Thomas N. Campbell

SAESSE INDIANS. When first known to Europeans, the Saesse Indians were a hunting and gathering people associated with an area that extended from the eastern mountain front of northeastern Coahuila to the southern margin of the Edwards Plateau in Texas. The name was first recorded in 1674 as that of one of twenty-four allied remnants of various Indian groups who had made peace with the Spaniards of Coahuila. Some of these groups had previously been displaced by Spanish settlers, and others who ranged farther to the north were beginning to feel the effects of Apache expansion southward from the plains of northwestern Texas. In 1675 the Bosque-Larios expedition encountered some of the Saesses twenty miles north of the Rio Grande, apparently in the area north of the site of present-day Eagle Pass, Texas. Some Saesse Indians were recorded as living in this same area north of the Rio Grande as late as 1708. The Saesse Indians declined in numbers and were eventually absorbed by remnants of other Indian groups in their area, for few of them seem to have entered Spanish missions. One Siausi (Saesse) child was baptized in 1707 at San Francisco Solano Mission when it was located at San Ildefonso, near the site of modern Zaragoza, Coahuila. In 1718 this mission was moved to San Antonio, Texas, where it became known as San Antonio de Valero Mission, and some of the Coahuila Indians followed the missionaries. At Valero in 1737 one adult female was identified as a Sencase, which is probably a distortion of the name Saesse. In modern ethnohistoric studies there has been some confusion about Saesse ethnic identity. Haeser and Siausi, almost certainly variants of the name Saesse, have been regarded as names for two separate Indian groups believed to have spoken the Coahuilteco language. The limited amount of linguistic information salvaged from documents pertaining to the Saesse homeland gives no convincing indication that the Coahuilteco language was spoken by all Indian groups living that far to the west in Coahuila and Texas. The language originally spoken by the Saesse Indians remains undetermined.

Vito Alessio Robles, Coahuila y Texas en la época colonial (Mexico City: Editorial Cultura, 1938; 2d ed., Mexico City: Editorial Porrúa, 1978). Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed., Spanish Exploration in the Southwest, 1542–1706 (New York: Scribner, 1908; rpt., New York: Barnes and Noble, 1959). Thomas N. Campbell, Ethnohistoric Notes on Indian Groups Associated with Three Spanish Missions at Guerrero, Coahuila (Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1979). William B. Griffen, Culture Change and Shifting Populations in Central Northern Mexico (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1969). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959). P. Otto Maas, ed., Viajes de Misioneros Franciscanos a la conquista del Nuevo México (Seville: Imprenta de San Antonio, 1915). J. R. Swanton, Linguistic Material from the Tribes of Southern Texas and Northeastern Mexico (Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1940).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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, "SAESSE INDIANS," accessed May 23, 2019,

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

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox