Every household of the Native American Chickasaw tribe typically built a winter and summer home, a corn storage building and a menstrual hut. Tribes lived in villages with multiple households. Other common structures in a village included a log palisade fort, ceremonial grounds and a council house.Continue Reading
The summer house was an open rectangular shape while the winter house, or hashtola chokka, involved more construction. The circular winter house had a spiraling entryway to shield inhabitants from the weather and intruders. The home was heavily insulated with clay and had a floor up to 3 feet deep. Four interior wooden posts supported a cone roof covered with tree bark shingles. A wooden eagle may have been placed at the roof peak.
The Chickasaw had a decentralized political system, and each village had its own chief and leaders. The Chickasaw tribe originally lived in the southeastern United States and encountered a Spanish expedition in 1540. The next contact with Europeans was in 1670, and the tribe afterward dealt with the Spanish, French and Americans until the United States' Indian Removal Act of 1830 relocated the tribe further west. The Chickasaw are a matrilineal society that traces descendants through the mother. They worship the sun as the highest spiritual power and life-giver.Learn more about US History