November 26, 2010

Grand Village of the Natchez Indians, Natchez, MS

This is just a quicky extra-post from Natchez, MS. Before Natchez became a plantation home center of the Antebellum South, it was home to the Natchez Tribe of Indians. They were the last of the mound-building Mississippian cultures and the only active one still present when Europeans arrived in the region in the 1500's.

When the French arrived in the late 1600's, they documented this fascinating tribe in many documents and papers and it is one of the most important insights into how the Mississippian mound-building cultures lived. They documented all of the plants they used, hunting techniques, mound ceremonies, and social structures. At first the French and the Natchez got along very well.

Unfortunately, after initially being welcomed by the Natchez and given land access, the French began to push for more until there was a rebellion among the tribe. The tribe was already on the decline due to the effects of small-pox, malaria, and measels brought to the area by the Spanish over 100 years earlier. Finally, in a desperate act, the Natchez attacked the French fort on the Mississippi River called Rosalia.

The French responded by counter-attacking and wiping the tribe out of existance. The Grand Village of the Natchez is now a Mississippi State Park which you can visit just outside of Natchez.

It think the statement above is a very good insight into the thinking of the Natchez people before their obliteration. It comes directly from their cheif of the time and was written down by a visiting Dutch scholar and trader. I definitely think it is worth reading.

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