The advent of
the white men had both accidental and intentional consequences
that were negative in effect.
the introduction of highly lethal deseases from Europe may
be considered unintentional, it probably was the cause of
more suffering than the white man's deliberate resort to Indian
slavery and wars of extermination.
Indian forbearance was
ill rewarded. Measles, smallpox, common colds and influenza,
cholera, and other infectious diseases took a disastrous toll
on Indian populations. By the third decade of the eighteenth
century, the Chitimacha had been decimated and driven from
their villages near Bayou Lafourche.
and metis, men of mixed blood, cohabited with Indian women
in the villages, traded liquour-especially tafia, the cheap
rum made from sugarcane juice-to the tribes, and corrupted
the Indians. Traders, often with the help of tafia,
abused the trade, and Indians became dependent on European
goods. Everything from guns to glass beads was available in
trade for deerskins and furs. By about 1720, the Spanish,
seeking to block French expansion westward, had built a presidio
in northwestern Louisiana. No institution was more feared
and detested by the Louisiana Indians than slavery.
The Tunica so abhorred slavery that
one woman of the tribe was said to have hanged herself to
avoid it. Other tribes were equally repulsed by the
institution, but Europeans. Who knew of the Indians' aversion
to it, nevertheless held numbers of Indian slaves from a lengthy
list of tribes. Most were Chitimacha, Natchez, and Conneche(Lipan
Apache), all of whom were traditional enemies of the Europeans.
THE NATIVE LOUISIANA TRIBES AFTER 1700
man was a greater borrower than the Indian and sometimes relied
almost entirely upon the skill and knowledge of the Indians
as hunters and farmers. The Indians and Europeans of
earlier colonial times were more interdependent and much closer
in material ways than their successors. The gap between the
two peoples widened after1700 as the Europeans introduced
Old World Foods, crops, domestic animals, tools, modes of
building construction, and other culture traits.