The Invention of the Creek Nation, 1670-1763 (Indians of the by Steven C. Hahn

By Steven C. Hahn

Drawing on archaeological facts and often-neglected Spanish resource fabric, The Invention of the Creek country, 1670–1763 explores the political background of the Creek Indians of Georgia and Alabama and the emergence of the Creek state in the course of the colonial period within the American Southeast. partially a research of Creek international relatives, this publication examines the construction and alertness of the “neutrality” policy—defined the following because the Coweta solution of 1718—for which the Creeks have lengthy been well-known, in an period marked by means of the imperial fight for the yankee South.

Also a research of the tradition of inner Creek politics, this paintings exhibits the patience of a “traditional” kinship-based political approach within which city and extended family association remained supremely vital. those traditions, coupled with political intrusions through the region’s 3 eu powers, promoted the unfold of Creek factionalism and mitigated the advance of a local Creek Confederacy. yet whereas traditions continued, the fight to take care of territorial integrity opposed to Britain additionally promoted political innovation. during this context the territorially outlined Creek kingdom emerged as a felony idea within the period of the French and Indian warfare, as imperial guidelines of an prior period gave approach to the territorial politics that marked the start of a brand new one.

 

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Indian burials tell a similar tale of the chiefs’ declining status. Whereas the burials of what are presumed to have been chiefs and their families once contained a disproportionate amount of exotic trade items, trade goods found in seventeenth-century burials—derived from Spanish Florida— appear to have been distributed more equally among the population. It is worth noting that the ideological underpinnings of the chieftainship also waned during this period. For example, myths concerning the ancient southeastern Indian ball game (pelota to the Spanish), gradually de-emphasized chiefly rivalries and began to place greater importance on intertown rivalries.

Platform mounds, a primary characteristic of Indian towns before the Spanish invasions, all but ceased to be built a generation or two after 1540. Also gone were the many ceremonial items that chiefs used to display their largess, such as copper breastplates, ceremonial axes, and pottery, much of which was inscribed with iconography thought to have been associated with the mysteries of chieftainship. Indian burials tell a similar tale of the chiefs’ declining status. Whereas the burials of what are presumed to have been chiefs and their families once contained a disproportionate amount of exotic trade items, trade goods found in seventeenth-century burials—derived from Spanish Florida— appear to have been distributed more equally among the population.

The Creeks’ dual system of government reflected their more general dualistic view of the natural world, which they described using an array of metaphors that connoted opposing principles: male-female, old-young, and peace-war. The Creeks, like most Southern Indians, represented this dualistic view of the universe using the colors white and red. White signified peace, age, wisdom, and deliberation. Red, in contrast, represented war, youth, passion, and bold action. 26 The Creeks applied the principle of dualism when they formed their political communities and institutions.

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