Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mississippi Native American Tribes

Native American Tribes of Mississippi
research compiled by Angela L MSSPI Case & Reasearch Manager

Many thousands of years ago groups known as Paleo-Indians lived in what today is referred to as the American South. These groups were hunter-gatherers who hunted a wide range of animals, including the megafauna, which became extinct following the end of the
Pleistocene age. Scholars believe that Paleo-Indians were specialized, highly mobile foragers who hunted late Pleistocene fauna such as bison, mastodons, caribou, and mammoths. Direct evidence in the Southeast is meager, but archaeological discoveries in related areas support this hypothesis.

The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally.

The Mississippian way of life began to develop in the Mississippi River Valley (for which it is named). Cultures in the tributary Tennessee River Valley may have also begun to develop Mississippian characteristics at this point. Almost all dated Mississippian sites predate 1539 (when Hernando de Soto explored the area).

The Mississippian stage is usually divided into three or more periods. Each of these periods is an arbitrary historical distinction that varies from region to region. At one site, each period may be considered to begin earlier or later, depending on the speed of adoption or development of given Mississippian traits.

Early Mississippian cultures are those which had just made the transition from the Late Woodland period way of life (500–1000 C.E.). Different groups abandoned tribal lifeways for increasing complexity, sedentism, centralization, and agriculture. The Early Mississippian period is considered to be, in most places, c. 1000–1200 C.E. The production of surplus corn and attractions of the regional chiefdoms both led to rapid concentrations of population in major centers.

The Middle Mississippian period is often considered the high point of the Mississippian era. The expansion of the great metropolis and ceremonial complex at Cahokia, the formation of other complex chiefdoms, and the spread and development of SECC art and symbolism are characteristic changes of this period. The Mississippian traits listed above came to be widespread throughout the region. In most places, this period is recognized as occurring c. 1200–1400 C.E.

The Late Mississippian period, usually considered from c. 1400 to European contact, is characterized by increasing warfare, political turmoil, and population movement. The population of Cahokia dispersed early in this period (1350–1400), perhaps migrating to other rising political centers. More defensive structures are often seen at sites, and sometimes a decline in mound-building and ceremonialism. Although some areas continued an essentially Middle Mississippian culture until the first significant contact with Europeans, the population of most areas had dispersed or were experiencing severe social stress by 1500[citation needed]. Along with the contemporary Anasazi, these cultural collapses coincide with the global climate change of the Little Ice Age. Scholars have theorized that drought and collapse of maize agriculture, together with possible deforestation and overhunting by the concentrated populations, forced them to move away.

A number of cultural traits are recognized as being characteristic of the Mississippians. Although not all Mississippian peoples practiced all of the following activities, they were distinct from their ancestors in adoption of some or all of these traits.

1.The construction of large, truncated earthwork pyramid mounds, or platform mounds. Such mounds were usually square, rectangular, or occasionally circular. Structures (domestic houses, temples, burial buildings, or other) were usually constructed atop such mounds.

2.Maize-based agriculture. In most places, the development of Mississippian culture coincided with adoption of comparatively large-scale, intensive maize agriculture, which allowed support of larger populations and craft specialization.

3.The adoption and use of riverine (or more rarely marine) shell-tempering agents in their ceramics. Hollow ceramic jug showing the underwater panther from the Mississippian culture, found at Rose Mound in Cross County, Arkansas, U.S., 1400-1600 at right.

4.Widespread trade networks extending as far west as the Rockies, north to the Great Lakes, south to the Gulf of Mexico, and east to the Atlantic Ocean.

5.The development of the chiefdom or complex chiefdom level of social complexity.

6.The development of institutionalized social inequality.

7.A centralization of control of combined political and religious power in the hands of few or one.

8.The beginnings of a settlement hierarchy, in which one major center (with mounds) has clear influence or control over a number of lesser communities, which may or may not possess a smaller number of mounds.

9.The adoption of the paraphernalia of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex (SECC), also called the Southern Cult. This is the belief system of the Mississippians as we know it. SECC items are found in Mississippian-culture sites from Wisconsin (see Aztalan State Park) to the Gulf Coast, and from Florida to Arkansas and Oklahoma. The SECC was frequently tied in to ritual game-playing, as with chunkey.

The Mississippians had no writing system or stone architecture. They worked naturally occurring metal deposits, but did not smelt iron or make bronze metallurgy.

Various Mississippi Tribes


When first known to Europeans, this tribe lived on Pearl River, partly in what is now Mississippi, partly in Louisiana, Originally, both sides of the lower Pearl River which is the current eastern border of Louisiana with Mississippi. During 1702 the Acolapissa left their original location and moved a short distance west to Bayou Costine on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain. By 1718 they relocated once again, this time to the east bank of the Mississippi just above the new French settlement at New Orleans.

Pressured by the expansion of French settlement during the next few years, the Acolapissa were absorbed by the Houma and moved upstream with them to Ascension Parish (Donaldsonville, La.). The Houma remained in this area until they sold their land in 1776 and moved to Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes southwest of New Orleans. Their descendants still live in this area and have provided the name for present-day Houma, Louisiana. Early French writers derived the name from the Choctaw káklo pisa, 'those who listen and see.' Allen Wright, governor of the Choctaw nation, suggests okla pima, 'those who look out for people'; that is, watchmen, guardians, spies, which probably refers to their position, where they could observe entrance into or departure from the lake and river. The name appears to have been made by early author; to include several tribes, the Bayogoula, Mugniasha, and others. According to Iberville the Acolapissa had 7 towns; but one of their villages was occupied by the Tangiboa, who appear to have been a different tribe. The Acolapissa are said to have suffered severely from an epidemic about 1700, and Iberville says they united with the Mugulasha; if so, they must have been included in those massacred by the Bayogoula, but this is rendered doubtful by the statement of Penicaut (French Hist. Coll. La., n.s.i, 144, 1869) that in 1718 the Colapissa, who inhabited the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain, removed to the Mississippi and settled 13 leagues above New Orleans.


Apparently a corruption of their own name Taneks anya, "first people," filtered over the tongues of other Indians. Also called:
Annocchy, early French spellings intended for Taneks
Polu'ksalgi, Creek name.

Connections. They belonged to the Siouan linguistic family.
Location. Their earliest historical location was on the lower course of Pascagoula River.
Villages. None are known except those hearing the name of the tribe, unless we assume the "Moctobi" or "Capinans" to be a part of them. These, however, may have been merely synonyms of the tribal name.
History. It is possible that the Biloxi are the Capitanesses who appear west of Susquehanna River on early Dutch charts. On the De Crenay map of 1733, a Biloxi town site appears on the right bank of the Alabama River, a little above the present Clifton in Wilcox County, Ala. This was probably occupied by the Biloxi during their immigration from the north. Individuals belonging to the tribe were met by Iberville on his first expedition to Louisiana in 1699, and in June of the same year his brother Bienville visited them. In 1700 Iberville found their town abandoned and does not mention encountering the people themselves, though they may have been sharing the Pascagoula village at which he made a short stop. A few years later, Pénicaut says (1702-23), St. Denis persuaded the Biloxi to abandon their village and settle on a small bayou near New Orleans but by 1722 they had returned a considerable distance toward their old home and were established on the former terrain of the Acolapissa Indians on Pearl River. They continued in this neighborhood and close to the Pascagoula until 1763, when French government east of the Mississippi came to an end. Soon afterward, although we do not know the exact date, they moved to Louisiana and settled not far from Marksville. They soon moved farther up Red River and still later to Bayou Boeuf. Early in the nineteenth century they sold their lands, and, while part of them remained on the river, a large body migrated to Texas and settled on Biloxi Bayou, in Angelina County. All of these afterward left, either to return to Louisiana or to settle in Oklahoma. A few Biloxi are still living in Rapides Parish, La., and there are said to be some in the Choctaw Nation, but the tribe is now practically extinct. In 1886 the Siouan relationship of their language was established by Dr. Gatschet of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and a considerable record of it was obtained by Mr. James O. Dorsey of the same institution in 1892-93. (See Dorsey and Swanton, 1912.)

Population.-On the basis of the imperfect records available, I have made the following estimates of Biloxi population at different periods: 420 in 1698, 175 in 1720, 105 in 1805, 65 in 1829, 6-8 in 1908. Mooney (1928) estimated that this tribe, the Pascagoula, and the "Moctobi" might number 1,000 in 1650.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Biloxi are remark able

(1) as having spoken a Siouan dialect unlike all of their neighbors with one possible exception;

(2) as the tribe first met by Iberville when he reached the coast of Louisiana and established the French colony of that name;

(3) as having furnished the names of the first two capitals of Louisiana, Old and New Biloxi; that of the present Biloxi, Miss.; and the name of Biloxi Bay.


The name of a body of Indians connected in French with the Biloxi and Pascagoula and probably a branch references with of one of them.

Chakchiuma. Proper spelling Shåktci homma, meaning "Red Crawfish People."

Connections. They spoke a dialect closely related to Choctaw and Chickasaw. Their nearest relatives were the Houma, who evidently separated from them in very recent times.

Location. In the eighteenth century on Yalobusha River where it empties into the Yazoo but at an early period extending to the head of the Yalobusha and eastward between the territories of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes as far as West Point.

Subdivisions. A French map dated about 1697 seems to call that section of the tribe on Yazoo River, Sabougla, though these may have been a branch of the Sawokli.

History. According to tradition, this tribe came from the west at the same time as the Chickasaw and Choctaw and settled between them. When De Soto was among the Chickasaw, an expedition was directed against the Chakchiuma "who the [Chickasaw) Cacique said had rebelled," but their town was abandoned and on fire. It was claimed that they had planned treachery against the Spaniards. The chief of the tribe at this time was Miko Lusa (Black Chief). After the French settlement of Louisiana a missionary was killed by these people and in revenge the French stirred up the neighboring tribes to attack them. They are said to have been reduced very considerably in consequence. Afterward, they remained closely allied with the

French, assisted them after the Natchez outbreak, and their chief was appointed leader of the Indian auxiliaries in the contemplated attack upon the Chickasaw in 1739. The animosity thus excited probably resulted in their destruction by the Chickasaw and absorption into the Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes. From De Crenay's map it appears that a part had. gone to live with the Chickasaw by 1733.

The rest may have gone to the Choctaw, for a band bearing their name constituted an important division of that nation. Tradition states that they were destroyed by united efforts of the Chickasaw and Choctaw, but the latter were uniformly allied with the French and hostile to the Chickasaw when this alliance is supposed been in existence.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates 1,200 souls among the Chakchiuma, Ibitoupa, Taposa, and Tiou in 1650; exclusive of the Tiou, my own would be 750. In 1699 they are said to have occupied 70 cabins. In 1702 it is claimed that there were 400 families, which in 1704 had been reduced to 80, but probably the first figure is an exaggeration. About 1718-30 there were 50 Chakchiuma cabins and in 1722 the total population is placed at 150.

Chickasaw -
Chickasaw History According to Malcolm McGee [Note: The following is a transcription of lengthy notes made by historian Lyman Draper from an interview with Malcom McGee and includes some references to other research - the original pages were often hard to read - as Malcom McGee died 5 NOV 1848, the interview would have had to take place sometime before that date, See the letter following from Mrs. M. J. Stewart to Draper which dates the McGee interview in 1841. McGee spent nearly his entire life among the Chickasaws and was considered their main interpreter and because of this fact his accounts of Chickasaw history are invaluable. The researcher should be aware that as McGee was born in 1760, he would have been 81 years old in 1841, and allowances for inaccuracies as to dates should be made due to a aging memory. It should also be noted that McGee at times seems to change historical accounts to put a better light on events not particularly favorable to his beloved Chickasaws, the most notable example of this is where he states that the French officers who were burnt to death by the Chickasaws in fact threw themselves into the fire.

 Chickasaw Land Sales 1836

 Chickasaw Land Sales Jan-Jun 1837

 Chickasaw Land Sales July-Dec 1837

 Chickasaw Orphan Land Sales 1837

some Chickasaw Estates 1874- 1880

 Chickasaw Marraige Records 1855-1907
A sketch of a Chickasaw by Bernard Romans, 1775.

The origin of the Chickasaws is uncertain. When Europeans first encountered them, the Chickasaws were living in villages in what is now Mississippi and western Tennessee, with a smaller number in South Carolina. The Chickasaws may have been immigrants to the area, and perhaps were not descendants of Indians of the pre-historic Mississippian culture.

The Chickasaws had a reputation for being brave and fierce warriors; their warlike culture has been compared to that of the ancient Spartans. The first European contact with the Chickasaws was in 1540, when Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto encountered them. After various disagreements, the Chickasaws attacked the De Soto expedition, and the Spanish moved on.

The Chickasaws began to trade with the British after the colony of Carolina was founded in 1670. With British-supplied guns, the Chickasaws raided their enemies the Choctaws, capturing Choctaws and selling them into slavery, a practice that stopped once the Choctaws acquired guns from the French. The Chickasaws were often at war with the French and the Choctaws in the eighteenth century, such as in the Battle of Ackia on May 26, 1736, until France gave up her claims to the region after the Seven Years' War.

The majority of the tribe was deported to Indian Territory (now headquartered in Ada, Oklahoma) in the 1830s. Remnants of the South Carolina Chickasaws have reorganized tribal government, and are in process of gaining recognition from the state, having their tribal headquarters at Indiantown, South Carolina.

During the American Civil War, the Chickasaw Nation sided with the South. It was the last Confederate community to surrender in the U.S.
The "unexpected" was so typical of the Chickasaw warfare that one would think that their enemies would have anticipated it, and since the Chickasaw believed that a dead warrior's ghost would haunt his relatives until avenged, the only question about Chickasaw retaliation was when and where. Aside from the British, the Chickasaw had few allies and an amazing number of enemies. At times these included the Creeks, Caddo, Cherokee, Illinois, Potawatomi , Miami, Iroquois, Wyandot , Ottawa, Kickapoo, Mobile, Menominee, Kickapoo, Shawnee, Osage, Choctaw, Chakchiuma, Ofo, Chitamacha, Houma, Yuchi, Tunica, and Quapaw. This seems to include just about everyone who lived near them and quite a few who did not. The Chickasaw whipped them all and in the process helped drive the French from North America, frustrate the ambitions of Spain, and defeat the Americans, in their only encounter during the Revolutionary War.

Chickasaw Villages : Ackia (Akia, Old Town), Alaoute, Amalahta, Apeony (Apeonne), Apilefaplimengo, Ashukhuma, Ayebisto, Chatelaw, Chesafaliah, Chinica, Chopoussa, Chucalissa (Big Town, Chocolissa, Chokkillissa, Chukwillissa), Chukafalaya (Choquafaliah, Long Town, Old Pontotoc, Tchoukafala), Chula, Coppertown, Couiloussa, Etoukouma, Falatchao, Gouytola, Hummalala, Hussinkoma (Red Grains), Hykehah, Latcha Hoa Run, Ogoula-Tchetoka, Onthaba-atchosa, Ooeasa (Wiaca - located among the Upper Creek), Oucahata, Oucthambolo, Outanquatle, Phalachehs, Pontotoc, Shatara, Shiokaya (Stand-by-it), Tanyachilca, Taposa, Thanbolo, Teshatulla (Post Oak Grove, Post Oak Town, Techatulla), Tokshish (McIntoshville), Tuckahaw, Tuskawillao, Tuskaroilloe, and Yaneka.

We will be doing a seperate posting for the Choctaw as their information is too large for this post.

Choula. Bernard de La Harpe gives this as the name of a small tribe of 40 individuals on the Yazoo River. There is some reason to think it was applied to a part of the Ibitoupa tribe.

The name means "fox" in Chickasaw and Choctaw.

Grigra. Said to have been given them from the frequent occurrence of these two syllables in their speech. They sometimes appear as the "Gray Village" of the Natchez.

Connections. The fact that the language of this tribe contained an r suggests a probable relationship with the tribes of the Tunican group.

Location. When first known to us, it formed one of the Natchez villages on St. Catherines Creek, Miss.

Villages. Only one village is mentioned called by a shorter form of the name given to the tribe, Gris or Gras.

History. The Grigra had been adopted by the Natchez at an earlier period than the Tiou and, like them, may once have resided on Yazoo River, but there is no absolute proof of this. They are mentioned as one of three Natchez tribes belonging to the anti-French faction. Otherwise their history is identical with that of the Natchez.

Population. One estimate made about 1720-25 gives about 60 warriors.


Literally "red," but evidently an abbreviation of saktcihomma, "red crawfish."

Connections. They spoke a Muskhogean language very close to Choctaw, and it is practically certain from the fact that their emblem was the red crawfish that they had separated from the Chakchiuma.

Location. The earliest known location of the Houma was on the east side of the Mississippi River some miles inland and close to the Mississippi-Louisiana boundary line, perhaps near the present Pinckney, Miss. (See also Louisiana.)

Villages. At one time the people of this tribe were distributed between a Little Houma village 2 leagues below the head of Bayou La Fourche and a Great Houma village half a league inland from it. This was after they had moved from their

earlier home.

History. La Salle heard of the Houma in 1682, but be did not visit them. Tonti made an alliance with them 4 years later, and in 1699 their village was the highest on the Mississippi reached by Iberville before returning to his ships. In 1700 Iberville visited them again and left a missionary among them to build a church, which was an accomplished fact when Gravier reached the tribe in November of the same year. A few years later the Tunica, who had been impelled to leave their old town, were hospitably received by this tribe, but in 1706 they rose upon their hosts, destroyed part of them, and drove the rest down the Mississippi. These reestablished themselves on Bayou St. John near New Orleans, but not long afterward they reascended the river to the present Ascension Parish and remained there for a considerable period. In 1776 they sold a part at least of their lands to two French Creoles but seem to have remained in the neighborhood until some years after the purchase of Louisiana by the United States. By 1805 some had gone to live with the Atakapa near Lake Charles. Most of the remainder appear to have drifted slowly across to the coast districts of Terrebonne and La Fourche Parishes, where their descendants, with Creole and some Negro admixture, still live.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates a Houma population in 1650 of 1,000. In 1699 Iberville gives 140 cabins and about 350 warriors, while the Journal of the second vessel in this expedition gives a population of 600-700. In 1718, after the tribe had suffered from both pestilence and massacre, La Harpe estimates 60 cabins and 200 warriors. In 1739 a French officer who passed their town rates the number of their warriors at 90-100 and the whole population at 270300. In 1758 there is an estimate of 60 warriors and in 1784 one of 25 while, in 1803, the total Houma population is placed at 60. In 1907 the native estimate of mixed-blood population calling itself Houma was 800-900, but the census of 1910 returned only 125 Indians from Terrebonne. To these there should probably be added some from La Fourche but not a number sufficient to account for the discrepancy. In 1920, 639 were returned and in 1930, 936 from Terrebonne besides 11 from La Fourche. Speck estimates double the number.

Connection in which they have become noted. Houma, the capital of Terrebonne Parish, preserves the name.

Read More Houma History here

A Mississippian era priest holding a ceremonial flint mace as envisioned by Herb Roe. 2004 (right)


Meaning probably, people "at, the source of" a stream or river.

Connections. No words of this language are known unless the tribal name itself is native, but from this and Le Page du Pratz's (1758) statement that their language, unlike that of the Tunica group, was without an r, there is every reason to class it as Muskhogean and closely related to Chackchiuma, Chickasaw, and Choctaw.

Location. On Yazoo River in the present Holmes County, perhaps between Abyatche and Chicopa Creeks.

Villages. Only one village is known, and that called by the tribal name, though it is possible that the Choula, (q. v.) mentioned by La Harpe were an offshoot.

History. The Ibitoupa are mentioned in 1699 by Iberville, and in Coxe's Carolana (1705). Before 1722 they had moved higher up and were 3 leagues above the Chakchiuma (q. v.), who were then probably at the mouth of the Yalobusha. They probably united with the Chickasaw soon after the Natchez War, though they may first have combined with the Chakchiuma and Taposa. They were perhaps related to the people of the Choctaw towns called Ibetap okla.

Population. All that we know of the population of the Ibitoupa is that in 1722 it occupied 6 cabins; in the same year there are said to have been 40 Choula, a possible offshoot.

Connection in which their name has become noted. It seems to have been the original of the name of Tippo Bayou, Miss.


A band of Koasati moved from Alabama to Tombigbee River in 1763 but returned to their old country a few years later impelled by the hostilities of their new neighbors.


Meaning unknown. Also called:

Kúlua, Choctaw name, the Muskhogean people being unable to pronounce r readily.

Connections. The name and associations, together with Le Page du Pratz's (1758) statement that their language possessed an r sound, are practically conclusive proof that this tribe belonged to the Tunican linguistic group.

Location. The Koroa appear oftenest in association with the Yazoo on the lower course. of Yazoo River, but at the very earliest period they were on the banks of the Mississippi or in the interior of what is now Louisiana on the other side of that river. (See also Louisiana.)

Villages. None are known under any other name.

History. In the De Soto narratives a people is mentioned called Coligua and Colima which may be the one under discussion. If not, the first appearance of the Koroa in history is on Marquette's map applying to 1673, though they are there misplaced. The La Salle narratives introduce us, apparently, to two tribes of the name, one on Yazoo River, the other below Natchez, but there are reasons for thinking that the latter was the tribe elsewhere called Tiou. In Tonti's account of his expedition overland to the Red River in 1690 we learn of a Koroa town west of the Mississippi, and also of a Koroa River. In 1700 Bienville also learned of a trans-Mississippi Koroa settlement. From the time of Tonti's expedition to the mouth of the Mississippi in 1686 there seems to have been a Koroa town on or near the lower Yazoo, as mentioned above. When the Natchez outbreak occurred, this tribe and the Yazoo joined them and destroyed the French post on Yazoo River, but they suffered severely from Indians allied with the French and probably retired soon afterward to the Chickasaw, though part, and perhaps all of them, ultimately settled among the Choctaw. The Choctaw chief Allen Wright claimed to be of Koroa descent.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that there were 2,000 Koroa, Yazoo, Tunica, and Ofo in 1650. Le Page du Pratz places the number of Koroa cabins in his time at 40. In 1722 the total population of the Koroa, Yazoo, and Ofo is given as 250, and in 1730 the last estimate of the Koroa and Yazoo together gives 40 warriors, or perhaps 100 souls.

Moctobi. This name appears in the narratives of the first settlement of Louisiana, in 1699, applied to a tribe living with or near the Biloxi and Pascagoula. It is perhaps the name of the latter in the Biloxi language, or a subdivision of the Biloxi themselves, and is best treated in connection with the latter.


The Natchez Indians have long since been extinct as a nation, and they live only in story and tradition, and in the name of the beautiful old city of Natchez, built in the heart of the region they once inhabited. Dim traditions hint that they were once a powerful people, boasting some sixty villages and eight hundred suns or princes. Father Charlevoix wrote of them in 1721:

"About six years ago they reckoned among them four thousand warriors. It appears that they were more numerous in the time of M. La Salle, and even when M. d'Iberville discovered the mouth of the Mississippi. At present the Natchez cannot raise two thousand fighting men. They attribute this decrease to some contagious diseases, which in these last years have made a great ravage among them."

Father le Petit declared that the Natchez were reduced to six little villages and eleven suns, at the time of the massacre of the French in 1729. The Taensas Indians, who occupied the present parish of Tensas in Louisiana, were an offshoot of the Natchez, with the same religion, manners and customers. The fertility fo teh Natchez district at once appealed to the French, and d'Iberville took pains to conclude a formal treaty of peace with the tribe in 1700; and in 1716 Bienville built Fort Rosalie and established the first French post among them. From this time on many French settled among them. The first settlers bought their lands of the Indians, but afterwards little regard was shown for INdian proprietorship. This steady encroachment of the French on their domain, combined with ill-treatment and cupidity, precipitated the fatal massacre of 1729. Writers have been fond of portraying the Natchez as the most civilized of all the southern tribes of Indians, but there is little or nothing to warrant the picture. They occupied a region highly favored by soil and climate, which may have given them a more permanent habitat than other tribes; but there was nothing in their religion, architecture, or mode of life to set them above or apart from many other Indian tribes. They were sun worshippers and believed that their hereditary chiefs were descended from the sun, a belief prevailing among many other tribes - notably the Choctaws and Hurons. if they relied more on agriculture, and less on hunting and fishing, for the means of subsistence, the fertile area occupied by them, will readily account for it. Their religion was in the highest degree primitive and brutal. Says Charlevoix:

"When this Great Chief, or the Woman Chief dies, all their Allouez or guards, are obliged to follow them into the other world; but they are not the only persons who have this honor; for so it is reckoned among them, and is greatly sought after. The death of a chief sometimes costs the lives of more than a hundred persons; and I have been assured that very few principal persons of the Natchez die, without being escorted to the country of souls by some of their relations, their friends, or their servants."

The horrible ceremonies attendant on human sacrifices have been frequently detailed by early writers. Their idea of a future life was sufficiently crude. The good enjoyed a perpetual feast of green corn, venison and melons, and the bad were condemned to a diet of alligators and spoiled fish. The chiefs of teh Natchez bore the name of Suns and the head chief was called the Great Sun. He was always succeeded by the son of the woman most nearly related to him. This woman had the title of Woman Chief, and though she did not meddle with the government, she was paid great honors. Like the great chief, she also had the power of life and death.

"The government was an absolute despotism. The supreme chief was master of their labor, their property and their lives. he never labored and when he needed provisions he issued invitations for a feast, and all the principal inhabitants were required to attend, and to bring supplies sufficient for the entertainment and for the support of the royal family, until he chose to proclaim another festival." (Claiborne, p. 24.)

The Natchez were divided into two classes, that of the nobility, and that of the common people, called 'Stinkards." While they understood one another, their dialects were different. When Charlevoix saw the great village of the Natchez, it consisted of only a few cabins, and he explained its small size by the statement that the savages, from whom the great chief had the right to take all they had, got as far from him as they could.

He has left us a vivid picture of the village and its royal dwelling and temple. There is certainly no evidence of a higher civilization portrayed. The temple is built of the same crude materials as the other cabins, only larger. Inside, he "Never saw anything more slovenly and dirty, nor more in disorder . . . . We see nothing in their outward appearance that distinguishes them from the other savages of Canada and Louisiana. They seldom make war, not placing their glory in destroying men. What distinguishes them more particularly, is the form of their government, entirely despotic; a great dependence, which extends even to a kind of slavery, in the subjects; more pride and grandeur in the chiefs, and their pacific spirit, which, however, they have not entirely preserved for some years past."

The miserable remnant of the once powerful tribe was finally defeated and utterly crushed by the French at Natchitoches, in 1732 and their identity became merged in that of the Chickasaws and other tribes, among whom the few survivors took refuge.


A tribe living at one time in northern Mississippi. currently researching for further information


"Bread people." Also called:

Mfskigula, Biloxi name.

Connections. They were probably Muskhogeans although closely associated with the Siouan Biloxi.

Location. Their earliest known location was on the river which still bears their name, about 16 French leagues from its mouth. (See also Louisiana and Texas.)

Villages. Unknown, but see Biloxi.

History. Iberville heard of the Pascagoula in 1699 when he made the first permanent settlement in Louisiana. That summer his brother Bienville visited them, and the following winter another brother, Sauvolle, who had been left in charge of the post, received several Pascagoula visitors. Some Frenchmen visited the Pascagoula town the next spring and Pénicaut (in Margry, 1875-86, vol. 5) has left an interesting account of them. In Le Page du Pratz's time (early eighteenth century) they were on the coast, but they did not move far from this region as long as France retained possession of the country. When French rule ended the Pascagoula passed over to Louisiana and settled first on the Mississippi River and later on Red River at its junction with the Rigolet du Bon Dieu. In 1795 they moved to Bayou Boeuf and established themselves between a band of Choctaw and the Biloxi. Early in the nineteenth century all three tribes sold these lands. A part of the Pascagoula remained in Louisiana for a considerable period, Morse mentioning two distinct bands, but a third group accompanied some Biloxi to Texas and lived for a time on what came to be called Biloxi Bayou, 15 miles above its junction with the Neches. I have been able to find no Indians in Louisiana claiming Pascagoula descent, but in 1914 there were two among the Alabama who stated that their mother was of this tribe, their father having been a Biloxi.

Population. Mooney (1928) estimates that in 1650 there were 1,000 all told of the Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Moctobi. My own estimate for about the year 1698 is 875 of whom I should allow 455 to the Pascagoula. In 1700 Iberville states that there were 20 families, which would mean that they occupied the same number of cabins, but Le Page du Pratz raises this to 30. In 1758 the Pascagoula, Biloxi, and Chatot are estimated to have had about 100 warriors. In 1805 Sibley (1832) gives 25 among the Pascagoula alone. Morse (1822) estimates a total Pascagoula population of 240, and Schoolcraft (1851-57) cites authority for 111 Pascagoula in 1829. This is the last statement we have bearing upon the point.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Pascagoula tribe is of some note as a constant companion of the Siouan Biloxi, and from the fact that it has bequeathed its name to Pascagoula River, Pascagoula Bay, and Pascagoula Port, Miss.


This tribe moved inland from Pensacola Bay near the end of the seventeenth century and in 1725--26 had established themselves near the Biloxi on Pearl River.


When the French discovered this tribe in 1673 one town was on the east side of the Mississippi, but before 1700 it moved to the western bank.


Meaning unknown.

Connections. As this tribe is said to have been allied with the Chickasaw and, unlike the Tunica and Tiou, did not have an r sound in their language, there is every reason to suppose that they belonged to the Muskhogean stock. Probably they were most closely affiliated with their neighbors, the Chakchiuma and Chickasaw.

Location. Their earliest known location was on Yazoo River a few miles above the Chakchiuma.

History.-The Taposa are first mentioned by Iberville in and the missionary De Montigny, in 1699. On the De Crenay map of 1733 (1910) their village is placed very close to that of the Chakchiuma, whose fortunes they probably followed.

Population. The only hint as to the size of this tribe is given by Le Page du Pratz who says that the Taposa had about 25 cabins, half the number he assigns to the Chakchiuma. Other writers usually include them with the Chakchiuma.


Meaning unknown. The name has occasionally been misprinted "Sioux," thus causing confusion with the famous Sioux or Dakota of Minnesota and the Dakotas.

Connections.-The Tiou are proved by a statement of Diron d'Artaguiette (1916) to have belonged to the Tunica linguistic group of the Tunican family.

Location.-Their earliest location was near the upper course of Yazoo River; later they lived a little south of the Natchez and then among them.

History. Shortly before 1697 the Tiou appear to have been in the locality first mentioned, and a map 1699 towns of that date seems to give two Tiou, one above the Tunica and one below them. By 1699 part had settled among the Natchez, having been drive them their former homes, according to Le Page du Pratz (1758), by the Chickasaw. Before establishing themselves finally with the Natchez, they seem to have lived for a time a short distance below them on the Mississippi River, where La Salle and his companions speak of them as Koroa. Part of the tribe appears to have remained on the Yazoo for some years after the rest had left. At a later period the Bayogoula called in Tiou and Acolapissato take the place of the Mugulasha with whom they had formerly lived and whom they had destroyed. Soon after Fort Rosalie had been built, the Tiou sold the lands upon which they had settled to the Sieur Roussin and moved elsewhere. lands After they the Natchez massacre the hostile Indians sent them to the Tunica in a vain endeavor to induce the latter to declare against the French. In 1731, if we may trust a statement by Charlevoix, they were utterly cut off by the Quapaw, and while the completeness of this destruction may well be doubted, we hear nothing of them afterward.

Population. No estimate of Tiou population separate from that of the Natchez is known.


Meaning "the people," or "those who are the people." Also called:

Yoron, their own name.

Connections. They were the leading tribe of the Tunica group of the Tunican stock, the latter including also the Chitimacha and Atakapa.

Location. On the lower course of Yazoo River, on the south side about 4 French leagues from its mouth.

History. There is evidence that tribes belonging to the Tunica group were encountered by De Soto west of the Mississippi and very probably the name of the tribe is preserved in that of the town of Tanico mentioned by Elvas (in Robertson, 1933), where people made salt, for in later years we find the Tunica engaged in the making and selling of this commodity. An early location for them on the eastern side of the Mississippi is indicated by the "Tunica Oldfields" near Friar Point, not many miles below Helena, Ark. The name appears on Marquette's map (1673) but there they are wrongly placed. In 1682 La Salle and his companions learned of this tribe, then located as given above, but neither he nor his lieutenant Tonti visited them on this or any subsequent expedition, though they learned of Tunica villages in the salt-making region of northeastern Louisiana. The Yazoo town of the tribe was first seen, apparently, by three missionary priests from Canada, one of whom, Father Davion, established himself among them in 1699. In 1702 he fled from his charges, but two or three years later was induced by them to return, and he remained among them for about 15 years more. In 1706 this tribe left the Yazoo and were received into the Houma town nearly opposite the mouth of Red River, but later, according to La Harpe (1831), they rose upon their hosts and killed more than half of them, and for a long period they continued to live in the region they had thus appropriated. They Were firm friends of the French and rendered them invaluable service in all difficulties with the tribes higher up, and particularly against the Natchez, but in 1719 or 1720 Davion was so much discouraged at the Meager results of his efforts that he left them. The anger excited against them by their support of the French resulted in an attack by a large party of Natchez and their allies in 1731 in which both sides suffered severely and the head chief of the Tunica was killed. The Tunica remained in the same region until some time between 1784 at 1803, when they moved up Red River and settled close to the present Marksville, La., on the land the Avoyel Indian village which they claimed to have bought from Avoyel tribe. Before this event took place in company with the Ofo, Avoyel and some Choctaw, they attacked the pirogues of a British expedition ascending the Mississippi, killed six men, wounded seven, and compelled the rest to turn back. A few families descended from the Tunica are still settled on the site just mentioned, which forms a small reservation. Sibley (1832) says that in his time Tunica had settled among the Atakapa, and it was

perhaps some of their descendants of whom Dr. Gatschet heard as living near Beaumont, Tex., about 1886. Mooney (1928) learned of some Tunica families in the southern part of the Choctaw Nation, Okla., but they had lost their old language.

Population. Mooney (1828) estimated that in 1650 the total population of the Tunica, Yazoo, Koroa, and Ofo was 2,000, and this very figure, except that it does not include the Koroa, is given by the missionary De Montigny in 1699. My own figure for the same date is somewhat higher, 2,450, out of which I estimate about 1,575 were Tunics. In 1719 the the number of Tunica was conjectured to be 460

and in 1803, 50 to 60, through a second statement of about the same period gives 25 warriors. Morse (1822) reports 30 Tunica in Louisiana. The census of 1910 gives 43 Tunica in all, but among some Indians of other tribes and there were many mixed bloods. The census of 1930 gives only 1, he being the only one who could speak the old language.

Connections in which they have become noted; The Tunica were prominent in history

(1) from the fact their language was the principal dialect of a stock on the lower Mississippi which received its name from them,

(2) for their sedentary character,

(3) devotion to the French interest and their part in the Natchez wars,

(4) from the perpetuation of a their name in Tunica County, and Tunica Oldfields, Miss., and a post village of the name in West Feliciana Parish, La.


Meaning unknown.

Connections.-The associations of this tribe with the Koroa and the fact that their language contained an r sound make reasonably certain that they belonged to the Tunican group and stock.

Location. On the south side of Yazoo River about 4 French leagues above its mouth. (See also Arkansas.)

History. The Yazoo appear to have been the first of the tribes living on the lower part of the Yazco River to have established themselves there, and hence it was from them that the stream received its name. They are mentioned by La Salle and his companions in connection with their voyage to the mouth of the Mississippi in 1682. A French post was established near them in 1718, and in 1727 a Jesuit missionary, Father Seuel, settled nearby. In 1729, however, the Yazoo joined the Natchez in their uprising, murdered the missionary, and massacred the French garrison. Their subsequent fortunes were identical with those of the Koroa, and they were probably absorbed into the Chickasaw or Choctaw. It is not improbable that there is some connection between the name of this tribe and that of two of the Yazoo towns among the Choctaw, but if so it goes back beyond recorded history.

Population. I have estimated that in 1698 there were somewhat more than 600 Yazoo and Koroa together. In 1700 Gravier reported 30 Yazoo cabins, but a quarter of a century later Le Page du Pratz (1758) estimated 100. In 1722 the Yazoo, Koroa, and Ofo together are said to have numbered 250. In 1730, however, the number of Yazoo and Koroa warriors is placed at 40.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Yazoo are noted principally from the fact that they have transmitted their name to Yazoo River, Miss., and secondarily to Yazoo County and its capital city, in the same State.

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  1. Please contact me at because you are using two of our images without linking back to us, which is a requirement if people use our graphics. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Paul, my apologies that it was not linked back, that was an oversite on my part, I have removed the pic in question and I also sent you an email with my apologies. I make every effort to provide sources for my research and give the proper credit for photos that I use, my sincere apologies. I love the first people site and visit it often. Thank you for letting me know about the photo. Angela L MSSPI