Thomas N. Campbell

PASTIA INDIANS. Apparently because of editorial oversight, no formal entry for the Pastia Indians was included in F. W. Hodge's Handbook of American Indians (1910), and this has led to confusion about their ethnic identity. The Pastias, a hunting and gathering group, became known to Spaniards relatively late, mainly because they lived off of early routes of Spanish travel in Texas. Between 1707 and 1737 Pastia encampments were recorded in the area generally south of San Antonio, especially between the Medina and San Antonio rivers and the great southward bend of the Nueces River in La Salle and McMullen counties. The lower Frio River was probably near the center of their territorial range. During the first half of the eighteenth century, the Pastias and their neighbors experienced a population decline and were eventually replaced by Apache groups who moved into the coastal plain of southern Texas. Remnants of the Pastia Indians seem to have entered only one Spanish mission, San José y San Miguel de Aguayo of San Antonio, where they were one of three Indian groups said to have been present when the mission was established in 1720. As the early registers of San José have not survived, no Indian population figures can be compiled. Mission inspection reports, however, indicate that the Pastias maintained their ethnic identity at San José as late as 1789. The Pastia Indians have been mistakenly associated with two additional missions: Nuestra Señora de la Purísima Concepción de Acuña of San Antonio and San Ildefonso of the area of present-day Milam County northeast of Austin. At Mission Concepción two Tilpacopal Indians had Pastia as a personal name, but it cannot be proved that these individuals were of Pastia descent. The "Pastia" of Mission San Ildefonso were Patiri Indians from the woodlands of southeastern Texas. Pastia has been erroneously equated with the names of two additional Indian groups: Pasteal (Pachal) and Pasxa (Patzau). Such evidence as is available seems to indicate that the Pastia Indians spoke a dialect of the Coahuilteco language. J. R. Swanton, because of confusion about Pastia in Hodge's Handbook, failed to list the Pastias as a Coahuilteco-speaking group. A document of 1707 notes that the name Pastia is equivalent to the Spanish word chamuscados (scorched, seared, or singed ones). This may refer to tattooing or body painting, but other documents say nothing about Pastia body ornamentation.

T. N. Campbell, "Coahuiltecans and Their Neighbors," in Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 10 (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1983). Thomas N. Campbell and T. J. Campbell, Historic Indian Groups of the Choke Canyon Reservoir and Surrounding Area, Southern Texas (San Antonio: Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1981). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Thomas N. Campbell, "PASTIA INDIANS," accessed June 16, 2019,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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