Collection: Notes on the Creek Indians

Creek House

The Creek Square Ground

The Square or Yard was called Tokfi’tta (or Tokfi’kta), but sometimes Paskofa (Perryman spelled it “Pas-cofar” or “Pans-cofer”). Three plans of Creek Squares are given, two of them evidently intended to represent the same, while the third seems to be distinct. As the descriptions given in the teat and the notes accompanying the sketches disagree in soiree particulars, it is somewhat uncertain flow many Square Grounds are in question. The third plan (fig. 13) bears a rather close resemblance in its arrangements to what we know of Kasihta and is probably intended for it. 1See Forty-second Ann. Rept. Bur. Amen.

The Origin of the Natchez Indians

The Natchez have a tradition that they came from the sun, that the sun is a woman who has monthly discharges, and that one of these dropped upon the earth and turned into a man. They think that when they die the sun will expire, and that it shines only for them. This origin story is identical with the origin myth of the Yuchi and it would be of very great importance if we could be certain that the Yuchi were in no way responsible for it. It is in keeping with the solar worship of both Natchez and Yuchi..

Story of the Man who Became a Tie-Snake

Among Mr. Hewitt’s papers was a version of this story of which I Have published five more. It was written down at Washington D. C., June, 24, 1883, perhaps by Porter or Perryman but more likely it was one of the tales collected by Jeremiah Curtin to which Hewitt refers in his report to the Chief of the Bureau. It runs as follows Two Indians, one of whom was named Kowe, went upon a hunting expedition and were singularly unsuccessful. Before they killed anything their supplies of food became exhausted and they had nothing to eat. One evening, as they

Spiritual Beliefs of the Creek Indians

Innutska is said to have been the naive of the tutelary deity which came to a youth when he was fasting at the time of puberty. It seems to mean literally “What-comes-to-him-in-sleep.” The girls are said to have acquired their guardian spirits “through the medium of remarkable dreams” and so there may not have been much difference between the two. Indeed, our text continues, “both male and female persons may acquire fetishes through such dreams or by adopting an object, or a portion of an object which has impressed the partaker as exhibiting magic power, such as a fierce animal

Medicine of the Creek Indians

When a person was taken ill his near kindred appointed one of their number to take an article he had worn to the prophet who subjected it to a searching examination (by means of certain drugs?) for the purpose of ascertaining the cause of the illness. If he succeeded he told his clients the name of it but he himself gave no medicine. Diseases were carefully classified, and as soon as the disease was known the remedy was known and recourse was had to the medicine man or a medicine woman. This person possessed a pouch, usually made of the

Creek Ceremonies

A number of festivals were held during the year determined by certain phases of the moon. Anciently it was customary to hold such meetings every month to give and receive counsel and also for enjoyment. There were two principal festivals, a lesser and a greater. The former took place in the spring, usually early in April, and in the south generally at the time when berries, such as mulberries, were getting ripe. The town chief notified his people, and particularly the medicine man, when it was time to hold it. Then the people assembled at the bush ground after dark

Crime Punishment Among the Creek Indians

The fundamental idea regarding punishment was that it cleansed the culprit from the guilt of his crime. Criminals carried no guilt with them out of the world. After undergoing the prescribed punishment the culprit was innocent. It mattered not what he had done. If the law and custom had been enforced against him (or her) he was thereafter, to all intents and purposes, as innocent and as honorable as any other man in the community. If a person of one clan killed a member of another it was held that the crime had been committed against the entire clan, and

Creek Education

The father had no more to do with the discipline and education of his children than an alien. He could not punish their misconduct in any way, but he had such a right in some other man’s family, i. e., in the family of the man who had married his sister. It was the mother’s clansmen who might punish the children of their sister. The husband might sit around and talk in his wife’s house but he had no authority there. He had full authority if he wished to exercise it in the house of his sister and her husband.

Creek Marriage

When a man was considered by his clansmen entitled to a wife a conference was held by the elder men of the clan. The prospective groom must, however, have the following virtues. He must be a good hunter, a brave warrior, and an athlete. Having decided that he was old enough and fully callable of becoming the parent of children, a decision which gave him adult status, the elder men conferred with the elder women of the clan, saying to them in substance: “Our young man,” giving his name and qualifications, “should now have a wife. He is now a

Creek Clans

Perryman said that each town consisted of a number of clans or rather a number of segments of clans, and the Town Chief (Talwa Miko) was chosen from the principal one. Whenever another clan increased in numbers and importance so as to exceed that of the principal clan, a part or the whole of this clan would separate from the village and establish a new one. This happened only when the people were so numerous and the leading men so popular that they could induce members of the other clans to unite with them in the enterprise. In this way