logo Click BACK to return to basecamp
Lost Teachers
Search Info
White beveled edge

Meet Stephanie

Stephanie Archive



Natchez Indians Kick the French out of America and Make Sure We Speak English


Nick on top of Emerald Mound
Have you ever wondered why we speak English in the United States? After all, the original people of our country - the Native Americans - spoke hundreds of different languages that weren't at all like English. Why don't we speak one of those? Why don't we speak Spanish or French? They came in the New World around the same time the English did.

Well, Nick and I recently learned that we were very close to becoming a French-speaking nation. If it hadn't been for the Natchez Indians of Mississippi, we might be dunking croissants into our morning coffee instead of doughnuts!
The Natchez are an ancient tribe that lived along the Mississippi River from about AD 700 to 1729. They are best known for their mounds -- enormous piles of earth that where part of their religion. Nick and I got to climb their sacred Emerald Mound, which is the second largest ceremonial mound in the nation. It measures 770 feet by 435 feet at its base, covers eight acres of land and sticks nearly 35 feet into the air! At one time, the mound served as the foundation for the tribe's temple.

The mighty Emerald Mound
The early colonists from France and England said the Natchez were so friendly that French and English traders and soldiers started coming more and more often. At that time, England and France were the greatest powers of the Old World. Now they wanted to rule the New World. To do so, they had to fight tooth and nail to establish the most colonies for their royal crowns. And they knew this feat could not be accomplished without the help of the Indians. After all, these early colonists were city slickers who had never experienced life in the rugged wilderness before. If it hadn't been for the Indians, most would have starved.

After a while, though, France became too greedy. They wanted the Natchez to work too hard so the French would not have to work at all. And the Natchez didn't understand that the cattle the French had weren't for sharing. So, they started fighting. And the fight grew into a war and lots of people on both sides were killed.

In the end, the French spent so much time trying to win the war that they lost a lot of their land to the English. The Natchez won the war and drove the French out of the US. The French were happy about still being able to keep Canada, though. Over the next century the Natchez and other Native American tribes would be forced off their lands by a much stronger force than the French- the United States. I guess the US wasn't too thankful for the Natchez's help in getting rid of the French!


Please email me at: stephanie@ustrek.org


Links to Other Dispatches

Neda - Lazy summer days? Not for these kids!
Daphne - From slavery to freedom