Cokv-Walv Mvskoke Redux

The reliable return of summer solstice means the end of one year and the beginning of another in Mvskoke country. Like other indigenous Americans, Mvskoke people "survived by knowing their natural environment well and making direct use of its surpluses. It was a land of abundance, but that abundance was only available to those who … Continue reading Cokv-Walv Mvskoke Redux

Kvco-Hvse, “Blackberry Month”

People of a certain age will remember Uncle Remus and his tales of Br'er Rabbit and other animal characters. Growing up in the sixties, I enjoyed listening to my parents read stories that had been popularized a generation earlier by Disney's Song of the South, a feature-length musical combining live action with animation. The movie … Continue reading Kvco-Hvse, “Blackberry Month”

Kē-Hvse, “Mulberry Month”

The calendar year in Mvskoke country winds down with a couple of months named for edible fruits: kē, "mulberry," and kvco, "blackberry." And like only one other month in cokv-walv Mvskoke (Hotvlē-Hvse, “Wind Month"), their traditional names include the word for "month" itself, presumably to avoid confusion between each month and its namesake. The remaining … Continue reading Kē-Hvse, “Mulberry Month”

Tasahce-Rakko, “Big Spring”

The dominant culture in North America tends to make a big deal out of the vernal equinox, around March 20, when night and day are about equal in length. Among those who define seasonal change according to strictly astronomical criteria, this marks the beginning of spring—a welcome relief from the cold and dreary conditions of … Continue reading Tasahce-Rakko, “Big Spring”

Tasahcuce, “Little Spring”

In the spring Mvskoke people lightly turn to thoughts of love and wild onions, if not necessarily in that order. Writing at the gloomy close of the nineteenth century, Mvskoke poet Alexander Posey was glad to hear "a lone bird sing" amid the "frosty winds" of winter's end, announcing "the warm smile of Spring." Posey … Continue reading Tasahcuce, “Little Spring”

Hotvlē-Hvse, “Wind Month”

The last month of the winter season brings blustery weather to Mvskoke lands, an annual turn as predictable in Indian Territory as it was in the old country. Today this is still the windiest part of the year in northern Alabama and Georgia, and anyone now living in eastern Oklahoma knows it's the time of … Continue reading Hotvlē-Hvse, “Wind Month”

Rvfo ‘Cuse, “Winter’s Younger Brother”

Last month I took the arrival of "Big Winter" as an occasion for exploring seasonal divisions in cokv-walv Mvskoke. This time-honored calendar synthesizes the astronomical and ecological knowledge our agrarian forebears found to be useful. Based on evidence from the Mvskoke language, from Muskogean oral tradition, and from other indigenous and scientific calendars around the … Continue reading Rvfo ‘Cuse, “Winter’s Younger Brother”