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Pre-Historic and Historic Indians

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1 Pre-Historic and Historic Indians
Of America and Alabama

2 Alabama Course of Study- Social Studies
3rd Grade Describe prehistoric and historic American Indian cultures, governments, and economies in Alabama. Examples: prehistoric American Indians- Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, Mississippian historic American Indians- Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek Identifying roles of archaeologists and paleontologists

3 The Paleo- Indians

4 The first “American” Indians
Arrived about 12,000 – 14,000 years ago. Originally nomadic Asian (mongoloid) hunters who crossed into North America via a 600 mile –wide land bridge connecting Asia with North America in the area of the Bering Straight (Beringia). These hunters crossed the land bridge in pursuit of megafauna- large mammals of the era which included woolly mammoths, giant bison, mastodon, giant land sloth, and small animals such as miniature horses and camels. When the Ice Age ended, Beringia became covered with water- thus isolating the inhabitants of the Americas.




8 By 8,000 B.C. the Paleo- Indians had peopled the North and South America continents to the tip of South America. About 9,000 B.C. the Clovis point – a superior spear head- appeared in what is today the southwestern United States. As the climate began to change and as use of the clovis point spread, the big game and small horses died off- the largest animals left on the continents were the bear, bison, and moose.

9 Clovis points

10 The “Cave- Dwellers” “Meso- Indian Period”
The Archaic Period The “Cave- Dwellers” “Meso- Indian Period”

11 Considered the 2nd period of human occupation of the Americas.
8,000- 1,000 B.C. Archaic people typically lived in groups (bands) of people. Nomadic people- hunters/ gathers- seasonal foods important- hickory nuts, acorns, persimmons, blackberries, etc – deer, raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, etc. Many Archaic people located themselves near streams and rivers- fish, mussels, etc. (Shell mounds emerge- some over 15 ft. high.)


13 The atlatl (spear thrower) was developed as to improve hunting.
- this improved range and velocity.

14 New technologies emerge- grinding stone for weapons and tools.
Projectile Points become more varied and sophisticated. Personal items such as stone pipes and cooking vessels emerge. Copper is first used by Native Americans during this period.

15 Russell Cave in Doran’s Cove (Bridgeport) in Jackson County was used for over 10,000 years by Paleo- Indians and their descendants. It is believed that Native Americans were making use of this cave as early as 9,000 years ago.

16 Russell Cave is considered by most archaeologists to be the earliest known site of human occupation in the Southeastern U.S.


18 The Woodland Period

19 Period of human history in the Americas between the Archaic and Mississippian Periods.
Named for the eastern woodlands of North America. 300 B.C.- 1,000 A.D. This period is considered a developmental stage without any massive changes in a short time but instead having a continuous development in tools, textiles and leather, farming, and shelter construction. Late in the period, Native Americans begin to use bows and arrows and blowguns in addition to spears and atlatls.

20 Native Americans of this period began to construct permanent homes.
Native American “towns” first began to appear. Earthen mounds were first raised over graves.

21 Late in this period “Three Sisters” farming was introduced.
The “three sisters” are corn (maize), beans, and squash. -these crops became the staple crops for Native Americans throughout the Southeast and for other farming societies in the Southwest and Northeast. -Native Americans also raised peppers, melons, amaranth, grapes, hemp, etc.



24 The Mississippian Period
The “Mound Builders”

25 Appeared 700 to 900 A.D. Peaked around 1300 A.D. Named for the Mississippi River as Native Americans of this period often located their towns near rivers- the Mississippi, Tennessee, Cumberland, and Warrior, and many others. The Native Americans of this period are known for the huge earthen mounds which they build as foundations for temples, homes for leaders, religious ceremony, burials, etc. There are many examples of these mounds throughout the Southeast including many in Alabama.

26 Etowah Mounds- near Calhoun, Georgia

27 Mounds at Moundville, Alabama

28 At its height, the town at Moundville was home to over 3,000 people- making it the second largest Indian town north of present- day Mexico.

29 Artifacts from Moundville




33 The “Big Four” The “Civilized Tribes” of Alabama
The Indians of Alabama The “Big Four” The “Civilized Tribes” of Alabama

34 The Choctaw Major tribe of Mississippi- region though extends into west-central Alabama north of Mobile. The word “Alabama” come from the Choctaw- it means “clearers of the ticket.” The Choctaw have historically been called the “Longhairs” or the “Flatheads” (infants were often bound to a cradle board and a slanted plank was used to slope their foreheads as the developed.


36 Early 19th century and contemporary Choctaw storytellers describe that the Choctaw people emerged from either Nanih Waiya or a cave nearby. A companion story describes their migration journey from the west, beyond the Mississippi River, when they were directed by their leader's use of a sacred pole.

37 “The Choctaws, a great many winters ago, commenced moving from the country where they then lived, which was a great distance to the west of the great river and the mountains of snow, and they were a great many years on their way. A great medicine man led them the whole way, by going before with a red pole, which he stuck in the ground every night where they encamped. This pole was every morning found leaning to the east, and he told them that they must continue to travel to the east until the pole would stand upright in their encampment, and that there the Great Spirit had directed that they should live.” ~ George Caitlin




41 Choctaw Coat

42 The Chickasaws Occupied an area of what is today Northwest Alabama.
The Chickasaw were a very aggressive people and often prone to war Often painted their bodies black and red in preparation for war, They were known for their woefully eerie war cry that some historians think was the origin of the “Rebel Yell.”


44 The Creeks The true name of the Creeks is “Muskogee”- they were named “Creeks” by English settlers because of the location of their towns near creeks. The Creeks are the largest and most significant of the Indian groups in Alabama- ½ of all Indians living in Alabama were of the Creek Nation.


46 The Creek Nation was divided into the:
A. Upper Creeks B. Lower Creeks The Creek towns were also divided into peace (white) and war (red) towns with separate chiefs for each. The Creeks lived in one of twenty different clans which included the Bear, Beaver, Hickory Nut, Salt, Toad, and Wild-cat clans.


48 The Cherokee The “Principal People”
The name means “people of the cave country.” The Cherokee are of the Iroquoian language group. It is believed that the Cherokee migrated from the Great Lakes region or Pennsylvania before settling in the mountains of the Southeast.


50 The Cherokee are organized into seven different “clans”




54 Cherokee Towns "Five Lower Towns" – on or near the Tennessee River
1. Running Water (now Whiteside) 2. Nickajack (near the cave of the same name) 3. Long Island (on the Tennessee River) 4. Crow Town (at the mouth of Crow Creek) 5. Lookout Mountain Town (now Trenton, GA)

55 Later major settlements of the Lower Cherokee included:
1. Willstown (Fort Payne) 2. Turkey Town (Centre) 3. Sauta (Jackson/Marshall County) 4. Creek Path (Guntersville) 5. Turnip Town (Rome) 6. Chatuga (Rome)

56 Native American Culture

57 - Gender Roles A. Women -grew crops -child-rearing -clothing
- pots and baskets B. Men -hunted -constructed dwellings -conducted politics -religion -made war

58 Native American culture was matrilineal- meaning that a woman’s relative (usually her brother) took responsibility for teaching her sons the ways of hunting and manhood. Marriage was often arranged but never forced. - it was “illegal” to marry a member of one’s own clan or lineage.

59 Polygamy was often practiced – but only with the first wife’s consent- otherwise it was considered adultery. Divorce -was quite simple- a man simply moved back to his mother’s house. - this was always done at the time of the Green Corn Ceremony.

60 Religion/ Beliefs A. The Upper World -a perfect world- a “utopia”
-order and hope -birds were symbols of the Upper World B. This World -This World was a balance between perfection and chaos. -good was rewarded and evil punished -four- footed animals were symbols of This World

61 C. The Under World -chaos and disorder -madness and change -vermin and snakes were symbols of the Under World *Indians were very superstitious believing in witches, ghosts, spirits, monsters, and ‘little people.”

62 The principle Gods were the Sun God, Moon God, Thunder God, and Corn God- all inhabited the Upper World. The most important religious event of the year was the Green Corn Ceremony. -the event lasted several days -it took place anywhere from the end of July to early September depending on the growth of the corn.

63 The ceremony marked the Indian “New Year.”
-It was a time of thanksgiving and feasting (following a fast). -The “old fire” was extinguished and a new fire started. -all transgressions (except murder) were forgiven. - a sacred “stomp dance’ was performed. -special copper plates were used in the ceremony. -the participants covered themselves with a white clay and then would wash in the nearest stream.


65 The Cherokee “Booger Dance”
-late fall or winter -masks made to represent enemies

66 War Revenge was the usual reason for war.
War parties typically consisted of 20 to 30 warriors. Fighting took place only in late spring, summer, and early fall. A decision to got o war was decided by a council of elders. War clubs were the weapon of choice- also bow and arrows- eventually guns.

67 When enemies were killed, they were scalped
-the scalps were then tied to a hoop which was painted red- the scalp hoops were the tied to a long pole to be preserved. Captives were taken as slaves- sometimes adopted into the victorious tribe -and on rare occasions, burned at stake. To end a war a peace delegation was sent with beads, tobacco, pipes, and white feathers.


69 Miscellaneous Native Americans of the Southeast wore elaborate tattoos and neckpieces called gorgets. Art was important to the Indians - favorite designs included the thunderbird, rattlesnake, winged sun, Greek cross, and the swastika.

70 Gorget- found in Sumner County, TN

71 Sequoyah

72 “The Trail Where They Cried”
The Trail of Tears “The Trail Where They Cried”

73 The Indian Removal Act of 1830
-passed by Congress at the request of President Andrew Jackson. -the act provided for the “voluntary” removal of the “Five Civilized Tribes” to areas west of the Mississippi (present- day Oklahoma). -eventually the five tribes will sign away their lands in treaties with the United States which will lead to their removal.


75 Treaties Choctaw- Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830)
Creek- A. Treaty of Indian Springs (1825) B. Treaty of Cusseta (1832) Chickasaw- Treaty of Pontotoc Creek (1832) Cherokee- Treaty of New Echota (1835)



78 “In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. "To be free," he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We ... watch the expulsion ... of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples.” ~Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

79 Cherokee Removal By the 1820s, the Cherokee were an acculturated people- they had taken on the culture and customs of white settlers- this was a policy begun by President George Washington and his Secretary of War, Henry Knox during the late 1700s. Many Cherokee had intermarried with white settlers and had English names. Two court cases concerning the Cherokee had preceded the Removal Act- A. Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia (1831) B. Worchester vs. Georgia (1832)

80 In December, 1835 the Treaty Party, a group of the wealthier Cherokee signed the Treaty of New Echota which ceded the Cherokee lands in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina to the U.S. Government in exchange for $5 million and land in the west. The Treaty was ratified by the United States Senate by a single vote (31 yeas- 15 nays – ratification of treaties require a 2/3 vote of the U.S. Senate).

81 Major Ridge-John Ridge-Elias Boudinot (Buck Watie)

82 John Ross The majority of the Cherokee (over 15,000) opposed the Treaty of New Echota. They represented the “National Party” led by the principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation- John Ross.


84 In May, 1838 the U.S. Army under the command of General Winfield Scott began the round-up and forced removal of the Cherokee people. The Cherokee people were held in thirteen crude stockades throughout the Cherokee Nation build specifically as pens for Cherokee. -Fort Payne (build under the command of Major John Payne) -Brainerd Mission -Red Clay -Etc.



87 Three groups of Cherokee left Chattanooga (the water route) during the summer of 1838 but soon suffered hardships. John Ross arranged for the remaining 12,000 Cherokee to voluntarily remove themselves during the fall. They divided themselves into groups of roughly 1,000 people each and began the 800- mile march westward along various routes. As many as 4,000 people died along the way.







94 The Blood Law June 22, 1839








102 The Creek Wars

103 Tecumseh

104 The Colbert Family and Pushmataha

105 Benjamin Hawkins

106 William McIntosh

107 Massacre at Fort Mims

108 Menawa

109 William Weatherford (Red Eagle)

110 Battle of Horseshoe Bend



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