Topic: Yuchi

Yuchi Pottery

The sedentary life of the Yuchi has given ample opportunity for the development of the art of making pottery. The coiled process is in vogue, but it may be remarked that the modern pots of these Indians are of a rather crude and unfinished form, which is probably traceable to deterioration in later years. The process of manufacture of ordinary pots for domestic use is as follows. A fine consistent clay is selected and washed in a flat vessel to separate all grit and stones from it. Then lumps are rolled between the palms and elongated in the form...

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Yuchi Basket Making

Another handicraft in the seemingly well-rounded industrial life of the Yuchi is basket making. The women possess the knowledge of at least two processes of basket weaving; the checker work and the twilled. The baskets in general are of two sorts. One is a large rough kind made of hickory or oak splints not unlike the ordinary split baskets made by the Algonkian tribes, with handles for carrying. The other kind, in the manufacture of which cane rinds are chiefly employed, is distinctly characteristic of the Southeastern and Gulf area. A collection of Yuchi baskets resembles those of the...

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Yuchi Tribe Clothing

For a people living in quite a warm climate the Yuchi, as far back as they have any definite knowledge, seem to have gone about rather profusely clothed, but the descriptions obtained refer only to a time when the white traders’ materials had replaced almost entirely the native products. A bright colored calico shirt was worn by the men next to the skin. Over this was a sleeved jacket reaching, on young men, a little below the waist, on old men and chiefs, below the knees. The shirt hung free before and behind, but was bound around the waist...

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Yuchi Indians Food

In the preparation of food several kinds of wooden utensils are employed. The largest and perhaps the most important piece of household furniture of this sort was the mortar, dilá, and pestle, dicä lá. The mortar (PI. III, Fig. 10, a) which is simply a log several feet high with the bark removed having a cavity about eight inches deep, seems, moreover, to be an important domes-tic fetish. We find that it is connected in some way with the growing up and the future prospects of the children of the family. It occupies a permanent position in the door...

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Yuchi Indians Homes

As the native methods of house building have nearly all passed out of use some time ago, we have to depend upon descriptions from memory supplemented by observations made in the ceremonial camp where temporary shelters are made which preserve old methods of construction. The dwelling house of the present-day Yuchi is like that of the ordinary white settler: a structure of squared or round notched logs, with a peak roof of home-made shingles and a door on one side. Windows may be present or not, according to the whim of the owner. The same is true of the...

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Yuchi Language

My original purpose in visiting the Yuchi was to collect linguistic matter, which is now being worked up for special purposes in the interest of the Bureau of Ethnology. Although the detailed results of my linguistic studies are not available for the present paper it will be of advantage to introduce here a general statement regarding some characteristics of the language. It is quite certain now that Yuchi is spoken in only one dialect, although there is a current opinion that formerly the stock was more numerous than it is at present and that the language was spoken in two dialects. These dialects are stated according to tradition to have been mutually intelligible when spoken slowly. The language is characterized as regards processes by the use of postpositional and prepositional particles to show local modification of the noun, and by the use of auxiliaries to show adverbial and modal qualification of the verb. Position also plays some part in the expression of adverbial modification, verbal subordination, and sentence syntax. Inflection is not a characteristic of Yuchi, and reduplication is only used to denote the idea of distribution in time and space. The parts of speech seem to be nouns, verbs, adverbs, pronouns and particles. There are no syntactical cases, as in the neighboring Muskogian. The position of words indicates their syntactical relationship. Neither do there appear to be case...

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Yuchi Environment

The Yuchi of the present time have nearly forgotten their old associations east of the Mississippi. Their geographical knowledge is practically limited to their immediate surroundings. They are known to the Creeks as Yu’tci, plural YutcA’lgi, to the Cherokee as Yu’tsi, and to the Chickasaw as Yu’tci. An informant stated that they were known to the Comanche as SakyówAn. To the Yuchi their near neighbors the Creeks are known as Ku’ba, ‘ looking this way'(?), plural Ku’baha. The Shawnee they call Yon’cta, the Cherokee Tsala”ki, and the Choctaw Tca?’ta. Their name for whites in general is Ka”ka (Goyáka) ‘man white,’ for Negroes Go’cpi, ‘man black.’ In their bearing towards other tribes it is noticeable that the Yuchi hold them in some contempt. They seldom mix socially with the Creeks, presumably because of their former enmity. A strong feeling of friendship is, however, manifested toward the Shawnee, which is probably a sentiment surviving from early affiliation with the southern branch of this people on the Savannah River. 1Cf. Linguistic map of North American Indians, Algonkian area near Uchean (Yuchi); Mooney, Myths of the Cherokee, 19th Report, Bureau American Ethnology, p. 494; Siouan Tribes of the East, p. 83; Schoolcraft, North American Indians, Vol. V, p. 262 et seq. (1791); Benj. Hawkins, sketch of Creek Country (1798-99), pp. 34, 63. It should be added, however, that the Shawnee who associate with...

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Yuchi Decorative Art and Symbolism

Something has already been said about decorative designs in the description of clothing, but the designs themselves and the general subject of art deserve a little attention. As regards the artistic expression of this tribe it seems that, in general, special conventional decorations symbolizing concrete objects are confined to a few articles of clothing such as neckbands, sashes, hair ornaments, leggings and carrying-pouches. The whole field is permeated with a strong religious significance. Decorations of a like sort with a still more emphatic religious meaning are found on pottery, though rarely, as well as on other objects. Besides this...

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Yuchi Customs

Birth Customs Before child-birth takes place the prospective mother retires to a secluded temporary camp always east of the usual dwelling. Here she is attended by one or two old women relatives and her mother. In order to facilitate delivery a decoction is made by placing a bullet in a cup of water, and the woman is given this to drink. During delivery she lees flat on her back on the floor or on the ground. Sometimes the family induces an old woman to come and help the woman in labor by sitting on her abdomen so that she...

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Yuchi Ceremonies

The ceremonies, which according to tradition originated in the other world and were taught to the first Indians by Sun. consist of various religious rites performed in public by all the men of the town once a year. The rites include dancing, fasting, the observance of certain taboos, the kindling of a new and sacred fire, the scarification of men, the taking of an emetic and the performance of the ball game. The ceremony as a whole was called, Yueahe’, ‘In the rainbow, ‘ or ‘In the big house.’ The time for these ceremonies is determined by the state of maturity of the corn crop. They are begun so as to coincide with its first ripening, usually about the middle or early part of July. It would seem from this that the importance of agriculture as a feature of life had determined the time for the town’s discharge of its religious obligations. As far as is possible the time is also arranged so as to fall upon nights when the moon is full. This matter rests entirely in the hands of the town chief. He distributes bundles of tally sticks, one to be thrown away each day (Fig. 37), to the heads of families. Dances. – The special dances, cti, performed by the Yuchi are quite numerous. A fairly large number are primarily clan dances, having for their object...

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Yuchi Division of Time

The seasons art’ four in number. Spring, called hinA nwadelé, ‘when summer is near,’ is the time when agricultural activities are resumed after the comparative idleness of the winter. ‘Summer,’ wäde’, a term apparently related to wäfá, ‘south,’ is the long and active season. Autumn, yacadilé, ‘when the tree leaves are yellow,’ is a period of combined rest, hunting and enjoyment. Winter was called wictá, ‘snow comes (?).’ This season the people spent in idleness and recreation. The year is further divided into moons or months, each of which has its name. The names of eleven of these moons with translations and the corresponding months in our calendar are as follows: Se a latcpi’ – Ground frozen month – January. Ho’da dzó – Wind month – February. Wädeá’ sinén – Little summer – March. Wdeäeä’ – Big summer – April Deceo’ nendzó – Mulberry ripening month – May. Cpáco nendzó – Blackberry ripening month – June. Wageä’ kyä – Middle of summer – July. Tsénc agá – Dog day – August. Tsogá li’ne tseee – Hay cutting month – September. Tsofeo’ honstän – Corn ripening month – October. Ho’ctAndeä’ kyä – Middle of winter – December. The passage of time during the daytime is commonly observed by glancing at the sun. During the nighttime the moon and stars, if the weather is clear, serve the same purpose. The day...

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Yuchi Tribe History

Among the indigenous tribes of the southeastern United States, living within a territory roughly defined by the borders of Georgia and South Carolina, was one, exhibiting a type of culture common to the inhabitants of the country bordering on the Gulf of Mexico east of the Mississippi river, whose members called themselves Tsoyabá, “Offspring of the Sun,” otherwise known as the Yuchi. Constituting an independent linguistic stock (called Uchean in Powell’s classification), their earliest associations, in so far as these are revealed by history and tradition, were identified with the banks of the Savannah river where they lived at a very early time in contact with a southern band of Shawnee, and near the seats of the Cherokee, the Catawba, the Santee, and the Yamasi. These tribes, together with the Yuchi, represent five distinct linguistic stocks; a greater diversity of language than is usually found in so restricted an area east of the Mississippi. The Yuchi maintain that they were originally one of the large tribes of the Southeast which, suffering oppression at the hands of encroaching tribes of the Muskogian stock, became much reduced and was finally incorporated, together with the Shawnee, into the loose coalition of southeastern tribes known in colonial history as the Creek confederacy or the Creek Nation. Indeed it is supposed, and is moreover highly probable, that in the course of extended migrations the Creeks...

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Yuchi Medicinal Ceremonies

What has so far been said in regard to the treatment of disease deals only with what might properly be called shamanism. Besides the regular practice of curing disease, which is in the hands of especially qualified persons, there are various methods employed by individuals for themselves when attacked by sickness or threatened with it. The town itself celebrates a public ceremony when threatened with evil in the shape of sickness, or when actually suffering from some epidemic. When a man becomes sick and does not desire to employ a shaman to cure him but prefers to treat himself,...

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Yuchi Dancing

On this, the second night, about six of the before-mentioned dances were performed. Although the general characteristics and functions of the dances have been described in the last chapter, a few of the peculiarities will be given again according to the actual cases as observed on both ceremonial occasions. All of the Yuchi dances were this night performed around the fire in the center of the square. The movement was from right to left, contra-clockwise. The steps of the dancers were short, the motion being chiefly in the leg below the knee. In general effect the dance steps look...

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Yuchi New Fire Rite

The new fire rite performed at sunrise of the second day, is symbolic of a new period of life for the tribe. As far as could be learned, the fires of the various household hearths are not extinguished as among the Creeks, since the kindling of the new fire by the town chief is symbolical of this and suffices for all.

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