Creek Country

The Creek Indians and Their World

By Robbie Ethridge

384 pp., 5.75 x 9.25, 9 illus., 9 maps, 1 table, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-5495-2
    Published: December 2003
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6155-4
    Published: July 2004

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Reconstructing the human and natural environment of the Creek Indians in frontier Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, Robbie Ethridge illuminates a time of wrenching transition. Creek Country presents a compelling portrait of a culture in crisis, of its resiliency in the face of profound change, and of the forces that pushed it into decisive, destructive conflict.

Ethridge begins in 1796 with the arrival of U.S. Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins, whose tenure among the Creeks coincided with a period of increased federal intervention in tribal affairs, growing tension between Indians and non-Indians, and pronounced strife within the tribe. In a detailed description of Creek town life, the author reveals how social structures were stretched to accommodate increased engagement with whites and blacks. The Creek economy, long linked to the outside world through the deerskin trade, had begun to fail. Ethridge details the Creeks' efforts to diversify their economy, especially through experimental farming and ranching, and the ecological crisis that ensued. Disputes within the tribe culminated in the Red Stick War, a civil war among Creeks that quickly spilled over into conflict between Indians and white settlers and was ultimately used by U.S. authorities to justify their policy of Indian removal.

About the Author

Robbie Ethridge is McMullan Associate Professor of Southern Studies and associate professor of anthropology at the University of Mississippi. She is author of Light on the Path: The Anthropology and History of the Southeastern Indians (Alabama, 2006), Creek Country: The Creek Indians and Their World (UNCP, 2003), and coeditor of The Transformation of the Southeastern Indians, 1540-1760 (Mississippi, 2002).
For more information about Robbie Ethridge, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

"Melding together information and insights from several disciplines, Ethridge creates a rich picture of the world the Creeks, and others, had created by the end of the eighteenth century. . . . Ethridge adds another dimension to the increasingly rich picture being painted by ethnohistorians of the early American South."--Historian

"An important and engaging scholarly monograph. . . . A welcome addition to a burgeoning body of work."--Mississippi Quarterly

"A fascinating perspective on cultural exchanges between southeastern Creeks and other Americans, emphasizing the ecological context in which the exchanges occurred."--Journal of American History

"Paints a vivid portrait of Creek society and culture in the early nineteenth century. . . . Well-written, free from jargon, and accessible to readers who are not experts in the field. Consequently, Ethridge's examination of the Creek world will be of considerable value for anyone interested in Indian ethnohistory or the history of the American south."--Journal of Southern History

"The creative use of an array of sources . . . makes this book a remarkable contribution."--American Historical Review

"A wonderful tour of Alabama and Georgia at a special time in southeastern United States history. . . . This book will serve well as a text for courses dealing with southeastern Indian history in the historic period and should find a home in any classroom at the upper undergraduate level and beyond. . . . A pleasure to read and will appeal to the layperson as well as the professional historian. . . . An original study that fills a serious gap in the existing literature by providing a much-needed general survey and description of everyday life for one specific tribe. Creek Country rightly deserves a place on every bookshelf next to other Creek history favorites."--Alabama Review