Coushatta

Last updated
Coushatta
Alabama-Coushatta.jpg
Coushatta boy planting
Christmas trees, Louisiana
Total population

Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana
910 enrolled members
Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas
1,000 enrolled

Contents

Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town
380 enrolled
Regions with significant populations
Flag of the United States.svg  United States (Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma)
Languages
English, Koasati language
Religion
Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Alabama, other Muscogee peoples

The Coushatta (Koasati : Koasati) are a Muskogean-speaking Native American people now living primarily in the U.S. states of Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Koasati language Native American language spoken in Louisiana

Koasati is a Native American language of Muskogean origin. The language is spoken by the Coushatta people, most of whom live in Allen Parish north of the town of Elton, Louisiana, though a smaller number share a reservation near Livingston, Texas, with the Alabama people. In 1991, linguist Geoffrey Kimball estimated the number of speakers of the language at around 400 people, of whom approximately 350 live in Louisiana. The exact number of current speakers is unclear, but Coushatta Tribe officials claim that most tribe members over 20 speak Koasati. In 2007, the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, in collaboration with McNeese State University and the College of William and Mary, began the Koasati (Coushatta) Language Project as a part of broader language revitalization efforts with National Science Foundation grant money under the Documenting Endangered Languages program.

Native Americans in the United States Indigenous peoples of the United States (except Hawaii)

Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".

United States federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

When first encountered by Europeans, they lived in the territory of present-day Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. They were historically closely allied and intermarried with the Alabama people, also members of the Creek Confederacy. Their languages are closely related and mutually intelligible.

Tennessee State of the United States of America

Tennessee is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Tennessee is the 36th largest and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky to the north, Virginia to the northeast, North Carolina to the east, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi to the south, Arkansas to the west, and Missouri to the northwest. The Appalachian Mountains dominate the eastern part of the state, and the Mississippi River forms the state's western border. Nashville is the state's capital and largest city, with a 2017 population of 667,560. Tennessee's second largest city is Memphis, which had a population of 652,236 in 2017.

Georgia (U.S. state) State of the United States of America

Georgia is a state in the Southeastern United States. It began as a British colony in 1733, the last and southernmost of the original Thirteen Colonies to be established. Named after King George II of Great Britain, the Province of Georgia covered the area from South Carolina south to Spanish Florida and west to French Louisiana at the Mississippi River. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788. In 1802–1804, western Georgia was split to the Mississippi Territory, which later split to form Alabama with part of former West Florida in 1819. Georgia declared its secession from the Union on January 19, 1861, and was one of the original seven Confederate states. It was the last state to be restored to the Union, on July 15, 1870. Georgia is the 24th largest and the 8th most populous of the 50 United States. From 2007 to 2008, 14 of Georgia's counties ranked among the nation's 100 fastest-growing, second only to Texas. Georgia is known as the Peach State and the Empire State of the South. Atlanta, the state's capital and most populous city, has been named a global city. Atlanta's metropolitan area contains about 55% of the population of the entire state.

Alabama State of the United States of America

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama is the 30th largest by area and the 24th-most populous of the U.S. states. With a total of 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of inland waterways, Alabama has among the most of any state.

Under pressure from Anglo-American colonial settlement after 1763 and the French defeat in the Seven Years' War, they began to move west into Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, which were then under Spanish rule. They became settled in these areas by the early 19th century. Some of the Coushatta and Alabama people were removed west to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in the 1830s under Indian Removal, together with other Muscogee (Creek) peoples.

France Republic with mainland in Europe and numerous oversea territories

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Seven Years War Global conflict between 1756 and 1763

The Seven Years' War was a global conflict fought between 1756 and 1763. It involved every European great power of the time and spanned five continents, affecting Europe, the Americas, West Africa, India, and the Philippines. The conflict split Europe into two coalitions, led by the Kingdom of Great Britain on one side and the Kingdom of France, the Russian Empire, the Kingdom of Spain, and the Swedish Empire on the other. Meanwhile, in India, some regional polities within the increasingly fragmented Mughal Empire, with the support of the French, tried to crush a British attempt to conquer Bengal. The war's extent has led some historians to describe it as "World War Zero", similar in scale to other world wars.

Mississippi State of the United States of America

Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. Mississippi is the 32nd most extensive and 34th most populous of the 50 United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to the south, and Arkansas and Louisiana to the west. The state's western boundary is largely defined by the Mississippi River. Jackson, with a population of approximately 167,000 people, is both the state's capital and largest city.

Today, Coushatta people are enrolled in three federally recognized tribes:

Wetumka, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Wetumka is a city in northern Hughes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,282 at the 2010 census, a decline of 11.7 percent from 1,451 at the 2000 census. The town was named for a Creek town of Wetumpka in Alabama, which the Creeks were forced to leave during the Indian Removal. Wetumka is a Muscogee Creek word meaning "tumbling water." It is the headquarters for two federally recognized tribes, the Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town and the Kialegee Tribal Town. It is the home of the Sucker Day, held every year on the last Saturday in September.

Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana

The Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana is one of three federally recognized tribes of Koasati people. They are is located in Allen and Jefferson Davis Parishes, Louisiana. The tribe hosts an annual pow wow during the second weekend in July.

Language

The Koasati language is part of the Apalachee-Alabama-Koasati branch of the Muskogean languages. An estimated 200 people spoke the language in 2000, most of whom lived in Louisiana. The language is written in the Latin script. [1]

Muskogean languages language family

Muskogean is language family spoken in different areas of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean. Typologically, Muskogean languages are agglutinative. One language, Apalachee, is extinct and the remaining languages are critically endangered.

Latin script writing system used to write most Western and Central European languages

Latin or Roman script is a set of graphic signs (script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumaean Greek version of the Greek alphabet used by the Etruscans.

History

The Coushatta were traditionally agriculturalists, growing a variety of maize, beans, and squash, and supplementing their diet by hunting game and fish. They are known for their skill at basketry. Nearly all the Spanish expeditions (including the 1539-1543 Hernando de Soto Expedition) into the interior of Spanish Florida recorded encountering the original town of the tribe. [2] It was believed to be located in the Tennessee River Valley. (Click here for a list of towns encountered by the Hernando de Soto Expedition.) The Spanish referred to the people as Coste, with their nearby neighbors being the Chiaha , Chiska , Yuchi , Tasquiqui, and Tali.

Under pressure from new European settlers in the 17th-18th centuries, the Coushatta made treaties and ceded land, and they migrated west into present-day Alabama. Along the way they established their town at Nickajack (Ani-Kusati-yi, or Koasati-place, in Cherokee) in the current Marion County, Tennessee. Later they founded a major settlement at the north end of Long Island, which is bisected by the present-day Tennessee-Alabama stateline.

By the time of the American Revolution, the Coushatta had moved many miles down the Tennessee River where their town is recorded as Coosada. In the 18th century, some of the Coushatta (Koasati) joined the emerging Creek Confederacy, where they became known as part of the "Upper Creek". They were closely related to the Alabama Indians and often intermarried with them. Coushatta and Alabama who stayed in Alabama were part of the 1830s forcible removal to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. Today their descendants form the federally recognized Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town in Wetumka, Oklahoma

Some of the Coushatta tribe split from the Creek Confederacy and went to South Louisiana. Their descendants today make up the federally recognized Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana.

Notable chiefs among the Coushatta-Alabama were Long King and Colita (Koasati) (1838-1852), who succeeded him. They led their people to settle in present-day Polk County, Texas in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Colita's Village was developed prior to the European-American settlement of Livingston, Texas. [3] Descendants of these peoples form the federally recognized Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas and have a reservation near Livingston.

Ethnobotany

A decoction of the leaves of Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium ssp. obtusifolium is used for fevers. The Coushatta use it to bathe those who are feverish. [4]

20th century to present

In the twentieth century, the Coushatta people in Louisiana began cultivating rice and crawfish on tribally owned farms on the reservation, where most of the current population resides. An estimated 200 people of the tribe still speak the Coushatta language, which is in the Muskogean family. In the early 21st century, fewer young people are learning it and the tribe is working on language preservation.

Since the late 20th century and the rise in Indian self-determination, many Native American tribes have developed a new source of revenues by establishing gaming casinos on their reservations, which are sovereign territory. States, which had begun their own gaming operations and regulated private ones, and the federal government have passed legislation to control Indian gaming, which must conform to what exists by state law. While such revenues are not taxable by the states, tribes often negotiate agreements with the states to share some portion of income, in recognition of their reliance on state infrastructure and other assets. In the 1990s, the Coushatta of Louisiana hired the lobbyist Jack Abramoff to assist in establishing a gaming casino on their reservation. They were victims of his manipulations, as he charged them high fees but did not work on their behalf to gain federal or state approval of such development. He was ultimately prosecuted for his actions.

Since then, the tribe has established gaming on its reservation. It also has tax-free sales of certain items to raise revenues. The initiatives have raised significant revenues, but the state filed suit to stop the specific class of gaming. Litigation is underway.

F. A. Little, Jr., of Alexandria, Louisiana, a retired United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana, serves as chief judge for the tribe. [6]

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Alabama–Coushatta Tribe of Texas

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References

  1. "Koasati", Ethnologue. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  2. Hudson, Charles M. (1997). Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun. University of Georgia Press.
  3. "Alabama-Coushatta Indians", Texas Handbook Online
  4. Taylor, Linda Averill. (1940) Plants Used As Curatives by Certain Southeastern Tribes. Cambridge, MA. Botanical Museum of Harvard University (p. 61)
  5. Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Archived 2007-07-10 at the Wayback Machine ., accessed 25 Apr 2010
  6. "F. A. Little, Jr. (Ret.)". Federal Arbitration. Archived from the original on April 14, 2012. Retrieved April 6, 2012.