Based on archeological records, the region's first people found their way to what is now Texas about 13,500 years ago marking the beginning of the Paleolithic Era in Texas.
The term Karankawa became an accepted name for several coastal people who shared a common language and culture.
They inhabited most of the Gulf Coast of Texas from Galveston Bay to Corpus Christi. Migrating between the mainland and the barrier islands in the Gulf.
About the Art
The image is from a painting by a local artist Don Hutson in the collection of the Lake Jackson Historical Association. The Painting depicts several scenes of the Karankawa camping, hunting, and fishing along the Texas coast.
The Karankawa used many tools including knives, scrapers, and hammers made of stone and flat spoon-like instruments made of wood.
They made pottery such as clay pots with round bottoms to store and cook food.
To make the pots they used the coiling technique and sometimes painted the bottoms with a tar-like substance.
The Karankawa traveled in wooden canoes called dugouts which were not stable enough for ocean travel but were perfect for shallow waters.
They hunted with longbows that were made out of cane, and arrowheads. When it came to trade the Karankawa were on a barter system. Often times, shells were traded for other desired goods such as the longbow.
The Karankawa were migratory hunters and gatherers.
In the fall and winter, they lived mainly off of sea animals from lagoons and bays along the coast including oysters, scallops, quahogs, redfish, trout, catfish, tuna, and turtles.
In the spring and summer, they hunted inland and lived off deer, bird eggs, bison, ducks, birds, bears, panthers, and a fox-like dog.
Year-round they hunted animals, including alligators and large game. They also used alligator fat as a mosquito repellent.
The Karankawa used the burn method for hunting, they would burn out large grassy areas luring animals to food in specific areas before they hunted
To supplement their diet they added plants and cattails, roots, berries, wild grapes, prickly pears, persimmon, and nuts.
Arrow and War Club
Handbook of Texas Online (https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/karankawa-indians)
The Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu/search/?q=Karankawa+&t=fulltext&sort=&fq=)
Galveston and Texas History Center (https://www.galvestonhistorycenter.org/research/karankawa#manuscript-collections)
Educational resources at the Lake Jackson Historical Museum
Karankawa Exhibit (Permanent)
Visit the museum's permanent exhibit on the Karankawa. The exhibit explores the Karankawan culture and traditions and their interactions with Europeans.