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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NE students learn about Choctaw tribal history with baskets, art, demonstrations

By Jonathen Kahan/reporter

In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, Anthony Thompson educated NE students Nov. 14 on the history of the Choctaw through demonstrations.

Thompson, owner of Haiyip Atuklo, is fluent in his native Choctaw language, songs, social dances and games. He also is a self-considered historian with experience in the education system.

While hand-woven Choctaw baskets were presented and passed around, several Native American photos and art pieces were displayed as well as traditional clothing.

“The diamond design you see on Native American clothing represents the rattlesnake, which is honored and respected,” he said.

Choctaw children had their own games. With the help of two volunteers, Thompson demonstrated the game of stickball. A very small ball would be thrown and caught using two long sticks with cups on the ends. The object of the game is to take the ball to the goal without touching it.

As with all tribes, the Choctaws hunted their food. Thompson demonstrated rabbit sticks — club-like sticks made of hickory that the Native Americans would use when hunting rabbits. They would knock them together and strike rabbits as they fled from the sound.

“When the men would come home without a rabbit, the wife would hit her husband with the rabbit stick,” he said jokingly.

Native Americans also would hunt small birds and animals by blowing a dart through a blowgun made from a hollowed sugar cane, Thompson said.

The Choctaw had rules of life to live by such as not to kill or injure another human, not to lie, not to have prolonged issues between two families, to honor one’s family name and not to be lazy, he said.

Thompson explained the Choctaw’s relocation, along with the relocation of several other tribes, following the Indian Removal Act, which resulted in the Trail of Tears.

“There were 2,000 Choctaws that perished in the land of the swamps in the year of removal,” he said.

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