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Louisiana’s First Inhabitants

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1 Louisiana’s First Inhabitants
Chapter 4 Notes and Information

2 Archaeology in Louisiana
The only way to study prehistoric culture (before written record) is through archaeology. Archaeologists study the remains of houses, burial sites and garbage dumps to learn about the way people lived in the past. A group is said to share a common culture if members live basically the same way. Gather the same foods Live in the same style homes Make the same tools May not share the same leaders, language or religion

3 Paleo Period (10,000-6,000 B.C.) During the last Ice Age, ocean levels were about 700 ft. lower than today. The Paleo people are believed to have come from Asia via Beringia (a land bridge separating Siberia from Alaska). May have followed large game (mammoths, mastodons, big-horn bison, camels, horses, saber-tooth tigers, bears) across the land. Also may have moved by water down the coastline hunting seals

4 Paleo Period (10,000-6,000 B.C.) Facts about the Paleo People:
Spoke a fully developed language Believed in an afterlife Made fine clothing out of skins, baskets of split cane, spear points and tools of flint, cloth of woven palmetto fiber Nomadic (hunting large game) Extended family groups of people

5 Paleo Period (10,000-6,000 B.C.) Finding Paleo sites is difficult:
People did not stay in one place very long Rising sea levels and river sediment covered camp sites People did not leave many artifacts behind Bones have decayed Several Exciting Discoveries: John Pearce Site- Caddo Parish Upland Areas (Macon Ridge and Piney Hills) Spear points, knife blades, scrapers

6 Archaic Period (6,000-2,000 B.C.) The Archaic period is marked by the cultural changes that occurred as a result of the climate change brought on by the end of the Ice Age. People continued to hunt, but also started gathering nuts, berries, and fruits and began to fish. Traveled in small, nomadic groups Did not travel as far as Paleo and settlements were more permanent Practiced maximum forest efficiency

7 Archaic Period (6,000-2,000 B.C.) The creativity of the Archaic people brought about advancements in tools and weapons: Stone drills for jewelry Grinding stones Rock anvils Axe heads and celts The Atlatl was probably the biggest advancement: Helped throw spears farther 18 inches long Grip on one end/hook on the other Spear fits in to hook end

8 Archaic Period (6,000-2,000 B.C.) Early Beliefs about Indian Mounds:
Appear to have been built for religious reasons Some were burial sites for important people Some served as platforms for temples Did not build mounds until governments and chiefdoms established 1990s beliefs changed: several mounds found in NE Louisiana containing organic material dating back to about 3,000 B.C. This is before organized government

9 Archaic Period (6,000-2,000 B.C.) Watson Brake
11 mounds connected by an earthen ridge Organic material dates back to 3,500 B.C. Among the oldest mounds in the U.S. Older than Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge

10 Archaic Period (6,000-2,000 B.C.) The Archaic People Slender
About 5 ft. tall Rock and shell bits from grinding nuts caused severe dental issues Average life span 27 years Violent wounds, broken bones, chronic swimmer’s ear Original mound builders Some burial sites Others use is unclear or unknown

11 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
The Neo Period marks a time of new cultures among Louisiana’s Indians. Large mounds Elaborate trade systems Sophisticated governments Early attempts at farming separated the Neo from the Archaic Period

12 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
The Poverty Point people are names for the Poverty Point Plantation in East Carroll Parish Consists of six huge earthen ridges build in a semi-circle next to Bayou Macon.

13 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
The “Bird Mound” is the most famous of all of the Poverty Point mounds. One of the largest Indian Mounds in the United States 70 ft. tall and appears in the shape of a flying bird

14 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
All features of Poverty Point were built by hand, one basket of dirt at a time: 30 million basket loads 50 pounds each basket Estimated to take about 50 million hours to complete

15 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
Researchers once believed that Poverty Point was a large city with thousands of people. Hunter-gatherers could not have fed so many people year round. Experts now believe that Poverty Point was a giant trading center. Hundreds of thousands of artifacts found Made from minerals not found in the area Some from as far away as Wisconsin

16 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
Artifacts Found Uses by Poverty Point People Place of Origin Copper Assorted Tools Great Lakes Region Flint Spearheads/Hoes Ohio River Valley Soapstone Pots/Bowls Appalachian Mountains Gemstones Jewelry Ozark, Ouachita Mountains

17 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
Poverty Point Objects Cooking balls used for baking Made from moist clay Heated in a fire Food placed between two layers of PPOs Different shapes allowed cooks to regulate cooking temperatures Poverty Point Figurines Small, pregnant-looking female figurines Made from baked clay Some have markings that look like hair or clothing Usually heads are broken off and found separately.

18 Early Neo Period (2,000 B.C.- 1492 A.D.)
The Poverty Point Culture dominated the Mississippi River Valley. Sites found all over the Gulf Coast to Tennessee. All depended on trade, built mounds, made sophisticated artifacts. People flourished for over 1,000 years and suddenly disappeared.

19 The Tchefuncte Culture (600 B.C. – 200 A.D.)
Hunter-gatherer culture (like Archaic people) Small, scattered sites in coastal areas or in lowlands near slow-moving streams Long-distance trade was much less important, yet people in Louisiana were in contact with people in western Mississippi, coastal Alabama, eastern Texas, Arkansas, and southeastern Missouri

20 The Tchefuncte Culture (600 B.C. – 200 A.D.)
The Tchefuncte Site, on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, was so named because it was situated inside Tchefuncte State Park (renamed Fountainbleau State Park). The site had two shell middens, one that measured 100 feet by 250 feet and another 100 feet by 150 feet. Both were excavated, and archaeologists found 50,000 pieces of pottery, as well as artifacts made from bone, shell, and stone. Forty-three human burials were recovered, none of which had objects buried with them.

21 The Tchefuncte Culture (600 B.C. – 200 A.D.)
Tchefuncte people appear to have lived in coastal areas and in lowlands near slow-moving streams. They camped on natural levees, terraces, salt domes, cheniers, and ridges that provided dry ground in the wet environment. They built their houses, which were probably temporary circular shelters having a frame of light poles covered with palmetto, thatch, or grass mixed with mud.

22 The Tchefuncte Culture (600 B.C. – 200 A.D.)
First Louisiana Indians to make large amounts of pottery. They rolled coils of clay into shape and then smoothed them to form a container. Many shapes of pots were made, but characteristically they had "footed" bases. After decorating the pots, they fired them by slow baking. The introduction of pottery was an important improvement in food storage. When these pots were kept covered, they provided a relatively dry and animal-proof, portable container.

23 The Hopewell and Marksville Cultures (200 B.C. – 400 A.D.)
Sometime after 200 B.C., the highly influential Hopewell Culture was centered in Ohio and Illinois. Hopewell people had powerful leaders. Organized construction of large mounds in which certain high-status people were buried along with exquisitely crafted objects made of copper, stone, bone, shell, pottery, and rare minerals Established complex trade system Built large mounds and earthworks Culture spread down the Mississippi River and influenced Louisiana Indians

24 The Hopewell and Marksville Cultures (200 B.C. – 400 A.D.)
Marksville pottery was made from local clay, but it was quite similar in shape and decoration to pottery of the Hopewell Culture in Illinois and Ohio. 3-5 inches tall and 3-7 inches in diameter Rims sometimes had cross-hatched exterior Designs were bold lines, geometric shapes, stylized birds Use primarily for ceremonies The Marksville culture was widely influenced by the Hopewell culture. Marksville people most likely had leaders who directed craftsmen, organized community life, and officiated at burial ceremonies. Marksville people hunted with atlatls, bolas, and nets, and fished with hooks and line. They gathered wild plants and shellfish, and probably grew a few domesticated plants in small gardens.

25 The Hopewell and Marksville Cultures (200 B.C. – 400 A.D.)
Elaborate burial ceremonies for high ranking officials was a notable part of the culture. Certain high-status people were buried along with exquisitely crafted objects made of copper, stone, bone, shell, pottery, and rare minerals. Large mounds were constructed in several stages over many years. Burial ceremonies may have been held months or years apart and those who died between ceremonies were gathered up and buried together.

26 The Troyville-Coles Creek Culture (400-1100 A.D.)
This culture exceeded the Marksville in the size and quantity of mounds built. Some were 200 ft. wide at the base and had steps leading to the top Largest (The Great Mound) was 80 feet tall Larger than the Bird Mound Most were temple mounds and served as platforms on which temples were built. Only occasionally used for burials Buried very few artifacts with the dead

27 The Troyville-Coles Creek Culture (400-1100 A.D.)
It was during this time that people began cultivating plants. Squash, sunflowers, gourds The beginning of agriculture ended nomadic lifestyles. Farming provided a surplus of food. More time for matters of government and religion The bow and arrow were first introduced in Louisiana Easier and more accurate than atlatl Carved from hickory and very powerful

28 The Caddo Culture (800 A.D.- Present)
Very sophisticated people with a complex class system and powerful rulers Now garden crops included corn, squash, gourds, native plants, and later, beans. Caddo potters made special new shapes, such as bottles, and bowls with sharply angled rims. They fired the pieces in a new way so they would be black or dark mahogany in color, then polished the dark surfaces to make them glossy.

29 The Caddo Culture (800 A.D.- Present)
The Caddo people traveled to trade with other groups. Plains Indians = salt and bow wood for horses and buffalo robes Woodlands Indians = traded other items for raw materials like flint By the time the first Europeans reached Caddo villages in the mid-1500s, Caddo Indians were divided into several distinct groups. Adaes, Doustioni, Natchitoches, Yatasi, and probably the Ouachita The Indians supplied the Europeans with salt, horses, and food in exchange for glass beads, kettles, guns, ammunition, knives, ceramics, bells, and bracelets. Interaction with Europeans marked the end of the Prehistoric period.

30 The Plaquemine-Mississippian Culture (1000-1500 A.D.)
Evolved from the Troyville-Coles Creek people Similar to the Caddo people in many ways They participated in festivals and ceremonies at mound centers but spent most of their time with families and neighbors collecting and producing food, or participating in village activities. Plaquemine Indians hunted deer, bear, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, turkeys, and ducks; fished for gar and drum; and collected mussels. Although these Indians tended gardens of corn, squash, pumpkins, and beans, they still collected many wild seeds, roots, nuts, and fruits. Mississippian Culture people in the St. Louis area had developed the largest prehistoric center in the United States. This was a ceremonial, residential, and trading center with a population of 35,000-40,000 people.

31 Historic Indians The first Europeans to arrive in Louisiana encountered six distinct language groups. Language groups were divided into different tribes that spoke the same dialect, practiced the same religion, and occupied the same territory Each nation had its own government. Approximately 15,000 Indians lived in Louisiana when the Europeans arrived. About 10, 000 of those lived in South Louisiana.

32 The Caddo People The Caddo Confederation consisted of six tribes located in northwest Louisiana, southwest Arkansas, east Texas, and southeast Oklahoma. They occupied the land bordering the eastern woodlands and western plains of North America along the Red River and its tributaries.

33 The Caddo People Shelter Clothing
The Caddo lived in either grass-thatched or earth covered dwellings grouped around an open space which was used for social or ceremonial purposes. Caddo Indian men wore breechcloths, sometimes with leather leggings to protect their legs. Caddo men did not usually wear shirts, but in cold weather, both men and women wore buffalo robes. Caddo women wore wraparound skirts and poncho tops made of woven fiber and deerskin. Both genders wore earrings and moccasins.

34 The Caddo People Government Religion
The Caddo had a complex social class system. Social status was determined through a matriarchal line. They had a chieftain government where each clan appointed a leader. The Caddo believed in animism. The Caddi Ayo (captain of the sky) was the principal god. The xinesi (pronounced chenesi) was the spiritual leader. Sought out for meditation and communication Connected the Caddo to the supernatural realm.

35 Other Important Details
The Caddo People Food and Work Ethic Other Important Details The Caddo had a farming culture. Planted corn, pumpkins, and vegetables Hunted and fished (bears, buffalo, deer, raccoons, turkeys) They were major traders of salt and traded horses with the Tunica people. They did not believe in being idle, and those who did not work were punished. During the winter months they made bows and arrows, clothing, tools, and household items. The Caddo welcomed the Europeans and viewed them as new trading partners. The Caddo were allies of the French and often intermarried. Prided themselves on never going to war with the white man. The Caddo Secession Treaty drove the people out of Louisiana and forced the Caddo to sell land (over a million acres) for 15 cents per acre

36 The Attakapas People The Attakapas lived in southwest Louisiana along the Texas Gulf Coast. The name “Attakapas” comes from a Choctaw word meaning “man eater”.

37 The Attakapas People Shelter
The Attakapas lived like hunter-gatherers because they occupied the prairie and marsh land not suitable for agriculture. The Attakapas lived in brush shelters, which were small huts made of grass and reeds built around a simple wooden framework. The structures were not large and they were easy to build and move from place to place.

38 The Attakapas People Clothing Food Attakapa men wore breechcloths.
Atakapa women wore wraparound skirts made of deerskin or woven fiber. Shirts were not necessary in Atakapa culture, but men and women both wore mantles in cooler weather. Both men and women usually went barefoot. Decorated their bodies with tribal tattoos. They made their livelihood as hunters and fishermen. Most of their diet was fish or seafood. Men hunted big game like deer, buffalo, and alligators Women gathered fruit, nuts, and wild honey.

39 The Attakapas People Other Interesting Information
According to traditional Choctaw stories, the Atakapas practiced cannibalism on defeated enemies. The Atakapas liked to travel light-- they didn't use much furniture, for example-- but they were famous for their fine red clay pottery. The people were largely killed off by European disease or absorbed into other cultures.

40 The Chitimacha People The Chitimacha live in south-central Louisiana along Bayou Teche. The Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana is the only tribe in Louisiana to still occupy a portion of their aboriginal homeland.  In 1971, the Chitimacha Tribe was federally recognized by the United States Government.  The name “Chitimacha” means “people all together red”.

41 The Chitimacha People Government and Leadership Religious Beliefs
The Chitimacha had a distinct class of nobility, with different terms of etiquette for each. The Chief and his descendants were nobles while everyone else was of the class of commons. People did not marry outside of their class (especially nobles). Children belonged to the clan of the mother, and birth clan established social class. Important rituals were held in the dance house. it was about 12 feet square, with a pointed roof, but it was surrounded with a picket fence A 6 day mid-summer festival was held every year in which boys participated in a rite of passage into manhood. People fasted for the 6 days of the dance, drank water to induce vomiting. Believed it was purifying. Men painted bodies with red and black paint. Women had red and white paint.

42 The Chitimacha People Food Cultural Aritifacts
The Chitimacha subsisted on maize, potatoes, and wild game. They preferred deer, alligator, and aquatic species. Hunting and fishing were accomplished with the aid of bone, stone, or garfish scale pointed arrows, or through the use of blow guns and wooden darts, as well as, nets and traps for fishing. Meat was usually smoked. The Chitimacha people are best known split cane baskets. Single or double walled Able to float

43 The Muskogean People The Muskogean people lived in southeast Louisiana around Lake Pontchartrain and the Florida Parishes. Some of the powerful Muskogean tribes later became allies of the French. The tribes of the Muskogean language group include the Choctaw, Bayougoula, Tangipahoa, Coushatta, Houma and Quinipissas-Mugalashas. Large numbers of the Choctaw, the Coushatta, and the Houma still live in Louisiana.

44 The Muskogean People The Choctaw
Second largest tribe in the southeastern United States when the Europeans arrived. Lived in permanent settlements in an area that includes present-day Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Houses were simple wood framed and plastered with clay and moss. Roofs were made of thatched palmetto leaves.

45 The Muskogean People The Choctaw
Choctaw women did most of the farming, harvesting crops of corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers. Choctaw men did most of the hunting, shooting deer, wild turkeys, and small game. Choctaw recipes included cornbread, soups, and stews cooked on stone hearths. The Choctaws also enjoyed sassafrass tea.

46 The Muskogean People The Choctaw
The Choctaw had extensive trade routes. They made blow guns and fans of turkey feathers. Created beautiful baskets of rivercane, oak and pine.

47 The Muskogean People The Choctaw Allies of the French
One of the distinctive practices of the Choctaw was head flattening. Male infants would have a board attached to their heads in order to flatten them. The most important religious ceremony was the Green Corn festival, which was both a ceremony of thanksgiving and a means for self-purification. Allies of the French Fought against the British in the American Revolution. Fought with Andrew Jackson in the Battle of New Orleans. Jena Band of Choctaw is a federally recognized tribe.

48 The Muskogean People The Coushatta
Originally residents of the southeast (Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee), The Coushatta were driven into Louisiana and Texas by European settlement. Moved to escape Indian slavery. Most settled in south-central Louisiana near Allen Parish. Lived in clans of many families. Each family had its own animal totem. Each band was ruled by a chief called a miko. The Coushatta were farmers and hunters. They became a federally recognized tribe in 1973.

49 The Muskogean People The Coushatta
Women wove beautiful cloth, rope and saddle blankets. Men made blow guns and bows and arrows for hunting. The Coushatta are known for beautiful longleaf pine straw baskets.

50 The Muskogean People The Houma
Originally settled in central Louisiana. Lived in cabins made of wooden poles and palmetto leaves. Baton Rouge is named for the Istrouma, which was a red pole used to divide the Houma people from the Bayougoula. Their totem is the crawfish: it represents kinship and protection. The Houma were driven from their homeland due to a battle with the Tunica. They settled further south and gave up their agricultural lifestyle. The learned to trap in the swamps and marshes. The Houma are state recognized, but not recognized by the federal government.

51 The Natchez People Main village (Grand Village) was located near modern day Natchez, Mississippi on the eastern bluffs of the Mississippi River. Two smaller Natchez Tribes were located in Louisiana. Taensa: located on Lake St. Joseph Avoyel: lived along the Red River

52 The Natchez People Complex Caste System
Common people (stinkards) Nobles Chiefs Their ruler, known as the “Great Sun”, was like a king and religious figure. Held the power of life and death over subjects Had a number of wives At least some of his wives and other tribal members were killed and buried with him when he died. Men and women both had elaborate tattoos that indicated social status.

53 The Natchez People Food Clothing
The Natchez were very skilled farmers and benefitted from rich soil. They were known to prepare over 42 different corn dishes. In addition to fruits and vegetables, the Natchez hunted deer, bison, bears, porcupines, and fowl. The Natchez were probably the most elaborately dressed tribe. Decorated clothing with red-dyed opossum fur belts. Used mulberry bark to make thread for weaving. Homespun, linen-like cloth.

54 The Natchez People Other Important Information
Natchez pottery was strengthened with Spanish moss. Mounds were flat-topped Richness of the soil caused the downfall of the Natchez. The French wanted the farmland. Along with the Choctaw, they drove the Natchez out of the area. Some joined the Creek, Cherokee, and other Gulf tribes.

55 The Tunica (Tunica-Biloxi) People
Settled in the area near what is now Avoyelles Parish. Settlements were near major waterways. The Tunica were a matriarchal society. Totem was the rattlesnake. The Tunica People were pushed out of their original land when they were driven out by the Chickasaw. The Biloxi were driven inland by the French. The tribes combined to form one.

56 The Tunica (Tunica-Biloxi) People
They were known as great traders. Major traders of salt Also traded arrow points, flint, and horses Kept trading records with bundles of sticks and knots of string. Used shell beads, pearls, and quartz as currency.

57 Historic Indian Culture
Agriculture Clans and Family Crime and Punishment Diet Three basic crops were corn, beans, and squash. Within each tribe were different clans, each believed it was descended from an animal. Thieves may be beaten or forced to replace stolen items. Probably ate healthier, more varied diets than Europeans Mound Farming: process by which different crops were grown together. Ancestors were honored. Elders were respected. Children were punished, but not beaten. Minor crimes were sometimes settled by the guilty party giving gifts to the victim. Soups, breads, dumplings, hominy, and corn dishes were their favorite foods. Crops naturally complemented each other in nutrients. Children were usually raised by the mother’s brother who taught and disciplined. Only rape, incest, murder, or witchcraft deserved the death penalty. Ate fish, deer, and buffalo Wasted no part of the animal

58 Historic Indian Culture
Personal Appearance Religion Society and Women Villages Men were about 5.5 ft. tall; women about 5 ft. Believed in animism: people associate with spirits every day Complex class systems often with several chiefs Some settlements were large cities; others just a few homes Wore breechcloths or skirts; both usually bare chested Hairstyles had significant social meaning Most tribes had a creation story Women had great power and influence; also did most of the work Settlements included family dwellings as well as larger public buildings Adorned themselves with shell, stone, , pearls and large spools Elaborate tattoos Shamans are priests or holy people who interact with spirits to ask for help or special favors. Matriarchal system: Chiefs and property were descended through the mother’s bloodline Construction of family dwellings varied according to tribe and season

59 Louisiana’s Native Americans Today
With 27,000 Native Americans living in Louisiana, our state has one of the largest Indian populations in the southeast. Native Americans have struggled to maintain their cultural identity. Many Louisiana Indians tried to hide their culture in order to better “fit in” with others who considered them too primitive. After the Civil Rights movement in the late 20th century, people have made more of an effort to preserve culture.

60 Louisiana’s Native Americans Today
Federal Recognition Four Louisiana tribes have earned Federal Recognition: Chitimacha, Coushatta, Jena Band of Choctaw, Tunica-Biloxi This means that the government recognizes them as a separate entity. Tribe given a parcel of land Special laws (federal not state) govern the reservation Very difficult to receive federal recognition Prove through historical documents that they always existed as a distinct community. Maintain continuous culture and unbroken line of leadership. Prove they are descended from a historic group and show where the group lived in the past.

61 Louisiana’s Native Americans Today
Chitimacha Coushatta Choctaw Tunica-Biloxi Became the first federally recognized tribe in 1919. Live on a 260 acre reservation at Charenton Fish processing plant, schol, museum Federally recognized in 1973 1,000 acre reservation near Elton and Kinder One of the most complete Indian languages in the United States Federally recognized in 1995 Settled near Catahoula Lake 62 acre reservation near Jena Federally recognized in the 1980s 132 acre reservation near Marksville Casino, cattle-herd, museum, conservation laboratory Also has a housing project and police and court system

62 Louisiana’s Native Americans Today
Our state government recognizes six separate Native American tribes. State recognized tribes do not receive special privileges Caddo-Adais Choctaw-Apache Community of Ebarb Clifton Choctaw Four-Winds Cherokee United Houma Nation Louisiana Band of Choctaw


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