Academic journal article The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture

THE LIVES OF CHILDREN DURING THE American Revolution THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHICKASAW GIRL

Academic journal article The Journal of Chickasaw History and Culture

THE LIVES OF CHILDREN DURING THE American Revolution THROUGH THE EYES OF A CHICKASAW GIRL

Article excerpt

Chokma! Saholhchifoat Hilhla'.

Hello! My name is Dancer.

I am eleven years old. I am named Hilhla' because I love to dance at the stomp dance in my village. My village is a Chickasaw village. We live near water in the southeast. The water is very important to our way of life. Our ancient lands covered a large part of this area.1

In the 1500s our Chickasaw people met the first European explorer, Hernando DeSoto.2 We did not welcome him and his people because we did not trust him. Now other Europeans are coming to our village. We do not trust those people because DeSoto demanded so much of us before.

In my village, everybody works, even the children. My job is to take care of the garden. I love working in the garden. My people like to plant beans, squash, and corn, also known as "the three sisters." In the village the women have a very important role, gathering herbs and plants. The men also have very important jobs. They protect the village and hunt and fish for the food that keeps us alive. We also rely on trading goods with other tribes. That's another reason why we live by water.4

Our tribe is divided into clans. Minko clan is the highest-ranking clan there is.5 Our picked from this clan. Warriors also hold a high rank in our tribe.6 Each member in a clan has a responsibility. I am from the Shawi', or raccoon, clan. My clan is a hightoo.8

One day, French men came to our village to form an alliance with us.9 Our leaders said ki'yo, no! Another day English men came to our village and asked to form an alliance with us.1" The English were able to persuade our leaders to join the alliance with them." To protect ourselves we met with the British and traded some of our food and supplies for their firearms.12

Years later, our Piominko, our war leader, eventually earned the trust of George Washington and earned his respect.13 Before our warriors left to join the Americans in the American Revolution battle, we tried to stay out of the fight. This is because our leaders believed the fight was between two brothers and wanted to stay out of it.14 Eventually our warriors left to join the Americans in the American Revolution.15

With so many men gone from our village, the women have to learn and take some of the men's responsibilities. I had to learn how to hunt and fish. I do not like to hunt because I do not like to kill animals, but they help to feed us and clothe us, and we use the bones for tools. Not every warrior left. Some stayed to protect the village. Even though some of our warriors are fighting in the American Revolution, we still have old enemies attacking our village.11' We have been fighting other tribes since long before Europeans came to this land.1

As the battle goes on, the fighting is getting closer to our borders and into our territory. …

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