Must-have book: Hudson’s Southeastern Indians

Submitted by Sammy Smith (sammy@thesga.org)

Hudson_SE_Indians_cover.jpgEthnohistorian Charles Hudson’s book The Southeastern Indians is still in print.

That’s saying something; it was originally published in 1976. Mostly, it indicates that this readable, data-filled volume remains relevant and important.

In other words: save your pennies and get your own copy!

Yes, archaeologists and historians have gathered significant new information since this book was published, but what’s between the covers means this title is worth having in your own library.

Hudson’s writing is both lyrical and factual. Consider the initial paragraph:

The native people of the American South—the Southeastern Indians—possessed the richest culture of any of the native people north of Mexico. It was richest by almost any measure. At the time Europeans first came to the New World, the Southeastern Indians lived on the fruits of an economy which combined farming with hunting and gathering; they organized themselves into relatively complex political units; they built large towns and monumental ceremonial centers; and they possessed a rich symbolism and an expressive art style. But hardly any of this has left an impression on our historical memory. The average American has some notion of the Powhatan Indians of Virginia and of the role they played in our early colonial history; he has a clear but stereotyped concept of the Indians who lived on the Great Plains; he may know something about the Navajo and Pueblo Indians of the Southwest; but he knows little or nothing about the Southeastern Indians.

Remember, Dr. Hudson wrote this in 1976. Still, many “average Americans” know little about the native peoples who lived in Georgia. If you want to learn about them, this book, with its maps and black-and-white photographic plates, is an excellent place to start. It remains available in paperback at a reasonable cost.

What other volumes do you consider must-have for your own library on Georgia archaeology? Log in and comment!

Charles M. Hudson, 1976, “The Southeastern Indians,” University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 573 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0870492488.