Indigenous Peoples of The Southeastern Woodlands - Culture and History

Culture and History

In the Late Prehistoric time period in the Southeastern Woodlands, cultures increased agricultural production, developed ranked societies, increased their populations, trade networks, and intertribal warfare. Most Southeastern peoples (excepting some of the coastal peoples) were highly agricultural, growing crops like maize, squash, and beans for food. They supplemented their diet with hunting, fishing, and gathering wild plants and fungi.

Frank Speck identified several key cultural traits of Southeastern Woodlands peoples — being matrilineal, exogamous, being social organized by towns, used of fish poison, purification ceremonies, practicing the Green Corn Ceremony, among other traits. Southeastern peoples also have traditionally shared a similar religious beliefs, based on animism. They observe strict incest taboos, and in the past frequently allowed polygamy and held puberty rites. Medicine people are important spiritual healers. Southeastern Woodlands societies were often divided into clans, the most common from precontact Hopewellian times into the present include Bear, Beaver, Bird other than a raptor, Canine (e.g. Wolf), Elk, Feline (e.g. Panther), Fox, Raccoon, and Raptor.

Many southeastern peoples engaged in mound building to create sacred or acknowledge sites. Many of the religious beliefs of the Southeastern Ceremonial Complex or the Southern Cult, where also shared by the Northeastern Woodlands tribes, probably spread through the dominance of the Mississippian culture in the 10th century.

During the Indian Removal era of the early 19th century, many southeastern tribes were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory by the US federal government; however, many tribes remain in their traditional southeast homelands today.

Read more about this topic:  Indigenous Peoples Of The Southeastern Woodlands

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