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TUNICA INDIANS. The Tunica (Canicon, Janequo, Tanico, Toniqua) Indians originally lived in the area of present western Mississippi, but early in the eighteenth century pressure from the Chickasaw Indians forced them to cross the Mississippi and settle near the mouth of the Red River in Louisiana. Sometime between 1784 and 1803 they moved up the Red River to the vicinity of present Marksville, Louisiana. Some of them later joined the Atakapa Indians in southwestern Louisiana, which probably explains the report that in 1886 a few Tunicas were living in the vicinity of Beaumont, Texas. The Tunica Indians seem to have ranged widely at all times. In the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they were in frequent contact with the Caddoan groups of both Louisiana and Texas. It seems likely that one Tunica group was actually living in eastern Texas in the middle eighteenth century, since the name Tanico occurs on a list of Texas tribes that petitioned the Spanish for missions in east central and southeastern Texas. Some of the Marksville Tunicas moved to Indian Territory, now Oklahoma, in the middle nineteenth century and eventually lost their identity among the Chickasaw Indians. Others survived in the Marksville area until as late as 1930.


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, Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico (Washington: GPO, 1911). 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). John R. Swanton, The Indians of the Southeastern United States (Washington: GPO, 1946).

Thomas N. Campbell


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

Thomas N. Campbell, "TUNICA INDIANS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed April 27, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.