Foods of Texas Tribes

Depending on where they lived, Natives of what we now call Texas had numerous choices of plants, animals and insects. Acorns, currants, grapes, juniper berries, mulberries, pecans, persimmons, and plums grew in many locales. Atakapans and Karankawas along the coast ate bears, deer, alligators, clams, ducks, oysters, and turtles extensively. Caddos in the lush eastern area grew beans, pumpkins, squash, and sunflowers, in addition to hunting bears, deer, water fowl and occasionally buffalo. The Coahuiltecans of south Texas and northern Mexico ate agave cactus bulbs, prickly pear cactus, mesquite beans and anything else edible in hard times, including maggots. Jumanos along the Rio Grande in west Texas grew beans, corn, squash and gathered mesquite beans, screw beans and prickly pear. They consumed buffalo and cultivated crops after settling on the Brazos River, in addition to eating fish, clams, berries, pecans and prickly pear cactus. The Wichita Confederacy tribes occupied north central Texas and gardened corn, beans and squash along the many waterways. The Karankawas, especially, were viewed as being tall and strongly built. The Tonkawas of central Texas congregated near the Brazos River and were adept at making rafts. The Tonkawas consumed bison, deer, fish, turtles, crawfish, snails, oysters, pecans, acorns, wild fruits, rattlesnake, rabbit.

Taken from Devon A. Mihesuah, Recovering Our Ancestors’ Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet and Fitness (University of Nebraska Press, 2005)