Karankawa (American Indians Ready Reference)
Over the centuries the Karankawa people developed a lifeway measured by the land and the gulf upon which they depended. They lived amid riches in terms of game and fish, and they cultivated foodstuffs. They moved in dugouts or skiffs on seasonal rotation from the river valleys to the bay inlets along the coast, ranging from West Galveston Bay on the north to the Laguna Madre south of the Rio Grande. The Karankawa never exceeded ten thousand people.
Over thousands of years they nurtured a knowledge of the animals, the plants, the earth, and the sea, upon all of which their existence depended. Karankawa knowledge was passed carefully from one generation to the next. The Karankawa fished the bays and inlets from their dugout canoes, exploiting redfish, snapper, flounder, and green sea turtle; they gathered sea bird eggs and shellfish. They hunted buffalo and deer as well as smaller game, and they cultivated blackberry bushes, arrowroot, and potatoes and collected pecans, acorns, and prickly pear.
The Karankawa were spiritually centered people. People paused no matter what they were doing as the sun disappeared behind the horizon. They stood observing the sunset as a system of beauty of which they were a part. Formal celebrations were held at the time of the full moon, and they involved the use of “black drink” or yaupon tea. Music was made with song and instruments—gourd rattles, carved wooden rasps, and cedar flutes. Their sense of being...
(The entire section is 461 words.)
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