Summary of Native American Tribes – E-I

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


Erie – With French contact limited to one brief meeting, very little is known for certain about the Erie except they were important, and they were there. The Dutch and Swedes also heard about them through their trade with the Susquehannock, but never actually met the Erie. All information about their social and political organization has come from early Jesuit accounts of what they had been told by the Huron.

Eyak – The Eyak, literally “inhabitants of Eyak Village” are a Native American indigenous group traditionally located on the Copper River Delta and near the town of Cordova, Alaska. The Eyak’s territory reached from present day Cordova east to the Martin River and north to Miles Glacier. The Eyak initially moved out of the interior down the Copper River to the coast. There they harvested the rich salmon fishing grounds. When the Russians arrived they recognized the Eyak as a distinct culture and described their territory on their maps. They also traded with the Eyak and sent them missionaries. Because of their small population they were often raided and their territory boundaries were under pressure from the Chugach to the west. The Tlingit, on the east side, had better relations with the Eyak and this led to intermarriage and assimilation of many Eyak. This pushed the Eyak’s territorial boundary further west and contributed to the Eyak’s decline. When the Americans arrived they started canneries and competed with the Eyak for salmon. This combined with integration with, and diseases introduced by non-native settlers led to the further decline. As populations decreased the remaining Eyak began to congregate near the village of Orca. In 1880 the population of the village of Alaganik was recorded at 117 and by 1890 it had declined to 48.In 1900 total population was estimated at 60. As more settlers arrived this last village became the town of Cordova. As of 1996 there were 120 living, partial Eyak descendents. The last full blooded Eyak died in 2007.

Eno – A tribe associated with the Adshusheer and Shakori in North Carolina in the 17th century, historians believe it doubtful that the Eno and the Shakori where of Siouan stock, as they seem to have differed in physique and habits from their neighbors. However, their alliances were all with Siouan tribes. Little is known of them as they disappeared from history as tribal bodies about 1720, having been incorporated with the Catawba on the south or with the Saponi and their confederates on the north, although they still retained their distinct dialect in 1743. The Eno and Shakori were first mentioned in 1654, when the Tuscarora tribe described them as  living next to the Shakori, “a great nation ” by whom the northern advance of the Spaniards was valiantly resisted. The next mention of these two tribes was in 1672 stating they lived south of the Occaneechi about the headwaters of Tar and Neuse rivers. The general locality is still indicated in the names of Eno River and Shocco Creek. In 1701, the Eno and Shakori confederated and the Adshusheer united with them in the same locality. Their village, called Adshusheer, was on Eno River, about 14 miles east of the Occaneechi village, which was near the site of present-day Hillsboro.

Eskimo – See Inuit

Esselen native 1791, by Jose Cardero

Esselen native 1791, by Jose Cardero

Esselen – A tribe of Californian Indians, constituting the Esselenian family, most of its members who were on the founding of Carmelo mission, near Monterey, California in 1770, which resulted, as was the case with the Indians at all the Californian missions, their rapid decrease  A portion of the tribe seems to have been taken, to the mission at Soledad, for Arroyo de la Cuesta in 1821 says of an Esselen vocabulary obtained by himself, “Huelel language of Soledad; it is from the Esselenes, who are already few.” The original territory of the Esselen lay along the coast south of Monterey, though its exact limits are diversely given. Experts estimate there were about 500 to 1200 individuals living in the steep, rocky region at the time of the arrival of the Spanish.

Almost nothing is known of the mode of life and practices of the Esselen, but they were certainly similar to those of the neighboring tribes. What little is known in regard to the Esselen language shows it to have been simple and regular and of a type similar to most of the languages of central California, but, notwithstanding a few words in common with Costanoan, of entirely unrelated vocabulary and therefore a distinct stock.

About 460 individuals have identified themselves as descendants of the original Esselen people and banded to together form a tribe. The Department of the Interior has set aside 45 acres of Fort Ord that the tribe can use to build a cultural center and museum. But they must first obtain federal recognition. In 2010 the Esselen Nation petitioned the federal government for recognition as a tribe but the Bureau of Indian Affairs said they didn’t meet the says the formal criteria.

Eyeish – A tribe of the Caddo confederacy, they spoke a dialect, now extinct, very different from the dialects of the other tribes; hence, it is probable they were part of an older confederacy which was incorporated in the Caddo when the latter became dominant. The early home of the tribe was on Eyeish Creek between the Sabine and Neches Rivers of East Texas. Spanish explorer Luis de Moscoso Alvarado led his troops through their country in 1542, encountering herds of buffalo. According to early documentation, the Eyeish were not on good terms with the tribes west of them on the Trinity River, nor with those on Red River in the north at the time the French entered their country late in the 17th century. The mission of Nuestra Señora de los Dolores was established among them by the Franciscans who accompanied Don Domingo Ramon on his tour in 1716-17. They were, however, not open to Spanish influence, for after 50 years of missionary effort, the mission register showed only 11 baptisms, 7 interments, and 3 marriages performed at the mission, although the tribe had not been backward in receiving material aid from the missionaries.

Father Gaspar José de Solís reported in 1768 that this tribe was the worst in Texas: drunken, thievish, licentious, impervious to religious influence, and dangerous to the missionaries. Their villages were not far from the road between the French post at Natchitoches and the Spanish post at Nacogdoches, and the tribe was thus exposed to the contentions of the period and to the ravages of small-pox, measles, and other new diseases introduced by the white race. In the latter part of the 18th century the Eyeish were placed under the jurisdiction of the officials residing at Nacogdoches and in 1779, it was reported there were some 20 families and that they were hated by both Indians and Spaniards. In 1785 there were reported to have been 300 people living on the Atoyac River, opposite the Nacogdoches river.

In 1805 John Sibley stated that only 20 members of the tribe were then living; but in 1828 they were said to number 160 families between the Brazos and Colorado Rivers. These differences in the estimates would seem to indicate that the Eyeish were considerably scattered during this period. Those who survived the vicissitudes which befell the Caddo in the 19th century joined with their kindred on the Wichita Reservation in Oklahoma. Nothing definite is known of their customs and beliefs, which, however, were probably similar to those entertained and practiced by other tribes of the confederacy, and no definite knowledge of their divisions and totems has survived.

Five Civilized Tribes – A group of southeastern tribes noted by whites for their advanced culture. All were Muskogean speaking peoples except for the Cherokee. The five tribes included the Cherokee, ChickasawChoctawCreek, and Seminole.

Fox – An Algonquian tribe, they were so named, because once while some Wagohugi, members of the Fox clan, were hunting, they met the French, who asked who they were. The Indians gave the name of their clan, and ever since the whole tribe has been known by the name of the Fox. Their own name for themselves is Měshkwa`kihŭg, which means red-earth people” because of the kind of earth from which they are supposed to have been created. They were known to the Chippewa and other Algonquian tribes as Utŭgamig, or “people of the other shore”.

Fremont – The Fremont people lived throughout Utah and adjacent areas of IdahoColorado and Nevada from 700 to 1300 AD. The culture was named for the Fremont River and its valley in which many of the first Fremont sites were discovered. More ...

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