Tennessee and Chickasaw Culture

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The Chickasaw culture was very unique. They were the most feared warriors of the American Southeast, and anyone who messed with them came to regret it. The Chickasaw took on all comers, including tribes four to five times their size and never lost until they picked the wrong side in the American Civil War. Even then, this nation was the last Confederate government to surrender to Union forces.

The Chickasaw have little or no memories of the platform mounds left by the earlier Mississippian mound builders. The towns were spread for 10-15 miles along the course of a stream, which protected the Chickasaw from epidemics. During war, the Chickasaw would withdraw into fortified towns whose locations in the rugged hills well east of the Mississippi River made it very difficult for their enemies to attack them.

There were two housing types of the Chickasaw. The summer houses were rectangular and the winter houses were circular. The houses were well insulated and partially sunken into the ground. The men were hunters and warriors first and farmers second. Also the men appeared to be taller than the closely related Choctaw to the south. The women were usually a foot shorter than the men. Both sexes wore their hair long, with warriors switching to the scalplock for war.

Towns and clans were independent but would unite in times of war. The Chickasaw relied on dugout canoes and foot for transport. Horses were used primarily to transport deerskins east to the British at Charleston. They were excellent swimmers, because the rivers presented no barrier, and the Chickasaw were especially swift runners.
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