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Tribal Migrations East of the Mississippi

The map entitled “Linguistic Families of American Indians North of Mexico”, by J. W. Powell, issued by the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, some years ago and several times revised and reprinted, indicates the position of the various groups of tribes when they first became known to Europeans. The map, as its title implies, includes the entire North American continent north of Mexico, but in the present paper, only that portion bordering on the lower Mississippi, and eastward to the Atlantic coast, will be considered.

Iroquoian Peoples resulted in the separation of the Siouan and Algonquian Tribes

Many of the protected sites may have been constructed and occupied by the Iroquoian tribes during the movement northward, and consequently a comparative study of the archeological material recovered from them should prove to be of the greatest interest. If this hypothesis is correct, it is probable that before the Iroquoian tribes had reached the left bank of the Ohio the Siouan peoples were living in security in the upper valley of the stream. The great majority were north of the river, but others, including the Catawba, may have been south of the Ohio in the mountains to the eastward. The region northward from the Siouan territories, extended to the shores of the Great Lakes, was probably at that time occupied by Algonquian Indians. The relative position of the Siouan tribes when they occupied the Ohio valley, claiming the southern section of the present State of Ohio, has been suggested by Swanton,1 who wrote in conclusion: “The occupancy of the territory of our Middle West between the Great Lakes and the Ohio by Siouan tribes seems therefore to rest on grounds almost historical. With the strong indications now at hand there seems to be reason to think that a close comparative study of the Siouan dialects would enable us to reconstruct the general outlines of their ancient geographical positions with considerable accuracy. If present indications are not deceptive, when that is done we shall find that they fell into four major linguistic groups; a northeastern, consisting of the ancestors of the later Siouan tribes of Virginia, the Hidatsa, Dakota, Biloxi, and Oto; a southeastern, including most of the later Siouan peoples...

Linguistic Groups at the beginning of the Sixteenth Century

The groups of tribes continued to move, and by the beginning of the sixteenth century they were located approximately as indicated on tile last map. The Iroquoian tribes had moved far eastward, and some occupied the country south of the St. Lawrence. The Hurons had settled north of Niagara, and the Eries remained south of the lake that bears their name. The Cherokee had become established far south in the Alleghenies, with Uchean tribes to the west of them. The Siouan peoples had scattered far from their ancient homes in the valley of the Ohio Some had traversed the mountainous sections of Virginia and Carolina and reached the Coast; others moving more slowly, and undoubtedly reluctant to abandon the rich hunting grounds west of the Wabash, had probably arrived on the banks of the Mississippi and the shores of Lake Michigan. The Algonquian tribes had likewise moved farther away from their earlier habitat and some had already pushed southward on the Atlantic coast. Muskhogean tribes occupied the greater part of the southeastern United States, and some of their villages, already old when visited by the Spanish invaders in 1540, -nay have been the sites of much earlier proto-Muskhogean settlements. The villages of the Calusa and Timucua tribes dominated the peninsula of Florida. This was the distribution of the linguistic groups at the beginning of the historic era, when Europeans were soon to enter and traverse the vast, unknown region that lay between the Atlantic coast and the...

Iroquoian and Muskhogean Tribes after arrival East of the Mississippi

The fertile valleys of Tennessee and Kentucky present more convincing evidence of having been occupied by a great number of tribes, at different times, than does any other section of the southeastern United States. Many of the tribes differed in manners and customs, as indicated by the great variety of archeological material recovered front the innumerable sites. During the migratory movements as theoretically expressed on the maps, the present States of Tennessee and Kentucky were crossed and re-crossed by many tribes, representing the historic Siouan, Uchean, Iroquoian, and Muskhogean stocks, while probably at an early time, and certainly at a later day, Algonquian tribes frequented the same region. The archeologist of the future may be able to differentiate the material recovered from the scattered sites, and thereby determine the sequence of the tribal movements. If the theory that the Iroquoian tribes formerly occupied the Ozark region and later crossed to the left bank of the Mississippi is accepted, it is assumed that some traversed the western and central portions of the present State of Tennessee before pushing northward. By so doing they would have displaced the earlier inhabitants of the country, undoubtedly proto-Muskhogean tribes. Many Muskhogean migration legends refer to the coming of the people from the west, and it is possible that the removal of some of the tribes into the trans-Mississippi region was contemporaneous with the movement of the Iroquoian peoples into the same country farther north, nearer the Ohio. Possibly some of the earlier tribes became absorbed by the Muskhogean peoples, while others moved eastward to the mountains or beyond. The Timucua group, preceded by the...

Linguistic Stocks During the Earliest Period Migrations

Map Intended to Visualize the Position of the Several Linguistic Stocks During the Earliest Period Considered in this page. The Algonquian tribes are believed to have come from the far northwest and to have skirted the shores of the Great Lakes before reaching the country farther south. At their first coining, long before the Iroquoian peoples had arrived in the regions south of the St. Lawrence, some tribes of the Algonquian stock appear to have penetrated far south along the mountains into Tennessee or beyond, while others pushed onward into the piedmont sections of the present Virginia and of the Carolinas.

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