Guess which people compose the only federally recognized tribe mentioned by De Soto?
The name Chicasa appeared on European maps shortly after the De Soto Expedition and continued to be shown on the maps of North America until the Trail of Tears Period. Incredibly, neither the Chickasaw nor the Choctaw are mentioned on the Department of Interior’s NAGPRA map as being indigenous to the Southeast.
A few individual provinces were mentioned by De Soto’s chroniclers, such as Colima, Capachequi, Chiaha, Ichese, Talasee, Kusa and Okute (Okvte). They later became major divisions of either the Creek or Seminole Confederacies, but are not today individual tribes, recognized by the Federal Government. The Florida Apalachee are a state recognized tribe in Louisiana, but their petition for federal recognition has not been approved, so far. Those particular Apalachee are actually descended from Tamale Creeks in southeast Georgia, who converted to Catholicism and moved to Florida. The Georgia Apalache were never visited by De Soto, but later became members of the Creek Confederacy.
Some authors claim that the Chiloki that the Spaniards met in present day South Carolina were ancestors of the Cherokees. However, chiliki is the Itsate Creek, Totonac and Itza Maya word for a barbarian. If you look at Colonial Era maps, you will see that those particular sweet potato cultivators, first moved to southeast Georgia and then to southwest Georgia, where they joined the Creek Confederacy. They were probably Arawaks, because the Arawak name for sweet potato, aho, became the Creek name.
Later this week, Bubba Mythbuster will take you on a fascinating tour of the Chickasaw’s cultural and architectural history. For unknown reasons, academicians and archaeologists seem to assume that the Chickasaws only lived in western Tennessee, and had only a marginal connection with the Southeastern Ceremonial Culture or any of the great indigenous town sites in the Southeast. POOF is going to do something about that oversight.
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