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Avoyel Indian Language (Avogel, Avoyelles, Avoy)
The Avoyel Indians were a small tribe of eastern Louisiana, relatives of the
The Avoyels have not existed as a tribe since the late 1700's, but there are people of Avoyel
descent still living in Louisiana today, particularly among the Tunica-Biloxi Indians (whose reservation
is located in present-day Avoyelles Parish) and in neighboring Louisiana Cajun communities.
There are no remaining records of the Avoyel language, but French missionaries considered it
equivalent to Natchez, so probably it was either a Natchez dialect or a closely related Gulf language.
Some Avoyel descendants today have begun trying to reconstruct their ancient language again.
Names: The meaning of the name "Avoyel" is uncertain. It definitely came from a French name for the tribe,
Avoyelles, but the origin of that name is unknown (it does not mean "flint" in French, as it is sometimes claimed
to.) It may have been a French corruption of one of their own tribal names. Other historical spellings included Avogel,
Avoyelle, and Avoy. The Avoyelles were also known as the Tassenogoula or Tamoucougoula, which were names for
their tribes in the languages of their Muskogean neighbors. ("Tassenogoula" does
mean "flint people" in Choctaw, which was probably the source of the mistaken claim about French.)
The Avoyelles were sometimes also called the "Petit Taensas" (little Taensas) by the French, referring to the
tribe living further to the north; however, the Avoyelles and Taensas were actually distinct from each other.
Avoyel Language Tree:
Theories about Avoyel's language relationships compiled by Linguist List.
Our online resources for Natchez, which was probably the same or similar to the Avoyel language.
Books for sale on the Avoyel Indians
The Avogel Tribe of Louisiana:
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Book on Avoyel history written by tribal descendant and historian John Mayeux.
Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley:
Book on the history of the Gulf and Mississippian tribes, including a chapter on the Avoyel.
Avoyel History and Culture
Avoyel-Taensa Tribe of Louisiana:
Homepage of one of the tribal communities of Avoyel descendants in Louisiana today.
Avoyel Indian Tribe History:
Article on the Avoyel tribe from the Handbook of American Indians.
Wikipedia article on the Avoyel Indians.
Website with historical information about the Avogel Indian tribe of Louisiana.
History of the Avoyel-Taensas.
Four Directions: Avoyel:
Timeline and links about Avoyelles history.
Avoyelles Today: Who Are The Avoyel?:
News article on Avoyel descendants seeking to be recognized by the US government.
Calls for action to save Marksville State Historic Park:
Efforts by the Tunica-Biloxi and Avogel tribes to preserve the ancestral Indian mounds of Louisiana.
Links, References, and Additional Information
Information about the Avoyelles and their language in Spanish.
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