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A Natural History of the Bestiary by Wilma George, Yapp. W. B.

By Wilma George, Yapp. W. B.

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As a result we may ¤nally take David Hally’s advice and address the individual history of speci¤c towns (Hally 1971). There are numerous, detailed, and recent ethnohistorical studies that cover various aspects of the Maskókî and allied people (Braund 1993; Ethridge 2003; Foster 2001; Grantham 2002; Green 1990; Hahn 2000, 2004; Piker 2004; Saunt 1999; Swanton 1922, 1928a, b, 1946; Wickman 1999; Wright 1986). This chapter is intended to be a brief overview of the ethnohistoric evidence describing the cultural and economic history of the Creek Indians during the eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries.

My interpretation of the ethnohistoric and archaeological data regarding the Creek Indians is that they are not what is commonly referred to as a chiefdom. There is centralized leadership in Creek society in the form of all adult males contributing to decisions at the council. Even the characterization of leadership is tenuous because council decisions were not binding. While part of this argument is semantics and classi¤cation, I do not ¤nd it useful to expand the de¤nition of the chiefdom unit of classi¤cation to organizational structures that constitute almost half of the population (adult males).

He argues that the super-talwa organization of Red and White towns supports the argument for an organization above the talwa and that this institution is consistent with a chiefdom organization. I agree with his observation but not the conclusion. The presence of a confederation or cooperative organization in the form of a classi¤cation and organizational structure of towns is certainly true before the in®uence of the Europeans. However, the moity system of Red and White towns is a loose organization and its evidence for a chiefdom is weak.

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