Saturday, May 14, 2011


Found a couple of sites in the paper. That will link you to. Two famous Apache, historical locations. Fort Bowie National Historic Site Fort Bowie is in the Chiricaha Mountains. And is where Cochise was born and roamed. 520-847-2500 Fort Apache Historical Park 928-338-4625 Is on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. And is known for it's most famous inhabitant Geronimo.

Last week I wrote about the 'Mound Builder'. Today I'll write about the decedents of the 'Mound Builder', the Choctaw. The Choctaw (CHAHK-taw) of the central America.

Legend has it that the Choctaw originated from the 'Mother Mound'. Thus the connection to the 'Mound Builders'. This is part of the 'Choctaw Creation Story' of birth. Just as the Hopi, Zuni and many other tribes. Believe they came from inside 'Mother Earth'. The Choctaw were one of the largest tribes in North America. When the Europeans arrived. The Choctaw lived in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana.

The Choctaw are of the, Muskogean language group. Along with the Creek and Chickasaw tribes. And had a democratic type of tribal government. They mainly lived in large villages. With homes constructed from wooden poles. Along with mud and sea shell walls. Tribesmen had summer and winter homes. With winter home heated, with warm rocks. The Choctaw were farmers and not migratory. They had basic crops of, corn, beans, squash, sunflowers and melons. They also were hunters, fisherman and gathers of wild plants. For hunting and fishing. The Choctaw used carved out trees (canoes).

They also traded with other tribes. Using a type of sign language called 'Mobilian Trade Language'. The Chickasaw whom the Choctaw traded with. Called the Choctaw, 'Pansh Falaia', meaning 'long hairs'. Because the Choctaw let there hair grow out. While most other tribes, shaved there heads. The Choctaw also practised head deformation. By using a flat piece of wood. Put against the forehead as a infant. This practise was applied to the male newborns.

Like many other tribes. The Choctaw played Lacrosse, or Stickball. The idea being, to get a leather ball between two wooden poles. They used sticks with webbed ends. You were not allowed to touch the ball with your hands or body. Like the Mayans to the south. These games could become very deadly. You could stomp, trip, pile-on other players. Some gamed incorporation entire villages. With over a hundred players on each side. They were like mock-wars between tribes. Before games, rituals were preformed. There would be pre-game ceremonies. Bets were placed on the games. Medicine men would act as the coaches. Trying to implore the Spirits, to help there players. These games would last for hours. With a set number of goals. To decide who the winner was. The females of the tribes. Also had there own Lacrosse teams.

Singing was a big part of Choctaw life. They would hold singing competitions. Between the various villages or tribes. Other villagers or tribal member would try and steal others songs.

'All men must surely die
Though now one knows how soon
Yet when the "Time" comes
The event may be joyful'

When death did come. The tribal member would be put on a scaffold. Their they would be left. Until the skin dried out. The the remaining flesh would be pealed off. Then only the bones would be buried.

Like many other tribes of the Americas. The Choctaw would encounter the Spaniards in the 1540s. Later the Choctaw would become friends to the French. Who they traded with. For guns and other European items. There neighbours the Chickasaw side with the English. Later the Choctaw would side with the Americans, against the English. The Choctaw warriors fought under American Generals in the war of 1812.

Although the Choctaw fought along side the Americans against the English. They would be betrayed, by the American government. (Just as so many other Native American tribes were lied to.) The settlers wanted the Choctaw lands. And with the help of the United States government, they got it. Even though the Choctaw fought under the leadership of Andrew Jackson. He would sign the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Calling for the removal of the tribes from the Mississippi area. They were moved west of the Mississippi River. This would become know as, 'Trail of Tears'.

Those that didn't want to relocated, were later bribed. This happened at the signing of the, 'Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek'. The U.S. Army herded the Choctaw west into Oklahoma. (Oklahoma is a Muskogean word meaning, 'Red People'.) A large amount of Choctaw died during these forced marches. Oklahoma was to become a permanent home home for the Native Americans. Who were brought their from all over America. It was to be a 'Indian Territory'. Yet another lie was made by the American government. When the 'Indian Territory of Oklahoma'. Became a state in 1907.

In a final note of interest. The Choctaw Indians were also used as 'Code Talkers'. During the first and second World Wars. Each year the Choctaw hold a commemorative, 'Trail of Tears Walk'.

"God" bless

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