Tomochichi. Leader of the Yamacraw. By Lindsay Esterline Visit my TPT store HERE. The Yamacraw.
Leader of the Yamacraw
By Lindsay Esterline
Visit my TPT store HERE
Tomochichi (tohmoh CHEE chee) lived most of his life among the Creek people in what is now Georgia. In about 1728, Tomochichi created his own tribe, the Yamacraws, from a group of Creek and Yamasee Indians after the two nations disagreed on how to handle trade with settlers. His group of about 200 people settled on the bluffs of the Savannah River. They called their village Yamacraw Bluff.
A tribe is a group of people that share the same way of life.
Tomochichi was nearly 90 years old when he became the micro, or chief, of the Yamacraw people. He was chosen to be leader because he had become known as an honest and skilled trader. When, in 1733, James Oglethorpe came and asked for some land near the Yamacraw village for a settlement, Tomochichi welcomed them.
Then and Now:
Back then Oglethorpe asked for some land for a new settlement. If we need land for something (a house or school, for example) how do we get it now?
Tomochichi thought that trade with the settlers would be good for his people. At a meeting, Tomochichi gave Oglethorpe two gifts. He gave him an eagle feather, which stood for peace, and a bison hide with an eagle painted on it. Because Tomochichi did not speak English, and Oglethorpe did not speak the Creek language, Mary Musgrovetranslated the meeting for them. The two leaders agreed to treat each other fairly.
Tomochichi also met with all the Creek leaders in Georgia. He wanted to make sure that there would be peace with the new settlers. He told them about his agreement with Oglethorpe. In 1734, Oglethorpe invited Tomochichi to England. Tomochichi wanted to make sure the English treated his people fairly so he, his wife, and nephew, Toonahowi (too nah HAW ee) made the long trip. As a symbol of peace, they gave three eagle feathers to King George II. To show respect, the king gave Toonahowi a gold watch.
Tomochichi thought it was important to learn the language of the settlers. After they returned home from England, he asked English settlers to help him start a school for Yamacraw children. The school opened in 1736. Tomochichi died on October 5, 1739, but he will always be remembered for his help in founding Georgia, and keeping peace between the Creek, Yamacraw, and the English settlers.
Creek villages were built around main squares where people held meetings and played games. In the summer, the houses had no walls to stay cool. In the winter, houses had walls made from clay and wood. The roofs of both houses would be mad of grass or bark.
More about Creek Indians
In Creek villages everyone helped gather food from the community gardens. The women grew the crops such as corn, beans, and squash. The men hunted deer, turkeys, rabbits and caught fish in the rivers.
The Creek used deerskin for clothing. Deerskin is soft, warm, and doesn’t tear easily. After trade with the English, they began to wear brightly colored fabrics and beads.
When a village grew to have too many people, some of those people would move and create a new village.
Trade—to exchange for something else
Traded by the English
Traded by the Creek
Honest—truthful and fair
Skilled—having skills; expert
Settlement—a community started by people from another land
Mary Musgrove owned a trading post in the area and she spoke both English and Creek languages. She translated for them.
Interpreter/translator—a person that explains words from one language in another language
Bison hide—the skin of a bison
Bison—a large animal with short horns and shaggy mane
Found—to start something such as a state, city, or school. For example: Tomochichi founded the school for Yamacraw children to learn English.