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The Hitchiti were a Muskogean-speaking tribe formerly residing chiefly in a town of the same name on the east bank of the Chattahoochee River, 4 miles below Chiaha, and with good land bordering on the river, in west Georgia. They spoke the Hitchiti language, which was mutually intelligible with Mikasuki. The latter is still spoken by Mikasuki people in Florida.

When the US Indian agent Benjamin Hawkins visited the Hitchiti in 1799, he recorded that they had spread out into two branch settlements. The Hitchitudshi, or Little Hitchiti, lived on both sides of Flint River below the junction of Kinchafoonee Creek, which passes through a county once named after it. The Tutalosi lived on a branch of Kinchafoonee Creek, 20 miles west of Hitchitudshi.

The tribe is not often mentioned in historical records. It appeared the first time in 1733, when two of its delegates, with the Lower Creek chiefs, met Governor James Oglethorpe at Savannah.

The language appears to have extended beyond the limits of the tribe, as it was spoken not only in the towns on the Chattahoochee, as Chiaha, Chiahudshi, Hitchiti, Oconee, Sawokli, Sawokliudshi, and Apalachicola, and in those on Flint river, but by the Miccosukee tribe of Florida. As traceable by the local names, it appeared to have been spoken over considerable portions of Georgia and Florida. Like the Creek, this language has an archaic form called "woman's talk," or female language.

It is supposed that the Yamasee likewise spoke the Hitchiti language, but the evidence is not conclusive. Other evidence pointed toward their speaking a different language or speaking a language related to Guale.

The Hitchiti were absorbed into and became an integral part of the Creek Nation, though preserving to a large extent their own language and customs. Similarly, those Mikasuki-speakers who joined the Lower Creek migrations to Florida, becoming the forefathers of the Seminole, maintained their culture. They have been recognized as the distinct Miccosukee tribe.

Some sources list Hitchiti as an extant language in the 1990s.[1]

References

  1. ^ Moseley, Christopher and R.E. Asher, ed. Atlas of the Worlds Languages (New York:Routelege, 1994) p. 6
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