Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

Yuchi Annual Town Ceremonies

The following account of the annual ceremony of the Sand Creek Yuchi is based upon notes made at the time, and upon incidental information derived from participants. It deals chiefly with the 1905 celebration although there was no appreciable difference between that of 1904 and the event of 1905. The Preliminary Day. – According to the evidences of maturity observable in the corn in the neighboring fields, and the approaching phase of the moon, the town chief or head priest (Jim Brown) appointed and announced, to the townspeople scattered through out the neighboring district, a day of general assembly, at which small bundles of sticks about two inches in length (Fig. 37) were distributed to the heads of families. The number of sticks in the bundles indicated the number of days that should pass before the ceremonies would take place. The day had already been decided upon by the chief and was announced at this preliminary meeting. A stick was thrown away each morning thereafter until but one remained, and that was the day of the next assembly at the public square. Dancing took place at this meeting to give a little practice to the men, as they said. Arrangements were also made for the repair of the lodges, and the obtaining of the beef for the barbecue which was to close the event. In other words, this meeting was purely preparatory. All the top earth was carefully taken from the square and placed in a heap behind the north lodge. When the day arrived for the formal celebration to commence, the Yuchi took care to be on hand...

Yuchi Games

With the Yuchi, all games have a strong ceremonial aspect. They are, most of them, of a public character, taking place in the allotted playground adjacent to the public square. The afternoon of the second day of the annual festival is the usual time for playing them ceremonially. Many of the games are accompanied by ritual, more especially the ball game. Stakes are wagered in nearly all games by both players and spectators. Like most Indian games the betting is a very important item of consideration. The first to call for description is the ball game played with two rackets and known quite generally among the tribes of the Southeast. A number of descriptions of the game as played by various tribes are available and offer interesting material for comparison.1 This game commands more interest among the Yuchi than any other, and is always played after the emetic is taken and the feast completed, on the second day of the annual ceremony. It has been, however, played at other times of the year by different parties in the tribe or made an intertribal or inter-town contest for the purpose of betting. The Yuchi have frequently played against other towns of the Creek Nation. The game is still played in a modified manner. A rite, called the Ball Game Dance, is performed the night before, ill honor of the sticks which are used in the game, and the supernatural power residing in them. The sticks are placed on a scaffold, usually in the west lodge of the square ground, with a line of women standing behind it. Men, including the...

Yuchi Town and Town Square

We now come to the consideration of the Yuchi town. This is the ruling institution in the life of the Yuchi, the same holding true for most of the other southeastern tribes. It has superseded in political importance the other social groupings, and, as far as any governmental activities are carried on at all, they too are the affairs of the town. The societies are represented by officers in town gatherings, while some of the clans have assumed the right to fill the highest town office, as We have seen before. The town is extremely democratic, however, as all of the men are expected to be present at its meetings, having the equal right to express opinions upon public matters which may be up for debate and to acclaim their vote for or against candidates for the town offices. The ritualistic and ceremonial life of the community is also a matter of town interest. The chief religious rites take place once a year publicly in the town square. Here again every male is a common participant in the events that take place, and the leaders of the minor social groups become for the time the ceremonial officials as well. Besides these officials, with double functions as it were, there are several others who do not seem to have any special concern with clan or society, but who have to do chiefly with the town when it is assembled either on religious or political occasions. The Yuchi town, consisting of families, clans, and societies, forms by itself an independent social group, as has been shown. The identity, politically speaking, between...

Yuchi Music

Singing at ceremonies and dances was accompanied by drums and rattles of two kinds. The large drum was made of hide stretched over a log sometimes three feet high and was used to call the townspeople together, and to accompany dancing. This in later times was replaced by a smaller type of drum, the pot-drum, didané (Fig. 32) now used at ceremonies. It was made by stretching a piece of hide over an earthen pot standing about 18 inches high, containing water. An ordinary stick was used with it as a drum stick. The hide covering was decorated usually with a painted wheel-like design, suggesting a correspondence with the cardinal symbolism (See Fig. 8, Plate IX). The black for west seems to be lacking and yellow is substituted for white in this specimen. The drum had its special resting place in front of the chief’s lodge in the town square and the privilege of beating it was vested in a certain individual. The hand rattle, tänbané (Pl. VII, Figs. 3, 4), was formerly a gourd, but nowadays is a cocoanut shell scraped thin and filled with small white pebbles a stick being run through the nut to serve as a handle. Small circular orifices are made in the shell to let the sound out. The gourd rattle was held at right angle to the forearm in the right hand. Sun symbols (Figure 31, Nos. 23, 25), often are carved or etched around the perforations on the shell. A characteristic and peculiar instrument is the tsonta’ (PI. VII, Figs. 10, 11) the rattles worn only by women in the dances....

Native Uprisings Against the Carolinas (1711-17)

In 1957 University of Georgia archaeologists, under the leadership of Dr. Joseph Caldwell, were working on several archaeological sites on the tributaries of the Savannah River that were to be flooded by Lake Hartwell.  The best known of these town sites are Tugaloo and Chauga. Because they were last occupied by Lower Cherokees in the early 1700s, the archaeologists assumed that excavation of their mounds would prove that the Cherokees built all the mounds in the Southern Highlands. The archaeologists were shocked to find that the Cherokee occupation of both sites was very brief and much smaller than the ancestors of the Creeks, who had actually built the mounds. The town had been burned and then abandoned by the Creeks.  Because radiocarbon dates for the oldest Cherokee occupation averaged in the 1720s, Dr. Caldwell publicly stated that the Cherokees could have captured the town any earlier than 1700 AD.   Particularly puzzling to him was the widespread presence of “Lameroid” pottery, which was typical of Georgia Creek towns in the early 1700s, just before they switched entirely to cooking in British-made iron pots. Despite the published archaeological report, still on file with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Georgia erected historical markers on Lake Hartwell in the 1960s stating that Tugaloo was Georgia’s oldest Cherokee town and dated back to the 1400s.  Caldwell’s tests showed that the site was occupied at least as early as the 20 BC by ancestors of the Creeks. The conflict between professional archaeological work, professionally researched history and the popular history portrayed in most publications makes the task of discerning the factual...

Yuchi Tribe

Yuchi Indians. A tribe coextensive with the Uchean family. Recent investigations point strongly to the conclusion that the Westo referred to by early Carolina explorers and settlers, and from whom Savannah river was originally named, were the Yuchi.

Yuchi Indian Tribe Clans

The political organization of the tribe, which has become more pronounced in type since its incorporation into the Creek Nation, is based on the town. This is made up of some 18 or 20 totemic, maternal, exogamic clans, the members of which trace their descent from the totem animal and have certain restrictions in regard to it. At an annual ceremony the clans perform propitiatory and reverential dances in honor of their totems. The Yuchi clans are as follows, the names in parentheses being the simplified forms of those recorded by Gatschet: Saggē’ (Sagi), Bear; Dałá (Tala), Wolf; WeryA°’ (Weyon), Deer; TkbCii’ (Tapa), Tortoise; Wetc£A” (Wetchon), Panther; Cadrane (Shatane), Wildcat; Catient (Shathiane), Fox; Godd (Iluda), Wind; Cid (Still), Fish; Cagii°'(Shakian), Beaver; Cdland (Shuhlanan), Otter; Djd’tie” (Tchatchian), Raccoon; YusA”‘(Yussoih), Skunk; WdtsagowA°’ (Wetsagua), Opossum; Cadjwane, Rabbit; Cdva, Squirrel; Wdtc£a (Witchah), Turkey; C1i’na (Sha), Eagle; YA°ti’, Buzzard; Ca, Snake. Gatschet gives also the Senan (Bird), Tapatwa (Alligator), Tapi (Salt), To Sweet-potato), Yonh (Hickory-nut), and Yontuh (Acorn), but it is doubtful if these clans existed among the Yuchi. There is disagreement among native informants regarding the existence of the Eagle, Buzzard, and Snake clans above given. The whole male population of the town, and of the tribe as well, is again subdivided into two other social classes, which have certain town offices and functions in the ceremonies inherent in them. These classes are chief and warrior, and inheritance in them is reckoned through the father without regard to clanship of the other sort. Property is handed down partly through father to son and partly from father to sister’s children, inheritance being thus an...

Black-Indian History

The first black slaves were introduced into the New World (1501-03) ostensibly to labor in the place of the Indians, who showed themselves ill-suited to enforced tasks and moreover were being exterminated in the Spanish colonies. The Indian-black inter-mixture has proceeded on a larger scale in South America, but not a little has also taken place in various parts of the northern continent. Wood (New England’s Prospect, 77, 1634) tells how some Indians of Massachusetts in 1633, coming across a black in the top of a tree were frightened, surmising that; ‘he was Abamacho, or the devil.” Nevertheless, inter-mixture of Indians and blacks has occurred in New England. About the middle of the 18th century the Indians of Martha’s Vineyard began to intermarry with blacks, the result being that “the mixed race increased in numbers and improved in temperance and industry.” A like inter-mixture with similar a results is reported about the same time from parts of Cape Cod. Among the Mashpee in 1802 very few pure Indians were left, there being a number of mulattoes1 Robert Rantoul in 18332 states that “the Indians are said to be improved by the mixture.” In 1890, W. H. Clark3 says of the Gay Head Indians: “Although one observes much that betokens the Indian type, the admixture of black and white blood has materially changed them.” The deportation of the Pequot to the Bermudas after the defeat of 1638 may have led to admixture there. The Pequot of Groton, Connecticut, who in 1832 numbered but 40, were reported as considerably mixed with white and black blood, and the condition of the few...
Page 4 of 512345

Pin It on Pinterest