Promised Land

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"We're just south of Kosciusko on the Natchez Trace Parkway in land that once belonged to the Choctaw Indians. East of here is the "promised land," the hill of origins -- Nanih Waiya, sacred to both the Choctaw and the Chickasaw Indians because the traditions of both tell how once they were one people.

"One story tells how the Indians came from the west searching for a homeland with a magical pole to guide them. After a day's travel they would stick the magical spear into the ground and make camp. At sunrise their leaders, two brothers Chicksa and Chacta, would inspect the spear. The direction it leaned pointed the way for their travels that day.

"One day they came to a stream rather early and Chacta placed the spear deep into the earth to mark camp, but Chicksa quarreled with his brother and crossed the stream to make camp, carrying friends and followers with him.

"The next morning the spear wasn't leaning. Chacta said it was a sign telling them this was to be their home. Chicksa and his followers on the other side of the stream had broken camp early and moved on. From that day the two tribes were bitter enemies -- the Chickasaws, who followed the one brother and the Choctaws who stayed with the other... the Chickasaws following the game and the hunt and the Choctaw, a more settled people in their lands, inclined to raise food crops to survive.

"For Natchez Trace a road through the wilderness, I'm Frank Thomas."

For more about Natchez Trace: A Road Through the Wilderness, visit eddieandfrank.com

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