During the 1500s and early 1600s, when Spanish explorers were first making contact with the indigenous inhabitants of the Florida, they made contact with a powerful nation on the southwest coast between Charlotte Harbor and Cape Sable. 1MacMahon, Darcie A. and William H. Marquardt. (2004). The Calusa and Their Legacy: South Florida People and Their Environments. University Press of Florida; pp. 1-2. The first contact was made in 1513 by Juan Ponce de Leon, when he landed at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee River in southwest Florida. His landing boats were attacked by Calusa war canoes, lined with round shields.
Archaeologists working at the Ortona site in the late 1990s and early 2000s were astounded to find “landscaping” in the shape of the scepters carried by the Maya elite in the Yucatan Peninsula. Both a mound and a ceremonial pond were over 100 yards/meters long. The discovery has great significance for the understanding of how cultural ideas traveled around the Caribbean Basin and North America, prior to the arrival of European explorers.
The Choctaws, at the time of their earliest acquaintance with the European races, possessed, in conjunction with all their race of the North American Continent, a vague, but to a great extent, correct knowledge of the Oka Falama, “The returning waters,” as they termed it The Flood. The Rev. Cyrus Byington related a little incident, as one out of many interesting and pleasing ones that frequently occurred when traveling through their country from one point to another in the discharge of his ministerial duties, over seventy years ago. At one time he found night fast approaching without any visible prospect of
In the disposition of their dead, the ancient Choctaws practiced a strange method different from any other Nation of people, perhaps, that ever existed. After the death of a Choctaw, the corpse wrapped in a bear skin or rough kind of covering of their own manufacture, was laid out at full length upon a high scaffold erected near the house of the deceased, that it might be protected from the wild beasts of the woods and the scavengers of the air. After the body had remained upon the scaffold a sufficient time for the flesh to have nearly or entirely
There was a peculiar custom among the ancient Choctaws, prior to 1818, which, according to tradition, was as follows: For many years after the marriage of her daughter, the mother-in-law was forbidden to look upon her son-in-law. Though they might converse together, they must be hidden the one from the other by some kind of a screen, and when nothing else offered, by covering her eyes. Thus the mother-in-law was put to infinite trouble and vexation least she should make an infraction upon the strange custom; since, when traveling or in camp often without tents, they were necessarily afraid to
Mesmerism was known among the Choctaw, though they regarded it with wonder and dread, and it was looked upon as injurious and hurtful in its results; while those who practiced this curious art had often to pay very dearly for it, for they were frequently put to death. Ventriloquism has also been found among them, and used solely for vain, selfish and evil designs, but to the great danger of the life of the person practicing it, for the Choctaws believe that whatever appears supernatural, is suspicious and likely at any time to be turned to evil purposes. Eclipses Black
The Choctaw never worshiped idols, or any works of their own hands, as other savage nations. They believed in the existence of a Great Spirit, and that He possessed super-natural power, and was omnipresent, but they did not deem that He expected or required any form of worship of them. They had no idea of God as taught by revealed religion no conception of His manifold mercies, or the atonement made for sin. All they felt was a dread of His attributes and character, made (manifest to them by the phenomena of the heavens. But in common with the believers
The pagan, though not so alive to the serene beauties of the Christian life, and not so attracted by the power, the promises, and the assurances of the Christian religion, as to evince the one, and embrace the other, or to make trial of the moral safeguards that its armoury supplies, would yet so honor, one would think, the persuasive Christian influences, operating around him and about him in so many benign and kindly ways, as to abandon many of the practices that savor of the superstition of a by-gone age. Though there has been a decline, if not a
Letter from Rev. Gilbert Rockwood to Henry R Schoolcraft. Tuscarora Mission, August 1, 1845. SIR: In the following communication, you can make use of such statements as you may deem proper. If all the statements should not be necessary for your official objects, yet they may be interesting to you as an individual. This mission was commenced about fifty years since, under the care of the “New York Missionary Society.” It was transferred to the ” United Foreign Mission Society,” in 1821, and to the ” American Board of Com. for Foreign Missions,” in 1826. The church was organized in
Letter from Rev. Asher Bliss to Henry R. Schoolcraft. Cattaraugus Mission Sept. 4th, 1845. DEAR SIR Agreeably to your request I forward you some facts in regard to the establishment and progress of the gospel among the natives of this reservation. The Cattaraugus Mission Church was organized July 8th, 1827, (which is a little more than 18 years.) It consisted of Mr. William A. Thayer, the teacher, his wife, and 12 native members. There have been additions to it from time to time, until the whole number who have held a connection with this church is one hundred and eighteen.