Hitchiti

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Hitchiti
Total population
Extinct as a tribe
Regions with significant populations
Georgia, United States
Languages
Hitchiti
Religion
Traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Muscogee, Mikasuki, Seminole
 
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Hitchiti
Total population
Extinct as a tribe
Regions with significant populations
Georgia, United States
Languages
Hitchiti
Religion
Traditional tribal religion
Related ethnic groups
Muscogee, Mikasuki, Seminole

The Hitchiti were an indigenous tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, in western present-day Georgia. The natives possessed a narrow strip of good land bordering on the river. These people had a reputation of being honest and industrious. [1] Their autonym was possibly Atcik-hata, while the Coushatta knew them as the At-pasha-shliha, "Mean People".[2]

Language[edit]

The Hitchiti Language, one of the many languages spoken by Muscogee tribe, was spoken in Georgia and Florida during the Colonial Period by tribes including the Hitchiti, Chiaha, Oconee, Sawokli, Apalochicola, and Miccosukee. Based on the amount of places that have derived from the Hitchiti language, scholars believe this language could have spread over a much larger area than Georgia and Florida during the colonial times. [3]

They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was part of the Muskogean language family; it is considered a dialect of the Mikasuki language, with which it was mutually intelligible.[4] The Hitchiti and the Mikasuki tribes were both part of the loose Creek confederacy. The Mikasuki language was historically one of the major languages of the Seminole people and is still spoken by many Florida Seminoles and Miccosukees, though it is extinct among the Oklahoma Seminole.

Like the Creeks, the Hitchiti had an ancient "female" dialect. This dialect is still remembered and sometimes spoken by the older people, which used to be the language of the males as well. Their language with the "female" dialect is also known as the ancient language. [5]

Location[edit]

The Hitchiti are often associated with a location in the present Chattahoochee County, GA, but at an earlier period were on the lower course of the Ocmulgee River. Early English maps show their town on the site of the present day Macon, Ga. But after 1715 they moved to Henry County, AL in route to their most well known location of Chatahoochee, GA. Then by 1839 they had all been relocated to Native American Reservations in Oklahoma where they gradually merged with the rest of the Native Americans of the Creek Confederacy.[6]

Some of their villages were located at Hihnje, location unknown; Hitchitoochee, on the Flint River below its junction with Kinchafoonee Creek; Tuttallosee, on a creek of the same name, 20 miles west from Hitchitoochee.

Population[edit]

The population of the Hitchiti is not known to well because it is usually recorded with those of the other confederate tribes, and only the males are usually recorded. But in 1738 there were 60 males in the tribe, 1750 only 15 males, 1760, 50 males, 1761, 40 males, 1772, 90 males, and in 1832 the entire population, males and females, was estimated at about 381. [7]

History[edit]

When the US Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins visited the Hitchiti in 1799, he recorded that they had spread out into two branch settlements. The Hitchitudshi, or Little Hitchiti, lived on both sides of Flint River below the junction of Kinchafoonee Creek, which passes through a county once named after it. The Tutalosi lived on a branch of Kinchafoonee Creek, 20 miles west of Hitchitudshi.

For hundreds of years before white men came into Georgia, the Hitchiti Indians lived there. They were not nomadic, but they inhabited most of southern Georgia. Some records show they have traveled from the Great Lakes down to Georgia and developed a higher level of civilization doing so. The Hitchiti were part of the Creek Confederacy, which occupied almost two-thirds of the state of Georgia.

Many Native American relics have been found in Jones County, GA. The western boundary of Jones County is the Ocmulgee River and was one of the favorite places of the Hitchiti Tribe. Today you can walk around here and find numerous arrow heads and see numerous Indian trails. [8]

The tribe is not often mentioned in historical records. It was first recorded in 1733, when two of its delegates were noted as accompanying the Lower Creek chiefs to meet Governor James Oglethorpe at Savannah.

When the US Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins visited the Hitchiti in 1799, he recorded that they had spread out into two branch settlements. The Hitchitudshi, or Little Hitchiti, lived on both sides of Flint River below the junction of Kinchafoonee Creek, which passes through a county once named after it. The Tutalosi lived on a branch of Kinchafoonee Creek, 20 miles west of Hitchitudshi. [9]

The language appears to have been used beyond the territorial limits of the tribe: it was spoken in the towns on the Chattahoochee River, such as Chiaha, Chiahudshi, Hitchiti, Oconee, Sawokli, Sawokliudshi, and Apalachicola, and in those on Flint River, and also by the Miccosukee tribe of Florida. Traceable by local names in Hitchiti, the language was used by peoples over considerable portions of Georgia and Florida. Like Creek, this language has an archaic form called "woman's talk," or female language.

Scholars believe that the Yamasee also spoke Hitchiti, but the evidence is not conclusive. Other evidence pointed toward their speaking a different language, perhaps one related to Guale.

The Hitchiti were absorbed into and became an integral part of the Creek Nation, though preserving to a large extent their own language and customs. Similarly, those Mikasuki-speakers who joined the Lower Creek migrations to Florida maintained their culture.

For years they were considered to be part of the Seminole, which formed from remnant peoples in Florida. In the 20th century, they gained independent state recognition in 1957 and federal recognition in 1962 as the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.

Some sources list Hitchiti as an extant language in the 1990s.[10]

The Native Americans of Georgia were all officially and tragically removed from the state and forcibly resettled in Oklahoma by 1839. Which is when most of their culture and language left the state of Georgia. [11]

To this day, you can still found remnants of the Hitchiti Indians all over the state of Georgia. A collection of Hitchiti artifacts found in one location at a Hitchiti town. The collection includes a large copper disc at the center surrounded by Guntersville points, a variety of trade beads that indicate a heavy involvement in fur trade with the English, two ear plugs, 5 worked silver circles typical of the silver work of their decedents the Seminoles, a stone pendent, and a highly polished flaking tool. [12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gatschet, Albert (1884). A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians. 
  2. ^ Swanton, John R. Indian Tribes of North America. (Washington: U.S. Govt. Printing Off., 1953).
  3. ^ Daniels, Gary. "Mayan Words in Hitchiti-Creek Language Suggest Ancient Connection". Lost Worlds. 
  4. ^ Hardy, Heather & Janine Scancarelli. (2005). Native Languages of the Southeastern United States, Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, pp. 69-70
  5. ^ Gatschet, Albert (1884). A Migration Legend of the Creek Indians. 
  6. ^ Sarrett Jr, Paul. "Georgia Tribes Index". 
  7. ^ Sarrett Jr, Paul. "Georgia Tribes Index". 
  8. ^ Williams, Carrie. "Jones County History". Jones County, GA. 
  9. ^ Schorder, Lloyd. "Hitchiti". Peach State Archaeology Site. 
  10. ^ Moseley, Christopher and R.E. Asher, ed. Atlas of the Worlds Languages, New York: Routledge, 1994, p. 6
  11. ^ Williams, Mark (1992). Hitchiti: An Early Georgia Language. Lamar Institute. 
  12. ^ Schorder, Lloyd. "Hitchiti". Peach State Archaeology Site.