The roof. They were not nomadic people, so

The Choctaw Tribe The Choctaws have survived through many years of diseases and war, all brought upon them by the Europeans conquering during the 1800s. As a tribe, they have been greatly influenced by the Europeans in their housing, weapons, traditions and clothing. They are even known as one of the five civilized tribes meaning that they were the first to fall into European traditions and living, as well as Christianity. How they lived The Choctaws were farmers and hunters. They mostly ate their crops such as corn, beans and squash, but fish, small game and bigger birds as well. The women made cornbread, tea out of tree leaves and soups. For hunting the men used a lot of bow and arrow but also axes and knives. They were later influenced by the Europeans and began using musketeers and guns as well. The tribe is known for its colorful clothing. They wore clothes made of deerskin and bark fabric from trees. The men had breechcloths (a cloth made of bark fabric to cover the genitals) and did not wear a shirt. The women wore long skirts and often a poncho, but they could also choose to go shirtless. Both men and women went barefoot at home, but when traveling they wore moccasins made of deer skin. The Choctaws also had their hair grow out long, even though some men chose to have a mohawk and decorate them with feathers. Their clothing would later change when the Europeans came and they started wearing more of what was popular in Europe at that time. The Choctaw houses were called a Chukka and they used a technique called “Wattle and Daub” to build them. They would make a wooden frame and then fill it with dirt and clay. At last they would make a thatched roof. They were not nomadic people, so they made houses that were designed to stay in one place. Their house building techniques were however influenced by the Europeans in the 1800s and they began building log houses. Traditions The Choctaw Tribe has a long history of traditions. The young Choctaw men would for example play Stickball, or Toli in Choctaw. They would meet up with other tribes and have tournaments. This was the birth of what later would become Lacrosse. The Choctaw men were also known for having colorful tattoos all over their body. To be able to wear a tattoo they had to have defeated an enemy on the battle field. Then they would take something sharp such as a bird, fish or deer bone and poke holes in their skin. They took coal, ocher from clay or indigo pigment and rubbed it into the wounds to make the beautiful images. When a Choctaw died, the tribe had a very special ceremony. They would place the body on a platform and leave it out in the sun for a year. When the year was over, a tribe member who had grown out their nails, specifically for this purpose, would scrape the rotten meat off the bones of the corpse. They would then color the bones and place it in a chamber along with other colored bones. This tradition ended during the 1800s.  The trail of tears One of the most gruesome happenings in the Choctaw history was “The trail of tears” in the 1830’s. This was when the Europeans decided that the Choctaws had to move out of Mississippi and into a Native American reserve in Oklahoma. First the tribe refused to move, which then led to them being forced. 15?000 Choctaws with 1000 slaves moved over the border.  A lot of tribe members died from diseases and exhaustion as well as hunger. There have been reports that some of the Natives ate rotting animals laying along the trail because of the absence of food. Choctaws today Today, the tribe is divided into three groups: The Choctaw nation of Oklahoma located in Oklahoma, The Mississippi band of Choctaw located in Mississippi and The Jena band of Choctaw located in Louisiana. The tribe in Oklahoma is the largest with about 223?000 tribe members. The Mississippi tribe is the descendants of the few Choctaws that managed to stay in Mississippi Valley after “The trail of tears”. Some of the Choctaws still speak the native Choctaw language, but everyone knows English. No one lives in the Chukka or wears breechcloths, but some still choose to honor their tribe by taking a tattoo inspired from the old Choctaws and showing the tribe traditions to their children.      Sources: www.choctawnation.com www.bigorrin.org       

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