The Southeast Native Americans: Cherokees And Creeks

934 words - 4 pages

The Native Americans of the southeast live in a variety of environments. The environments range from the southern Appalachian Mountains, to the Mississippi River valley, to the Louisiana and Alabama swamps, and the Florida wetlands. These environments were bountiful with various species of plant and animal life, enabling the Native American peoples to flourish. “Most of the Native Americans adopted large-scale agriculture after 900 A.D, and some also developed large towns and highly centralized social and political structures.” In the first half of the 1600s Europeans encountered these native peoples. Both cultures encountered new plants, animals, and diseases. However, the Indians received more diseases compared to the few new diseases to the Europeans. The new diseases resulted in a massive loss of Native Americans, including the Southeast Indians which had never encountered the new diseases. Three of the main tribes in the southeast were the Cherokee and the Creek. They were part of a group of southeast tribes that were removed from their lands. These tribes later became known as “The Five Civilized Tribes because of their progress and achievements.”
The Creek Indians, one of the Five Civilized Tribes, “was composed of many tribes, each with a different name.” The Creeks formed a loose confederacy with other tribes before European contact, “but it was strengthened significantly in the 1700s and 1800s.” The confederacy “included the Alabama, Shawnee, Natchez, Tuskegee, as well as many others.” There were two sections of Creeks, the Upper and Lower Creeks. The Lower Creeks occupied land in east Georgia, living near rivers and the coast. “The Upper Creeks lived along rivers in Alabama.” Like many other Native Americans, corn was also a main food source for the Creeks. They also hunted and gathered foods like nuts and wild rice. They crafted various items like hickory bows, canoes, baskets, drums, and farming tools. The Creeks traded with other tribes like the Cherokee and Natchez, and traded with colonials, “they used the Choctaw trade language.” “The Creeks struggled to retain their homes, and their innate intelligence, had acquired the rudiments of the white man’s culture and were making progress in civilized ways.” This however was not enough for the Creeks to keep their lands. In their first loss, in 1814 the Creeks lost 23,000,000 acres of land in the Treaty of Horseshoe Bend. Then “in 1825 13 chiefs ceded all remaining lands to the state of Georgia.” The 1830 Removal Act called for total Indian removal, and in 1836 the government began its forceful removals to the area around the Arkansas River. Some 14,000 Creeks were removed from their lands, and of those “nearly 4,000 died during their trip.” “In 1971 the Creeks in Oklahoma began to reorganize into the...

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