Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico

Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico

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Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico

Indian Tribes of the Lower Mississippi Valley and Adjacent Coast of the Gulf of Mexico

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Excerpt

The region with which the present bulletin deals is one of unusual interest both to the ethnologist and the archeologist; to the ethnologist owing to its exceptional linguistic complexity, in which in the territory north of Mexico it is exceeded only by the Pacific coast, and to the archeologist because the lower Mississippi valley is one of the richest fields for exploration in the entire United States. This interest is increased by its strategic position between the mound culture of the Mississipi and Ohio valleys and the cultures of Mexico and Yucatan, and by the presence within it of a tribe so highly organized socially that it is often pointed to as a remnant of that culture to which "the mound builders" are supposed to have belonged.

In this treatise the writer has attempted to furnish as complete an account of the history of each tribe and the ethnological facts concerning it as the published material render possible. He is aware that in France and this country, and probably in Spain, there is much manuscript material which would be necessary to an absolutely final account, but the work of bringing this out and placing it in permanent form belongs rather to the historian than to the ethnologist. The literary work connected with the present effort, although it forms so large a portion of the whole, has been undertaken only in connection with direct ethnological investigation among the remnants of the tribes in question. The results of this direct work have been principally linguistic, however, and since the philological material is to be published separately, a comparatively small residuum is left for insertion here. This is confined, in fact, to some myths and ethnological notes collected from the Natchez, Tunica, and Chitimacha, the other tribes being either extinct or too far disintegrated to furnish any valuable material. One of the most important results of the writer's investigations, however, has been in the linguistic classification of the tribes of this area contained in the . . .

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