Videos: Caushibo and Ashkinica dancers in Peru

Caushibo means “Strong or elite – Place of” in the Panoan languages of Peru. The word, Caushibo was Anglicized to Cusabo by early settlers of the Colony of South Carolina. Since both the Caushibo of Peru and Caushibo (Cusabo) speak/spoke Panoan languages, they were undoubtedly the same ethnic group. Coosa, the powerful province, whose capital was in Northwest Georgia, is actually pronounced “Kaushe” in Creek. They may have also been descended from Caushibo immigrants.

Jacques Le Moyne, resident artist at Fort Caroline, sketched or water colored several dance scenes on the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, which seem to be identical to the dances in eastern Peru. Undoubtedly, the energetic “courting” dances were also popular within the interior of that region. Sensuous dancing between young women and men among the Creeks and Chickasaws is one of many cultural traditions that separates them from most North American tribes and cultural links them to the indigenous peoples of eastern Peru.

In both regions, the young women had easy access to an effective birth control made from the wild sweet potato. Thus, young women and men usually “dated around” for several years before marrying. Explorer John Lawson stated that Creek women would often wait until their mid-20s to have their first child. Modern birth control pills were originally manufactured from the wild sweet potatoes of southern Mexico.

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