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TEPELGUAN INDIANS. In 1590 Gaspar Castaño de Sosa encountered a group of Indians with this name in western Texas. Castaño's route had been in dispute, but studies have convincingly demonstrated that he followed the Pecos River and not the Rio Grande from Coahuila to the Pueblo Indian towns of northern New Mexico. This permits placement of the Tepelguans on the eastern side of the Pecos River, possibly in present Crockett County. Here the Tepelguans lived by hunting and gathering wild plant products. The identification of the Tepelguans remains in doubt. The name is very similar to that of the Tepehuanes, a Uto-Aztecan group that originally occupied a large area in Durango and adjoining states in northwestern Mexico, but no one has yet considered seriously that the Tepelguans of the lower Pecos were refugees from Durango. It seems more reasonable to regard the Tepelguans of Texas as an indigenous group that lived along the lower Pecos River and perhaps also in northern Coahuila. This interpretation is supported by the fact that Tepelguans were reported north of Monterrey in Nuevo León during the late seventeenth century. These were probably the same Tepelguans that entered San Francisco Solano Mission near present Eagle Pass in 1706. However, further research should be directed toward determining the relationship between the Tepelguans of Texas and the Tepehuanes of Durango. The resemblance in names may prove not to be fortuitous.

Gaspar Castaño de Sosa, A Colony on the Move: Gaspar Castaño de Sosa's Journal, 1590–1591, annot. Albert H. Schroeder, trans. Dan S. Matson (Santa Fe: School of American Research, 1965). Frederick Webb Hodge, ed., Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (2 vols., Washington: GPO, 1907, 1910; rpt., New York: Pageant, 1959).
Thomas N. Campbell

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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, "Tepelguan Indians," accessed November 17, 2017,

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