Fearsome warriors famed for bringing home the spoils of battle--human or otherwise.
Among the Native Americans of the Mississippian culture, the practice of warfare generally took place in the form of raids or ambushes against enemy chiefdoms.
Small groups of men led short military expeditions to seize human trophies, such as scalps or limbs taken from their victims. These were proof of their military skill, but also fulfilled considerably more complex ritualistic functions.
Indeed, both Mississippian archaeology and iconography provide evidence of a belief system associated with the capture of vital forces in battle. The removed body parts were believed to contain the victim’s vital powers. These could then be appropriated, manipulated, or bestowed elsewhere by their holder, either to serve as a symbolic restoration of the village or community’s life essence, to prolong an individual’s life, or even to act as a spiritual companion for the dead.