While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Edward B. Jelks

TAOVAYA INDIANS. The Taovaya (Towash, Tawehash, Teguayos, Toayas, Taouaizes, Tahuayases, Aijados), a Wichita group probably originally from Kansas and southern Nebraska, was forced by Osage and Comanche pressure into southern Oklahoma and northern Texas in the eighteenth century. In 1719 Jean Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe found Taovaya, Tawakoni, and Yscani Indians on the lower Canadian in present Oklahoma, and by 1759 the Taovayas were in a more or less permanent settlement on upper Red River near present Spanish Fort. They were one of the "Nations of the North" that gave the Spanish much trouble in the eighteenth century, participating in the raid on the mission of San Sabá de la Santa Cruz in 1758 and successfully defending their village against the retaliatory expedition led by Diego Ortiz Parrilla in 1759. In 1772, through the efforts of Athanase de Mézières, a nominal peace was established between the Spanish and the Wichitas. Taovaya economy was similar to that of other plains tribes-joint dependence upon agriculture and bison hunting, with fairly permanent settlements, except for seminomadic hunting parties that followed the herds. The best and most detailed descriptions of the Taovaya Indians were made by De Mézières, who found them cultivating large fields of corn, beans, melons, gourds, and tobacco. They raised enough surplus crops to carry on extensive trade with the Comanches, who provided horses and captives in exchange for the agricultural products. As a result of a treaty with the United States in 1835, the Taovaya and related Wichita Indians settled peaceably in Indian Territory. Their descendants are living in Oklahoma at the present time.


Herbert Eugene Bolton, ed. and trans., Athanase de Mézières and the Louisiana-Texas Frontier, 1768–1780 (2 vols., Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1914). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959).

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: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

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, Edward B. Jelks, "TAOVAYA INDIANS," accessed August 04, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmt17.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on May 3, 2019. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...