Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region, by Melvin R. Gilmore

By Melvin R. Gilmore

A vintage of ethnobotany, Uses of vegetation by way of the Indians of the Missouri River Region has been enlarged for this Bison ebook version with thirty drawings, via Bellamy Parks Jansen, of vegetation mentioned through Gilmore. The taxonomic thesaurus has been up-to-date besides. Readers will locate right here, comfortably defined, the makes use of that Plains Indians made up of the wild crops they gathered and of these vegetation they cultivated for meals, garments, drugs, and ornamentation. This attention-grabbing ebook, initially released in 1919, finds cultures that developed in shut concord with their environment.

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Assuming an average requirement of 2 ,500 calories per person per day, corn alone could have provided about two-th irds of the total calories the Choctaws needed. 2 0 Since these figures also assume that the Choctaws were farming on ly their best lands , some calculation which takes into account the extent of th is land as well as the necessity for fallow lands is also necessary . An examination of the town of Tala, regarded as densely settled in 1 795 , \Vith its population of 343 , is instructi ve .

Rfh e immediate cau se was lack o f game, but they probably had to rely o n game because of a c r o p failure . This list of droughts and other d i sasters , th o u g h long, i s certai nly i ncomplete, pa r ti c ula r l y fo r the fi rst t h i r ty years o f the ei ghteen th century , when relatively few Eu ro­ peans visited the n a tio n . 30 Choctaw Subsistence 29 A summer d rought had to last for only a few weeks to severely red uce yields if it occurred at certain times in the growing cycle .

I n 1 7 1 7 intertribal wars d isrupted harvests. These wars may h ave been con fined to t h e coast, but certainly the earlier slaving wars had sim il ar e ffects on the Choctaws. I n 1 7 3 2 a hurricane caused widespread crop dan1age , bu t \vh ethe r it reached the Choctaws is not known. I n 1 7 34 the Choctaw corn crop de finitely failed from drought, and in 1 7 3 7 it \Vas very poor because of worm s and hot winds . 29 The late 1 7 7 0s \vas the beginning of a prolonged period of sporadically poor crops.

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