Cahokia and Moundville

The Natchez Indian Tribe of Lower Mississippi Lives On

There were many Indian tribes before civilization and industries took over the East then the West of what we now know as America, and the Natchez was a tribe that was one of the last of the Indians to have had their habitat taken over in southwestern Mississippi. There is evidence from archeologists and scientists who study on history, cultures, and the way things were and came to be that the Natchez went as far back as 700 A.D. until the French invaded their lands of the Lower Mississippian Valley around 1730. Sadly the war ended with the Indians fighting for their land but there were too many Europeans, especially the French who were interested and would stand at nothing to destroy their land to have it as their own.

The early human interaction is very minimal to most people today, yet many experts and historians suggest that there was no outside contact with the Natchez until around the spring of 1682 when an expedition descended the famous Mississippi River where shortly after the Natchez Indians met with a Frenchman, La Salle. Even though these strange outsiders were weary of these white faces, they still allowed them to pass on their territory under conditions they had worked out with in some of the first meetings with La Salle and his militants, and it was not too long after that that the white men had built and found Fort Rosalie in 1716 which was the center of the society. As the French and the military and other civilian population continue to grow so did the infrequent to often unsettled issues between the Indians and the French which lead to some unfortunate battles in the end. Yet, it was not until the tribe ended up in the middle of the melee among England and France as they pushed to control American lands which made the Natchez show their true hate for the French and knew what they were up to and wanted to fight for what was rightfully theirs.

After four years of hostility the Natchez worried daily about their fate in their vast lands of goods, fields of crops, waters, plenty of harvesting, hunting, lumber, cooking, families, and a normal peaceful camp life along with other closely related Indians within some of the same parts of the lower part of Mississippi. By this time, English soldiers had most of the Natchez natives convinced that the French were out to take what was theirs and they began looking at the French as their enemy. After nine years in the late fall 0f November 1729, was the first time this tribe went against the French’s wishes and war broke out immediately and within no time so many unprepared, unarmed, unequipped, and outnumber Natchez were dead, and what ancestors were left of the tribe ended up migrating to a different land to start rebuilding with what little resources and family that was left from the ancestors. As a result of such loss, the Natchez exiles decided to unite with other local tribes to build the native power to save their homes with Indian tribes like the Cherokee and the Chickasaw Creek Indians.

Archeological aspects are recognized of the Natchez who were the last Indians were the last tribe of Mississippi, and began to decline increasingly in number when the war with the French nearly did them in to be lost forever. However, the tribe stretched as far as parts of Louisiana all the way through Mississippi on in to Alabama, up to Oklahoma, on to North and South Carolina and up in to some parts of Tennessee. Yet, there are very few native Natchez ancestors that still live around the southeastern part of the United States who became known for several reasons including they were the biggest and by far the sturdiest tribe of Indians of lower Mississippi, who knew how to live off the land extremely well because they grew a multitude of vegetation which included the essentials to most native Americans including: corn, beans, cabbage, sage, onion, flour, oats, squash, and other wild plants for medicine men. This culture were plentiful hunters as they were farmers mostly living off of stream and saltwater fish, venison, bear, and other small land animals. The ancestors of these people were believed to be of Quigualtam chiefdom which comes across during De Soto journey from the 1540s, yet the unfortunate diseases some of the overseas immigrants brought when they did make the journey did spread to parts of lower Mississippi at the Europeans first arrival drastically decreasing the Natchez and other natives within the area. These settlers were miscellanies of the “pre-De Soto” civilization that had Tunica-communicating migrants.

Though caught in the slave trade, but treated with respect by other chiefs, they still had their own lifestyle that was different than any other in which they practiced marriage and ceremonies, enjoyed playing games “stickball” in particular that resembles lacrosse. There were two types of the Natchez in which one was viewed as the more dominate and elder group of natives that was determined by the member’s kinfolks on the female side. These Tunica-speaking folks spent time building grounds and holy mounds that were flat-roofed for ceremonies, and many of the more respected lived there throughout their farmlands, different mound cites and centers where the people gathered occasionally for other entertaining, traditional and spiritual congregations. The last known mound was in The Grand Village in Natchez, Mississippi was the main location the tribe ceremonies took place that began around the 13th century, and the  tribe also constructed Emerald Mound which can be found along the Natchez Trace Parkway. Findings from archeologists have been expedited sporadically since the 1930s through a branch of the state’s history department funding, and this village is a National Historic Landmark provided by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, along with other museums, Indian settings, nature walks, picnics, and other educational programs that are provided to students to learn about their natural heritage and environment. Additional ceremonial displays and mounds are visited by tourists year round when they come to this historic landmark.

References

“The Natchez Indians.” Mississippi Historical Society. (2001): 1. Web. 20 Nov. 2011.

http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/index.php?id=4. `

Let's make that grade!