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ATAYO INDIANS. The Atayo (Atoyo, Tayo) Indians were encountered by Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca near or along the Texas coast, apparently about 1528. Their location cannot be determined, but it seems to have been in the central section of the coast. Attempts to identify the Atayos with groups known to Europeans over 150 years later are largely speculations based on phonetic similarities in names. The Atayos have been linked with the Adais, a Caddoan group of western Louisiana, but this is no longer taken seriously. They have also been linked with the Tohos (or Tojos) and Tohahas, both of which did live inland near the coastal area possibly occupied by the Atayos.


Adolph F. Bandelier, ed., The Journey of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca and His Companions from Florida to the Pacific, 1528–1536 (New York: Barnes, 1905). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). John R. Swanton, Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians (Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 132, Washington: GPO, 1942). Texas Indian Commission, The Texas Indian Commission and American Indians in Texas: A Short History with Definitions and Demographics (Austin, 1986).

Thomas N. Campbell

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Thomas N. Campbell, "ATAYO INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed December 01, 2015. Uploaded on June 9, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.