Topic: Yuchi

Yuchi Language

My original purpose in visiting the Yuchi was to collect linguistic matter, which is now being worked up for special purposes in the interest of the Bureau of Ethnology. Although the detailed results of my linguistic studies are not available for the present paper it will be of advantage to introduce here a general statement regarding some characteristics of the language. It is quite certain now that Yuchi is spoken in only one dialect, although there is a current opinion that formerly the stock was more numerous than it is at present and that the language was spoken in two

Yuchi Environment

The Yuchi of the present time have nearly forgotten their old associations east of the Mississippi. Their geographical knowledge is practically limited to their immediate surroundings. They are known to the Creeks as Yu’tci, plural YutcA’lgi, to the Cherokee as Yu’tsi, and to the Chickasaw as Yu’tci. An informant stated that they were known to the Comanche as SakyówAn. To the Yuchi their near neighbors the Creeks are known as Ku’ba, ‘ looking this way'(?), plural Ku’baha. The Shawnee they call Yon’cta, the Cherokee Tsala”ki, and the Choctaw Tca?’ta. Their name for whites in general is Ka”ka (Goyáka) ‘man white,’

Fig. 31 Decorative Art

Yuchi Decorative Art and Symbolism

Something has already been said about decorative designs in the description of clothing, but the designs themselves and the general subject of art deserve a little attention. As regards the artistic expression of this tribe it seems that, in general, special conventional decorations symbolizing concrete objects are confined to a few articles of clothing such as neckbands, sashes, hair ornaments, leggings and carrying-pouches. The whole field is permeated with a strong religious significance. Decorations of a like sort with a still more emphatic religious meaning are found on pottery, though rarely, as well as on other objects. Besides this we

Fig. 36. Objects Deposited With Navel Cord

Yuchi Customs

Birth Customs Before child-birth takes place the prospective mother retires to a secluded temporary camp always east of the usual dwelling. Here she is attended by one or two old women relatives and her mother. In order to facilitate delivery a decoction is made by placing a bullet in a cup of water, and the woman is given this to drink. During delivery she lees flat on her back on the floor or on the ground. Sometimes the family induces an old woman to come and help the woman in labor by sitting on her abdomen so that she can

Yuchi Ceremonies

The ceremonies, which according to tradition originated in the other world and were taught to the first Indians by Sun. consist of various religious rites performed in public by all the men of the town once a year. The rites include dancing, fasting, the observance of certain taboos, the kindling of a new and sacred fire, the scarification of men, the taking of an emetic and the performance of the ball game. The ceremony as a whole was called, Yueahe’, ‘In the rainbow, ‘ or ‘In the big house.’ The time for these ceremonies is determined by the state of

Yuchi Division of Time

The seasons art’ four in number. Spring, called hinA nwadelé, ‘when summer is near,’ is the time when agricultural activities are resumed after the comparative idleness of the winter. ‘Summer,’ wäde’, a term apparently related to wäfá, ‘south,’ is the long and active season. Autumn, yacadilé, ‘when the tree leaves are yellow,’ is a period of combined rest, hunting and enjoyment. Winter was called wictá, ‘snow comes (?).’ This season the people spent in idleness and recreation. The year is further divided into moons or months, each of which has its name. The names of eleven of these moons with

Yuchi Tribe History

Among the indigenous tribes of the southeastern United States, living within a territory roughly defined by the borders of Georgia and South Carolina, was one, exhibiting a type of culture common to the inhabitants of the country bordering on the Gulf of Mexico east of the Mississippi river, whose members called themselves Tsoyabá, “Offspring of the Sun,” otherwise known as the Yuchi. Constituting an independent linguistic stock (called Uchean in Powell’s classification), their earliest associations, in so far as these are revealed by history and tradition, were identified with the banks of the Savannah river where they lived at a

Fig. 42. Amulet

Yuchi Medicinal Ceremonies

What has so far been said in regard to the treatment of disease deals only with what might properly be called shamanism. Besides the regular practice of curing disease, which is in the hands of especially qualified persons, there are various methods employed by individuals for themselves when attacked by sickness or threatened with it. The town itself celebrates a public ceremony when threatened with evil in the shape of sickness, or when actually suffering from some epidemic. When a man becomes sick and does not desire to employ a shaman to cure him but prefers to treat himself, he

Fig. 41. Feather Attachment of Wand

Yuchi Dancing

On this, the second night, about six of the before-mentioned dances were performed. Although the general characteristics and functions of the dances have been described in the last chapter, a few of the peculiarities will be given again according to the actual cases as observed on both ceremonial occasions. All of the Yuchi dances were this night performed around the fire in the center of the square. The movement was from right to left, contra-clockwise. The steps of the dancers were short, the motion being chiefly in the leg below the knee. In general effect the dance steps look more

Fig. 39 Medicine Pounder

Yuchi New Fire Rite

The new fire rite performed at sunrise of the second day, is symbolic of a new period of life for the tribe. As far as could be learned, the fires of the various household hearths are not extinguished as among the Creeks, since the kindling of the new fire by the town chief is symbolical of this and suffices for all.