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The Chickasaw Nation Essay

1712 words - 7 pages

The Chickasaw Indian Nation is not only a unique tribe with many diverse ways of living, but they are a tribe that stays true to their heritage and culture. This Southeastern tribe has overcome many obstacles and has taught Americans about their traditions and many have benefited from their knowledge. Today the Chickasaw reside in Okalahoma and are currently the eighth largest tribe in the United States.A. Native Life waysThe Chickasaw had first contact with the Spanish around 1540 when they were currently located and referred to as the "Spartans of the Lower Mississippi Valley" (http://www.chickasaw.net). Conquistadors under Herando de Soto attempted to force them to provide tribal members to carry supplies but the Chickasaw revolted and launched attacks upon them. After the attacks the Chickasaw retreated into the woods.Until 1700, the Chickasaw usually maintained seven towns at any given time, and despite the scattered homesteads, each town had its own fort and ceremonial rotunda. The Chickasaw tended to settle along rivers and streams and upon high grounds so they would be safe from flooding. The Chickasaw Nation had several types of housing or households. The tribe constructed their homes with pole frames, bark, mud coverings, thatch and hide, a method that is known as wattle-and-daub. "Each household contained a winter house, summer house, corn storage building or "corn crib", and menstrual hut. Some Chickasaw towns were reported to have numbered over two hundred households" (http://www.chickasaw.net).The Chickasaw obtained their food by hunting, fishing, and farming. There was a strict division of labor among the Chickasaw. Women were responsible for the supervision of slaves and tending the fields of corn, beans, and squash, while men hunted deer, bear, and buffalo. Fish was also an important food source. "Important ceremonies included the Green Corn Ceremony, a renewal ritual held in late summer when the last corn ripened" (Sturtevant, 1988, p 43).One aspect of the Chickasaw Nation that is important in their lives is religion. Religion has been imbedded in the tribe's minds as early as 1799. The New York Missionary Society's mission to the Chickasaw was to civilize them according to the British pattern. Many other missionaries had taught their religious ways to the tribe. "The American or Northern Baptists reported in 1881 that the Chickasaw had 6 churches and in 1922 the Southern Baptists reported to have 12 Chickasaw churches with 10 ministers and an active membership if 89" (Sturtevant, 1988, p 452-53). Recently the Chickasaw Nation has upheld their religious beliefs that long ago were taught to them.The Chickasaw are of the Muskogean linguistic family and of the Southeast culture area. Their native written language is nearly the same as that of the Choctaw Nation. "At one time, the Chickasaw language served as the medium of commercial and tribal intercourse for all of the tribes along the lower Mississippi River"...

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