Entries - Race and Ethnicity: Native American

Sequoyah National Research Center

The Sequoyah National Research Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR), located in the University Plaza in Little Rock (Pulaski County), seeks to acquire and preserve the writings and ideas of Native North Americans by collecting the written word, art, and other forms of expression by Native Americans and to create a research atmosphere that invites indigenous peoples to make the center the archival home for their creative work. The mission is fulfilled by serving tribal communities, promoting scholarly research both on the UALR campus and worldwide, creating educational programs, providing access to the center’s collections, and collaborating with like–minded institutions and organizations across the United States. What is now the Sequoyah National Research Center began in …

Shawnee

Among the immigrant Native Americans who lived in territorial Arkansas were several Shawnee communities. They came from Indiana and Missouri at the invitation of the Cherokee after the Treaty of 1817 created the Cherokee Nation on land in the Ozarks between the White and Arkansas rivers. The Shawnee, who built settlements on Crooked Creek and White River, departed after more than a decade of life in Arkansas. The Shawnee were a large Algonkian-speaking tribe, widely scattered across the eastern woodlands. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the majority of them were living in the area both north and south of the Ohio River. Euro-American settlers from the east brought on years of violence. In a peace treaty in 1774, …

Sherman Mound Site

The Sherman Mound is one of the larger and better-preserved Native American earthworks in the Central Mississippi Valley. The site is located in Arkansas’s Delta region within Mississippi County. During the Middle Mississippian archaeological period (AD 1200–1400), the Sherman Mound and its associated village was a large, fortified town covering forty-four acres that served as a civic/ceremonial center for a chiefdom-level society. The Sherman Mound site witnessed multiple occupations. Archaeological evidence, principally pottery analysis, suggests Native Americans initially colonized it during the Late Woodland period (circa AD 400–700) when it was a small-to-medium-sized Baytown phase village. The most significant occupation of the site took place during the Middle Mississippian period (AD 1200–1400), when the site was developed into a large, …

Tahlonteskee

aka: Tolluntuskee
Tahlonteskee, whose name is roughly translated as “Common Disturber” or “Upsetter,” was the principal civil chief of the Arkansas Cherokee when they coalesced in the Arkansas River Valley about 1812. As the Arkansas Cherokee’s most respected member until his death in 1819, he represented them in their struggle to acquire legal control over lands in Arkansas and to secure relief from threats from both Osage and American settler incursions. Son of a mixed-race couple, Tahlonteskee was Lower Town Cherokee (a group located primarily in what is now western South Carolina) and a supporter of efforts to stop American advances into Cherokee country after the Revolutionary War. In Cherokee opinion, Americans failed to keep previous agreements and treaty provisions and relentlessly …

Takatoka

aka: Ticketoke
aka: Ta-Ka-To-Kuh
aka: De'gata'ga
aka: Degadoga
Takatoka (whose name is spelled various ways in records of the time and in later histories) was one of the leaders of the Cherokee nation in Arkansas during the early years of the nineteenth century. He led warriors in battle against the Osage living in Arkansas, and he also represented the Cherokee in meetings and in negotiations with the U.S. government. Details of Takatoka’s early life are not available, but he was estimated to be around sixty-five years old when he met with Christian missionary Cephas Washburn in 1820. Takatoka was evidently a member of the group led by Tahlonteskee that crossed the Mississippi River to settle in the Missouri Territory, as encouraged by the U.S. government. The New Madrid …

Tinhiouen

There were actually two men with the name of Tinhiouen, a father and son, who were hereditary chiefs, or caddi, of the Kadohadacho Caddo in the late eighteenth century. After Spain took control of Louisiana, these two chiefs became increasingly important figures in diplomatic and economic affairs among colonial authorities, Creole inhabitants, and the many Native American tribes who lived in and around Spanish Louisiana and Texas. The two men shaped relationships between Spanish colonists and Indian tribes, and they gave the Caddo a favored political position in troubled times. The Kadohadacho were viewed by all other Caddo tribes, and by non-Caddo Indian neighbors, as direct descendants of the mythical or semi-mythical ancient ancestors of all Caddo people. The home …

Toltec Mounds Site

The 100-acre Toltec Mounds site in Lonoke County between Scott (Pulaski and Lonoke Counties) and Keo (Lonoke County) is one of the largest archaeological sites in Arkansas and in the lower Mississippi River Valley. It was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service of the United States Department of the Interior in 1978 in recognition of its significance in the history of America. It opened as a state park in 1980. Native Americans occupied the Toltec Mounds site and built the mounds between the years 650 and 1050 AD. Archaeologists use the name Plum Bayou Culture to refer to their way of life. This culture cannot be identified with any of the tribes living in …

Tom’s Brook Culture

People of the Tom’s Brook culture—the name comes from a tributary of the Arkansas River along which artifacts of this culture were first recognized—occupied most of western Arkansas, from the Arkansas River drainage south to the Red River valley, between 6,000 and 7,000 years ago. In terms of the six major “cultural periods” that archaeologists use to describe the prehistory of Arkansas and other southeastern states (Paleoindian, Early Archaic, Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian), the Tom’s Brook people lived at the beginning of the Middle Archaic period, which began around 6000 BC and lasted until about 3000 BC. They seem to have been the first people in Arkansas, and possibly the first in the Southeast, to take up …

Trail of Tears

“Trail of Tears” has come to describe the journey of Native Americans forced to leave their ancestral homes in the Southeast and move to the new Indian Territory defined as “west of Arkansas,” in present-day Oklahoma. Through coerced or fraudulent treaties, Indians had been given the choice of submitting to state jurisdiction as individuals or moving west to preserve their sovereign tribal governments. The metaphoric trail is not one distinct road, but a web of routes and rivers traveled in the 1830s by organized tribal groups from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee. All of these trails passed through Arkansas. During the decade after passage of the federal Indian Removal Act in 1830, an estimated 60,000 Indians, African …

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

In 1987, Congress created the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (TOTNHT): “a trail consisting of water routes and overland routes traveled by the Cherokee Nation during its removal from ancestral lands in the East to Oklahoma during 1838 and 1839.” The Arkansas portion of this trail originally consisted of two routes of fifty-nine and 337 miles, respfectively, but was expanded in 2009. The TOTNHT is overseen by the National Park Service (NPS), aided by other concerned groups such as the Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears Association, the latter headquartered in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In 1987, the TOTNHT consisted of roughly 2,200 miles but only two paths: a land or northern route (826 miles) and a water …

Treaty of Council Oaks

On June 24, 1823, Acting Governor Robert Crittenden of Arkansas Territory met with a group of Arkansas Cherokee; the place of their meeting been described in many sources on the south side of the Arkansas River  in the vicinity of modern Dardanelle (Yell County), though this is debatable, as the agent for the Cherokee, Edward W. DuVal, was likely headquartered north of the river, the land south of the river having been reserved for the Choctaw. The leaders present included John Jolly (who was likely the most influential member of the group and would soon be elected principal chief of the Arkansas Cherokee), Black Fox, Wat Webber, Waterminnow, Young Glass, Thomas Graves, and George Morris. Each group came to the meeting with …

Tunica

aka: Tunican Indians
The Tunica were one of several Native American tribes situated in the Lower Mississippi River Valley during the French colonial period. As allies of the French colonial Louisiana government, the Tunica were involved in many of the turbulent events that took place between the start of the Louisiana colony and the Louisiana Purchase by the United States. As a result, their population was severely reduced in numbers during this century, and they moved their villages repeatedly, generally downstream, until settling near present-day Marksville, Louisiana, about 1790. Tribal traditions and early colonial historic reports do not give a clear picture of Tunica ancestral homelands and cultural traditions. There is evidence, however, to indicate that the Tunica resided, at least in part, …

Watie, Stand

Stand Watie was a Cherokee leader who signed the Treaty of New Echota, which led to the tribe’s removal from its homeland in the southeastern United States to the Indian Territory (modern-day Oklahoma). Watie also fought for the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, becoming the only Native American to achieve a general’s rank on either side during the war. Stand Watie was named Degadoga, which means “he stands,” when he was born on December 12, 1806, near New Echota, Georgia, the son of Oo-wa-tie, who was a full-blood Cherokee, and Susanna Reese, who was half Cherokee. When his father took the name David Watie after his baptism in the Moravian Church, he renamed his son Isaac S. …

Woodland Period

The Woodland period is a label used by archaeologists to designate pre-Columbian Native American occupations dating between roughly 600 BC and AD 1000 in eastern North America. This time period traditionally is divided into Early, Middle, and Late subperiods, which refer to intervals characterized in very general terms by the first widespread use of pottery across the region, the rise and then decline of a vast exchange network throughout eastern North America,and finally, a period of increasing agricultural intensification and population growth in many areas. During the Woodland period, sedentism, population, and organizational complexity dramatically increased. Around 600 BC, Native Americans in Arkansas were probably living in small groups tied together by collective ritual, including burial that sometimes involved the …