What Are Some Facts About the Southeast Indians?

There are many Southeast Indian tribes, but the best-known are the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Natchez and Seminole. These tribes, also known as the people of the Southeastern Woodlands, hail from the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and parts of Florida.

The Southeastern tribes were hunters and gatherers as well as farmers. The most important food sources were corn, squash and beans, which the tribes called “The Three Sisters.” These ingredients were used in a famous Southeastern Indian dish called succotash.

The gender roles were well defined in the Southeastern tribes. Men were providers for their families; they hunted, built weaponry and built homes. Women filled the domestic role, caring for children and the elderly as well as cooking, weaving and creating pottery. The tribes were broken into clans, and individuals could not marry within their clan. Polygamy was not unheard of within the Southeastern tribes.

Many Southeastern tribes built wigwams for lodging, which were made of logs and sticks then covered in grass. Most of the tribes spoke Muskogean.

The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole tribes were largely removed from their homes during the Indian Removal Act, which was signed by President Andrew Jackson in 1830. In 1838, the Cherokee were notably relocated via the Trail of Tears, in which approximately 17,000 Native Americans were forced to walk to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.