The Social and Ceremonial Life of the Choctaw Indians

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Excerpt from Source Material for the Social and Ceremonial Life of the Choctaw Indians:

Although a certain political centralization had been attained it was not so absolute as to have become spectacular or oppressive, and therefore interesting to white men. There were no complicated religious ceremonials to arrest the attention of the foreigner and the intelligence of the native, and it is the general testimony that the Choctaw were less inclined to display their superiority to other people by trying to kill them than is usual even in more civilized societies. The significant things about them are told us in a few short sentences: That they had less territory than any of their neighbors but raised so much corn that they sent it to some of these others in trade, that their beliefs and customs were simple, and that they seldom left their country to fight but when attacked defended them selves with dauntless bravery. In other words, the aboriginal Choctaw seem to have enjoyed the enviable position of being just folks, uncontaminated with the idea that they existed for the sake of a political, religious, or military organization. And apparently, like the meek and the Chinese and Hindus, they were in process of inheriting the earth by gradual extension of their settlements because none of their neighbors could compete with them economically. Absence of pronounced native institutions made it easy for them to take up with foreign customs and usages, so that they soon distanced all other of the Five Civilized Tribes except the Cherokee, who in many ways resembled them, and became with great rapidity poor subjects for ethnological study but successful members of the American Nation. It is generally testified that the Creeks and Seminole, who had the most highly developed native institutions, were the Slowest to become assimilated into the new political and social organ ism which was introduced from Europe. The Chickasaw come next and the Cherokee and Choctaw adapted themselves most rapidly of all.