Prehistory Videos

Chickasaws migrate from the west and establish their homelands east of the Mississippi River.

30 Items Play All

Prehistoric Eras: The Evolution to Mound Builders

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
LaDonna Brown explains the archaeological progression from the earliest known event: the migration of Indians to North America from Asia.

The Chickasaw Migration Story

LaDonna Brown
To find their homeland, the Chickasaws and Choctaws migrated across the continent. They prayed each night for direction.

The Chickasaw/Choctaw Migration Story

Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham, Director of Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma
Dr. Amanda Cobb-Greetham shares the Chickasaw and Choctaw people's shared migration story.

Florida Museum of Natural History: Dugout Canoes

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
In ancient America, rivers were highways for people who traded goods aboard dugout canoes.

Woodland vs. Mississippian Eras

Joanna Underwood Blackburn
Joanna Underwood Blackburn explains the difference between pottery created during the Woodland and Mississippian eras.

Pinson Mounds Aerial Tour, Tennessee

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
Located in what was once Chickasaw land, Pinson Mounds features at least 15 earthen mounds, in an area that encompasses almost 1,200 acres.

The Sacred Chickasaw Burial Tradition

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna cites the importance of burials to Southeastern Indians, dating back to the Paleo-Indian period.

Emerald Mound and Others in Our Homelands

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna surveys other mounds from the Woodland and Mississippian period.

Mound Sites: Evidence of Well-Established Trade

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
LaDonna Brown cites features shared by mound sites that demonstrate how trade had long been an important aspect of Southeastern Indians' lives.

Spiro Mounds: Trade Center for the Continent

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna Brown notes that Spiro Mounds, located in eastern Oklahoma, is the trade center between the Southeast and the Southwest.

The Largest Mound Site: Cahokia

LaDonna Brown, Tribal Anthropologist, Department of History & Culture, Chickasaw Nation
LaDonna Brown describes the Cahokia Mound site.

My First Mound Experience: Wickliffe Mounds, Part 1

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
LaDonna Brown recalls her first visit to a mound site and the powerful experience it proved to be.

Textiles of the Mound Builders

Margaret Roach Wheeler
Margaret Roach Wheeler describes her Smithsonian fellowship research on the textiles of the mound builders.

The Southeast Clan System Defined Societal Structure

LaDonna Brown, Tribal Anthropologist, Department of History & Culture, Chickasaw Nation
LaDonna elaborates on the societal structure clans provided, such as who could be leaders, doctors or warriors.

Clan Systems in a Matrilineal Society

LaDonna Brown, Tribal Anthropologist, Department of History & Culture, Chickasaw Nation
LaDonna Brown explains how the clan system provided a societal structure for the southeastern tribes.

Our Spiritual Animal Guides

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna Brown describes the Chickasaws' spiritual beliefs that have existed since prehistoric times.

The Chickasaws: Clan System Enabled the "Indian Grapevine"

Richard Green, Author & Former Chickasaw Nation Historian
The clan system enabled the Chickasaws to trade with and be welcomed by other tribal members of the same clan.

Descending from Clans: A Matrilineal Society

Joshua Hinson
Joshua Hinson explains that traditionally, Chickasaw heritage descended solely from the female.

Muskogean Tribes: Clan Systems Organized Life

Joshua Hinson, Director, Language Department, Division of Culture & Humanities, Chickasaw Nation
Clan structure and the smaller house groups were organizing forces from the Mississippian period until the middle 1800s.

The Ancient Language of Clans

Joshua Hinson
Joshua Hinson describes how his family learned the history of its clan, the Panther Clan.

Moundville: Aerial Tour

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
Moundville was a preeminent ancient center of mound culture on the Black Warrior River, just west of present-day Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Artifacts from Moundville Site Excavations

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
Archaeologists at most mound sites try to excavate only 5%-10% of the site to avoid destroying it.

Bill Bomar: Famous Moundville Artifacts

Experience Chickasaw History and Culture
Carved from a single piece of stone, the Duck bowl was called "the most significant prehistoric artifact ever found in the U.S."

Moundville: Home of Prehistoric Chickasaws?

Richard Green
Many believe that the Chickasaws descended from the Mississippian-era mound dwellers in Moundville.

The Structure Atop Platform Mounds

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna explains how the location of a dwelling on top of the platform mound is seen as a defining characteristic of the Mississippian time period.

Rattlesnakes and the Horned Serpent

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna describes the connection between rattlesnakes and the legendary horned serpent – both of which dominate prehistoric artifacts.

Artifacts: Best Seen Where They Were Found

LaDonna Brown
LaDonna Brown describes the authentic experience is for mound visitors to see where an artifact was made and found, right at the mound site.

At Moundville: The Horned Serpent Story

LaDonna Brown, Tribal Anthropologist, Department of History & Culture, Chickasaw Nation
LaDonna Brown describes a famous Chickasaw story her grandfather told her when she was a child when they lived not far from Moundville, Alabama.

Mysteries of the Mounds: The Abrupt Decline

LaDonna Brown
It is a mystery as to why the mound societies declined and disappeared. Archaeologists can only speculate about the changes that brought this about.

Evolution from Mounds to a Smaller Village Site

LaDonna Brown
The Mississippian era was characterized by immense change, however many ancient lifeways remain intact.