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Alabama's Native American History Spans Millenia



Like all of America, Alabama has a rich native American history. Long before the first Europeans landed on our eastern shores, mound builders of the Woodland Period (500 BC-1100 AD) raised crops of corn, squash, and beans and hunted abundant game in the Wiregrass. Most of the land was unsettled, but native people traded along trails and rivers – the Conecuh, Pea, Choctawatchee, and Chattahoochee – that flowed through southeastern Alabama. After the arrival of the Europeans, the deerskin trade became a main source of sustenance for the Creeks in the late eighteenth century. But contact with white settlers did not bode well for the Creeks.


The 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson resulted in the Creek Nation losing control of the Wiregrass. However, the heavily wooded region remained wild and unsafe for white immigrants until the forced removal of the Creeks in 1836.


Although native Americans suffered the loss of their priceless lands and were threatened with the loss of their identity, through their steadfastness, courage, and devotion to their ancient ways, they were able to salvage and maintain much of their culture. For example, skilled basket weavers continue to produce these intricately woven pieces of art, much as their ancestors did thousands of years ago, much as their ancestors did thousands of years ago.


The devastating effect of white settlement is touched on in several chapters of Wiregrass Chronicles – Long Rows to Hoe, and Wiregrass Chronicles – Bluebirds, Sharpshooters and the Lure of Faraway Places.


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