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The Natchez

On February 11th, 1700, De Iberville, Bienville, Perricaul and Tonti ascended the Mississippi River as far west as the present city of Natchez. They were kindly received (so states the journalist) by the great chief, or sun, as he was termed, surrounded by six hundred of his warriors, who, according to their own account, had formerly been a great nation. On the 13th the party left Natchez and visited the villages of the Taensas, the customs and habits of who were the same as the Natchez, being evidently a branch of the latter. During their stay the sacred temple of these Indians was struck by lightning and burned to ashes. To appease the Sun God, the poor, infatuated women threw themselves, and parents, their children, into the consuming flames of the burning temple. Perricaul, who was one of the witnesses of the fearful scene, thus wrote of it: “We left the Natchez and coasted along to the right, where the river is bordered with high, gravelly banks for a distance of twelve leagues. At the extremity of these bluffs is a place called Petit Gulf, on account of the whirlpool formed by the river for the distance of a quarter league. Eight leagues higher up we came to Grand Gulf, which we passed a short distance above, on the right hand side. We landed to visit a village four leagues in the interior. These Indians are called the Taensas. We were well received, but I never saw a more sad sight, frightful and revolting spectacle than that which happened the second day, 16th of April, after our arrival in...

Indian Mounds throughout North America

Charlevoix and Tantiboth speak of Indians who inhabited the region of country around Lake Michigan, who were well skilled in the art of erecting mounds and fortifications, Charlevoix also states that the Wyandots and the Six Nations disinterred their dead and took the bones from their graves where they had lain for several years and carried them to a large pit previously prepared, in which they deposited them, with the property of the deceased, filling up the pit with earth and erected a mound over it. A string of sleigh-bells much corroded, but still capable of tinkling, is said to have been found among the flint and bone implements in excavating a mound in Tennessee; while in Mississippi, at a point where De Soto is supposed to have camped, a Spanish coat-of-arms in silver, one blade of a pair of scissors, and other articles of European manufacture were found in a mound evidently which had been picked up-by some Indian after the Spaniards had gone, and buried with him at his death as being among his treasured possessions while living. Two copper plates were found in a Georgia mound, upon which were stamped figures resembling the sculptures-upon the Central American ruins, the workmanship of which is said to be far superior to that displayed in the articles of pottery, stone and bone found in the mound; though, aside from these plates nothing was found to indicate a connection between the mound builders and the Aztecs or the Pueblos. Still their origin is not inexplicable; since it is reason able to conclude that communications between the inhabitants of Central America, Mexico and the North American Indians, were...

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