Social Education 57(6), 1993, pp. 292-314
1993 National Council for theSocial Studies
Although authors use various schemes for establishing culture areas, the most common regional divisions for North and Middle America are Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Great Plains, Great Basin, Plateau, California, Northwest coast, Arctic, Subarctic, Mesoamerica, and Circum-Caribbean. Some writers discuss as many as eighteen areas for the same region; others combine some of these twelve (e.g., Northeast and Southeast are sometimes combined into Eastern Woodlands).
These modern categories, of course, meant nothing to the Indians themselves: tribal territories were vague and changing, with great movement among the tribes and the passing of cultural traits from one area to the next. Moreover, people of the same language family sometimes lived in different culture areas and, in some instances, at opposite ends of the continent. These culture areas generally represent patterns of Indian life just before contact with European culture. Therefore, the culture areas are not finite or absolute boundaries, but simply helpful educational devices.
The tribes whose general locations are depicted in figures 2 and 3 should be considered representative of each area, and not exhaustive. These locations are especially important to understanding postcontact movement (Waldman 1985, 30).
The Southeastern Culture Area
Regional geography. The southeastern culture area includes parts of three distinct natural regions: the Atlantic and Gulf coastal plains, the southern Piedmont, and the southern portion of the Appalachian Mountains. The coastal plains, whose flat expanses constitute more than three-fourths of this area, was covered by longleaf and slash pines interspersed with magnolia, cypress, and oak. It is an area of sluggish, meandering rivers feeding innumerable swamps, some of vast size, thickly covered with cypress and cane, two important raw materials to the southeastern Indians. Because of its resistance to rot, the Indians preferred to use cypress for posts, dugout canoes, and a great variety of other large and small objects such as effigy masks and statues.
Natural vegetation and wildlife. The coastal plains were rich with edible wild vegetables and fruits including blackberries, palmetto, gooseberries, grapes, certain varieties of acorns, prickly pears, sea grapes, and several plants from which the Indians obtained roots. Spanish moss was both abundant and useful. The Indians used it as tinder, braided it into cord, and in some places fashioned skirts out of it.
The Indians hunted the many mammals and birds that lived on the coastal plains. Here, as elsewhere in the Southeast, the deer was the most important game animal. The Indians used its flesh for food, its skin for clothing and leather articles, its horns for arrow points and glue, its hooves for rattles, and its bones for a variety of articles such as needles, awls, and fishhooks. The bear was another important source of food and skins; the Indians extracted an oil from bear fat that they ate and used for other purposes, for example, as a condiment, a cooking oil, and even as a cosmetic (Hudson 1976, 300). Smaller animals, including beaver, otter, raccoon, muskrat, opossum, squirrel, and rabbit, also met some of the Indians' needs. Turkeys thrived in the coastal plain and provided the Indians with food and feathers. In certain seasons of the year, immense numbers of waterfowl occupied the coastal plains, particularly along the Mississippi flyway. Many other coastal plain animals, such as snakes, turtles, terrapins, alligators, crawfish, crabs, clams, mussels, and oysters, were used for food and for other purposes, for example, shell ornaments and utensils (Hudson 1976, 14).
The Piedmont, a band of hilly uplands between the Appalachian Mountains and the coastal plain, was another important settlement region for the southeastern Indians. The Piedmont is separated from the coastal plain by the fall line, a line that marks the zone of contact between the resistant rocks of the Piedmont and the less resistant rocks of the coastal plain. Rivers fall abruptly from the uplands forming rapids and shoals on their way to the flat coastal plain. The territory lying on both sides of the fall line was an important region in itself. Some of the most populous societies in the prehistoric Southeast lived along this line because there the Indians could exploit the natural resources of the coastal plain, the Piedmont, and the fall line. The best freshwater fishing in the Southeast was found at the fall line, where in certain seasons fish could be taken in large numbers as they swam upstream to spawn.
The dominant trees in the Piedmont were oak and hickory (hardwoods), but also abundant were the shortleaf pine (a softwood) and many other hardwoods such as sassafras, poplar, hackberry, sycamore, sweet gum, and persimmon. Many animals of the coastal plain were also abundant in the Piedmont. One important Piedmont bird was the passenger pigeon-now extinct, but formerly existing in flocks so large they darkened the sky when they flew (Hudson 1976, 19).
The southern end of the densely forested, rugged Appalachian Mountains is the third region included in the southeastern culture area. The mountains provided a habitat for an abundance of turkey, deer, bear, and a variety of other smaller birds and animals. The mountains were a favorite habitat of the eagle, whose feathers were prized by the Native Americans above those of all other birds. This region was particularly rich in wood and tree products. The Indians of this region used poplar trees, which grew to enormous size, to make dugout canoes. The mountains provided inexhaustible supplies of chestnuts, hickory nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, butternuts, and chinquapins. The mountains also contained various kinds of minerals used for projectile points, knives, drills, axes, and other tools by the Indians including mica, steatite, and several kinds of quartz (Hudson 1976, 20).
Climate. Most of the southeastern culture area enjoys a mild or temperate climate. In most of the area, the average July temperature is between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The average January temperature is between 35 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the extreme northern part of the area and between 55 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit in the southern part. Southwesterly winds prevail in the Southeast, bringing in abundant rainfall from the Gulf of Mexico that ranges from 48 to 64 inches per year in most places. The Piedmont, however, receives only 40 to 48 inches of rain per year because of its location to the lee of the prevailing winds. In the extreme western parts of the Southeast, annual precipitation falls off sharply, setting off the dry plains and forming the western boundary of the southeastern culture area. With few exceptions, the southeastern culture area falls within the area of the eastern United States, which averages more than forty inches of rainfall per year. The Southeast enjoys a long frost-free period-from 240 days along the fall line to as many as 270 days along the Gulf and south Atlantic coasts-a factor of great importance in aboriginal agriculture. Further north in the Piedmont, the frost-free period shortens to about 210 days per year. The northern limit of the Southeast is generally set at the region where the frost-free period lasts for less than 180 days per year. The exception to these conditions is the Appalachian Mountains, where because of elevation it is cooler (averaging only about 70 degrees Fahreneheit in July) and wetter (averaging 64 to 96 inches of rainfall per year). In fact, the southern part of the Appalachians is the wettest area in the eastern United States (Hudson 1976, 21).
These three regions of the Southeast are here defined primarily according to criteria used by modern geographers. The differences observed among and within the three regions were probably important to the southeastern Indians, but the aspects of the natural world that interested the southeastern Indians were no doubt different from those that interest us.
The native peoples of the southeastern culture area developed the richest culture of any Native Americans north of Mexico. At the time of European contact, their economy combined farming, hunting, and gathering. They organized political units centered around large towns and ceremonial centers. They possessed a rich symbolism, an expressive art style, and a complex system of beliefs about the world.
Settlement patterns. The majority of Indians in the southeastern culture area made their homes along river valleys in villages that served as the dominant form of social organization. Palisades as high as sixteen feet enclosed many of the larger settlements. The walls were made of stout logs set vertically in the ground and faced with smaller logs that were plastered with a stucco-like mixture of mud and grass. The Indians built watchtowers at regular intervals along the palisades and left holes in the walls to provide defensive positions for archers.
Whether fortified or not, the settlers laid villages out around a central plaza. Inside the central plaza stood two public structures. One was fully enclosed and provided quarters for the winter meetings of the council of men. Across the plaza was a small compound of open sheds-usually three or four in number-that served as the summer council houses. Three poles also stood in the plaza: the tallest was for the pole-ball game, an important communal activity, and the other two were war poles where they displayed scalps and tied prisoners of war.
The Indians constructed all winter buildings, public and private, in the same manner. They constructed walls with a series of narrow posts set into the ground. Then they interwove split saplings with the posts and plastered the walls with clay and dried grass. The roof, supported by the walls, rafters, and interior posts, was also made of interwoven split saplings and was covered with cypress bark.
The typical winter dwelling provided ample protection against the weather. Doors were low and narrow, and the only ventilation came from a smoke hole in the roof. A fire for cooking and heat was always burning, making each dwelling both smoky and hot. Consequently, the Indians wore little clothing indoors, and dressed lightly outdoors as well, having been trained from childhood to endure both rainy and chilly weather.
Furniture within the dwellings was generally limited to platforms, used for both sitting and sleeping, made of split white oak saplings and cane and covered with mats of cane and skins. The platforms were set on posts that raised them two or three feet off the ground. In the southern reaches of the region, where the winters were less severe, the Indians lived in much lighter structures with one or more open sides. The more northerly groups also used such dwellings, sheltering several families from a single clan during the warm weather months (Maxwell 1978, 94).
Politics. Southeastern Indians lived in political units, somewhat like small states, known as chiefdoms. Each chiefdom had a hierarchy in which a person's place was determined by achievements in war or in other pursuits such as religion or healing. Southeastern chiefs led by example and persuasion rather than by force. By custom, the words of leaders carried more weight in council than did those of ordinary warriors. The leaders of the community chose the titular head of each village, but this head chief's power was greatly circumscribed by tradition and he served mostly as a ceremonial leader (Hamilton 1980, 49).
Community councils met to discuss issues of all kinds that concerned everybody. The council's goal was to reach general agreement. Harmony rather than dispute was the guiding principle and anyone could speak and would be listened to with respect. If a member did not agree with a decision, he withdrew and said no more. No force was used and no one was punished for refusing to go along with the prevailing opinion.
Kinship and clan. Southeastern Indian life was largely regulated by kinship. This kinship system determined enemies, allies, marriage partners, and other social prerogatives; its importance cannot be overemphasized. Southeastern Indians traced their relationships matrilineally-that is, they were all descendants of a common ancestor through the female line. The son of a married couple was considered the mother's progeny and only casually related to his father. His maternal uncle (usually his mother's eldest brother), considered his closest male relative, taught him the communal games, hunting, fishing, the art of war, and other skills. The boy's father performed these duties for his sister's sons. Daughters were trained by their mothers and maternal aunts. An Indian also had a wider association based upon the mother's kin. Each belonged to a clan whose members were all related to one another matrilineally (Hudson 1976; Maxwell 1978; Hamilton 1980).
Each clan was associated with an animal or natural phenomenon (such as the wind). Many villages used the same clan names. If a male member of the Bird clan met a member of the Bird clan from a distant town, they called one another brother. If one clan member killed a member of another clan, the victim's clan sought revenge by killing the murderer or someone in the murderer's clan. As a rule, marrying a member of one's own lineage or clan was punishable by death. When a boy became interested in a girl from another lineage, he sent his mother's sister to discuss their possible marriage with the girl's aunt on her mother's side. Fathers, because they were not considered blood relatives, were not consulted. Although marriages were arranged, they were not forced and could be dissolved at the annual Green Corn Ceremony, the most important ceremonial event of the year, which served as a time for purification and renewal (Hudson 1976; Maxwell 1978; Hamilton 1980).
Religion. Southeastern Indians believed that the universe was an orderly place in which every human, plant, bird, and spiritual being had its role. Colors, numbers, and directions such as north and south had significance. When disaster struck, Indians believed that someone had broken the rules or that things were out of order.
Their universe was composed of three worlds. Above the sky was an Upper World representing order and hope. And beneath This World lay the Under World representing madness, disorder, change, and future time. Southeastern Indians thought of themselves as living between the perfect order of the Upper World and the chaos of the Under World. Their universe was one in which opposites were constantly at war with each other. Thus, their goal was to achieve a natural balance between humans, animals, and plants. Until such a balance was achieved, they believed, all suffered (Maxwell 1978; Hamilton 1980).
Subsistence. Men and women shared responsibility for subsistence, although their roles were distinct. It was the men's responsibility to provide meat and clear the fields for farming; the women planted, tended the gardens, and reaped the harvest. Women spent much time tending the crops and preparing meals, and were responsible for making pottery, weaving baskets and mats, tanning animal skins, and making skirts for themselves and breechclouts, leggings, and cloaks for the men (Maxwell 1978, 100).
Corn, planted in rows of little mounds, was the Indians' principal crop. When it sprouted, beans were planted on the same mounds and the two crops grew together, the cornstalks providing support for the climbing bean vines. They also grew squash, pumpkins, gourds, and sunflowers. Women owned both the food they produced and their houses. The women who worked the fields controlled them, but all land belonged to the chiefdom. Men did most of their work in the hunting season whereas women worked hardest in the growing season (Maxwell 1978; Hamilton 1980).
Indians had no monetary system. Instead, they bartered both labor and goods. They placed no value on individual wealth, seeing no point in having more than they could use. If someone had a surplus, the Indians believed that they should share it with others. Indians of the Southeast believed that a generous person was a good person (Hamilton 1980).
War and games. Rules and rituals governed both wars and games. Wars between Indians usually started as a result of a member of one clan killing a member of a rival clan. Although warriors volunteered for battle, councils decided whether the clan would go to war. Once the council made a decision, purification rituals followed: drinking herbal teas, purging, chanting, and dancing. Revenge was the main reason for war, and surprise attack was the goal. The success of a raid did not depend upon how many of the enemy were killed but on how well one group surprised the enemy. If, in addition, one group lost none of its warriors, the raid was considered a success (Maxwell 1978; Hamilton 1980).
All southeastern Indians played ball games in one form or another. Like warriors, all ball players were volunteers. Villages played each other with rivalry so fierce that some teams consulted a shaman for advice on bringing illness or death to their opponents. Ball game dances were held on the night before a contest. Games could get as bloody as battle and permanent maiming, or even death, was common. Betting was commonplace on ball games and on "chunkey" (a sort of shuffleboard) played between men who lived in the same village rather than between rival villages. Both men and women played a milder ball game, just for fun, around a post in the village plaza. Aiming to hit the pole with a ball, men handled the ball only with sticks and women used their hands. After the game, a feast would be held, followed by dancing (Maxwell 1978; Hamilton 1980).
Southeastern Indians' ways of life evolved over several hundred years living on the land. Although their culture was strong, the death knell for their way of life sounded when the first Europeans landed in the New World.
The "Invisible" Americans
Schools today face a tremendous challenge in teaching America's youth about the multicultural diversity of the nation, and American Indians hold a firm place on the list of racial and ethnic groups that are part of that diversity. But Indians are not just another added cultural entity to be accounted for; the historical experience of the Indians is unique and should be treated as such....They must be seen in a historical perspective that touches the full complexity of the past and present. For many years the most urgent issues concerning Indians have been neglected in American history textbooks and courses. (Prucha 1991, 1)
Francis Paul Prucha, professor emeritus of history at Marquette University and one of the foremost authorities on Native Americans, emphatically states the case for studying their history. Native Americans are given so little attention in state-mandated textbooks that they become "invisible Americans." Students gain no real understanding of who they were, and are, from the few facts they learn in elementary grades: European explorers "discover" Indians, customs are "quaint," corn (maize) is important, and the Trail of Tears is tragic. Then, students learn no more about Native Americans until high school when they study the encounters of western tribes with the U.S. Army in Custer's last stand and the Battle of Wounded Knee. With such fragmented information, students question why some contemporary writers compare the U.S. Indian policy to the Holocaust.
Eduardo Galeano (1989, 1) notes that
throughout America, from north to south, the dominant culture acknowledges Indians as objects of study, but denies them as subjects of history. The Indians have folklore, not culture; they practice superstitions, not religions; they speak dialects, not languages; they make crafts, not arts.
The need for additional unbiased information about Native Americans is critical. Only in recent years have historical scholars begun to include such useful studies in high school texts. (And access to these studies is further delayed by the time it takes to get them into the classroom.) History textbooks have traditionally reflected a Eurocentric, Anglo-American, manifest destiny, westward expansionist point of view, thus denying the extensive contributions Native Americans have made to U.S. culture. Also, textbook authors refer to Native Americans as "the Indians" as if they were one homogeneous people, rather than recognizing their diversity. Their languages and cultures were, and are, as varied as those in Europe or Asia. Moreover, much of the terminology found in textbooks is inaccurate. Columbus "discovered" the New World (in which, incidentally, indigenous peoples had occupied the land for several thousand years). Adjectives such as hostile, savage, and heathen preface Indian. Whites "kilquot; Indians; Indians "massacre" whites. And, referring to the "plight" of Indians renders them weak and defenseless.
Textbook authors should, as nearly as possible, present unbiased accounts of history. Catalysts of change-government "civilization" policies from George Washington's administration through Andrew Jackson's, the influence of traders, missionaries, and land-hungry whites, and issues of states' rights versus tribal sovereignty-deserve more attention and analysis. Also noteworthy, in view of the historical record, are the elements of cultural continuity that exist within contemporary Native American groups. Although some textbook publishers are now attempting to include more Native American history than they have included in the past, supplementary material is nonetheless clearly necessary.
My work with Alabama Choctaws, a remnant group that is seeking federal acknowledgement motivated me to study southeastern Indians. The Alabama Choctaws are typical of the hundreds of Indians who did not go west during the removal era, but whose presence in the South became obliterated. Students, and the public in general, think of Indians as being "out west," if they think of them at all. They are not aware of the many groups of Indians who continue to live east of the Mississippi River. As a history teacher, I realized that only with a broader knowledge of the historical process would I be able to help students understand this phenomenon. Therefore, I submitted an independent study plan focusing on southeastern Indians to the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Reader's Digest Teacher-Scholar award. One teacher from each state is selected annually to receive this award. I received the 1992 award for Alabama.
In accordance with my independent study plan, I read many books on the southeastern tribes. Fortunately, Birmingham Public Library has a representative collection of books on Native Americans. The majority are not in circulation, so I spent many hours in the reference room. Although not all the titles I requested were available locally, most could be secured through interlibrary loan or purchased in paperback.
The more I read, the more I wanted to share my knowledge with other teachers interested in teaching Native American history. The following selected bibliography for teachers resulted. Recognizing the depth and breadth of teaching about Native Americans, and teachers' lack of time for extensive reading, I selected only books by the most outstanding authors. When discussing all North American tribes, I use the term Native American, otherwise I refer to them by tribal name or regional identification, e.g., southeastern Indians. Books that are more fully annotated than others reflect personal preference, others are suggested for additional research. I hope you find the product of my year's research and writing useful.
Titles are listed alphabetically by time period and by tribe. Titles that include all tribes, past and present, are listed as general sources. Time periods are Precontact, Colonial and Early Republic, and the Removal Era to the Present. Tribes include Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole. I have indicated student reading level as follows: HS = high school; MS = middle school. I have included a separate list of books for elementary school students.
For teachers who need a place to begin, see The Native Americans: The Indigenous People of North America edited by Colin F. Taylor and William C. Sturtevant, Curator of North American Ethnology for the Smithsonian Institution (1991). Written for a general audience, the book covers all the major regions of the United States, and is an extremely helpful source. Drawings and colorful pictures of artifacts allow students to see what Native dress and implements looked like. The Indians of North America Series, published by Chelsea House, also provides fifty tribal histories, including southeastern tribes, of about one hundred pages each. Students in grades 5 through 12 will enjoy these well-written, attractively illustrated, recently published books. Younger students are not so lucky-we need more up-to-date books for elementary grades than are now available. For those who wish to pursue an individual topic, the Newberry Library Center for the History of American Indian Bibliographical Series has published a bibliography for each southeastern tribe (except the Chickasaws) written by a scholar of that tribe's history. Each bibliography includes a discussion of sources and a reading list. An annotated bibliography of the Chickasaw is included in the Native American Bibliography Series but sources are not evaluated. Overall, more has been written about Cherokees than any other tribe, the least has been written about Chickasaws. Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles have received about equal treatment.
The works of Grant Foreman and Angie Debo, the most prolific writers of Indian history, are published by the University of Oklahoma Press as part of the Civilization of the American Indian Series. Beginning in the 1930s, Foreman and Debo wrote both general histories and histories of specific tribes because, as Debo stated (1970, vii), "Indian History...never gets into the books on general history."
Both Foreman and Debo tell stories with such attention to detail and documented facts that embellishment would be superfluous. Outstanding analysis and synthesis, based on extensive research into government documents, correspondence, other primary sources, and reliable secondary sources, provide an in-depth understanding of the political problems, policies, and events that have beset Native Americans since their first contacts with Europeans.
Foreman, who went to Indian Territory from Chicago as an attorney for the Dawes Commission 1 just before the turn of the twentieth century, concentrates on southeastern tribes in Indian Removal (1932) and The Five Civilized Tribes (1934).
Debo, whose writing spans a half century, completed A History of the Indians of the United States in 1970 when she was eighty years old. This volume begins with American Indians in their homelands and brings their stories up-to-date. Debo discusses southeastern tribes individually from their first contact with Europeans through their efforts to assimilate, become educated, develop democratic institutions, and protest government policy that resulted in their removal west. Unlike Foreman, who wrote in a matter-of-fact style, Debo's sympathy for Native Americans is obvious. Although more recent materials make their works somewhat outdated, Foreman's and Debo's work continues to be the best source for understanding the politics of Indian-white relations.
Two general sources written for students are The World of Southern Indians by Virginia Pounds Brown and Laurella Owens (1983) and Indians of the Southeast: Then and Now by Jesse Burt and Robert B. Ferguson (1973). Although not as scholarly as the Chelsea series mentioned earlier, both are easy to read and include folklore, oral history, pictures, and glossaries, and list suggested sites to visit.
American Indian Policy
Questions always arise as to why and how the U.S. government got the Indians to give up their land and move west. Francis Paul Prucha and Vine Deloria, Jr., have written extensively on administrative and legislative policy, treaties, and the question of sovereignty. This subject is not for the fainthearted. For those students determined to understand the complex problem of U.S. Indian policy, Prucha and Deloria point the way through a bureaucratic jungle littered with broken treaties. Prucha's American Indian Policy in the Formative Years (1970) describes the evolution of Indian policy from protection of Indian land ownership to removing southeastern Indians west of the Mississippi River. Deloria picks up the torch in Custer Died for Your Sins (1988), a humorous and biting indictment of federal policy, agents, missionaries, anthropologists, and do-gooders in general. Other books by Deloria on Indian policy are Of Utmost Good Faith (1971), Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties (1974), American Indians, American Justice (with Lytle, 1984), and The Nations Within (1984). Prucha compiled primary sources on this issue in Documents of United States Indian Policy (1990).
This volume contains the essential documents which marked significant formulations of policy in the conduct of Indian affairs by the United States government, which (by legislative enactment, administrative decree, or judicial decision) were the vehicles for changes in the course of events, or which indicated fundamental reaction to such policies or actions. Students and teachers have here a convenient reference work, supplying in easily available form the text of the documents they need to know when dealing with the public history of Indian affairs. (xi)
Ronald N. Satz analyzes documents such as the Removal Act and resulting treaties in American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era (1975).
Also useful is a recent publication by Frederick E. Hoxie, Director of Chicago's Newberry Library of Indian materials. Hoxie edited Indians in American History (1988), a compilation of articles by contemporary writers who address Indian policy from Columbus to the civil rights movement. Students will find answers to many of their questions on federal policy in American Indians Today: Issues and Conflicts (1987) by Judith Harlan. This book focuses on the human side of Indian life and the conflicts that arise between traditional and non-Indian cultures, politically, economically, and socially.
Lack of knowledge of Native American history and culture leads to continuing misconceptions by the general public resulting in ridicule, discrimination, and stereotyping. Why do students think all Native Americans should look like television Indians? Why do they think they are all alike? That they wear feathers and live in teepees? That they all belong to the past? Why do Native Americans strive for identification and continuity against all odds? Why do they try to maintain some semblance of their culture? Questions such as these emphasize the importance of making basic historical information available to students at the earliest possible age in order to promote understanding and change common misperceptions about Native Americans.
Almost all compilers of Native American bibliographies recommend two standard reference works (overviews of southern Indian culture) as essential for the beginning student and advanced scholar alike. Charles Hudson's Southeastern Indians (1976) provides an excellent overview of Indian culture, society, prehistory, and history, and is the logical starting place for someone just undertaking the study of Indian culture in the Southeast. Teachers will find Hudson's up-to-date references easy to read and use. Second, John R. Swanton's The Indians of the Southeastern United States (1946) offers specific comprehensive cultural information on each tribe that lived in the Southeast.
Other suggestions for this period include reference works and primary sources. Prehistoric Indians of the Southeast by John A. Walthall (1980), which takes the reader through the prehistory of the region, spans a period of some eleven thousand years-from 9000 b.c. (the earliest documented appearance of human beings in the area) to a.d. 1750 (when the early European settlements were well established). This prehistoric cultural sequence is divided into five developmental stages based on early and ongoing archeological studies: Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Gulf Formational, Woodland, and Mississippian. Sketches, photographs, and drawings of tools, projectile points, pottery, designs, stone effigies, motifs, and other interesting prehistoric objects can be found in Sun Circles and Human Hands by Emma Lila Fundaburk and Mary D. F. Foreman (1957). This book of pictures, with descriptions by colonial writers, carefully depicts the art, artisanship, and life of four major southeastern culture periods-the Paleo, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian. Younger students will find Southern Indian Myths and Legends by Virginia Pounds Brown and Laurella Owens (1985) delightful. For primary sources, see William Bartram's Travels in Georgia and Florida, 1773-1774 (1791) and James Adair's The History of the American Indians (1930). Even though Adair thought Indians were the descendants of the lost tribe of Israel, his book is the fundamental source on Indian trade and culture. Bartram, who traveled extensively throughout the southern colonies from the 1770s through the 1790s, provides the best contemporary reflection of the Revolutionary frontier and its influence upon all peoples of the region.
Colonial Era and Early Republic
Recommended books for the Colonial era include Verner W. Crane's The Southern Frontier, 1670-1732 (1981), Robert Spencer Cotterill's The Southern Indians (1954), and J. Leitch Wright, Jr.'s The Only Land They Knew (1981). Crane's account of the European struggle for control of North America, written in 1929 and reprinted in 1981, continues to be the best treatment from a white perspective. Cotterill, writing a general overview in the 1950s, frequently cites Crane. Number 38 in the Civilization of American Indian Series, The Southern Indians is somewhat dated, but is still a good general survey, especially for the post-Revolutionary War period. Cotterill wrote his book, which has been through numerous printings, for students to use as a textbook in his class on southern history. Wright's book, written thirty years later, is outstanding in that it clearly describes the influence Europeans had on Indian culture from first contact: contagious diseases resulting in population losses, change from a subsistence economy to commercial hunting brought on by desire for manufactured trade goods, enslavement and control of Native Americans, wars pitting one tribe against another, and the ways white traders and African slaves affected kinship and clan systems. Wright compares England's Anglican missionaries' efforts to abolish pagan religious practices with Spanish Catholic missionary influence. Wright's book ends with the close of the Colonial period. If you can purchase only one book on this era, buy Wright's; it is available in paperback.
Powhatan's Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast (Wood, Waselkov, and Thomas 1989), a new anthology, is a good reference for information on geography, population, politics, economics, symbols, and society. This volume contains twelve original essays highlighting new approaches and current work by some of the foremost scholars in the field.
Florette Henri's The Southern Indians and Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1816 (1986) begins after the American Revolution with the U.S. Indian policy of sending agents to negotiate trade agreements. More than a biography of Benjamin Hawkins, it recounts the factors that led to civil conflict among the Creeks-conflict that inevitably involved all southeastern tribes. This story is told in vivid detail in The Creek War of 1813 and 1814 by Halbert and Ball (1969), who interviewed survivors of that war. They discuss the forces leading to this war, which began as a civil war between factions in the Creek Confederacy. A detailed description of battles and participants is presented. Another version of this conflict is presented by contemporary author Joel W. Martin in Sacred Revolt (1991).
Removal Era to the Present
In Indian Removal (1932), Foreman portrays the events and treaties leading up to, and the details of, the forced migration of the five tribes from their established homes in the southeastern states to the western Indian Territory. Desire for land by white farmers, speculators, and political leaders of state governments led to the removal of the Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, Cherokees, and finally Seminoles, in spite of their efforts to keep their tribal domains. This book, a massive indictment of mismanagement of U.S. trust, provides the best basic study of the 1830s, when southeastern Indians were deprived of their land and heritage and taken to Oklahoma.
In The Five Civilized Tribes (1934), Foreman picks up the Indians' story after they have been resettled west and focuses on the political and social changes in their new nations. One of their first goals, especially among the Choctaws and Cherokees, was to reestablish their schools. They maintained several academies with educational facilities superior to those for European Americans in nearby states. Foreman concludes this book with the remark that these Indians, after their separation from the southeastern states, "organized their governments...and pursued a course that earned for them the name of The Five Civilized Tribes" (Foreman 1934, 426). Foreman played an outstanding role in both the location and analysis of primary documents on southeastern tribes and furnished a solid foundation for later writers.
For a lesson in land fraud and government duplicity, see Mary Elizabeth Young's Redskins, Ruffleshirts, and Rednecks: Indian Allotments in Alabama and Mississippi, 1830-1860 (1961). Debo, in And Still the Waters Run (1972), describes the experience of Southeastern Indians in Oklahoma after the disruption of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Debo's analysis, beginning in the 1890s, condemns U.S. negligence in the supervision of its trust. Oklahoma statehood came as a crushing blow to the tribes of Indian Territory because they were again dispossessed of their land. Despite prolonged negotiations, they realized economic and social absorption into the new state at a terrible cost in human suffering.
Not all southeastern Indians were removed. Small groups escaped. Extended families joined other tribes, some moved into heavily populated areas and blended with the population, and others moved onto plantations where they were allowed to live as long as they worked for the owners in a state of debt peonage. A few hid in caves and swamps (marginal land) and survived by eating roots and the sap from pine trees.
Southeastern Indians: Since the Removal Era, an anthology edited by Walter L. Williams (1979), offers insight into problems-namely poverty, discrimination, and isolation-encountered by remnant groups of Indians who continue to live in the South. Today, remnant groups throughout the South (and the nation) have organized and become vocal; many are actively seeking recognition or redress of grievances by state and federal governments.
Choctaws lived in what is now Mississippi and southwest Alabama. Early writers describe them as a settled agricultural people, one of the several Muskogean-speaking groups in the Southeast. They were among the earliest to experience European contact when de Soto made his way through the region. Although this early contact with Europeans, and later Americans, brought cultural change, the Choctaws have maintained a distinctive tribal identity to the present day. Jesse O. McKee and Jon A. Schlenker address adaptation and change in The Choctaws: Cultural Evolution of a Native American Tribe (1980), a book organized by logical time periods beginning with the arrival of the Choctaws' ancestors in what is today east-central Mississippi. This ethnographic approach includes interpretations of Choctaw culture set in the framework of their history. In The Roots of Dependency (1983), Richard White presents a provocative analysis of the decline of Choctaw self-sufficiency as whites attempted to bring Indian resources, land, and labor into a market economy. He compares their experiences with that of the Pawnees and Navajos. A summary of oral history that may be considered an essential white interpretation of Choctaw perceptions of their history during the removal period, Horatio B. Cushman's History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians (1899) contains information not found anywhere else.
Arthur H. DeRosier, Jr., in The Removal of the Choctaw Indians (1970), examines the complexities of the first Indian nation removal to the west under the treaties approved in 1820 and 1830. DeRosier emphasizes the crucial roles Thomas Jefferson, John C. Calhoun, and Andrew Jackson played in the development and administration of removal policy. Jefferson first suggested removal, which was centered not on policy or ethics but on strategy and timing, after the purchase of Louisiana. The essential plan was to get the Indians into debt at the government agencies and then have them cede their lands to pay the debt. DeRosier's book is recommended to all who wish to understand the conflict of national, regional, and personal interests that led to the ultimate national goal of ridding the southeast of the "Indian problem."
In The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic (1934), Angie Debo records the life of the Choctaws from precontact to European contact to removal to resettlement. She puts into perspective the diplomatic relationship of the Choctaws and Colonial European governments, and the complex diplomatic history of Choctaw-U.S. relations, better than any author to date. She devotes the major portion of this book to the history of the Choctaw Nation after the Civil War, skillfully incorporating primary sources and oral interviews into a story closely interwoven with the large fabric of American history, especially the history of Oklahoma.
Other books teachers will find useful for quick reference are The Choctaw before Removal, a compilation of chapters by several authors edited by Carolyn Keller Reeves (1985), and its companion After Removal: The Choctaw in Mississippi edited by Samuel J. Wells and Roseanna Tubby (1986).
Two biographies, Chief Pushmataha, American Patriot by Anna Lewis (1959) and Peter Pitchlynn: Chief of the Choctaws by W. David Baird (1972), focus on two of the most influential Choctaw leaders. Chief Pushmataha, a full-blood, fought on the U.S. side against the Creeks during the War of 1812. His story and the story of the Choctaw-U.S. relationship is one of friendship and accommodation. Peter Pitchlynn's story, however, is much different. Pitchlynn was a mixed-blood opportunist who used his position, education, and power for personal gain at the expense of his people. The United States had been authorized by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek to defray removal expenses by selling Choctaw lands in Mississippi and Alabama. The United States realized a profit of some $3 million after removal costs were deducted, and attempts by the Choctaws to recover this money became known as the "net proceeds claim." Pitchlynn spent most of his adult life trying to recover these unpaid claims. Through Pitchlynn's shady dealings, much can be learned about negotiations with the federal government, political intrigue, and corruption.
Chickasaws are frequently included in accounts of Choctaws because their origin myths say they were together in the beginning, because intermarriage between Choctaws and Chickasaws was frequent, and because their customs and language are similar. In addition, the Chickasaw were relocated in the West on Choctaw land. Arrell M. Gibson's The Chickasaws (1971) is the only major book focusing on this tribe and is especially useful as an interpretation of Chickasaw-Choctaw relationships during the eighteenth century. General histories mentioned earlier also include information on the Chickasaw. During the Colonial era, the Chickasaws supported the English. Chickasaw leaders belonged to a large family of mixed-bloods started by James Colbert who had three Chickasaw wives. When the Chickasaws signed the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek in 1832, they ceded all of their lands to the United States to be sold as public lands with the proceeds to be held by the government for the Chickasaws. Their removal went smoothly compared to other relocation efforts. They were fewer in number and were better outfitted and organized than any of the other tribes, thanks to their leaders who insisted that government agents, and not local contractors who bid for this privilege, remove them. The only other full-length book on the Chickasaws is The Chickasaw People by W. David Baird (1974). Part of the Indian Tribal Series, it provides a somewhat dated overview.
The Cherokees, an Iroquoian-speaking people, migrated into the southeastern region from the North. They lived mostly in North Carolina, northern Georgia, Tennessee, and northeastern Alabama along the Tennessee River. Early contact with Europeans and trade agreements caused them to change from their traditional subsistence economy to a market economy. Of all the southeastern Indians, early references to the Cherokee describe them as the most "civilized." By the time of their relocation, many were educated, a few were wealthy, and some fought a determined legal battle against removal. Their fate was determined, however, when gold was discovered in Georgia. The Trail of Tears is more closely associated with Cherokee removal than with any other southern tribe.
One of the most widely recommended general histories, The Cherokees by Grace Steele Woodward (1963), traces change over time from first European contact through Oklahoma statehood in 1907, with brief comments on contemporary Cherokees. Although not as scholarly as others, Cherokee Sunset: A Nation Betrayed by Samuel Carter III (1976) is a lively, journalistic account that teachers and older students will find enjoyable. Missionaries brought education and religion to the Cherokees thus initiating major cultural change. Mixed-bloods especially, realizing the importance of education to compete in the white man's world, took advantage of the opportunities the missionaries offered. Carter is nonjudgmental in his treatment of the factionalism that developed between Cherokee leaders John Ross and John Ridge. In Cherokee Tragedy (1970), Thurman Wilkins tells the story of the Ridge family as major players in Cherokee removal. Theda Perdue examines the issue of slavery as a catalyst for change in Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society, 1540-1866 (1979). John R. Finger, in The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900 (1984), tells how the Cherokees in North Carolina managed to avoid removal west. Peter Collier focuses on injustices suffered by Cherokees both past and present and how they have adapted to change in When Shall They Rest?: The Cherokees' Long Struggle with America (1973). For the most recent study of Cherokees, see Cherokee Removal: Before and After, edited by William L. Anderson (1991). Contributors to this anthology include several historians, a geographer, a sociologist, and a lawyer. It is a valuable addition to the extensive literature on Cherokees.
The Creek, or Muskcogee, Nation was a confederacy-an alliance of separate and independent tribes that gradually became, over a long period, a single political organization. The words Creek and Muskcogee did not come into use until the eighteenth century. The composition of the confederacy was constantly changing as tribes joined or left it.
Teachers and students alike should begin their study of Creek history with Angie Debo's The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians (1941), which has stood the test of time and is the only extended Creek tribal history. Debo, using extensive primary sources, begins with the arrival of de Soto and continues through land allotment in Oklahoma in the early twentieth century. David H. Corkran's The Creek Frontier, 1540-1783 (1967) is the most complete discussion of Creek history in the Colonial era. The Creeks shared common borders with the three European powers and sought to maintain balance during their struggle for power. Mixed-blood leaders were influential as negotiators, the most famous of which is Alexander McGillivray, whose correspondence can be found in John Walton Caughey's McGillivray of the Creeks (1938). Caughey describes McGillivray as a diplomat in negotiating with the Spanish for Creek trade alliances through the British trading house of Panton, Leslie and Company, while reacting to U.S. pressure.
The story of other mixed-blood Creek leaders is told by Benjamin W. Griffith, Jr., in McIntosh and Weatherford, Creek Indian Leaders (1988), beginning with their early childhoods, through their lives at the time of the Creek War, and ending with McIntosh's murder. Halbert and Ball, mentioned earlier, present a detailed account of Creek conflict in The Creek War of 1813 and 1814 (1969). Descendants of the survivors of this war are members of the contemporary Poarch Band of Creeks at Atmore. The Politics of Indian Removal by Michael D. Green (1982) is the best account of the Creeks after 1815 and prior to their relocation. He explains the reasons for the Creek Confederacy, political connections, and factionalism, while emphasizing the importance of the national council in holding the confederacy together. Green is generally considered the premier historian of the Creeks during this era.
Seminoles are remnants of small Creek or Muskcogee tribes from Florida, Alabama, and Georgia. During the Colonial era, and after the American Revolution, many Creeks escaped to Florida and joined with other Creek Indians to became Seminoles. The word seminole means separatist or runaway. During their relocation, some Seminoles were forced to move west, but they were never completely removed from Florida. Not until the 1890s did writers begin to produce book-length works focusing on the Seminole Indians in Florida. Seminole history is included in general sources, especially with the Creeks, but in recent years the best of the writers on the Creek tribe have not regarded the two as one. Edwin C. McReynolds begins his comprehensive account The Seminoles (1957) with Spanish contact with the various groups of Florida Indians and continues with an explanation of the composition of Seminoles, which included remnant Indians from Creek wars and runaway slaves. Major conflict arose over the issue of returning runaway slaves and the place of free blacks, who were an integral part of Seminole society. McReynolds fits Seminole history into the scope of U.S. history of wars, treaties, removal, and resettlement west through land allotment at the turn of the twentieth century. Charles H. Fairbanks's The Florida Seminole People (1973), in the Indian Tribal Series, is highly recommended for students. Like Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in North Peninsular Florida by Brent Richards Weisman (1989) is a combination of archeological reports supported by historical documents. This illustrated reference is useful for students interested in the famous Seminole leader, Osceola. Weisman describes the site of Osceola's camp and analyzes material culture (archeological findings). Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People (1986) by J. Leitch Wright, Jr., is a sweeping and impressionistic work that narrates the result of Indian-white relations from first contact to relocation. Wright explains the transition from being known as Creek or Muskcogee to being known as Seminole. Wright emphasizes the role Seminoles played as a buffer between competing European powers along the Gulf coast and their involvement with runaway slaves and free blacks, which ultimately led to heightened tensions with the United States and finally to their relocation west.
Allen, Paula Gunn, ed. "Introduction." Spider Woman's Granddaughter: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women. New York: Fawcett Columbine, 1989.Debo, Angie. A History of the Indians of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.Ferrell, Robert H., and Richard Natkiel. Atlas of American History. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1987.Grant, C. L., ed. 2 vols. Letters, Journals, and Writings of Benjamin Hawkins. Savannah, Ga.:& Beehive Press, 1980.Hamilton, Virginia Van der Veer. The Story of Alabama. Montgomery, Ala.: Viewpoint Publications, 1980.Hudson, Charles. The Southeastern Indians. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976.Maxwell, James A., ed. America's Fascinating Indian Heritage. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader's Digest Association, 1978.Prucha, Francis Paul, ed. Documents of United States Indian Policy. 2d ed. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990.Prucha, Francis Paul. "Historical Perspective on American Indian Affairs." History Matters! 4, no. 2 (October 1991): 1.Waldman, Carl. Atlas of the North American Indian. New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985.Note
1The Dawes Commission was organized to liquidate tribal control and allot communally held tribal lands to individuals.Jacqueline A. Matte is a social studies teacher at Mountain Brook Junior High School in Birmingham, Alabama.
Brown, Virginia Pounds, and Laurella Owens. The World of Southern Indians. Birmingham, Ala.: Beechwood Books, 1983. (MS)
Students will find this well-organized reference filled with vital information on Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles beginning with European contact and ending with how Indians in the South today are reestablishing their heritage. Illustrations, photographs, maps, a time line, and a state-by-state guide for places to visit are helpful in understanding the South's first peoples.
Debo, Angie. A History of the Indians of the United States. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970. (HS)
This author of a dozen books devoted to Native Americans clearly emerges as the leading Indian historian with this survey of U.S. Indians. The first nine chapters isolate and analyze people, policies, events, and problems of southern Indians from discovery through the Civil War. In the last two chapters, federal policy is discussed in relation to political action of various tribes including the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma.
Hudson, Charles M. The Southeastern Indians. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1976. (HS)
Hudson's ethnohistorical perspective, from prehistory to the present-based on archeological, anthropological, and ethnographic data-makes this the best available overview of southeastern Indians. His last chapter, "A Conquered People," reviews effects of contact and conflict between cultures, dispossession of land, and the Indians' removal from the South. Hudson also describes contemporary Indian groups that live in the South, descendants of remnant groups who managed to elude removal. Both teachers and students will find this an excellent source for understanding the culture of southeastern Indians.
Lewis, Thomas M. N., and Madeline Kneberg. Tribes that Slumber: Indians of the Tennessee Region. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1958. (HS)
Written primarily for students, this study dates to the 1930s when Lewis was hired to conduct an archeological project to study the remains of early humans in the Tennessee River Valley before it was flooded by the Tennessee Valley Authority lakes. The authors discuss the material evidence of early cultures, from the nomadic hunters of the Ice Age to the Cherokee, whose descendants still live on Qualla Reservation in North Carolina. It is well illustrated with drawings, pictures of artifacts, and maps.
Walthall, John A. Prehistoric Indians of the Southeast: Archaeology of Alabama and the Middle South. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1980. (HS)
Walthall presents a well-written study of four decades of archeological research in Alabama and the Middle South that reveals a prehistoric culture spanning some ten thousand years. Based upon a wealth of artifacts, archeologists and anthropologists have scientifically divided this prehistoric cultural sequence into five developmental stages: Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Gulf Formational, Woodland, and Mississippian. Research continues, but sufficient data allows Walthall to synthesize what is known with what can be inferred. Pictures of artifacts and maps of locations and excavation sites richly illustrate each time period. A full glossary and bibliography are included in this reference.
Colonial and Early Republic
Adair, James. The History of the American Indians: Particularly Those Adjoining to the Mississippi, East and West Florida, Georgia, South and North Carolina, and Virginia. London: E. D. Dilly. Reprint. Johnson City, Tenn.: Watauga Press, 1930. (HS)
First published in 1775, Adair's history is generally regarded as a reliable authority on southeastern Indians in spite of his theory that they are descendants of the lost tribe of Israel. Adair, who traded and lived among the Indians for more than thirty years, recorded his observations of their social organization, language, appearance, religion, population, medicine, war, marriage, and politics. Detailed descriptions of their culture and his view on the effect of trade with Europeans and resulting changes make this a valuable source for the study of eighteenth-century history.
Bartram, William. Travels in Georgia and Florida, 1773-1774. Philadelphia: James and Johnson, 1791; New York:Dover Publications, 1955. (HS)
Bartram, a naturalist who traveled throughout the southern colonies from the 1770s through the 1790s, wrote his view of the frontier and the effect of the American Revolution on southern Indians. Some critics say that, as a critic of European culture, he romanticized Indians as natural creatures uncorrupted by the vices of civilization. Details of customs, religion, agriculture, plants, animals, and land are described with a view toward English settlement and commerce. Several states have marked Bartram's trail through the Southeast.
Brown, Virginia Pounds, and Laurella Owens, comps. and eds. Southern Indian Myths and Legends. Birmingham, Ala.: Beechwood Books, 1985. (MS)
The authors collected fascinating how-and-why stories that southern Indians told children to explain their world, their origins, beliefs, animals, creatures, and spirits. Explanatory notes and an introduction provide information on tribes and the origins of tales. Delightful illustrations, a bibliography, and an index further enhance this book for young people.
Cotterill, Robert Spencer. The Southern Indians: The Story of the Civilized Tribes before Removal. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954. (HS)
Cotterill's overview begins with background of southern Indian tribal migrations, historical connections, and cultural evolvement before European contact. Major characters and events of the Colonial era, the American Revolution, the Creek War, and the removal are written, as much as possible, from a Native perspective. Chapters on three influential personalities during this period of history-Alexander McGillivray, William Augustus Bowles, and Tecumseh-provide insight into diplomatic relations between the various powers-Indian, European, and American-that sought to maintain control in the Southeast. Cotterill's excellent account of political maneuvering and conflict is a lively and well-written secondary source.
Crane, Verner W. The Southern Frontier: 1670-1732. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1929. Reprint. New York: W. W. Norton, 1981. (HS)
Crane's The Southern Frontier, one of the most often-cited studies of European expansion, politics, and economics, is the best source for study of the early Colonial period. It is especially useful in interpreting the increasing factionalism within and among Native tribes as European rivalry for trade alliances intensified.
Funderburk, Emma Lila, and Mary D. F. Foreman. Sun Circles and Human Hands. Luverne, Ala.: Emma Lila Funderburk, 1957. (HS)
This picture book of drawings, sketches, and photographs of artifacts from the four major southeastern culture periods, with descriptions by Colonial writers, depicts the life of prehistoric people. Although the text is semitechnical, students and teachers alike will find it intriguing.
Henri, Florette. The Southern Indians and Benjamin Hawkins, 1796-1816. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986. (HS)
Benjamin Hawkins was the U.S. agent to Indian tribes for twenty years during the formative years of Indian-white relations. Frontier intrigue as depicted through the actions of unscrupulous government officials, state leaders, land grabbers, and mixed-blood Indian leaders is more easily understood in this era of Aaron Burr, James Wilkinson, William Augustus Bowles, William Blount, the Pinckney Treaty, Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, and Jackson's march to the White House over bodies of Red Stick warriors killed in the Creek War, part of the War of 1812. Official policy held that land could be acquired from American Indians only with their consent, by treaties, or by a just war; reality proved quite different when millions of acres were seized by fraud, bribery, and almost total annihilation of a people. Overall, Henri presents a detailed account of a turbulent period in U.S. history skillfully using Benjamin Hawkins, "Sketchbook and Journals" (Grant 1980). Correspondence and government documents lend flavor and authentic detail to the lives of people on the frontier.
O'Donnell, James J., III. The Southern Indians in the American Revolution. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1973. (HS)
When the American Revolution began, the British approached southern tribes for allegiance and the Americans approached them for neutrality. The Colonial rebellion was said to be a war between brothers, but American Indians were inevitably caught up in this struggle for control. They had long been allies of European nations, changing sides according to quality and quantity of gifts (except the Chickasaws who remained loyal to the British). They knew that whatever the outcome, their trade and land would be affected. This extremely detailed and focused examination of the Revolutionary period, which marked the end of British-Indian alliances and the beginning of U.S. policy, is told from the viewpoint of white agents negotiating with Native tribes. American Indians, by choosing the losing side, ultimately lost out as U.S. policy was implemented.
_____. Southeastern Frontiers-Europeans, Africans, and American Indians, 1513-1840: A Critical Bibliography. The Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian Bibliographical Series. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982. (HS)
Swanton, John R. The Indians of the Southeastern United States. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 137. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946. (HS)
Swanton is one of the foremost authorities on the early history of southeastern Indians. In minute detail, he tells the story of Native tribes derived from the writings and maps of early European explorers. Vivid descriptions of the people, physical and mental characteristics, language, geographic location, population, raw materials used, food, horticulture, hunting, fishing, domestication of animals, tobacco, housing, clothing, ornamentation, pottery, household utensils, implements, transportation, musical instruments, and societal and ceremonial life make this important work a valuable reference.
Usner, Daniel H. Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower Mississippi Valley before 1783. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992. (HS)
Usner brings a fresh approach to the history of the American South. He examines the evolution and composition of a regional economy that connected Indian villagers across the Lower Mississippi Valley with European settlers and African slaves along the Gulf Coast and southern banks of the Mississippi. His analysis illuminates the diverse and dynamic participation between Indians, settlers, and slaves in economic interaction that he terms frontier exchange. Frontier exchange describes intercultural relations that evolved within a geographical area and emphasizes the initiatives taken by the various participants. Indians, settlers, and slaves had separate stakes in how the Colonial region evolved. In pursuit of their respective goals, they found considerable common ground upon which to adapt.
Traditionally, historians' obsession with the antebellum period known as the Old South has chronologically overshadowed the Colonial Gulf Coast South. Colonial American historians, writing from an eastern point of view, have generally ignored this region in the development of the United States. In recent years, however, historians have begun to write about older and newer Souths in which class and race relations take on new images. New writers, in particular, are disclosing how different life was for the settlers and slaves who lived in southern North America, along with American Indians, before it was transformed by antebellum racism and sectionalism. American Indians and African Americans are finally receiving scholarly attention commensurate with their presence and influence in Colonial America, and historians are correcting the tendency to read nineteenth-century race relations and racism into earlier periods.
Wood, Peter H., Gregory A. Waselkov, and M. Thomas Hatley, eds. Powhatan's Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989. (HS)
This anthology, part of the Indians of the Southeast Series, contains twelve original essays highlighting new approaches to rewriting the history of southeastern Indians. For generations, authors reflected the concept that Europeans equated many aspects of Native cultures with their own and found them lacking. The development of a new approach has come about only recently. This approach, called ethnohistory, combines techniques from history and anthropology to study change over time in societies that did not write their own histories. Written by some of the foremost scholars in the field, these essays represent an effort to analyze Indian societies on their own terms. Topics range from an individual to a village to the region as a whole, analyzed within the framework of geography, population, politics, economics, symbols, and society. This much-needed volume expands earlier knowledge and synthesizes current research on Indians in the Southeast.
Wright, J. Leitch, Jr. The Only Land They Knew: The Tragic Story of the American Indians in the Old South. New York: Free Press, 1981. (HS)
Wright's subtitle sets the tone for his account of the effects of European contact on southern Indians. Changes that support this subtitle include Native population loss because of exposure to infectious diseases, adaptation and dependency on European manufactured products and superior technology, change from subsistence economy to commercial hunting, enslavement of Indians, wars pitting one tribe against another, and the effects of European-American traders and African slaves on kinship and clan systems. Wright compares the influence of Spanish Catholic missionaries with that of England's Anglican missionaries in their effort to abolish "pagan" religious practices. Although the book focuses primarily on changes in Native culture, Wright also discusses the way Indian cultural patterns modified those of the colonists-evidence he uses to describe the emerging "New American."
Removal Era to the Present
Burt, Jesse, and Robert B. Ferguson. Indians of the Southeast: Then and Now. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1973. (MS)
Who were the Native people? How did they live? Where are they now? Burt and Ferguson attempt to answer these questions presumably for the general reader, and especially for students, in an easy-to-read style. They tell of the arrival of Europeans, and changes brought on by disease, manufactured goods, the missionaries, and ultimately loss of land. They also describe southeastern Indian culture including religious beliefs, ceremonies, food, games, music, and dance.
Although Burt and Ferguson describe each tribe in relation to leaders, treaties, removal, statistics, and remnant groups, the most important aspect of this book is the account of almost unknown contemporary Indians in the Southeast. The final chapter, "Places to See and Experience," lists sites, dancing exhibitions, stickball competitions, and artifact collections by state. Numerous pictures and drawings, plus a glossary, aid students' comprehension. An error on page 135 should be noted: Alabama and Mississippi were in Mississippi Territory, not Alabama Territory.
Debo, Angie. And Still the Waters Run: The Betrayal of the Five Civilized Tribes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press Paperbacks, 1972. (HS)
Debo provides a revealing condemnation of U.S. negligence in its supervision of southeastern Indians after they were moved to Oklahoma. Analysis begins with the 1890s and continues through 1940. Oklahoma had been set aside as an Indian Territory and was the focus of Indian policy through most of the nineteenth century. The final liquidation of tribes and reservations reached its zenith with the Dawes Commission and General Allotment Act. Federal policy caused the abolishment of tribal land holdings and traumatic dispersion of the Indians, disregarding the cost in human suffering. Statehood for Oklahoma was a crushing blow to the tribes of Indian Territory. They surrendered only after prolonged negotiations, with the threat of violence and force always in the background. Many of the wrongs American Indians suffered was a result of greed and ruthlessness. Their economic and social absorption into the new state was realized at a terrible cost.
Foreman, Grant. Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932. (HS)
Grant Foreman was an attorney for the Dawes Commission (or General Allotment Act) established in 1893 to transfer tribal lands to individual Indians. He was recognized as one of the foremost historians of Native Americans before his death in 1953. According to Angie Debo, "although studies have been made and will continue to be made of the ramifications of the government policy, this volume will always remain the definitive account of the actual happenings for these tribes....He lets the documents tell the story, rarely revealing his compassion for the victims or his anger at their exploiters, but the cumulative effect is deeply moving" (Foreman 1932, 5-6). The story of each tribe-Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Cherokee-is told separately from their removal treaty to resettlement west. Teachers and students alike will gain new insights into this tragic era of U.S. history.
_____. The Five Civilized Tribes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1934. (HS)
Foreman picks up the story of southeastern tribes between 1834 and 1860. This volume, which should be read after his Indian Removal, provides a valuable history of the reorganization of each of the tribes in Indian Territory after removal. Tribes were in disarray after their long journey west. Cholera, smallpox, pneumonia, and accidents caused severe population loss. Promised supplies were scarce and often food was contaminated, causing further distress. A series of major floods and drought destroyed their crops during the first years of settlement, and western tribes had long claimed this territory. Broken promises and unnecessary hardships caused by government inefficiency left the tribes vulnerable and distrustful of the United States. By the 1840s, however, they had regrouped and were living fairly well until the outbreak of the Civil War, when once again they were nearly destroyed by factionalism, population loss, and starvation.
Williams, Walter L., ed. Southeastern Indians: Since the Removal Era. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1979. (HS)
Most U.S. citizens think of Indians as living in the West; few realize that several thousand live in the Southeast. This anthology brings together an overview of Indian communities still surviving in the southeastern United States. Essays by prominent scholars bring into focus the total cultural framework and the processes of continuity and change through time. The major problem for all southern Indians since the Civil War has been to define their ethnic status as a third group within a biracial society. Their story of ethnic survival is the subject of this collection of essays. It is divided into two sections: "Native Groups that Avoided Removaquot; (Indians of Virginia, North Carolina Lumbees, Louisiana Tunicas, Louisiana Houmas, and South Carolina Catawbas) and "Remnants of the Removed Nations" (Alabama Creeks, Mississippi Choctaws, North Carolina Eastern Cherokees, and Florida Seminoles). Williams also examines patterns in the history of the remaining southern Indians from 1840 through 1875.
Young, Mary Elizabeth. Redskins, Ruffleshirts, and Rednecks: Indian Allotments in Alabama and Mississippi, 1830-1860. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1961. (HS)
The Indian allotment policy of the 1830s offered unique opportunities for speculation of public land. The Choctaw Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek provided for land allotments and reserves to Choctaws. Owners of these claims, most of whom were mixed-bloods, sold them to pay their debts and to finance their new homes in the West. Reserves allowed those who wanted to remain in Mississippi to live on land allotment for five years after which time a patent would be issued and citizenship would be granted, subject to state laws. In theory this should have worked, but sale of public land took place before the claims could be mapped, registered, and confirmed. Thus began a decade of fraud, manipulation of records, conniving agents, and division of spoils with the Indian becoming the ultimate loser. Similar allotment provisions included in the Creek Treaty of 1832 exhibit the ironic contrast between the declared intent and the reality of execution. Guarantees in that treaty against intrusions on tribal lands and against forcible removal led to conflict between federal and state government and to the second Creek War in 1836. This is a comprehensive study of the Chickasaw experience with land fraud, displacement of Indians by the influx of thousands of white settlers, and the machinations of opportunists during the Jacksonian Era.
Baird, W. David. Peter Pitchlynn: Chief of the Choctaws. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972. (HS)
Peter Pitchlynn was the son of a European father and a mixed-blood Choctaw mother. As a mixed-blood, he never gained acceptance into traditional Indian society, but was able to use his position to negotiate between whites and Indians. Identifying with the Indians, he played an important part in Choctaw affairs prior to, during, and after their removal to Oklahoma. He became the principal voice for the education of Choctaw children and represented the tribe's financial interests in Washington. The United States had been authorized by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek to defray removal expenses by selling Choctaw lands in Mississippi and Alabama. The United States realized a profit of some $3 million after removal costs were deducted, and attempts of the Choctaws to recover this money became known as the "net proceeds claim." As elected chief, Pitchlynn spent most of his adult life trying to recover these unpaid claims from the federal government. Pitchlynn succumbed to greed and used his position for personal gain at the expense of his people. Although some writers excuse his shady dealings as a product of the times, he exhibits all the characteristics of earlier mixed-blood opportunists who accepted special favors for signing unauthorized treaties; many were assassinated. His life nevertheless coincided with major changes in the tribal society, geographic location, economic development, and political evolution-for that reason, his story is also the story of the Choctaws.
_____. The Choctaw People. Phoenix, Ariz.: Indian Tribal Series, 1973. (MS)
Part of the Indian Tribal Series, this account is written primarily for students. Baird begins with origin myth, physical appearance, family structure, and social and community organization. He briefly summarizes the Colonial period, moves through U.S. negotiations for land and more land until the final treaty of removal, Dancing Rabbit Creek Treaty. The balance of the book discusses life in Indian Territory from the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Dawes Commission, Oklahoma statehood, and through the 1970s. Mississippi Choctaws are briefly discussed. Students should find this one-hundred-page book easy to read and understand.
Cushman, Horatio B. History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians. Greenville, Tex.: Headlight Printing House, 1899. (HS)
Missionaries were sent to the Choctaws beginning in 1820; many moved west with them in the 1830s. Cushman, the son of one of these missionaries, wrote about this transitional period. His information is based on oral history and provides perceptions of removal from the Choctaw point of view. His European-American Christian point of view, however, is evident in his praise of missionary virtues. He provides details not found in other publications such as the names of "countrymen" and their mixed-blood progeny who lived among the Choctaws and Chickasaws. He helpfully supplies a list of English translations for Choctaw words. Overall, teachers will find this a wonderful reference.
Debo, Angie. The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1934. Reprint. University of Oklahoma Press, 1961. (HS)
Better than any other author, Debo records the life of Choctaws from precontact, through European contact, to removal and resettlement in Indian Territory, putting into perspective the diplomatic relationship of the Choctaws with European governments, and the complex diplomatic history of Choctaw-U.S. relations. This book is devoted to the history of the Choctaw Nation after the Civil War through the dissolution of tribal lands mandated by the Dawes Commission. It ends with Oklahoma's admission to statehood in 1907. By using primary sources and oral histories, the story of the Choctaw, as told by Debo, is an interpretation of the local events in the life of the tribe as seen against the background of general U.S. history.
DeRosier, Arthur H., Jr. The Removal of the Choctaw Indians. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1970. (HS)
The Choctaws were selected as the first tribal population to be removed west under treaties approved by John C. Calhoun in 1820 and Andrew Jackson in 1830. This is a story of one of the largest Indian nations east of the Mississippi who negotiated with European powers from earliest contact. Their diplomatic skills were tested with the federal Indian policies imposed on them, from Washington's administration through Jackson's. Jefferson's advocacy of humanitarian assimilation is revealed as mere rhetoric; he encouraged debt as a means to secure land cessions in lieu of payment. During Monroe's administration, Secretary of War John C. Calhoun harassed Choctaw leaders with his rhetoric of removal, stressing the advantages of moving west. Jackson made removal a fact with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. DeRosier is definitely in the Choctaws' corner as he analyzes treaty negotiations and describes difficulties they encountered during removal. This is another story of government negligence, inefficiency, fraud by contractors, disease, death, and destruction of a people-all in the name of "civilization."
Kidwell, Clara Sue, and Charles Roberts. The Choctaws: A Critical Bibliography. The Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian Bibliographical Series. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980. (HS)
Lewis, Anna. Chief Pushmataha, American Patriot: The Story of the Choctaws' Struggle for Survival. New York: Exposition Press, 1959. (MS)
This easy-to-read biography of Pushmataha is also a history of the Choctaws before removal. Lewis offers insight into the interaction between U.S. officials and Choctaws, the influence of mixed-bloods, the importance of Indian agents, trade agreements, and intrigue. Pushmataha attempted to maintain peace with the Americans, and to encourage his people to accept European-American civilization as much as possible yet remain Choctaw. He and his warriors aided the United States in the War of 1812. Like other leaders, he was subject to flattery and bribery. He signed the Treaty of Doak's Stand agreeing to exchange land in Mississippi for land west of the Mississippi. Lewis notes changes in the political divisions among the Choctaw as more and more treaties to cede land were forced upon them as payment of their debts, thus ensuring removal. Cultural beliefs relative to individual land ownership is explained in relation to the "civilizing" efforts of the federal government and missionaries. Much of the action takes place in Alabama, centered around Mount Vernon (formerly Fort Stoddert), the U.S. military post, and Saint Stephens, site of the trading post or "factory." Pushmataha's district-the Sixtowns-receives attention as to boundaries, attitudes of people toward civilization, subchiefs, and mixed-bloods. Pushmataha's family is also described. Choctaws experienced the political intrigue, deception, and neglect of U.S. officials that became the norm for all Indian tribes of the Southeast.
McKee, Jesse O., and Jon A. Schlenker. The Choctaws: Cultural Evolution of a Native American Tribe. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1980. (HS)
McKee, a cultural geographer, and Schlenker write an interesting account of the land and its people. Organized by logical time periods, it is easy to understand and follow. The authors begin with the arrival of the Choctaws' ancestors into what is today the sand and clay hills area of east-central Mississippi. Accounts of migration legends are offered without judgment as to which one is right or wrong. The authors' ethnographic descriptions of people, life-style, encounters with Europeans, removal, regeneration west, and eventual disintegration of land base make this approach different from other writers who have covered the same topics. The story of the Choctaws who remained in Mississippi is also included. Mississippi Choctaws lived in such isolation and poverty that much of their traditional culture remained intact into the twentieth century. Their regeneration and tribal strength continues today, with the population centered at Philadelphia, Mississippi.
_____. The Choctaw. Title in Indians of North America series, edited by Frank W. Porter III. New York: Chelsea House, 1989. (MS)
Reeves, Carolyn Keller, ed. The Choctaw before Removal. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1985. (MS)
This anthology focuses on three broad aspects of Choctaw life: anthropology, beliefs, and experience with the U.S. government prior to removal. Presented in this order, the first three essays describe unique identifying characteristics, and the way oral tradition, language, and subsistence activities met cultural needs. They also offer a framework for interpreting subsequent events. The next three essays describe education, economics, and politics, and the change incurred by contact with Europeans. The last two chapters address the influence of the territorial period and federal Indian policy, which resulted in the Indians' removal. The appendix offers information on Choctaw treaties. Overall, this combined anthropological-historical approach offers new insight into Choctaw culture before removal.
Wells, Samuel J., and Roseanna Tubby, eds. After Removal: The Choctaw in Mississippi. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1986. (HS)
After Removal helps to complete the picture of the Choctaw who escaped removal. Although more than twenty thousand Choctaws were moved west, several thousand remained in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. Some had received land reserves with government approval, mixed-bloods had merged with the European-American population, and hundreds simply faded into unoccupied areas, mostly marginal lands. Eventually they were forced into public view with the ever-expanding European-American population. Because of their semi-isolation, their language and customs remained relatively intact, until impoverishment brought them into contact with local European-American farmers. Missionaries discovered them in the late nineteenth century, bringing much-needed aid and education. Although a second removal took place under the Dawes Commission, ancestors of today's Mississippi Band of Choctaw refused to leave their homeland. This anthology fills in many gaps in the history of the Choctaws who remained in Mississippi, but stories of other Choctaw groups remain to be told.
Lafferty, R. A. Okla Hannali. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1972. (HS)
This marvelous story, based on historical fact, captures the essence of the Choctaw identity. Okla Hannali is the Choctaw word for the Six Towns, formerly in the southern district east of the Mississippi. A remarkable man of the Six Towns moved his family to Oklahoma when Choctaws began ceding their traditional homeland east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in the West. Lafferty captures the essence of Choctaw life during this transitional period of their history.
Baird, W. David. The Chickasaw People. Phoenix, Ariz.: Indian Tribal Series, 1974. (MS)
Part of the Indian Tribal Series, this overview is particularly useful for students because so few book-length accounts have been written on the Chickasaw. Although the Chickasaw population was relatively small compared to neighboring southern tribes, their reputation as warriors fascinate students. This small volume begins with precontact and brings Chickasaw up-to-date as of publication. Additional information on Chickasaws can be found in general histories of southeastern Indians and in journal articles, but the latter are not easily accessible to secondary students.
Gibson, Arrell M. The Chickasaws. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971. (HS)
The best (at this time, in fact, the only) general account of the Chickasaws. The ancient Chickasaw domain encompassed parts of four states-Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama. Culturally, they were closely aligned with the Choctaws. Their migration legends indicate that they were at one time an integral part of the Choctaw tribe. Their language and customs are similar, but their population was small in comparison-approximately four thousand to the Choctaws estimated twenty thousand at the time of contact. Gibson describes Chickasaw culture prior to European arrival using traditional sources Adair and Swanton (see Colonial and Early Republic section). With the arrival of the Europeans, the Chickasaws, like other southern tribes, were caught up in the international contest for control of the land, its resources, and its peoples. Although the Chickasaws regarded themselves as free and independent of all foreign nations, they usually were loyal to the British. British traders frequently lived with Chickasaw women. Their mixed-blood progeny, who understood the ways of the British, the Spanish, and later the Americans, had far-reaching effects on the tribe's economic, social, and political life. Leadership shifted from full-bloods to mixed-bloods, especially the children of James Logan Colbert and his three wives. This book is also the story of the Colberts, as the federal government, Alabama, and Mississippi, mounted pressure for removal. Problems of their journey west, stress of resettlement, and resulting adaptations necessary for survival as a people parallels that of other southeastern Indians. This account ends with termination of tribal governments at the turn of the twentieth century.
Hale, Duane K., and Arrell M. Gibson. The Chickasaw. Title in Indians of North America series, edited by Frank W. Porter III. New York: Chelsea House, 1991. (MS)
Hoyt, Anne Kelley. Bibliography of the Chickasaw. Native American Bibliography Series 11. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1987. (HS)
Anderson, William L., ed. Cherokee Removal: Before and After. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991. (HS)
This collection of essays by the foremost contemporary writers of Native American history offers scholarly insight on critical issues. The essays are interestingly written and bring the reader up-to-date on current scholarship of Cherokee history. The six essays address thought-provoking topics based on a compilation of earlier research, reevaluation, and analysis of information in view of additional research. Anderson briefly summarizes the major points of Cherokee history in this volume, which commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Trail of Tears, and explains that "the scholarly analyses of the period immediately before and after Cherokee removal represent the first broad interdisciplinary approach in the study of removal. The contributors include several historians, a geographer, a sociologist, and a lawyer; three of the seven contributors are of Cherokee Ancestry" (xiii). Anderson includes a critically selected bibliographical essay useful for further research.
Geographer Douglas C. Wilms, in "Cherokee Land Use in Georgia before Removal," uses statistics, censuses, maps, and charts to show the degree of acculturation acquired by Cherokees before removal. He attributes the genesis of acculturation to agents of change-the fur trader, federal government, and missionaries-and discusses the contributions of each.
Historian Ronald N. Satz, in "Rhetoric versus Reality: The Indian Policy of Andrew Jackson," debates both Jackson's words and actions. Satz reviews the various, and in some instances controversial, approaches of scholars who have written about Jackson's treatment of the Indians. He concludes that the one-view approach is too simple and reminds the reader that "the contrast between the rhetoric and the reality of President Jackson's Indian policy serves as a grim reminder of what can happen to a politically powerless minority in a democratic society" (43). This essay has great potential for student debate.
Historian Theda Perdue, in "The Conflict Within: Cherokees and Removal," discusses the Cherokee political system and class structure-the role of the more acculturated elite mixed-blood and a rising Cherokee middle class. She traces the evolution of the political system and class structure. Perdue's theory questions earlier viewpoints regarding the motives of Cherokees who signed the Treaty of New Echota ceding their remaining lands east of the Mississippi, knowing they were putting their lives in jeopardy.
Russell Thornton, a sociologist and a Cherokee, in "The Demography of the Trail of Tears Period: A New Estimate of Cherokee Population Losses," challenges the traditional view of the number of lives lost on the infamous Trail of Tears. Teachers will find this topic ideal for interdisciplinary research projects, particularly those including mathematics. Cherokee statistics and projections could be compared with those of other southeastern Indians, for example.
Historian John R. Finger, in "The Impact of Removal of the North Carolina Cherokees," discusses the legal basis for those Cherokees who lived in North Carolina to remain in their homeland. He compares the resistance of the Cherokees in North Carolina with those in Georgia, the politics of the states, and influence of leaders, both white and Cherokee.
In "Beyond the Trail of Tears: One Hundred Fifty Years of Cherokee Survival," Rennard Strickland, a lawyer of Cherokee descent, and his brother William discuss the serious effects of removal on the Cherokees who were forced west. The authors conclude that in spite of many changes the Cherokee Nation survives today with traditional values of their ancestors intact because "being an Indian, being a Cherokee, doesn't depend upon how you dress or whether you have an old Ford or a young pony. Being a Cherokee is a way of thinking and a way of knowing" (133).
Carter, Samuel, III. Cherokee Sunset: A Nation Betrayed. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1976. (HS)
Lively style, familiar clichés, and a journalistic approach make reading this easier than some of the more scholarly books. Students will enjoy this balanced account.
Carter briefly describes the Cherokees' early history and outlines the importance of Sequoyah's alphabet and Cherokee Phoenix newspaper. He offers a balanced account of the leaders Ridge and Ross-how their specific views, which eventually led to dividing the Cherokee Nation, evolved. Carter does not place blame or choose sides as some authors do. He describes events, actions of missionaries, Andrew Jackson's motives in the era of expansion, states' rights versus federal control, South Carolina's nullification act, and Georgia state laws regarding treatment of Cherokees. He names characters with well-defined roles and clearly describes both physical and personal characteristics of Cherokee leaders, missionaries, spouses, government agents, and college-educated Cherokee men who married northern white women and brought them back to Georgia to live as Cherokees.
Collier, Peter. When Shall They Rest?: The Cherokees' Long Struggle with America. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973. (HS)
Secondary students will find answers to many of their how-and-why questions in Collier's sympathetic story of the Cherokees from the first New World contact with Europeans through the 1970s, with primary focus on change and continuity. The treatment of the traditional full-bloods is especially poignant. Collier comments on the ebb and flow of "periodic episodes of cultural guilt" which brings the "Indian problem" to public consciousness. He contends that Indians have always become "relevant" whenever the United States is undergoing a moral crisis and the attention American Indians receive is indicative of the amount of poison in the political air at any given time.
Corkran, David H. Cherokee Frontier: Conflict and Survival, 1740-62. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1962. (HS)
From the perspective of Native Americans, Corkran analyzes the conflict between European powers for control of the United States and how it affected the Cherokees. Colonial politics and rivalry for trade alliances in South Carolina and Virginia is the focus of this detailed account. A bibliographical essay analyzes principal sources pertinent to understanding the Indian and white minds and actions.
Finger, John R. The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984. (HS)
The eastern band of Cherokees lived on the Qualla Boundary in North Carolina. How they managed to avoid removal west is generally attributed to Tsali, who escaped to the mountains, defied the government, and was executed when he surrendered. His story, "Unto These Hills," is reenacted year after year at Cherokee, North Carolina. Finger acknowledges that this story has some basis for the band's origin, but adds other documented factors that contribute to its separation from the main body of Cherokees beginning with removal treaties, arrival of missionaries, influence of whites, growing political and economic power of mixed-bloods, North Carolina's fluctuating interest in the Cherokees' presence, and the issue of states' rights versus the federal government. Through all these difficulties, Cherokees struggled both to adapt to "civilization" and to retain their tribal identity as the twentieth century approached.
Fleischmann, Glen. The Cherokee Removal, 1838: An Entire Indian Nation Is Forced Out of Its Homeland. New York: Franklin Watts, 1971. (MS)
This Focus Book is a Junior Literary Guild selection, chosen as an outstanding book for middle school students. It tells the story of the Trail of Tears, the forced removal west of one of the largest tribes in the Southeast. Pictures and maps enhance this well-written, though dated, traditional account of Cherokee removal.
Fogelson, Raymond D. The Cherokees: A Critical Bibliography. The Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indians Bibliographical Series. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978. (HS)
King, Duane H., ed. The Cherokee Indian Nation: A Troubled History. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979. (HS)
An anthology of Cherokee history, this volume offers chapters written by archeologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and historians. Beginning with origins of Cherokee culture, it continues through major changes to the Native American social movement in the 1970s. This well-documented, scholarly collection is a good reference for selected topics.
Perdue, Theda. The Cherokee. Title in Indians of North America series, edited by Frank W. Porter III. New York: Chelsea House, 1989. (HS)
_____. Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society, 1540-1866. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979. (HS)
Perdue writes from an ethnohistorical point of view and debates the issue of reasons for change. She believes that slavery was one of the major catalysts for change. Aboriginal Cherokee bondage is described in relation to clan, kinship system, and place (or nonplace) in Cherokee society. Slavery increased with British demand for Indian slaves to trade. Government policies changed as fear of black-red relations escalated. Also, Cherokee economy changed with the development of plantation slavery, especially in Georgia, prior to removal. Other issues discussed are postremoval chaos, the role of owners and slaves in Cherokee society, differences in treatment of slaves by Cherokees and whites, and Civil War in the Cherokee Nation. The included maps and bibliographical essay critiquing earlier writers and their approach to Indian history will be useful for students interested in slavery as an agent of change in Cherokee culture.
Thornton, Russell. The Cherokees: A Population History. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990. (HS)
The number of Cherokee deaths on the Trail of Tears has traditionally been set at four thousand. Thornton, using a broad range of sources, census data, and statistical comparisons, calculates this population loss at a much higher figure. He also lists other elements-war, disease, genocide, and miscegenation-encountered after European contact that depleted their population. Using projections, he estimates what Cherokee population would have been if left intact.
Wilkins, Thurman. Cherokee Tragedy: The Story of the Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People. New York: Macmillan Co., 1970. (HS)
This books focuses on the Ridge family and its importance in Cherokee history. The Moravian missionaries, the Cherokee alphabet, Elias Boudinot, and the printing press all contributed to the Cherokees' advancement toward "civilization." John Ross, later to become principal chief, is characterized as a protégé of Mr. Ridge. Descriptions of people, land, clothing, and scenes helps students imagine the time period.
Students should find this book interesting, easy to follow, informative, and provocative. It raises questions as to diversity of motive while presenting a clear picture of Cherokee advancement toward "civilization"-the stated goal of U.S. presidents. When the Cherokees reached the West, however, traditional methods of survival surfaced out of necessity because of the loss of accoutrements of civilization destroyed by their removal.
Woodward, Grace Steele. The Cherokees. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963. (HS)
One of the most widely recommended accounts of the Cherokees begins with a short chapter on contemporary Cherokees, both East and West, with the following statement: "The emergence of any primitive Indian tribe or nation from dark savagery into the sunlight of civilization is a significant event" (3). This sets the tone for another story from a white point of view.
Chapter 2, "Savages and Spaniards in 1540," describes early contact with Europeans, largely based on Final Report of the DeSoto Commission (House Executive Document, no. 71) and chapter 3 reflects the English view of Cherokees. Accounts by James Adair and William Bartram are used to describe customs, population, town locations, and their level of "civilization."
Woodward describes tribal wars with colonists, interaction between Cherokee leaders and government leaders from the Colonial period through federalization by the United States, missionary influence, and corrupt Georgia politics that led to removal. Two political factions emerged as removal became eminent. John Ross, elected principal chief, represented the interest of the more conservative Cherokees who wanted to remain in the East; John Ridge and his followers believed that removal was the key to their salvation. Woodward leans toward advocating Ross's position. The importance of Sequoyah's syllabary, the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, Chief Justice John Marshall, missionary Samuel Worcester, and the effects of the Treaty of New Echota are discussed. The Trail of Tears brought the majority of Cherokees to the West with little means of sustenance, causing a rift between the Old Settlers (Cherokees who had arrived a decade earlier) and the eastern newcomers. Eventually, most problems were worked out and a period of relative well-being existed until the U.S. Civil War caused a re-eruption of factionalism as Ross and Ridge parties chose sides. Overall, this thorough, detailed history of the Cherokees traces change over time discussing contact, missionary influence in changing religion, education, government contacts, "civilization," leadership roles of mixed-bloods, development of social classes, acquisition of wealth, removal, the U.S. Civil War, Reconstruction, the Dawes Commission, statehood, and contemporary Cherokees.
Carter, Forrest. The Education of Little Tree. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1976. (MS)
Carter tells the story of a Cherokee orphan who is brought up by his grandparents during the 1930s. The child's grandfather is his companion as he encounters the wonders of their home in eastern Cherokee hill country. All ages will enjoy reading this book. Although advertised as a true story, controversy surrounds the author's true identity. Unsubstantiated newspaper articles report that Forrest Carter is really Asa Carter, the man who wrote the infamous "Segregation Forever" speech for George Wallace, former governor of Alabama.
Robson, Lucia St. Clair. Walk in My Soul. New York: Ballantine Books, 1985. (HS)
Tiana grew up learning the magic, spells, and nature religion of the Cherokee. And in a tribe that revered women, she became the "Beloved Woman." This is her story and the story of her people. It is also the story of Sam Houston, who lived with the Cherokees and later became the "Father of Texas." Their story is an emotional journey through the turbulent and tragic removal period.
Braund, Kathryn E. Holland. Deerskins and Duffels: Creek Indian Trade with Anglo-America, 1685-1815. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1993. (HS)
This book documents the trading relationship that developed between the Creek Indians in what is now the southeastern United States and the Anglo-American peoples who settled there. It is the first book to examine extensively the Creek side of trade, especially the effects of commercial hunting on Indian society. Holland discusses the trade in Indian slaves, a Creek-Anglo cooperation that resulted in the virtual destruction of the native peoples of Florida. Eighteenth-century maps and sketches add to the understanding of Indian and American colonial history.
Caughy, John Walton. McGillivray of the Creeks. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1938. (HS)
Alexander McGillivray was known as the "Emperor of the Creeks". He was the son of a Scotsman, Lachlin McGillivray, and Sehoy Marchand, a mixed-blood Creek woman. Alexander was brought up in the Wind clan of his mother, but was educated in Charleston at his father's insistence. Knowledge of both Indian and white worlds helped him protect the Creek Nation from white aggression during the critical decade following the American Revolution. His diplomatic skills were recognized by European powers as well as American. His life was short but significant in the history of the Creeks.
Caughey searched American and Spanish archives for McGillivray's correspondence which he skillfully weaves into a narrative of international intrigue. He also reveals McGillivray's personality and offers a balanced interpretation of his contributions to his people.
Caughey analyzes and summarizes McGillivray's story in the first fify-seven pages of the book; the remaining three hundred pages are selections from McGillivray's correspondence and related papers-transcribed primary documents. A bibliography and an extensive index are included.
Corkran, David H. The Creek Frontier, 1540-1783. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1967. (HS)
Corkran's history of the Creeks during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is a comprehensive analysis of Creek diplomacy in the Colonial period. Although other writers address the struggle for dominance in the New World as taking place between European powers only, Corkran addresses issues from the Creek perspective. Creeks were not mere pawns in the hands of the Europeans, but played one European power against another or remained neutral. In addition to discussion of European contact, wars, trade, conspiracy, and diplomacy, the first chapter provides a wonderful description of Creek culture including origins, food, dress, appearance, villages, games, customs, and political organization. Part of the Civilization of the American Indian Series, teachers will find this a useful reference.
Debo, Angie. The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941. 4th ed., 1984. (HS)
Debo skillfully tells the story of the Creek people from their aboriginal beginnings to the abolishment of tribal holdings by the Dawes Commission at the turn of the twentieth century. Traditional sources used to describe early Creek life are supplemented with oral histories of Creeks collected by WPA (New Deal Writer's Project). Composition of the confederacy, origin legends, kinship system, importance of clan, political organization, and customs and ceremonial grounds-even the ingredients for the ceremonial "black drink"-are described in vivid detail.
Debo tells candid stories of the agonizing trek westward, problems of settling on a new frontier with less than friendly western tribes, and fraudulent contractors who supplied wormy flour and spoiled meat. Division of philosophy between mixed-bloods and full-bloods led to factionalism-fueled by white special interests-that continued through the Civil War and into the twentieth century.
This book is volume 22 of the Civilization of the American Indian Series. Students can compare the similarities and differences in the customs and experiences of the Creeks with other southeastern Indians.
Green, Donald E. The Creek People. Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1973. (MS)
This history of the Creeks provides an overview and supplements books by earlier authors. Also included is a chapter on twentieth-century Creeks in Oklahoma.
Green, Michael D. The Creeks: A Critical Bibliography. The Newberry Library Center for the History of the American Indian Bibliographical Series. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1979. (HS)
_____. The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.
_____. The Creeks. Title in Indians of North America series, edited by Frank W. Porter III. New York: Chelsea House, 1990.
Michael D. Green is the foremost contemporary authority on Creek history. His detailed description of the origin of the Creek Confederacy, the reason it developed, political connections, and intrigue offers new understanding of this subject with impeccable scholarship. The Creeks resisted both European overtures for political connections and missionary efforts to "civilize" them, instead striving to maintain autonomy through unity in their national council. As with other southeastern tribes, however, factionalism developed as the United States sought more and more land cessions. When the United States negotiated with the Creeks in the 1820s, it hoped they would remove to the Far West. They left Georgia but went no farther than Alabama. Conflict between federal and state governments caused by the influx of several thousand white settlers led to the removal treaty in 1832. Fraudulent land claims, outright swindles, and continued pressure on the Creeks to move, coupled with factionalism between Upper Creeks and Lower Creeks, led to their final resistance, the Creek War of 1836. The U.S. Army quickly put down this uprising and began moving the Creeks west. The army accomplished in a few months what politicians and treaty talks had failed to achieve in more than a decade. Although the Creek National Council disintegrated from outside pressures, the council and its leaders picked up the pieces during the next quarter century and reestablished the political integrity of the Creek Nation.
Griffith, Benjamin W., Jr. McIntosh and Weatherford, Creek Indian Leaders. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1988. (HS)
Griffith's account of the life and times of McIntosh and Weatherford, two mixed-blood Creek leaders, is set in a period of turbulence along the frontier in Alabama and Georgia. The two men fought on opposite sides in the Creek War of 1813-14-McIntosh with the friendly mixed-blood Lower Creeks, Weatherford with the Red Sticks. McIntosh was killed by members of his tribe for ceding Creek land. Weatherford, after surrendering to Andrew Jackson, lived out his life as a planter in Baldwin County, Alabama. Legends abound about the feats of these two men, and a study of Indian-white relations of this era would be incomplete without them.
Halbert, H. S., and T. H. Ball. The Creek War of 1813 and 1814. Chicago: Donohue and Henneberry. Reprinted, with introduction by Frank L. Owsley, Jr. Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1969. (MS, HS)
In vivid detail, Halbert and Ball recount everything they could find about this conflict. The names of participants (their ancestors and children), locations of battles with full descriptions of gory scenes, and comments on accounts of informants and other writers make this a wonderful source. Students will find textbook accounts of the Fort Mims Massacre pale compared to this one. The question of what caused the Creek conflict, whether it was a civil war brought on by factionalism between Lower Creeks and Upper Creeks, is debated. Whatever the cause, the opportunity for frontier whites to get involved was too great to resist. Andrew Jackson, leading the Tennessee Volunteers and joined by militia from Georgia and Mississippi, overwhelmed the Creek Red Sticks. William Weatherford ("Red Eagle") signed the Treaty of Fort Jackson, ceding more than forty thousand square miles of land in Alabama and southern Georgia to the United States.
Holland, James W. Andrew Jackson and the Creek: Victory at the Horseshoe. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1968. (MS)
This fifty-page booklet, published to promote Horseshoe Bend National Military Park, offers a concise story of the events that brought an end to the Creek Nation in the Southeast. Students will enjoy this well-illustrated, lively account.
Martin, Joel W. Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees' Struggle for a New World. Boston: Beacon Press, 1991. (HS)
Martin approaches the history of the Muskcogees (Creeks) from a religious point of view. According to his theory, their "culture of the sacred" determined how they interacted with and reacted to Europeans and, later, Americans. To support his theory, he discusses their spiritual, economic, and social background. He compares their revolt against the Americans in the Creek War with struggles of other Native Americans to retain their traditions. It is an interesting theory that can provide an introduction to the religious beliefs of the Creeks, if the reader can ignore the distracting, but perhaps politically correct, terminology such as "Anglo-American," "African-American," and "Native-American."
Wright, J. Leitch, Jr. Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. (HS)
The names Creek and Seminole were attached to a people, the Muscogulge, for the convenience of European and U.S. governments who wanted to address nations. The Muscogulge lived in Georgia, Alabama, and Florida-geographically close, but not unified under one leader. Although some had ancient common origins, many spoke different languages and often could not understand each other. Wright explains the background of the Muscogulges and describes their culture in language readily understood. He defines words that he believes might be unfamiliar to the general reader. He elaborates on familiar topics such as trade, relations with European powers and the U.S. government, the Creek Wars with Andrew Jackson and his pursuit of the survivors into Florida, and finally removal, dispersement, and survival. This book is an enlightening inside view of the Muscogulges' heroic struggle for survival; it is also an indictment of the U.S. government.
Kelley, Welbourn. Alabama Empire. New York: Bantam Books, 1956. (HS)
The extraordinary story of Alexander McGillivray is told by a young doctor sent to Creek Country by George Washington. This personal account of McGillivray's two wives and families is set in the Alabama frontier after the American Revolution. Spain and England continued to influence southern Indians through trade and bribery and they struggled to maintain a foothold in the New World. Historians nicknamed McGillivray "Talleyrand" because of his diplomacy in negotiating with three world powers as the "Emperor of the Creeks."
Fairbanks, Charles H. The Florida Seminole People. Phoenix: Indian Tribal Series, 1973. (MS)
This ethnohistorical, nontechnical account combines historical and anthropological data. It is well written and is based on Fairbanks's years of research on the origins and cultural transformation of the Seminoles in Florida. Teachers and students alike should find it a useful reference.
Garbarino, Merwyn S. The Seminole. Title in Indians of North America series, edited by Frank W. Porter III. New York: Chelsea House, 1989. (MS)
Kersey, Harry A., Jr. The Seminole and Miccosukee Tribes: A Critical Bibliography. The Newberry Library D'Arcy McNickle Center for the History of the American Indian. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987. (HS)
McReynolds, Edwin C. The Seminoles. Civilization of the American Indian Series. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1957. (HS)
This is the first scholarly book-length history of the Seminoles, the only Indian tribe that never officially made peace with the United States. The origins of the tribe, problems concerning their rights in Florida, military action against them, their forced removal west, their role in the Civil War, and finally their adjustment under the Land Allotment Act are important elements in this tribal history. The experiences of the Seminoles who remained in Florida after the Third Seminole War, however, is ignored, therefore making it incomplete.
Weisman, Brent Richards. Like Beads on a String: A Culture History of the Seminole Indians in North Peninsular Florida. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1989. (HS)
This book fills the gap left by earlier writers who neglected to include anthropological evidence on Seminole cultural origins. Weisman uses archeological data to develop his theory and supports it with historical documentation. This ethnohistorical approach provides an account of the survival of traditional southeastern Indian customs in contemporary Seminole culture and their ability to adapt as circumstances change.
Wright, J. Leitch, Jr. Creeks and Seminoles: The Destruction and Regeneration of the Muscogulge People. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986. (HS)
See Creek section for annotation.
Robson, Lucia St. Clair. Light a Distant Fire. New York: Ballantine Books, 1989. (HS)
This story of Seminole leader Osceola and his people engages the reader from beginning to end as the struggle for survival in the Florida Everglades unfolds. The Seminoles are forced to change their camps frequently and hide their trail as U.S. soldiers hunt them down. The concept of pain takes on new meaning for them as they encounter sawtooth grass and spiky palmetto fronds. Swamps and alligator burrows become their hiding places. Their humor and courage keep them going until the final betrayal. Osceola is indeed a hero in this sordid episode of U.S. history.
Bealer, Alex W. Only the Names Remain: The Cherokees and the Trail of Tears. Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1972.
Written for grades 3 through 5, this story of the Cherokee before Europeans came to the New World is historically accurate. It is nicely illustrated and indexed.
Bleeker, Sonia. The Cherokees: Indians of the Mountains. New York: William Morrow and Co., 1952.
Students in grades 3 through 5 will enjoy learning about the Cherokees' appearance, customs, ball games, children's work, Sequoya, and the Trail of Tears. Illustrated and indexed.
Brown, Virginia Pounds. The Gold Disc of Coosa. Huntsville, Ala.: Strode Publishers, 1975.
This story is based on historical fact and captures the dramatic events of de Soto's journey through the eyes of a 16-year-old boy. It is illustrated and offers suggestions for further reading. Suitable for students in grades 4 through 8.
Clark, Electa. Cherokee Chief: The Life of John Ross. New York: MacMillan Co., 1970.
This biography recounts John Ross's encounters with the Red Sticks in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. Other historic events discussed include discovery of gold in Georgia, land lottery, the removal treaty, the Trail of Tears, and the Civil War. Sketches, bibliography, and index are included in this book for students in grades 3 through 6.
Israel, Marion Louise. Cherokees. Chicago: Melmont Publishers, 1961.
Maps and pictures illustrate this book on folktales, religion, and language written for K-3.
Lee, Martin. The Seminoles: A First Book. New York: Franklin Watts, 1989.
After a brief tribal history, Lee describes the village life of Seminole Indians in the Everglades. He also describes the past and changes that have occurred. Colorfully illustrated and indexed, this books will appeal to students in grades 3 through 5.
Ormont, Arthur. Diplomat in Warpaint: Chief Alexander McGillivray of the Creeks. New York: Abelard-Schuman, 1967.
This biography, suitable for students in grades 4 through 7, is illustrated and indexed.
Radford, Ruby L. Sequoya. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1969.
Suitable for grades K-3, this see-and-read biography is illustrated.
Scheer, George F., ed. Illustrated by Robert Frankenberg. Cherokee Animal Tales. New York: Holiday House, 1968.
Scheer's introduction briefly tells the history of the Cherokees in the once-upon-a-time tradition of early storytellers. Animal stories of tricksters, races, and magic, enhanced by realistic illustrations will delight youngsters. Suitable for grades 3 through 5.
Searcy, Margaret Zehmer. The Race of Flitty Hummingbird and Flappy Crane. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Portal Press, 1980.
_____. Alli Gator Gets a Bump on His Nose. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Portal Press, 1978.
_____. Tiny Bat and the Ball Game. Tuscaloosa, Ala.: Portal Press, 1978.
These three books were designed to teach morals and basic biology to kindergarten children. They are colorfully and delightfully illustrated.
Searcy, Margaret Zehmer. Ikwa of the Mound-Builder Indians. Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishers, 1989.
Twelve-year-old Ikwa's first offering to the sun god brings a sign that foretells great changes to come.
_____. Charm of the Bear Claw Necklace. Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishers, 1990.
A story of the adventures of a group of Indian children living in southeastern North America seven thousand years ago.
_____. Wolf Dog of the Woodland Indians. Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishers, 1991.
This is an adventure story of a prehistoric Indian boy and his dog who explore the forests of southeastern North America.