lived in the Androscoggin River watershed, located in present-day southern Maine and northern New Hampshire. Their primary village was located in Androscoggin County, Maine in a village that bore the same name on Androscoggin River. Together with the Pigwacket, they formed the southern-most of the Abenaki tribes and were, therefore, one the first in contact with the English colonists of New England. Living on the edge of the first English settlements in Maine, they took part in King Philip’s War in 1675. They were later removed to St Francis, Canada, soon after the Abnaki defeat in the Battle of Pequawket at present-day Fryeburg, Maine in 1725. It is assumed that by the 18th century, they had been absorbed by neighboring tribes.

Ascahcutoner – A tribe belonging to his Sioux-Osage family, they were also said to have been associated with the Teton Sioux.

Assegun – A tribe that originally occupied the region around Mackinaw and Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, they were later driven southward by the Anishinaabe and Ottawa into Lower Michigan. They were once thought to be connected to the Mascouten, but are now believed to have been a Siouan tribe. The name probably derives from Anishinaabe word meaning “Black Bass.”

Assiniboine, aka: Stoney – A tribe with very close affinities to the Nakota Sioux, the differences in dialect between the two suggesting a time of separation sometime before 1640. The Assiniboine call themselves “Nakoda.” In 1658, they were living at Lake Alimibeg, between Lake Superior and Hudson Bay. At an earlier time, they were probably at the headwaters of the Mississippi and drifted north from the constant warfare with the Dakota. They are of plains culture, and in dress are not much different from their neighbors, the Cree. They also practice polygamy and were known to sacrifice dogs to the spirits. Their name comes from the Anishinaabe word that translates to “cooks by the use of stones.”

Assuti – A small Nez Percé band formerly living on Assuti Creek in Idaho. They joined Chief Joseph in the Nez Perce War of 1877.

Atakapa – Also spelled Attakapa, Attakapas, Attacapa, they called themselves the Ishak, pronounced “ee-SHAK,” which meant “The People.” A hunting and gathering tribe, they lived along the Gulf of Mexico, and the rivers valleys, lake shores, and coasts from Galveston Bay, Texas to Vermilion Bay, Louisiana. In the summer, families moved to the coast, where the women cultivated maize. By 1719, they had obtained horses and hunted bison from horseback. After 1762, when Louisiana was transferred to Spain, little was written about them and epidemics of the late 18th century reduced their numbers considerably. Survivors joined the Caddo, Koasati, and other surrounding tribes, although some culturally distinct Atakapan people survived into the 20th century. Today, many of their descendants have fought for recognition of the Atakapa-Ishak tribe, though because their share a mixed linage of African-American and Indian ancestry this has been difficult.

Atanumlema – A small Shahaptian tribe living on Yakima Reservation in Washington. They once spoke a dialect closely related to the Yakima and Klickitat.

Atchatchakangouen – From their word meaning “crane,” these Indians were a principal division of the Miami. After hostilities with the Illinois Indians, they moved west of the Mississippi River, where they found more conflict when they were attacked by the Sioux. Moving once again, they briefly settled near the Jesuit mission at Green Bay, before making their way into Illinois and Indiana with the rest of the tribe.

Atfaiati – Also known as the Tualatin, they were a band of the Kalapuya tribe that formerly inhabited the Tualatin Valley in northwest Oregon. Though they had a hunter-gather lifestyle, they also had permanent villages they inhabited during the winter months. Little is known of their native customs. White settlers began to invade their territory in the early 19th century, and by 1842, their population had been much decreased by disease to only about 600. By 1848, it had shrunk to only about 60 people. In 1855, the government negotiated a treaty with the larger Kalapuya group that included the Atfalati tribe, which removed the Atfalati to the Grand Ronde Indian Reservation at the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range where they lived with a variety of other tribes. By the early 1900’s they had further dwindled to only about 20 people.

Athapascan Hupa Female Shaman, Edward Curtis, 1923

Athapascan Hupa Female Shaman, Edward Curtis, 1923

Athapascan Family – The Athapascan Family was the most widely distributed of all the Indian linguistic families of North America, formerly extending over parts of the continent from the Arctic coast far into north Mexico, from the Pacific Ocean to Hudson Bay at the north, and from the Colorado River to the mouth of the Rio Grande at the south.

Atikamekw Indians 1900

Atikamekw Indians 1900

Atikamekw – The Atikamek are a small, traditional tribe that still speaks their native language and lives off their ancestral land in Quebec, Canada. Closely related to the Cree and often discussed together, the Atikamekw consider themselves a distinct people and have their own First Nation with a separate government from the Cree.

Atquanachuke – A tribe or band that resided in New Jersey in the early in the 17th century. They were said to have lived on the seacoast beyond the mountains northward from Chesapeake Bay, and spoke a language different from that of the Powhatan, Conestoga, Tocwogh, and Cuscarawaoc.

Atsugewi – Of the Palainihan language family, the Atsugewi were a small semi-sedentary hunter-gatherer tribe who lived in northern California near Mount Shasta. They are closely related to the Achomawi and consisted of two groups. Along with the Achomawi, they were estimated to number some 3,000 people in 1770. However, they were devastated by the settlers flocking to their territory during the California Gold Rush. By 1910, the combined tribes were estimated to number only about 1,100 people. Today, some of their descendants are members of the Susanville Indian Rancheria in Lassen County, California.

Aucocisco – The name of the territory about Casco Bay and Presumpscot River, in the area now included in Cumberland County, Maine. It was also sometimes applied to those Abnaki Indians by whom it was occupied. Since the section was settled at an early date by the whites, the name soon dropped out of use as applied to the Indians, or rather it was changed to “Casco,” but this was a mere local designation, not a tribal distinction, as the Indians referred to were Abnaki. The proper form of the word is said to have been Uh-kos-is-co, meaning crane or heron. These birds still frequent the bay.

Avavare – A former tribe of Texas, possibly Caddoan, which lived “behind” the Quintole toward the interior, and to which Cabeza de Vaca, in 1527-34, fled from the Mariames. Their language was different from that of the Mariames, although they understood them. They bartered bones, which the Mariames ground and used for food, and also traded in bows. While staying with the Avavares Cabeza de Vaca and his companion became noted for their successful treatment of the sick. The people seem to have been kindly disposed and different in habits from the coast tribes.

Avoyel – The Avoyel people were a small tribe Natchez-speaking band who called themselves Tamoucougoula. The word Avoyel is of French derivation and means either “Flint People” or “the people of the rocks,” reflecting their active trading of flint for tools.

Awani/Awanichi – A division of the Miwok that were living in the Yosemite Valley in Mariposa County, California. The name applied by the natives of the Valley was the principal village, which by extension was given to the whole valley and its inhabitants, who occupied it when snow permitted. The Awani had nine villages, containing 450 people when the white settlers first came upon them.

Awatovi – The Awatovi people were Puebloans who lived in a former pueblo of the Hopi on a mesa about nine miles southeast of Walpi in northeastern Arizona. The pueblo was destroyed after other Hopi people rejected the Spanish missionaries.

Back to Index of Tribes

Summaries:  A  B  C  D  E-I  J-K  L-M  N  O  P  Q-R  S  T-V  W  X-Z

Compiled by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated January 2021.

Also See:

Indian Wars

Native American Heroes & Leaders

Native American Photo Galleries

Native Americans – The First Owners of America