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Muskhogean

tribes, creek, choctaw, tribe, english, indian and occupied

MUSKHOGEAN (m9s-k(Vge-an) STOCK. A North American Indian stock which derives its name from Muscogee, the principal tribe of the Creek confederacy. (See CREEKS-) This is one of the most important linguistic stocks of the United States. It formerly occupied the greater portion of the territory of the Gulf States east of the Mississippi, and comprised the Creek, Choctaw Chickasaw, Seminole, Apalachee, and a number of smaller tribes and bands, speaking perhaps five distinct languages, with several minor dia lects. The difference was greatest between the Muscogee and the Choctaw proper, of which the Chickasaw was a dialectic form. The Seminole is a mixed dialect, based chiefly upon Ilichitee, the prevailing language of the 'Lower Creeks,' formerly residing on the Chattahoochee River. The old Mobilian trade language (q.v.) was based upon Choctaw'.

According to their traditions the Muskhogean tribes came from the West and Northwest, and those who formerly resided nearest the Missis sippi, as the Choctaw and Chiekasaw, have a clear tradition of haying crossed that stream to enter their later territory. The migration must have occurred at a very early period, and they appear to have found the country occupied by other tribes whom they conquered and ab sorbed. Their authentic try begins with the first landing of the Spaniards on the Gulf coast under Narvaez in 1527. Thirteen years later Dc Soto traversed their country from cast to west, finding the various tribes in practically the same positions which they occupied up to the period of their final removal to the Indian Territory. For three centuries their history is closely inter wo•en w ith that of colonization and conquest by the si.aniards. French. and English in the Southern States. Each tribe or village made such alliances as suited its purpose, with the ex ception of the Chickasaw. who, like the Iroquois in the North, remained the steady allies of the English. and by their command of the waterway of the Niseissippi, were able to cheek the advance of French colonization by cutting off communica tion between Louisiana and the Illinois settle ments. The Apalaehee of Florida were Christian ized at an early period by the Spanish Francis cans, but the entire tribe was exterminated by the English and their Indian allies about 1702, and the country left an uninhabited wilderness until it was gradually occupied by vagrant bands from the Creek confederacy, later known as Semi nole. or 'runaways.' The Yamasi of South Caro

lina were driven from their homes in 1715 as a result of a war with the English and retired to Florida. The Muskhogean tribes played little part in the French and Indian War, hut the Creeks took a particularly active part with the English against the Americans in the Revolu tion. This warlike confederacy again rose against the neighboring American settlements in the War of 1812. and by the opening massacre at Fort Mims and the desperate encounters at Tal ladega and Horseshoe Bend made the Creek War one of the bloodiest pages in American history. The two Seminole wars, which cost the Govern ment years of effort and over $40,000,000, further illustrated the fighting temper of the Creek tribe,. 11y these wars and successive treaty sales the Alusklingean tribes were rapidly dis possessed until by the year IS35 practically the whole body had been removed to the west of the Mississippi. here the four principal tribes, the Creek. Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole, reiks tablished themselves as •nations' under organized governmental forms in the Indian Territory, where they now reside. with a combined popula tion of pure and mixed blood, exclusive of adopted aliens, of perhaps 33.000 persons, besides some 2000 more in detached bands in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, end Texas.

All the .Nluskhogean tribes were sedentary and agricultural, residing in compact and regular towns and villages. frequently palisaded, and al ways with a central 'town house' for councils and other public ceremonies. fronting upon a plaza or public square for outdoor gatherings. Their soeial organization was complex and exaet, the rank and duty of each clan being specifically fixed in the tribe. They were a virile race and have maintained their population and tribal organiza tion against all the wasting effect of contact with white civilization. Much study has been given to their language, particularly the Alusco gee and Choctaw, of which there is a vonsiderable body of native literature. The best summaries of their characteristics and history are: Adair, 11i.clut•11 of the American (London, 17751; Ilawkine. Sketeh of the Creek ('ountr.st: and Gatsehet. Migration tepid of the Creek notiozor t Philadelphia, 1841-SA).