- Paperback: 573 pages
- Publisher: University of Tennessee Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1976)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0870492489
- ISBN-13: 978-0870492488
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #510,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Southeastern Indians Paperback – October 1, 1976
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About the Author
Charles Hudson (1932-2013) was the Franklin Professor of Anthropology and History at the University of Georgia before retiring in 2000. He was the author of many scholarly books, including The Southeastern Indians; Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms; and Conversations with the High Priest of Coosa, and co-editor of An Early and Strong Sympathy: The Indian Writings of William Gilmore Simms. He was also the author of the historical novel, The Packhorseman.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, Hudson covers all aspects of the lives of the Native American peoples of the Southeast in great detail, including their history, social and political structures, systems of belief, their art, recreation, and other aspects that make up the whole of their cultures. While new research has added to our understanding of Native American cultures of the Southeast since Hudson wrote this work, much of his work is still basic and useful as a "starting point" for more modern studies.
Second, Hudson tries to synthesize and provide a comparative treatment of the many cultures within this region, noting the points of similarity between their cultural practices and patterns. While this could potentially obscure the rich and significant differences which existed between the many peoples of the region - such as those between the Mississippian cultures and groups like the Timucua and Calusa which existed outside the Mississippian cultural orbit - it is helpful to realize the common patterns within the larger cultural area of the Southeast.
Third, Hudson, in my opinion, writes in a clear and readable style which is very useful for both the anthropologist and the interested layperson (obviously, I disagree with the other reviewer on this point.) I highly recommend this book as a good and helpful addition to the library of anyone interested in Native American studies, American history, or anthropology.
There is a lot of good information in this book and it is surely worth reading. That is saying quite a bit considering that Hudson tackled a topic for which the written historical record is sparse and much of it written by amateurish chroniclers, and the archeological records are widespread and diverse. That’s to say Hudson did an admirable job with what he had to work with.
But the book also deserves some criticisms that may interest the reader.
A minor point: it has enough of an academic flavor that it is not really “casual reading” or “general audience” material. That isn’t inherently bad but be aware that some sections will make the reader work.
A somewhat more notable point: The photos and illustrations are often not anywhere near the textual reference to them. For example, an illustration referred to on page 85 (without a page number) is actually located 300 pages later. Searching throughout the 500-page book for illustrations and photos referenced is an unnecessary inconvenience. That probably wasn’t Hudson’s fault, though.
A more serious criticism: As with nearly all such books written in the 70s (and beyond) by Native Americans or their groupies, this book very wrongly demonizes Andrew Jackson, using the 1830 Indian Removal Act as their ersatz “smoking gun”. As with most politically motivated harangues, they indict Jackson using quite selective “evidence”. In short, they conveniently ignore the climate and realities Jackson had to deal with in 1830.
Hudson waits until the last chapter to add his condemnation but it’s still there and still very self-servingly unfair.
He denigrates Jackson for refusing to enforce a pro-Cherokee decision against the State of Georgia by Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court and tacitly implies Jackson’s motive was his personal hatred of Indians, and nothing else. That is not true at all.
There is absolutely no doubt that Marshall’s pro-Cherokee decision was legally and morally correct. But there is also no doubt that it was quite probably the most dangerous decision ever handed down by the Supreme Court.
Had Jackson decided to enforce it given the realities of the day, he would have precipitated a Civil War and the proof of that climate is in the actual Civil War Lincoln ignited just 30 years later. To make the matter worse, Jackson would have had to sell the rest of the country on engaging in a civil war to protect the rights of Indians (who weren’t even citizens).
Further… civil war may have induced a large-scale Indian uprising to deal with too.
Further… Great Britain, whose huge textile economy would have suffered from the turmoil in the South, would certainly have realized the opportunity they had to invade sparsely-inhabited Florida to use that area as a protected staging ground to help Southerners and Southeastern Indian tribes wage their war on the national government. Just such an event had worried the U.S. and tempted Great Britain since before the War of 1812.
Even if Jackson personally worshiped Native Americans, enforcing Marshall’s ruling would have been tantamount to national suicide.
Jackson did exactly what the “Founding Fathers” did with the question of Slavery. He deferred the resolution to future generations. And he did it in a way that bought the Native Americans at least a temporary option to imminent annihilation and still kept the nation intact.
But, of course, every victim needs someone to pin their resentment, hate and malice upon and who would make a more imposing “monster” than Ol’ Hickory himself?
But it’s still a good read and I recommend it.
The Paleoindian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississipian eras of Southeastern Indian Civilization.
Exploration of the South by DeSoto through the Roanoke colony
Indians and various wars- in NC the Tuscarora War was especially important while WWII had a gigantic influence on Indians overall
The Green Corn Ceremony (most important religous ceremony)
Deer and slave trades with the French, English, and Americans for guns, kettles and alcohol
Uktenas (Cherokee Snake monster with wings and antlers) and other creatures
Removal of the "Five Civilized Tribes" (Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks, Seminoles, and Choctaws)
Indian food and medicine like the Three Sisters (Corn, beans and squash), Black Drink (Indian coffee which is easy to make), and the use of bear oil
For me, I was drawn to his coverage of lesser known tribes such as the Natchez. Thus he provides us with an excellent reference work which is being added to with research after 1976 when the book was published.
The book is an excellent starting point for anyone interested in the Southeastern culture area.
Thanks for making available.