The Natchez Indians

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The Natchez were well-known for their strong central government and their highly evolved religious ceremonies. Moreover, the language of the Natchez does not seem to have any relation to that of any other tribe in the area. The tribe is said to have used the name, “Thelöel,” when referring to themselves, and it is believed that the French may have assigned the name “Natchez” to the tribe because one of the villages bore the name. Likewise, the French named the surrounding area Natchez, as well.

Religious Practices

The Natchez were sun-worshippers. Moreover, their chief was believed to be the direct descendent of the sun and was named the Great Sun. The chief had absolute power within the tribe although he conferred with a council on matters of war.

Furthermore, the Natchez had a code of ethics by which they lived. This code had eight main principles: murder was not allowed except in cases of self-defense, they were to always be sincere and not deceptive, men were only allowed one wife; they were to be completely honest, they were to be temperate and show self-restraint, they were to be generous, charitable and always assist the poor. Moreover, they also believed that the righteous would be rewarded in the afterlife, while the wicked would be punished.

Human sacrifice was also practiced by the Natchez, to the extent that when a Chief died, often his close relatives would willfully be slain to join him. However, sometimes others from the tribe were chosen. Occasionally, the Stinkards would offer their children as human sacrifices in order to obtain a higher ranking in the tribe.

Social Structure and Government

The tribe was divided into four social groups. At the top of the hierarchy were the relative...

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...he End of the Natchez, notes that a “delegation of twenty six Natchee Indians applied to the government of South Carolina for permission to settle on the Savannah River” in 1736.


Albrecht, Andrew C. “Indian-French Relations at Natchez.” American Anthropologist, New Series 48.3 (Jul-Sept. 1946):321-354.

Barnett, James. The Natchez Indians: A History to 1735. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press (2007).

Mooney, James. “The End of the Natchez.” American Anthropologist, New Series, 1.3 (Jul.1899):510-521.

Spurgeon, Ian Michael. “Natchez Revolt” in Encyclopedia of North American Indian Wars, 1607-1890: A Political, Social, and Military History. Edited by Spencer C. Tucker, James Arnold and Roberta Wiener. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO Publishing (2011): 535.

Stanley, Samuel. “The End of the Natchez Indians.” History Today 28.9 (Sept. 1978):612-618.

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