YORICA INDIANS

Thomas N. Campbell

YORICA INDIANS. Documents written between 1674 and 1693 record Spanish encounters with Yorica Indians in northeastern Coahuila and the adjacent part of Texas. During this time they seem to have ranged between the Río Sabinas of Coahuila and the southern margin of the Edwards Plateau of Texas, particularly north and northeast of the site of modern Eagle Pass. In 1674 one Spanish missionary referred to 300 Yorica as being thirty miles north of the Rio Grande, and at the same time he noted population loss in a smallpox epidemic. It is said that the Yoricas were one of the Indian groups who, prior to 1674, raided outlying Spanish settlements of Coahuila. The Yoricas were among the Indian groups who came under the influence of Jean Jarry, who was taken into custody by Spaniards in 1688. Shortly after 1690, and following further population loss in epidemics, the Yoricas were evidently displaced southward by Apache groups of the Edwards Plateau area. It is known that Yorica Indians entered several Spanish missions of Coahuila and Texas, but relatively few remained in missions very long. They are said to have been present in some numbers at San Juan Bautista Mission when it was established on the Río Sabinas in 1699, and some of these followed the mission when it was moved in 1700 to a location near the Rio Grande at the site of present-day Guerrero, Coahuila. Yet in mission censuses of 1734 and 1772 no Yoricas were recorded at San Juan Bautista. One Yorica individual was recorded at San Francisco Solano Mission in 1704, when that mission was still located at Guerrero. Only three Yorica Indians were recorded (1723–30) at San Antonio de Valero Mission of San Antonio, and one of these is said to have come from San Juan Bautista. It seems clear that the Yoricas lost their ethnic identity after the year 1730. Scattered through various documents are bits of cultural description attributable to the Yorica Indians. They moved about in search of plant and animal foods. They ate maguey root crowns and prickly pear fruit; they collected and ate snails. The animals they hunted included rats, rabbits, deer, and bison. They sometimes dried bison meat at the scene of the kill and transported it to distant encampments. They used the bow and arrow in hunting and warfare. Occasionally the Yoricas took boy captives and ate the flesh of slain enemies, and they had peace ceremonies that involved body painting, dancing, and exchange of bows and arrows to cement friendly relations with another group. Damián Massanet's observations on Indian languages spoken in southern Texas seem to indicate that the Yoricas spoke the language now known as Coahuilteco.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
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). Isidro Félix de Espinosa, Chrónica apostólica y seráphica de todos los colegios de propaganda fide de esta Nueva España, parte primera (Mexico, 1746; new ed., Crónica de los colegios de propaganda fide de la Nueva España, ed. Lino G. Canedo, Washington: Academy of American Franciscan History, 1964). Lino Gómez Canedo, ed., Primeras exploraciones y poblamiento de Texas, 1686–1694 (Monterrey: Publicaciones del Instituto Technológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, 1968). P. Otto Maas, ed., Viajes de Misioneros Franciscanos a la conquista del Nuevo México (Seville: Imprenta de San Antonio, 1915). Francis Borgia Steck, "Forerunners of Captain de León's Expedition to Texas, 1670–1675," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 36 (July 1932).

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.

Citation

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, "YORICA INDIANS," accessed October 15, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bmy11.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. 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...