Chickasaw Society and Religion brings back into print one of the most important ethnographic sources on Chickasaw Indian society and culture ever produced, making it available to a new generation of students and scholars. The Smithsonian Institution ethnologist John Swanton published his work on the Chickasaws in 1928 as part of the Forty-fourth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology, and, like Swantons many other works on Southeastern Indians, it has remained one of the primary sources for scholars and students of Chickasaw and Southeastern Indian culture. Swanton combed printed and archival documents in constructing a picture of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Chickasaw life.
Swantons keen eye for detail and his impressive knowledge of Southeastern Indian cultures make this study the starting point for all Chickasaw scholarship. Swanton broaches topics as diverse as Chickasaw marriage patterns, naming, government, education, gender roles, subsistence, religion, burial customs, and medicine. He also displays an intimate understanding of Chickasaw language throughout the essay that will aid future researchers.
A linguist and ethnographer, John R. Swanton (1873-1958) was the editor of American Anthropologist, president of the American Anthropological Association, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences. Greg OBrien is an associate professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of Choctaws in a Revolutionary Age, published by the University of Nebraska Press.