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Mississippi studies

Mississippi studies

admin / January 11, 2019


According to Haynes, the territory of Mississippi was created by congress in 1798 when United States was still classified as a young nation[1]. President John Adams, who was the president at the moment, had tossed the country into war with France, which was undergoing revolution at the moment. In 1790s, there was a western surge that was primarily caused by the defeat of the Indians tribes commanded by Gen.

Anthony Wayne and the negotiation undertaken by the Thomas Pinckney, a U.S minister that reopened the Mississippi river. These unsettling times gave way to the possession of Natchez, a long disputed district that was named after a vanished tribe of Indians, passed to the United States[2].

The state of Mississippi was approved through an act of legislation on 26th February 1836[3]. According to Baca, the Native American Indian groups of Choctaw and Chickasaw were the most populous; the southern and central parts of the present Mississippi were occupied by Choctaw native group while the northern part was occupied by the Chickasaw native group[4].

History of Native Americans in Mississippi

The core of the American Native group of Chickasaw was located in the present day Mississippi. In addition to this, the Chickasaw also possessed additional territories, in present day Western Kentucky, eastern Arkansas and western Tennessee. The cultural and language values of the Chickasaw native group were closely related to their counter parts, the Choctaw, who lived in the southern part of the present day Mississippi.

The two groups in turn were culturally tied to their counter parts the Creek who lived in the eastern part of Alabama and Georgia[5]. The political organization of the Chickasaw was centrally placed in between the Creek and the Choctaw. This is because they were not as informal as the Choctaw was and on the other hand, not as rigidly structured as the Creek.

The Natchez people, whose dwellings were along the lower side of the Mississippi river, were elaborate in their social structure. The land upon which the Chickasaw settled on was a flood plain of the Mississippi river, thus the natives were forced to build their houses and villages on the high patches of land to avoid flooding[6].

Effects of American expansion into lands of Mississippi valley and west of Mississippi river

The years 1780-1880 were years of adjusting, learning, experimentation and fighting for dominance for land and the resources in it. In between this century, there was a decline in power and population of the Native Americans. Migration was another effect that was eminent during the expansion, as the natives were required to relocate west to Indiana territory on the west side of the river.

Racism and denigration of culture were some of the effects that resulted from the American expansion into lands of Mississippi valley. This is because in times of conflicts, the Indians were considered racially inferior and culturally denigrated[7].

Relationship between the Native Americans and the federal government

The United States’ Indian policy was designed for the sole purpose of meeting the economic, spiritual, and political wishes and needs of its citizens.

These wishes did not coincide with those of the Native Americans, and in conflict, the natives were normally overpowered by the mighty power of the state and federal governments. The relationship was hence strained as the state tried to alleviate the Native people in a manner that required cultural transformation thus making the natives reject the proposed transformations[8].

Recognition of sovereignty permeated the relationship existing between the Natives and the United States federal in the sense that the congress was in a position of denying it. A large number of the Indians who figured in the six and a half years of America’s revolution war died and those who survived faced hardship in reconstruction and postwar recovery[9].

Considering the role played by the Native groups that settled in the present day Mississippi in mapping the history of America, one cannot deny there was a great deal of unjust committed to them by the Expansion of the Americans into the Mississippi valley.

Not only did the Natives face racism and denigration of culture, they also lost their lives and endured hardships in postwar recovery all in the name of American Revolution. This said, the natives should be compensated for the wrongs done to them in the past, as history can be a reference point of the future ahead.


Baca, Keith. Native American place names in Mississippi. NY, University press of Mississippi, 2007.

Brown, A.J. History of Newton County, Mississippi, from 1834 to 1894. Louisiana, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc, 1999. Haynes, Robert. The Mississippi Territory and the Southwest Frontier, 1795-1817. Kentucky, the university press of Kentucky, 2010.

Trigger, Bruce. North America, Part 1. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1996. Waldman, Carl. Encyclopedia of native tribes. NY, Infobase publishing, 2006.

R .v. Haynes, The Mississippi Territory and the Southwest Frontier, 1795-1817, (Kentucky, the university press of Kentucky, 2010), p. 1
R .v. Haynes, The Mississippi Territory and the Southwest Frontier, 1795-1817, (Kentucky, the university press of Kentucky, 2010), p. 2
A.J. Brown, History of Newton County, Mississippi, from 1834 to 1894, (Louisiana, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc n.d), p. 1
K. A. Baca, Native American place names in Mississippi (NY, University press of Mississippi, 2007), p. xii
5C.Waldman, Encyclopedia of native tribes, (NY, Infobase publishing, 2006), p. 60,61
B.G. Trigger, North America, Part 1, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,1996 ), p. 461
B.G. Trigger, North America, Part 1, (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press,1996), p. 462, 463
B.G. Trigger, ibid.
B.G. Trigger, ibid.

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