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Native American Society

Choctaw & Crow


Choctaw Indians

These Native North Americans formerly occupied central and S. Mississippi with some outlying groups in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana.  Their language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock.  Choctaw culture was similar to that of the Creek and Chickasaw, who were their enemies in repeated wars.  From a Native Origin myth, they are known as "People of the Mother Mound".

The Choctaw economy was based on agriculture, and the they were perhaps the most competent farmers in the Southeast. Friendly toward the French colonists, the Choctaw were their allies in wars against other tribes.

After being forced to cede their lands in Alabama and Mississippi, they moved in 1832 to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma, where they became one of the Five Civilized Tribes.

Many Choctaw died from disease, famine and attacks from white men and hostile Indians including the Comanche, during this transition.  It famously came to be known as the "Trail of Tears".  

Those who adjusted to the relocation were soon assimilated by religious missionaries sent to Oklahoma in an effort to "civilize" the Natives and educate them to the white man’s ways.

During the Civil War of 1860, the Choctaw sided with the Confederates, an alliance which prompted the Choctaw to become the first US Indian tribe to adopt a flag of their own.  The flag, carried by the Choctaw Confederate Soldiers, featured a circle surrounding a calumet, and a bow with three arrows symbolizing the three Choctaw Sub-Nations.

In 1990 there were over 85,000 Choctaw in the United States, with more than half living in Oklahoma.

Crow Indians
The Crow, indigenous people of North America call themselves the Absaroka, or bird people.  Their language belongs to the Siouan branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock.

They ranged chiefly in the area of the Yellowstone River and its tributaries and were a hunting tribe typical of the Plains cultural area. Their only crop was tobacco, which they used for pleasure and religious purposes.

Until the 18th century, the Crow lived with the Hidatsa on the upper Missouri River.   After a dispute they migrated westward until they reached the Rocky Mountains.

The Crow developed a highly complex social system. They were enemies of the Sioux and helped the whites in the Sioux wars.

Today most Crow live in Montana, near the Little Bighorn, where tourism, ranching, and mineral leases provide tribal income. In 1990 there were over 9,000 Crow in the United States.

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