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Taensa Indian Language (Tansa, Tensaw)

The Taensa Indians were a small tribe of northeastern Louisiana, closely related to the Natchez tribe. The Taensas have not existed as a tribe since the late 1700's, but there are some people of Taensa descent still living among the neighboring Chitimacha tribe today. A second Louisiana tribe, the Avoyel, was sometimes called the "Petit Taensa" tribe by the French, but was actually distinct from them.

There are no remaining records of the Taensa language. A wordlist and grammar of the Taensa language that were discovered in the 1880's by a French seminary student named Jean Parisot turned out to be an elaborate hoax. All that is known about the actual Taensa language is that early French missionaries considered it similar to Natchez, in which case it was probably also a Gulf language.

Taensa Culture and History Links

Taensa Indian Tribe History:
     Article on the Taensa tribe from the Handbook of American Indians.
Taensa:
    Wikipedia article on the Taensa Indians.
Catholic Encylopedia: Taensa:
    Information about the missionizing of the Taensa Indians. (Note that this article comes from a 1912 Catholic tract known for biased information about Native Americans, so take it with a grain of salt.)
The Taensa Indians: * Taensa:
    Encyclopedia articles about the Taensas.
The Taensa Grammar and Dictionary: A deception exposed:
     Linguist D.G. Brinton's debunking of the Taensa language hoax.



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