CUSTOMS, ETC. (cont.)
Nation and that he knew that tribe better
than he did the Choctaws. Romans described the Chickasaws as a haughty,
insolent, fierce, and cruel race, filthy in their discourse, corrupt in
their morals, well-made, powerful and lazy, excellent hunters, expert swimmers,
and good warriors. The Choctaws he lauded as a nation of agriculturists,
inclined to industry and peace. Adair on the other hand lauds the Chickasaws.
Claiborne, who had official intercourse with the Choctaws, speaks in glowing
terms of them.
“The Choctaws never robbed nor permitted
robbers to live with them. Honesty on the part of the men and chastity
of the women were characteristics of the Choctaw people.”23
IV. CHICKASAW MARRIAGE CUSTOMS.
The following statement from Cyrus Harris,
a mixed-breed Chickasaw, relates to Chickasaw marriage customs:
“When a man found a girl that suited
his fancy, he would send his mother or sister with perhaps calico enough
to make one or more dresses, tied up in a shawl or handkerchief, with instructions
to ask the father and mother of the girl to give their approval of the
intention of the sender. If they gave their consent, the bundle was handed
to the girl. If she took the bundle, it was considered a bargain made.
The mother or sister brings back news of her errand. The maji then hunts
up his clcthes and dresses himself from head to foot, paints his face with
vermilion and other paints, and starts for the residence of his intended.
On reaching the place he is invited to take a seat on a cowhide or the
hide of any ‘varmint’ generally used for seats in those days. After the
general topics of the day are talked over, supper is announced. The visitor
and the intended father-in-law, in the absence of any other visitor, take
supper, unaccompanied by the intended wife or her mother. Some time after
supper, a bed commonly occupied by the girl is prepared for their accommodation,
the girl getting in bed first, previous to the man’s entering the bedroom.
The man comes in and occupies the front side of the bed. This makes them
man and wife, and, at any time, either one of them getting dissatisfied
with the other, by jealousy or otherwise, they separate mutually. This,
sir, was ancient marriage ceremony among the Chickasaws."24
V. BURIAL. CUSTOMS.
The Chickasaws and Choctaws, though they
brothers and had nearly similar ways,
observed different burial
Customs. The following from Adair
describes the burial of
Geasa, a Chickasaw chief:
Cyrus Harris to author, “June 18th, 1881"