Marksville


After the French surrendered sovereignty in 1763, few narratives about the Tunica were included in the later eighteenth century official records. It is known that they remained generally in the vicinity of Pointe Coupee for a number of years, but before the end of the century they left the Mississippi Valley and settled near Marksville, Louisiana, on the Red River. The reasons for this move are lost to history, but may have been in response to the increasing numbers of Euro-American settlers.

During the last two centuries, the Tunica have remained at Marksville, on the very lands they were first granted by Spanish authorities before the assumption of American control. There are records that many did move farther west to Texas and Oklahoma where they were absorbed by other Indian groups, but a hard core elected to stay in Marksville. There they intermarried with first the Ofo and Avoyel Indians and then the Biloxi. Today, the Tunica are participating in the prevailing Euro-American lifeway, including material culture and language. However, they have preserved their ethnic identity and still maintain a tribal government. In 1980, the federal government formally recognized the existence of the Tunica in the combined Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. The recognition attests to the continuity of a people. This remarkable continuity, in the light of the fate of most other Lower Mississippi Valley tribes, is a key to the history of the Tunica. Their ability to adapt to new situations, and thus preserve themselves, is what this story has been all about

Kettles, hoes, axes, plates, and mugs
Traditional Tunica pottery, pottery from other Indian groups, and pottery influenced by European styles are included in the so-called "Tunica Treasure." (Artifacts reconstructed and conserved by, and photograph courtesy of, the Tunica-Biloxi Indians

Summary


So ends this history of the Tunica, but not their story. The story is unusual and important. We have more than the documentation of the location and movements of a particular tribal group and their importance at each location. We have here an intimate glimpse of a people as they participated in the great events of the late prehistoric and early historic periods. As such, the Tunica provide an incomparable key to those events.

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