YUCHI

 

TRIBE NAME

Yuchi, which means "situated yonder at a distance," was the response of several tribe members to the inquiry, "Who are you?" or "Whence come you?"

The Yuchi refer to themselves as "Tso-Ya-Ha," or "children of the sun."

The name is often spelled phonetically as Euchee or Uchee.

 

LANGUAGE

Classified as the Uchean linguistic stock, the Yuchi have a distinct language in which dangerously few people today are fluent.

The names of the months reflect a closeness to nature: February is Windy Month; March is Little Summer; December, with its religious holidays, is Big Sunday.

 

HISTORY

Their original residence in Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama is ancient, predating the Creek.

But because they were part of the Creek Confederacy (during the 17th century's colonial Indian wars), Yuchi have often been counted as Creek Indians, but they lived in separate tribal towns even after they, along with the Creek, were forced to migrate west to Indian Territory in 1836.

 

CULTURE

Known as a small, mobile and elusive tribe.

The sharing of food is an important part of most Indian activities; there is a sacramental relationship between fasting, feasting and dancing.

 

CEREMONIES

Each Yuchi town (Polecat, Duck Creek and Sand Creek) has a public square, or shrine, where social and religious meetings are held.

The square ground symbolizes the rainbow, where, in the sky-world, sun (the spirit culture-hero) underwent the ceremonial ordeals handed down to the first Yuchi.

Public religious worship is performed by the whole town in a complex annual ceremony tied to the corn harvest.

Elements include the ceremonial making of new fire; clan dances in honor of totemic ancestors; scratching the males for sacrifice and purification; taking an emetic as a purifier; and partaking the season's first green corn.

All are carried on in distinct emulation of the sun to ensure continued existence.

The idea of obedience to the sun is prominent.