Book review: Empire of the Summer Moon

EMPIRE OF THE SUMMER MOON : Quanah Parker and the rise and fall of the Comanches, the most powerful Indian tribe in American history, by S. C. Gwynne, New York: Scribner, ©2010. ISBN 978–1416591061 As a student of American Indian history (in the Southeast), I have been asked more than once whether I’ve read this popular […]

Where does the name Waxahatchee come from?

Waxahatchee is a Brooklyn-based music project headed by Katie Crutchfield. The music press tell us that Waxahatchee is the name of a creek in Alabama. In January 2011 Crutchfield “was living at her parents’ house on Waxahatchee Creek, nursing the bruises of a few bad relationships and wondering what to do with her adulthood.” A […]

The Injuns are coming (again)

Attention Conservation Notice: This post is about Alabama politics and the use of American Indian imagery to score political points. Spotted this billboard the other day in East Lake, Birmingham. The three men on the right are Alabama Governor Bob Riley, John Tyson (current head of the Governor’s Task Force on Illegal Gambling) and David […]

How Mother Earth immigrated to America

Mother Earth is a woman who needs no introduction. In the Old World, she’s been written up and talked about for a long, long time. Her stock was probably lowest around the sixteenth century, but since then she has come roaring back. Now pagans, poets, and environmentalists sing her praises, and everyone else has heard […]

Creek language treasures

The Creek Language Archive just gets better and better. The website recently added Creek Texts by Mary R. Haas and James H. Hill, a trove of transcribed manuscripts in the Creek language on a variety of interesting subjects. …este nak kērrvlket hvsoss-elecv sehokēpofv tat,nake kērrulke ensukcv fvcfvkē omet sehok’t omvtēt omēs. …and when gitlalgi (“knowers”) […]

Indian talk: The Long Man

One of the Indian phrases we white folks like to throw around now and again is the name “Long Man” or “Long Person” for a river. We tend to do this with the idea that Indians had some “primitive” idea of the river as a god of some kind. The fact is, the name and […]

Cajuns? No, Choctaws.

Long time ago wasn’t no folks on them sand flats.… Them Cajans sprung up right out’n the ground. Some say they come from animals—coons and foxes and suchlike—but that ain’t right. Just sprung up out’n the ground.— Carl Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama (1934) I just discovered that Jackie Matte’s article on the Choctaw Indians […]