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Angelina River west of Nacogdoches, Texas.JPG
Angelina River west of Nacogdoches, Texas, ancestral Hasinai homeland
Total population
under 5,757[1]
Regions with significant populations
formerly  Louisiana,  Texas,
currently  Oklahoma
Hasinai, English
Native American Church, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Hainai, Nabedache, Nabiti, Nacogdoche, Nacono, Nadaco, Nasoni (Lower), Nechaui, Neche, and other Caddo people

The Hasinai Confederacy (Caddo: Hasíinay[2]) was a large confederation of Caddo-speaking Native Americans located between the Sabine and Trinity rivers in eastern Texas. Today they are enrolled in the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.


Hasinai is also spelled Hasini; the Caddo word táyshaʼ, meaning "friend," was adopted by colonists as the name of Texas. Earlier Spanish explorers referred to the Hasinai as Texas, their transliteration of the name in old Spanish spelling.[citation needed] They are also referred to as Hasini, Asenai, Asinai, Assoni', Asenay, Cenis, Senis and Sannaye.


At the time of the Spanish and French encounter with the Hasinai in the 1680s the Hasinai were a centrally organized chiefdom under the control of a religious leader known as the Grand Xinesi; the Xinesi lived in a secluded house. He met with a council of councilors; the Hasinai chieftainship consisted of several sub-divisions which have been designated "contonments". Each of these was under the control of a Caddi. There was also men designated as Canahas and Chayas who helped the Caddi run the system.[3]


During the 17th century the Hasinai carried on trade with the Jumano at the western Hasinai city of Nabedache;[4] some consider the residents of Nabedache to have been a distinct people designated by that name.

Historic populations[edit]

It is estimated that in 1520 the people who would become the Hasinai, the Kadohadacho and the Natchitoches, numbered about 250,000.[5] Over the next 250 years the population of these Caddoan-speaking peoples was severely reduced by epidemics of endemic diseases carried by Spanish and French coming to the Americas and spread through contact by indigenous trading networks. Native Americans had no acquired immunity to the new diseases and suffered high mortality.

In 1690 the Hasinai numbered in the vicinity of 10,000 people or a little more. By 1720 as a result of infectious diseases such as smallpox, the Hasinai population had fallen to 2,000.[6]

Closely Related Peoples[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2011 Oklahoma Indian Nations Pocket Pictorial Directory. Archived 2012-05-12 at the Wayback Machine Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission. 2011: 7. Retrieved 20 Aug 2013.
  2. ^ Edmonds 27
  3. ^ Gary Clayton Anderson, The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830: Ethnogenesis and Reinvention (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999) p. 44
  4. ^ Anderson, The Indian Southwest, p. 47
  5. ^ Juliana Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007) p. 20
  6. ^ Anderson, The Indian Southwest, p. 57


  • Edmonds, Randlett. Nusht'uhtiʔtiʔ Hasinay: Caddo Phrasebook. Richardson, TX: Various Indian Peoples Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-884655-00-9.

External links[edit]