US History/Indian Tribes

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Icehouse Bottom[edit]

Icehouse Bottom is a prehistoric Native American site in Monroe County, Tennessee, located in the southeastern United States. Native Americans were using the site as a semi-permanent hunting camp as early as 7500 B.C., making it one of the oldest known habitation areas in the state of Tennessee. Analysis of the site's Woodland period (1000 B.C. - 1000 A.D.) artifacts shows evidence of an extensive trade network that extended to as far away as Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio.

The Icehouse Bottom site is now submerged by Tellico Lake, an impoundment of the Little Tennessee River. Excavations were conducted at the site in the 1970s in anticipation of inundation. Tellico Lake is managed by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the shoreline immediately above the Icehouse Bottom site is part of the McGhee-Carson Unit of the Tellico Lake Wildlife Management Area, which is managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Zuñi Tribe[edit]


The Zuni, like other Pueblo peoples, are believed to be the descendants of the Ancient Pueblo Peoples who lived in the deserts of New Mexico, Arizona, Southern Colorado and Utah for centuries. Archaeological evidence shows they have lived in their present location for about 1,3000 years. However, before the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Zuni lived in six different villages. After the revolt, until 1692, they took refuge in a defensible position atop Dowa Yalanne, a steep mesa 5 km (2 miles) southeast of the present Pueblo of Zuñi. Dowa meaning "corn", and Yalanne meaning "mountain." After the establishment of peace and the return of the Spanish, the Zuni relocated in their present location, only briefly returning to the mesa top in 1703.

In 1539, a Spanish exploratory party under the Moorish slave Esteban arrived, though the villagers eventually killed him. This was Spain's first contact with any of the Pueblo peoples.

The Zuñi are mentioned in Brave New World.


The Seminole People of the Coastal Plains

"Osceola (1804 – January 20, 1838) was a war chief of the Seminole in Florida. Osceola led a small band of warriors (never more than 100) in the Seminole resistance during the Second Seminole War when the United States tried to remove the Seminoles from their lands. He exercised a great deal of influence on Micanopy, the highest ranking chief of the Seminoles."


The Seminole women did the non-dangerous tasks. They tended the farming fields, gathered berries, water and medicinal leaves from the environment. The women harvested corn, beans and squash from the land. These items would tend to become cornbread or soups/stews. Very seldom did they eat anything plain.

The men did the hunting and fishing. The protein portion in their diet consisted of the wildlife of Florida and Oklahoma. They feasted on alligators, deer, wild turkey and rabbits. They often came across dangers such as poisonous snakes and disease inflicting insects. The biggest dangerous associated with crocodile hunting, would be if the crocodile found them first.


The hunters used bow and arrows, while the fishermen used spears. In times of war, they used bows, tomahawks and even guns to fend off attackers. They had dug-out canoes to push through the rivers with poles. The more effective boats had sails made of palmetto fiber.

"A tomahawk is a type of axe native to North America, traditionally resembling a hatchet with a straight shaft."

" 'The manner of making their boats' by Theodor de Bry after a John White watercolor. Native Americans make a dugout canoe with seashell scrapers. 1590."


The Seminoles originally lived in Florida. The Americans attacked them, and some were forced into Oklahoma, while some remained in Florida.

The Seminoles live in a region known as The Coastal Plains. The Costal plains take up 3200km of the Atlantic Coast. They consist of swamps, marshes and long rolling plains. This area is almost always close to water, and makes for fertile farming lands. The Coastal Plains experience cold, snowy winters and hot and sweaty summers.

"The Location of the Atlantic Coastal Plain in the United States"

Culture: For each birthday, Seminole women were given a string of beads. The Seminole women were masters of weaving. They knitted massive patchwork quilts. The patch count (how many squares each quilt contained) was often well over 250. A popular campfire activity was to weave baskets, carve wood, beadwork and of course, the ever popular quilts. Seminole story tellers are highly respected. It is important to the Seminoles that nothing is forgotten in their legends, so only the people with the best memory could be storytellers. The Seminole had 2 languages, Creek and Miccosukee. These languages are not in use today, but remain a vital part of the Seminole Culture.

Not exactly the most intricate Seminole quilt, but it gives you an idea of the attention to detail that goes into these.


Clothing was one of the most important things in Seminole culture. They weaved clothes like patchwork quilts, adding lots of color to the fabric. Intricate patterns detailed the ceremonial gear just as much as everyday clothes. Each Seminole home had a sewing machine, as each family had a different pattern adorning their clothes.

An adult Seminole man wore a belt (leather, woven yarn or beaded), a full cut shirt with a pattern on the chest and a turban made from plaid wood shawls.

An adult Seminole woman wore a large, floor length skirt, a long sleeved blouse and an ornate headdress. As a young Seminole woman grew older, she would wear one more string of beads for every year she lived.

There is very little pattern or color in this image, but i believe it correctly represents Seminole clothing minus the colors. Male on the left, Female on the right. These clothes are the winter time wear. Of course they would not wear long sleeved, warm clothes in the summer.


Original Territory[edit]

The Cherokee people have lived in many lands throughout many centuries. A Cherokee legend says their people came from far away in the northwest. This is probably true, as it is believed that many Aboriginals originally came to North America from Siberia. The Cherokee settled in the Appalachian Mountains, where they lived until the Europeans arrived. Today, their former territory covers parts of eight American states: North and South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Cherokee Life[edit]


Cherokee people lived in autonomous villages scattered throughout the Appalachians. Though there wasn’t a central ruling clan or society, each town had a war chief and a peace chief (sometimes called a Red Chief and a White Chief). These people, along with their respective council of advisers, were charged with governance.


Cherokee built wattle and daub houses, later replaced by log cabins with bark roofs. Wattle and daub houses were made using a frame of woven sticks, twigs and branches (wattle) then covered with mud or clay (daub). Hot houses were popular places during the winter. Heated with burning embers and coals, these buildings stayed very warm even through the coldest temperatures

Work / Family Life[edit]

Cherokee families were traditionally matrilineal. Women mostly held the property, including the dwelling and garden. They maintained family life, planted the fields, and harvested crops (such as corn, beans, and squash). A girl’s education consisted of practical tasks, such as learning to plant, hoe and reap and pound corn to make flour. Cherokee girls also wove baskets, made pottery jars and bowls, and made clothing from animal skins.

Men spent much of their time hunting or in warfare. They used bows and arrows for large game, such as deer and bear. Fish were caught using traps. Men also had the task of building canoes. These were made by hollowing out trees with hot coals. Once the initial burning took place, the inside of the canoe was scraped to shape by sharp stones.

Social Games[edit]

Cherokee Marbles is a game that dates back to 800 a.d. It is played in teams on a 100 feet long field with five holes. The object of the game is to toss marbles into the holes in a certain sequence, while also knocking opponent marbles out of position. Though billiard balls are used today, players traditionally used marbles chipped from stone and then carefully smoothed and rounded.

Sequoyah and his Syllabary[edit]

After seeing an English spelling book, Sequoyah, a Cherokee from Tennessee, wrote an alphabet for the Cherokee language. This is without ever having gone to school or learned to read or write English. Sequoyah’s syllabary is composed of eighty characters each standing for one syllable. It was adopted by the Cherokee people and is taught in school to Cherokee children today. Sequoyah is the only person in history to devise a written language alone.

The Trail of Tears[edit]

In 1838, armed soldiers rounded up every Cherokee they could find. Gold had been found on Cherokee land and greed overruled all treaties. The US government ordered the Cherokee people to relocate from their homeland to Indian Territory in modern day Oklahoma.

Eight thousand Cherokee took boats to Fort Gibson, in Indian Territory. Those left behind voted to travel overland. An estimated 4000 Cherokee died from exposure, disease, and hunger during the march through to Fort Gibson. Today, this journey is remembered as the “Trail of Tears.”

Cherokee Slaves and the Freedman Issue[edit]

In the 1800s, many tribes of the south-eastern states in the US responded to the power of Anglo-Americans by trying to imitate their ways. They adopted the Anglo-American practices of private land ownership, the cultivation of plantations, and acquiring black slaves. By 1824, it is estimated that the Cherokee owned 1, 277 black slaves. The south-eastern tribes – Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creeks, and Seminole – became known by whites as the “Civilized Tribes” because of their willingness to Anglo-Americanize their way of life. This, however, did not protect them from being forced off their lands once gold was discovered. As many as 15, 000 black slaves accompanied these tribes on the Trail of Tears.

Freedmen, descendants of the black slaves owned by Cherokee, are at the source of a new controversy within this tibe. Though some of these Freedmen – of which there are 25, 000 – have lived among Cherokee for decades, they were denied Cherokee citizenship in a 2007 vote. This is because their ancestors are not listed on the Dawes Roll. The Dawes Roll is a census compiled in 1906 and 1971 of Cherokees by blood. However, Freedmen, even those with Cherokee blood, were not included in the Dawes Roll. Now they cannot prove Cherokee ancestry to the satisfaction of the tribal government. The issue is ongoing today as Freedmen continue to fight for Cherokee citizenship.

The Freedmem issue has raised accusations of racism within the Cherokee and a debate over what it means to be Cherokee - or any other nationality, for that matter.


The Cherokee Nation Website

Mankiller, an Autobiography of a Chief and her People by Wilma Mankiller

The Cherokee by Emily Lepthien


The Goshutes are a Native American tribe that once numbered 20,000. Only 500 remain. The name Goshute derived either from a leader named Goship or from Gutsipupiutsi, a Shoshonean word for Desert People. The Goshutes, a Shoshonean people, maintained a territory in the Great Basin extending from the Great Salt Lake to the Steptoe Range in Nevada, and south to Simpson Springs. Prior to contact, the Goshutes wintered in the Deep Creek Valley in dug out houses built of willow poles and earth. In the spring and summer they gathered wild onions, carrots and potatoes, and hunted small game in the mountains.

Wyandot and Huron[edit]

The Wyandot and Huron are indigenous peoples of North America known in their native language as the Wendat. Modern Wyandots and Hurons emerged in the 17th century from the remnants of two earlier groups, the Huron Confederacy and the Petun, who were located in what is now the Canadian province of Ontario before being decimated by disease and dispersed by war. Wyandots and Hurons today live in various locations in Canada and the United States.

Indian Wars[edit]

Indian Wars is the name generally used in the United States to describe a series of conflicts between the colonial or federal government and the aboriginal people. In his book American Holocaust, David Stannard argues that the destruction of the aboriginal peoples of the Americas, in a "string of genocide campaigns" by Europeans and their descendants, was the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world.

Custer's Last Stand[edit]

The Battle of the Little Bighorn—also known as Custer's Last Stand, and, in the parlance of the relevant Native Americans, the Battle of the Greasy Grass—was an armed engagement between a Lakota-Northern Cheyenne combined force and the 7th Cavalry of the United States Army. It occurred between June 25 and June 26, 1876, near the Little Bighorn River in the eastern Montana Territory. It resulted in most of Custer's army being killed, including himself.


Geronimo was born to the Bedonkohe band of the Apache, near Turkey Creek, a tributary of the Gila River near the modern-day states of Arizona and New Mexico, then part of Mexico, but which his family considered Bedonkohe land.

Geronimo's father, Tablishim, and mother, Juana, educated him according to Apache traditions. He married a woman from the Chiricauhua band of Apache; they had three children. On March 5, 1851, a company of 400 soldiers from Sonora led by Colonel Jose Maria Carrasco attacked Geronimo's camp outside Janos while the men were in town trading. Among those dead were Geronimo's wife, Alope, his children, and mother. His chief, Mangas Coloradas, sent him to Cochise's band for help in revenge against the Mexicans. It was the Mexicans who named him Geronimo. This appellation stemmed from a battle in which he repeatedly attacked Mexican soldiers with a knife, ignoring a deadly hail of bullets. In reference to the Mexicans' plea to Saint Jerome, the name stuck.