Choctaw Divisions of the Year

It is asserted by the women at Bayou Lacomb that the Choctaw year was divided into twelve moons; but it is highly probable that thirteen not twelve is correct. The native method of reckoning the divisions of the year is no longer practiced, or do the present Choc­taw remember the names of all the moons;



Choctaw Beliefs Concerning Eclipses

Eclipse of the sun, ashe okleleqa (“sun dark or dirty”). The Choctaw say that since the sun works every day he becomes dirty and smoked from the great fire within. It is necessary therefore for him to rest and clean himself, after doing which he shines the brighter. During the eclipse he is removing the



Choctaw Artifacts

Comparatively few articles are now made by the Choctaw, much of their ancient art having been forgotten. At the present time they purchase the necessary tools and implements at the stores, and other objects are no longer used. The list which follows is believed to include all things of native origin now made by the



Choctaw Beliefs Concerning Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and lightning are to the Choctaw two great birds Thun­der (Heloha), the female; Lightning (Mcda’tha),the male. When they hear a great noise in the clouds, Heloha is laying an egg, “just like a bird,” in the cloud, which is her nest. When a tree is shattered the result is said to have been caused



Choctaw Tanning Method

The hair having been removed, the skin is placed in a mortar, or in a hole cut a log (see image below) which serves the purpose. Eggs and cornmeal mixed with a little water are then poured over the skin, which is thoroughly beaten with a long wooden pestle. The skin is then taken from



Choctaw Death and Burial Practices

There appears to have been very little lamenting or mourning on the occasion of a death or a burial. The body was borne to the grave and the interment took place without a ceremony of any sort. In the event of the death of a man of great importance, however, the body was allowed to



Choctaw Pottery

The Choctaw have a strange superstitious belief in connection with the making of pottery. They say that no person except the one who is making the object should see it until after it has been removed from the fire. If another person chances to look on an object while it is being made or before



Choctaw Usage of Horns

Spoons are made by the Choctaw from cow horns (wak lape’she sti’mpa; literally, cow horn spoon). Two good examples are represented in the following image. In describing the manners and customs of the Choctaw, Adair[1] alluded to “their wooden dishes, and spoons made of wood and buffalo horn;” consequently the making of spoons is a



Louisiana Choctaw Habitat

St. Tammany parish, Louisiana, borders on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain and is bounded on the east by the State of Mississippi, from which it is separated by Pearl River. In the southern part of the parish are many bayous that flow into Lake Pontchartrain. Extensive marshes and swamps are found between the bayous,



Choctaw Baskets

The Choctaw are excellent basket makers, although their work at the present time is greatly inferior to that of a generation ago. The best baskets are made of narrow strips of cane, Arundinaria macro­sperma (Choctaw, uske), though now, at Bayou Lacomb, they are using the stems of palmetto, Serrenoa serrulata (Choctaw, tala), as cane is



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