First Nations C
First Nations C
“Lord’s Prayer” by the Chinook Indians
Nesika papa klaksta mitlite kopa saghalie
(Our Father Who dwells on High)
Variously described as the Unconquered and Unconquerable or the Spartans of the lower Mississippi Valley, the Chickasaw were the most formidable warriors of the American Southeast, and anyone who messed with them came to regret it, if they survived! British traders from the Carolinas were quick to recognize their prowess in this regard and armed the Chickasaw to the teeth, after which, no combination of the French and their native allies was able to dislodge the Chickasaw from the stranglehold they imposed upon French commerce on the lower Mississippi. The Chickasaw could cut New France in two, which seriously crippled the French in any war with the British. From the high ground overlooking the Mississippi River at Memphis, the Chickasaw took on all comers, including tribes four to five times their size and never lost until they picked the wrong side in the American Civil War. Even then, the Chickasaw Nation was the last Confederate government to surrender to Union forces.
To enhance their appearance, the Chitimacha flattened the foreheads of their male children. Most men wore their hair long, but there were occasional reports of some of their warriors having a scalplock. With the mild climate, male clothing was limited to a breechcloth which allowed a display of their extensive tattooing of the face, body, arms and legs. Women limited themselves to a short skirt. Their hair was also worn long but usually braided. Socially, the Chitimacha were divided into matrilineal (descent traced through the mother) totemic (named for an animal) clans. The most distinctive characteristic of Chitimacha society was their strict caste system of two ranked groups: nobles and commoners. The separation between them included the use of two distinct dialects with commoners required to address nobles in the proper language. The Chitimacha were unique among Native Americans with their practice of strict endogamy (a person can only marry someone from their own group). A noble man or woman who married a commoner forfeited their higher status.
Wrestling horses was common among the plains tribes, but like everything else concerning the horse, Comanches did it on a grand scale. As the number of Spanish horses in New Mexico became inadequate, Comanche raids reached south into Texas and Mexico. By 1775 the Spanish governor of New Mexico was complaining that, despite constant re-supply from Mexico, Comanche raiders had wrestled so many horses he did not have enough to pursue them.
The Comanche epitomized the mounted plains warrior. Until the 1750s, they often employed leather armor and large body shields to protect both horse and rider. This changed with increased use of firearms and quickly changed into the stereotypical light cavalry tactics associated with plains warfare. This development first forced the Spanish, and later Texans and Americans, to cope with a new style of mounted warfare. They did not do very well at first. European cavalry had evolved into heavy-armed dragoons designed to break massed-infantry formations. There was no way these soldiers could stay with mounted Comanches who usually left them eating dust ..if they could find them in the first place. The Texas Rangers were organized during the 1840s primarily to fight Comanches. A decade later, when the American army began to assume much of the Rangers' responsibility, it had much to learn.
The Chickahominy Indian Tribe was among those which witnessed the coming of the colonists in 1607. At that time the Chickahominy lived in villages along the Chickahominy River from the James River to the middle of the current county of New Kent. The tribe, governed by a council of elders, was considered an ally of Powhatan and his paramount chiefdom. The Treaty of 1614 between the Chickahominy and the colonists provided that the Chickahominy would supply 300-400 bowmen to fight the Spanish if necessary.
When the Indians were sent by the English colonists to "Pamunkey Neck" in what is now King William County, the Chickahominy joined the other tribes. After 1718, the Indians were forced off that land, and over the next century, the tribal families migrated back to their ancestral land in Charles City and New Kent counties. In 1900, the tribal government was reorganized, and is now led by a chief, two assistant chiefs, and a tribal council of both men and women.
Today this tribe has approximately 750 Chickahominy people living within a five-mile radius of the tribal center in Charles City County, and several hundred more living in other parts of the United States. Its 25,000-acre enclave includes a tract on state Route 602 that holds the Samaria Baptist Church, the former Samaria Indian school that has been remodeled and is now part of the Church, and a tribal center for meetings and recreation. The tribe hosts an annual fall festival in late September, as well as several other public events. Politically active, the tribe has placed members on the county school board, the planning commission, and in local government offices. The tribe was recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1983.