Society

American Indian philosophy is centered on observations of the world, which were then transformed into deeply held spiritual beliefs. Animal symbols were used as a way of listening to the innate wisdom of animals. Animal and man were considered as being the same—neither one above the other — and all things are considered different, but equal, from nature’s perspective.

In earlier times, all Chickasaws belonged to a clan of his or her mother; this is known as a matrilineal system. One of the main functions of the clan was to provide kinship with clan members in other villages. Traditionally, a person would not be allowed to marry someone within his or her own clan. The clan was the most important group to which a person belonged. This membership was more important than belonging to anything else and every group had its own clan animal.

Clans
  • Iksa' Shawi' (Raccoon Clan)
    • Leaders were chosen from this clan
    • Liked to dance
    • Loved to eat fish and all kinds of fruit
    • Very cunning and could not be deceived
    • Had great faith in their leaders and elders
  • Iksa' Foshi' (Bird Clan)
    • Early risers
  • Iksa' Acho' Chaba' (Alligator Clan)
    • Warriors
  • Ishtaaonchololi' Issi' (Deer Clan)
    • Hunters
  • Iksa' Kowishto' Losa' (Panther Clan)
    • Hunters
    • Lived in hills or mountains
    • Lived close to water, but not too close
    • Owned plenty of property and horses
    • When holding a great feast, invited all their neighbors
  • Iksa' Kowimilhlha' (Wildcat Clan)
    • Hunters
    • Seldom went out in the daytime
    • Roamed about at night in search of food
    • Swift of foot
    • Very keen eyes
  • Iksa' Nani' (Fish Clan)
    • Hunters
  • Iksa' Chola' (Fox Clan)
    • Lived in the woods
    • Prepared for a hunt for many days
  • Iksa' Koni (Skunk Clan)
    • Lived in dugouts or underground
    • Seldom saw the sunrise
  • Iksa' Fani' (Squirrel Clan)
    • Hunters
  • Iksa' Nashoba' (Wolf Clan)
    • Warriors

Last Updated: 05/15/2014