Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Chickasaw Bluffs

"By 1800 there was little danger of the Chickasaws warring against either the whites or other Indians. Trade was the most immediate concern, and in 1802 the United States opened the Chickasaw Bluffs Trading House near Fort Pickering. Government trading posts also played a vital role in encouraging Indian land cessions, and President Jefferson was disarmingly candid in this regard. He urged the establishment of a Chickasaw post “for furnishing them all the necessaries and comforts they may wish (spirituous liquors excepted), encouraging them and especially their leading men, to run in debt for these beyond their individual means of paying.” The Indians would then cede more lands to satisfy their obligations. The effectiveness of this policy was almost immediately apparent. In 1805 the Chickasaws ceded land in Middle Tennessee to offset a debt of $12,000. The Chickasaw Bluffs trading post continued to offer on credit an array of high quality goods—the Chickasaws were discriminating customers—and each year Indian indebtedness rose by several thousand dollars. Struggling to meet their material needs and financial obligations, Chickasaw males used their West Tennessee hunting lands to good effect. In 1809 the trading house at the bluffs ranked first among fourteen U.S. trading posts, with more than $12,000 worth of pelts."

-The Chickasaws

Civilization of the American Indian Series, V. 109
by Arrell Morgan Gibson,
Norman, Okla. University of Oklahoma Press, 1981.

No comments: