Choctaw
Overview
 
The Choctaw are a Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 people originally from the Southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 (Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

). The Choctaw language
Choctaw language
The Choctaw language, traditionally spoken by the Native American Choctaw people of the southeastern United States, is a member of the Muskogean family...

 belongs to the Muskogean linguistic
Muskogean languages
Muskogean is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean...

 group.
The Choctaw are descendants of the Hopewellian people and Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 valley and its tributaries. The former built Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya is an ancient earthwork mound in Winston County, Mississippi, constructed by indigenous people during the Middle Woodland period, about 0-300 CE. Since the 17th century, the historic Choctaw have venerated Nanih Waiya as their sacred origin location in traditional beliefs.Today the...

, a great earthwork mound
Mound
A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically...

 about 1,700 years ago that is considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 of the mid-16th century encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs.

The Choctaw coalesced as a people in the 17th century, and developed three distinct political and geographical divisions: eastern, western and southern, which sometimes created differing alliances with nearby European powers, who included the French
French colonization of the Americas
The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued in the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America...

, English and Spanish during the colonial era.
Encyclopedia
The Choctaw are a Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 people originally from the Southeastern United States
Southeastern United States
The Southeastern United States, colloquially referred to as the Southeast, is the eastern portion of the Southern United States. It is one of the most populous regions in the United States of America....

 (Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

, and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

). The Choctaw language
Choctaw language
The Choctaw language, traditionally spoken by the Native American Choctaw people of the southeastern United States, is a member of the Muskogean family...

 belongs to the Muskogean linguistic
Muskogean languages
Muskogean is an indigenous language family of the Southeastern United States. Though there is an ongoing debate concerning their interrelationships, the Muskogean languages are generally divided into two branches, Eastern Muskogean and Western Muskogean...

 group.
The Choctaw are descendants of the Hopewellian people and Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 valley and its tributaries. The former built Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya is an ancient earthwork mound in Winston County, Mississippi, constructed by indigenous people during the Middle Woodland period, about 0-300 CE. Since the 17th century, the historic Choctaw have venerated Nanih Waiya as their sacred origin location in traditional beliefs.Today the...

, a great earthwork mound
Mound
A mound is a general term for an artificial heaped pile of earth, gravel, sand, rocks, or debris. The most common use is in reference to natural earthen formation such as hills and mountains, particularly if they appear artificial. The term may also be applied to any rounded area of topographically...

 about 1,700 years ago that is considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 of the mid-16th century encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs.

The Choctaw coalesced as a people in the 17th century, and developed three distinct political and geographical divisions: eastern, western and southern, which sometimes created differing alliances with nearby European powers, who included the French
French colonization of the Americas
The French colonization of the Americas began in the 16th century, and continued in the following centuries as France established a colonial empire in the Western Hemisphere. France founded colonies in much of eastern North America, on a number of Caribbean islands, and in South America...

, English and Spanish during the colonial era. During the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, most Choctaw supported the Thirteen Colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

' bid for independence from the British Crown
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

. They never went to war against the United States prior to Indian Removal.

In the 19th century, the Choctaw became known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes
Five Civilized Tribes
The Five Civilized Tribes were the five Native American nations—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole—that were considered civilized by Anglo-European settlers during the colonial and early federal period because they adopted many of the colonists' customs and had generally good...

" because they adopted numerous practices of their United States neighbors. The Choctaw and the United States (US) agreed to nine treaties and, by the last three, the US gained vast land cessions and deracinated
Forced migration
Forced migration refers to the coerced movement of a person or persons away from their home or home region...

 most Choctaw west of the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 to Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

. They were the first Native Americans forced under the Indian Removal Act
Indian Removal Act
The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830.The Removal Act was strongly supported in the South, where states were eager to gain access to lands inhabited by the Five Civilized Tribes. In particular, Georgia, the largest state at that time, was involved in...

. The Choctaw were exiled because the U.S. wanted to expand territory available for settlement by European Americans, to save the tribe from extinction, and to acquire their natural resources. The Choctaw negotiated the largest area and most desirable lands in Indian Territory. Their early government had three districts, each with its own chief, who together with the town chiefs sat on the National Council. They appointed a Choctaw Delegate to represent them with the US government in Washington, DC.

By the 1831 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830 between the Choctaw and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act...

, those Choctaw who chose to stay in the newly formed state of Mississippi were the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens. During the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the Choctaw in both Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

 and Mississippi mostly sided with the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

. In a new treaty after the war, the US required them to emancipate their slaves and offer them full citizenship; they have become known as Choctaw Freedmen
Choctaw Freedmen
The Choctaw freedmen were enslaved African Americans who became part of the Choctaw Nation with emancipation after the American Civil War, a requirement of the 1866 treaty the US made with the Choctaw. The Choctaw had sided with the Confederacy during the war....

. After the Civil War, the Mississippi Choctaw fell into obscurity for some time.

The Choctaw in Oklahoma struggled to build a nation, transferring the Choctaw Academy there and opening one for girls in the 1840s. In the aftermath of the Dawes Act
Dawes Act
The Dawes Act, adopted by Congress in 1887, authorized the President of the United States to survey Indian tribal land and divide the land into allotments for individual Indians. The Act was named for its sponsor, Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts. The Dawes Act was amended in 1891 and again...

, the US dissolved tribal governments and appointed chiefs. During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Choctaw soldiers served in the U.S. military as the first Native American codetalkers, using the Choctaw language
Choctaw language
The Choctaw language, traditionally spoken by the Native American Choctaw people of the southeastern United States, is a member of the Muskogean family...

. After the Indian Reorganization Act
Indian Reorganization Act
The Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans, including Alaska Natives...

 of 1934, the Choctaw reconstituted their government, and the Choctaw Nation had kept their culture alive despite years of pressure for assimilation
Assimilation
Assimilation may refer to:*Assimilation , a linguistic process by which a sound becomes similar to an adjacent sound...

. The third largest federally recognized tribe, since the mid-twentieth century, they have created new institutions, such as a tribal college, housing authority, and justice system. Today the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a semi-autonomous Native American homeland comprising twelve tribal districts. The Choctaw Nation maintains a special relationship with both the United States and Oklahoma governments...

 and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

 are the two federally recognized Choctaw tribes; Mississippi recognizes another band, and smaller Choctaw groups are located in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.

Etymology

The anthropologist John Swanton suggested that the name was derived from a Choctaw leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak (river people).

New World antiquity

Many thousands of years ago groups known as Paleo-Indians lived in what today is referred to as the American South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. These groups were hunter-gatherers who hunted a wide range of animals, including the megafauna
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

, which became extinct following the end of the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 age. 19th-century historian Horatio Cushman
Horatio Cushman
Horatio Leonard Cushman was a Massachusetts manufacturer and politician who served in both branches of the city council, and as the eighth Mayor, of Taunton, Massachusetts.- Notes :...

 noted that Choctaw accounts suggested their ancestors had known of mammoths in the Tombigbee River
Tombigbee River
The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River, approximately 200 mi long, in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama. It is one of two major rivers, along with the Alabama River, that unite to form the short Mobile River before it empties into Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico...

 area; this suggests that the Choctaw ancestors had been in the Mississippi area for at least 4,000–8,000 years. Cushman wrote: "the ancient Choctaw through their tradition (said) 'they saw the mighty beasts of the forests, whose tread shook the earth." Scholars believe that Paleo-Indians were specialized, highly mobile foragers who hunted late Pleistocene
Pleistocene
The Pleistocene is the epoch from 2,588,000 to 11,700 years BP that spans the world's recent period of repeated glaciations. The name pleistocene is derived from the Greek and ....

 fauna such as bison
American Bison
The American bison , also commonly known as the American buffalo, is a North American species of bison that once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds...

, mastodon
Mastodon
Mastodons were large tusked mammal species of the extinct genus Mammut which inhabited Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Central America from the Oligocene through Pleistocene, 33.9 mya to 11,000 years ago. The American mastodon is the most recent and best known species of the group...

s, caribou, and mammoth
Mammoth
A mammoth is any species of the extinct genus Mammuthus. These proboscideans are members of Elephantidae, the family of elephants and mammoths, and close relatives of modern elephants. They were often equipped with long curved tusks and, in northern species, a covering of long hair...

s. Direct evidence in the Southeast is meager, but archaeological discoveries in related areas support this hypothesis.

Descent from the moundbuilders

Contemporary historian Patricia Galloway argues from fragmentary archaeological and cartographic evidence that the Choctaw did not exist as a unified people before the 17th century. Only then did various southeastern peoples, remnants of Moundville
Moundville Archaeological Site
Moundville Archaeological Site, also known as the Moundville Archaeological Park, is a Mississippian site on the Black Warrior River in Hale County, near the town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama...

, Plaquemine
Plaquemine culture
The Plaquemine culture was an archaeological culture in the lower Mississippi River Valley in western Mississippi and eastern Louisiana. Good examples of this culture are the Medora Site in West Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, and the Anna, Emerald Mound, Winterville and Holly Bluff sites located...

, and other Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

s, coalesce to form a self-consciously Choctaw people. The homeland of the Choctaw, or of the peoples from whom the Choctaw nation arose, included the area of Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya is an ancient earthwork mound in Winston County, Mississippi, constructed by indigenous people during the Middle Woodland period, about 0-300 CE. Since the 17th century, the historic Choctaw have venerated Nanih Waiya as their sacred origin location in traditional beliefs.Today the...

, an earthwork mound
Earthworks (archaeology)
In archaeology, earthwork is a general term to describe artificial changes in land level. Earthworks are often known colloquially as 'lumps and bumps'. Earthworks can themselves be archaeological features or they can show features beneath the surface...

 in present-day Winston County, Mississippi
Winston County, Mississippi
-Demographics:At the 2000 census, there were 20,160 people, 7,578 households and 5,471 families residing in the county. The population density was 33 per square mile . There were 8,472 housing units at an average density of 14 per square mile...

, which they considered sacred ground
Sacred Ground
Sacred Ground may refer to:* Sacred Ground , a 1983 film starring Tim McIntire and Jack Elam* "Sacred Ground" , a 1989 song by Kix Brooks* Sacred Ground , featuring their version of the above song...

. Their homeland was bounded by the Tombigbee River
Tombigbee River
The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River, approximately 200 mi long, in the U.S. states of Mississippi and Alabama. It is one of two major rivers, along with the Alabama River, that unite to form the short Mobile River before it empties into Mobile Bay on the Gulf of Mexico...

 to the east, the Pearl River
Pearl River
-Bodies of water:*Pearl River , river in the south of China**Pearl River Delta , area around the mouth of the Pearl River in Guangdong**Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, economic region in the PRD**Pearl River mega-city, proposed mega-city in the PRD...

 on the north and west, and "the Leaf-Pascagoula system" to the South. It was mostly uninhabited during the Mississippian period.

Based on dating of surface artifacts, the Nanih Waiya mound was likely constructed and first occupied by indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples are ethnic groups that are defined as indigenous according to one of the various definitions of the term, there is no universally accepted definition but most of which carry connotations of being the "original inhabitants" of a territory....

 about 0-300 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...

, in the Middle Woodland period. The original site was bounded on three sides by an earthwork circular enclosure, about ten feet high and encompassing a square mile. Occupation of Nanih Waiya and several smaller nearby mounds likely continued through 700 CE, the Late Woodland Period
Woodland period
The Woodland period of North American pre-Columbian cultures was from roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE in the eastern part of North America. The term "Woodland Period" was introduced in the 1930s as a generic header for prehistoric sites falling between the Archaic hunter-gatherers and the...

. The smaller mounds may also have been built by later cultures. As they have been lost to cultivation since the late 19th century and the area has not been excavated, theories have been speculation.

While the mound continued to be a ceremonial center and object of veneration, scholars do not believe it was occupied during the Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

 period. From the 17th century on, the Choctaw revered this site as the center of their origin stories, which included stories of migration to this site from west of the great river (believed to refer to the Mississippi River.)

In Histoire de La Louisiane (Paris, 1758), French explorer Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz
Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz
Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz was an ethnographer, historian, and naturalist who is best known for his Histoire de la Louisiane. It was first published in installments from 1751-1753 in the Journal Economique, then completely in three volumes in Paris in 1758. After their victory in the Seven...

 recounted that "...when I asked them from whence the Chat-kas [sic] came, to express the suddenness of their appearance they replied that they had come out from under the earth." American scholars took this as intended to explain the Choctaws' immediate appearance, and not a literal creation account. It was perhaps the first European writing that included part of the Choctaw origin story.
Early 19th century and contemporary Choctaw storytellers describe that the Choctaw people emerged from either Nanih Waiya or a cave nearby. A companion story describes their migration journey from the west, beyond the Mississippi River
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

, when they were directed by their leader's use of a sacred red pole.

Post-Columbian era

The Choctaw ancestors were likely part of the Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

 in the lower Mississippi river valley
Mississippi embayment
The Mississippi Embayment is a physiographic feature in the south-central United States, part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. It is essentially a northward continuation of the fluvial sediments of the Mississippi River Delta to its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois. The embayment...

. They were preceded by other moundbuilding cultures, of which people of one of the earliest built Nanih Waiya. Scholars believe the mound was contemporary with such earthworks as Igomar Mound in Mississippi and Pinson Mounds in Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

.

The Mississippian culture was a Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from 800 to 1500 C.E. When the Spanish
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 made their first forays inland in the 16th century from the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, they encountered some chiefdoms of the Mississippians, but others were already in decline, or had disappeared. The Mississippian culture
Mississippian culture
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 CE to 1500 CE, varying regionally....

 is what the earliest Spanish explorers encountered, beginning on April 2, 1513, with Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

's Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

 landing and the 1526 Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón expedition in South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 region.

Spanish Exploration (1540)

After castaway Cabeza de Vaca
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca
Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer of the New World, one of four survivors of the Narváez expedition...

 of the ill-fated Narváez expedition
Narváez expedition
The Narváez expedition was a Spanish attempt during the years 1527–1528 to colonize Spanish Florida. It was led by Pánfilo de Narváez, who was to rule as adelantado....

 returned to Spain, he described to the Court of Hernando de Soto that the New World was the "richest country in the world." Hernando de Soto was a Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the first expedition into the interior of the North American continent. De Soto, convinced of the "riches", wanted Cabeza de Vaca to accompany him on the expedition. Cabeza de Vaca declined because of a payment dispute of a ship. From 1540–1543, Hernando de Soto travelled through Florida and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

, and then down into the Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

 and Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 area that would later be inhabited by the Choctaw.

De Soto had the best-equipped militia at the time. His well-known successes attracted people to his expedition in a quest for untold riches in the New World. As the brutalities of the de Soto expedition became known, ancestors to the Choctaw rose in defense. This battle, known as the Battle of Mabila, was a turning point for the de Soto venture. The battle "broke the back" of the campaign, and they never fully recovered.

French colonization (1682)

In 1682 La Salle
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, or Robert de LaSalle was a French explorer. He explored the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada, the Mississippi River, and the Gulf of Mexico...

 was the first French explorer to venture into the southeast along the Mississippi River. His expedition did not meet with the Choctaw; it established a post along the Arkansas River
Arkansas River
The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. The Arkansas generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's initial basin starts in the Western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas...

. The post signaled to the English that the French were serious at colonization in the South. The Choctaw allied with French colonists as a defense against the English, who had been taking Choctaws for the slave trade.

The first direct recorded contact between the Choctaw and the French was with Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville pronounced as described in note] (16 July 1661 – 9 July 1702 (probable)was a soldier, ship captain, explorer, colonial administrator, knight of...

 in 1699; indirect contact had likely occurred between the Choctaw and British
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 settlers through other tribes, including the Creek
Creek people
The Muscogee , also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida...

 and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

. The Choctaw, along with other tribes, had formed a relationship with New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

, French Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

. Illegal fur trading
Fur trade
The fur trade is a worldwide industry dealing in the acquisition and sale of animal fur. Since the establishment of world market for in the early modern period furs of boreal, polar and cold temperate mammalian animals have been the most valued...

 may have led to further unofficial contact.

The archaeological record for this period between 1567 and 1699 is not complete or well-studied. It appears that some Mississippian settlements were abandoned well before the 17th century. Similarities in pottery coloring and burials suggest the following scenario for the emergence of the distinctive Choctaw society.

The Choctaw region, generally located between the Natchez
Natchez, Mississippi
Natchez is the county seat of Adams County, Mississippi, United States. With a total population of 18,464 , it is the largest community and the only incorporated municipality within Adams County...

 bluffs to the south and the Yazoo
Yazoo River
The Yazoo River is a river in the U.S. state of Mississippi.The Yazoo River was named by French explorer La Salle in 1682 as "Rivière des Yazous" in reference to the Yazoo tribe living near the river's mouth. The exact meaning of the term is unclear...

 basin to the north, was slowly occupied by Burial Urn people from the Bottle Creek Indian Mounds
Bottle Creek Indian Mounds
Bottle Creek Indian Mounds is an archaeological site located on a low swampy island within the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta near Mobile, Alabama, United States...

 area in the Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

 delta, along with remnants of the Moundville
Moundville Archaeological Site
Moundville Archaeological Site, also known as the Moundville Archaeological Park, is a Mississippian site on the Black Warrior River in Hale County, near the town of Tuscaloosa, Alabama...

 chiefdom that had collapsed some years before. Facing severe depopulation, they fled westward, where they combined with the Plaquemines and a group of “prairie people” living near the area. When this occurred is not clear. In the space of several generations, they created a new society which became known as Choctaw (albeit with a strong Mississippian background).

As the historian Greg O'Brien has noted, the Choctaw developed three distinct political and geographic regions, which during the colonial period sometimes had differing alliances with trading partners among the French, Spanish and English, and differences during and after the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

. Their divisions were roughly eastern, western (near present-day Vicksburg, Mississippi
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Vicksburg is a city in Warren County, Mississippi, United States. It is the only city in Warren County. It is located northwest of New Orleans on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, and due west of Jackson, the state capital. In 1900, 14,834 people lived in Vicksburg; in 1910, 20,814; in 1920,...

) and southern (Six Towns). Each division was headed by a principal chief, and subordinate chiefs led each of the towns within the area. All the chiefs would meet on a National Council, but the society was highly decentralized for some time.

The French were their main trading partners before the Seven Years' War
Seven Years' War
The Seven Years' War was a global military war between 1756 and 1763, involving most of the great powers of the time and affecting Europe, North America, Central America, the West African coast, India, and the Philippines...

, and the British had established some trading. From 1763 to 1781, Britain was their main trading partner, but Spanish forces were based in New Orleans in 1766. The Choctaw sometimes traded with them to the west. Spain declared war against Great Britain during the American Revolution, in 1779.

United States relations

During the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

, the Choctaw divided over whether to support Britain or Spain. Some Choctaw warriors from the western and eastern divisions supported the British in the defense of Mobile and Pensacola. Chief Franchimastabé led a Choctaw war party with British forces against American rebels in Natchez. The Americans had left by the time Franchimastabé arrived, but the Choctaw occupied Natchez for weeks and convinced residents to remain loyal to Britain.

Other Choctaw companies joined Washington's army during the war, and served the entire duration. Bob Ferguson, a Southeastern Indian historian, noted, "[In] 1775 the American Revolution began a period of new alignments for the Choctaws and other southern Indians. Choctaw scouts served under Washington, Morgan, Wayne and Sullivan."

Over a thousand Choctaw fought for Britain, largely against Spain's campaigns
Spain in the American Revolutionary War
Spain actively supported the Thirteen Colonies throughout the American Revolutionary War, beginning in 1776 by jointly funding Roderigue Hortalez and Company, a trading company that provided critical military supplies, through financing the final Siege of Yorktown in 1781 with a collection of gold...

 along the Gulf Coast
Gulf Coast of the United States
The Gulf Coast of the United States, sometimes referred to as the Gulf South, South Coast, or 3rd Coast, comprises the coasts of American states that are on the Gulf of Mexico, which includes Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and are known as the Gulf States...

. At the same time, a significant number of Choctaw aided Spain.

Ferguson wrote that with the end of the Revolution, "'Franchimastabe', Choctaw head chief, went to Savannah, Georgia
Savannah, Georgia
Savannah is the largest city and the county seat of Chatham County, in the U.S. state of Georgia. Established in 1733, the city of Savannah was the colonial capital of the Province of Georgia and later the first state capital of Georgia. Today Savannah is an industrial center and an important...

 to secure American trade." In the next few years, some Choctaw scouts served in Ohio with U.S. General Anthony Wayne in the Northwest Indian War
Northwest Indian War
The Northwest Indian War , also known as Little Turtle's War and by various other names, was a war fought between the United States and a confederation of numerous American Indian tribes for control of the Northwest Territory...

.

George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

 (first U.S. President) and Henry Knox
Henry Knox
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, and also served as the first United States Secretary of War....

 (first U.S. Secretary of War) proposed the cultural transformation of Native Americans. Washington believed that Native Americans were equals but that their society was inferior to that of the European Americans. He formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process, and Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 continued it. The historian Robert Remini wrote, "[T]hey presumed that once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans."

Washington's six-point plan included impartial justice toward Indians; regulated buying of Indian lands; promotion of commerce; promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Indian society; presidential authority to give presents; and punishing those who violated Indian rights. The government appointed agents, such as Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins was an American planter, statesman, and United States Indian agent . He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a United States Senator from North Carolina, having grown up among the planter elite...

, to live among the Indians and to teach them through example and instruction, how to live like whites. While living among the Choctaw for nearly 30 years, Hawkins married Lavinia Downs, a Choctaw woman. As the people had a matrilineal system of property and hereditary leadership, their children were born into the mother's clan
Clan
A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

 and gained their status from her people. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, a number of Scots-Irish
Scots-Irish
Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to;* Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in the Ulster province of Ireland which ultimately traces its roots back to settlers from Scotland and northern England....

 traders lived among the Choctaw and married high-status women. Choctaw chiefs saw these as strategic alliances to build stronger relationships with the Americans in a changing environment that influenced ideas of capital and property. The children of such marriages were Choctaw, first and foremost. Some of the sons were educated in Anglo-American schools and became important interpreters and negotiators for Choctaw-US relations.

Hopewell council and treaty (1786)

Starting in October 1785, Taboca, a Choctaw prophet/chief, led over 125 Choctaws to the Keowee, near Seneca Old Town, now known as Hopewell, South Carolina
Hopewell, York County, South Carolina
Hopewell is an unincorporated community in York County, South Carolina, United States. It lies at an elevation of 587 feet ....

. After two months of travel, they met with U.S. representatives Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins was an American planter, statesman, and United States Indian agent . He was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a United States Senator from North Carolina, having grown up among the planter elite...

, Andrew Pickens
Andrew Pickens (congressman)
Andrew Pickens was a militia leader in the American Revolution and a member of the United States House of Representatives from South Carolina.-Early life:...

, and Joseph Martin. In high Choctaw ceremonial symbolism, they named, adopted, smoked, and performed dances, revealing the complex and serious nature of Choctaw diplomacy. One such dance was the eagle tail dance. The Choctaw explained that the Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. It is the national bird and symbol of the United States of America. This sea eagle has two known sub-species and forms a species pair with the White-tailed Eagle...

, who has direct contact with the upper world of the sun, is a symbol of peace. Choctaw women painted in white would adopt and name commissioners as kin. Smoking sealed agreements between peoples and the shared pipes sanctified peace between the two nations.

After the rituals, the Choctaw asked John Woods to live with them to improve communication with the U.S. In exchange they allowed Taboca to visit the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

. On January 3, 1786, the Treaty of Hopewell
Treaty of Hopewell
The Treaty of Hopewell is any of three different treaties signed at Hopewell Plantation. The plantation was owned by Andrew Pickens, and was located on the Seneca River in northwestern South Carolina. The treaties were signed between the Confederation Congress of the United States of America and...

 was signed. Article 11 stated, "[T]he hatchet shall be forever buried, and the peace given by the United States of America, and friendship re-established between the said states on the one part, and all the Choctaw nation on the other part, shall be universal; and the contracting parties shall use their utmost endeavors to maintain the peace given as aforesaid, and friendship re-established."

The treaty required Choctaws to return escaped slaves to colonists, to turn over any Choctaw convicted of crimes by the U.S., establish borderlines between the U.S. and Choctaw Nation, and the return any property captured from colonists during the Revolutionary War.
After the Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, the Choctaw were reluctant to ally themselves with countries hostile to the United States. John R. Swanton
John R. Swanton
John Reed Swanton was an American anthropologist and linguist who worked with Native American peoples throughout the United States. Swanton achieved recognition in the fields of ethnology and ethnohistory...

 wrote, "the Choctaw were never at war with the Americans. A few were induced by Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

 (a Shawnee
Shawnee
The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

 leader who sought support from various Native American tribes) to ally themselves with the hostile Creeks [in the early 19th century], but the Nation as a whole was kept out of anti-American alliances by the influence of Apushmataha
Pushmataha
Pushmataha , the "Indian General", was one of the three regional chiefs of the major divisions of the Choctaw in the nineteenth century. Many historians considered him the "greatest of all Choctaw chiefs"...

, greatest of all Choctaw chiefs."

War of 1812


Portraits of Pushmataha (left) and Tecumseh.
"These white Americans ... give us fair exchange, their cloth, their guns, their tools, implements, and other things which the Choctaws need but do not make ... They doctored our sick; they clothed our suffering; they fed our hungry ... So in marked contrast with the experience of the Shawnee
Shawnee
The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

s, it will be seen that the whites and Indians in this section are living on friendly and mutually beneficial terms."
Pushmataha, 1811 - Sharing Choctaw History.
---------------------
"Where today are the Pequot
Pequot
Pequot people are a tribe of Native Americans who, in the 17th century, inhabited much of what is now Connecticut. They were of the Algonquian language family. The Pequot War and Mystic massacre reduced the Pequot's sociopolitical influence in southern New England...

? Where are the Narragansett
Narragansett
Narragansett may refer to:*Narragansett , a Pennsylvania Railroad train*Narragansett , an Amtrak train*Narragansett **Narragansett land claim*Narragansett, Rhode Island, a town*Narragansett Bay*Narragansett...

, the Mochican
Mahican
The Mahican are an Eastern Algonquian Native American tribe, originally settling in the Hudson River Valley . After 1680, many moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts. During the early 1820s and 1830s, most of the Mahican descendants migrated westward to northeastern Wisconsin...

, the Pocanet, and other powerful tribes of our people? They have vanished before the avarice and oppression of the white man, as snow before the summer sun ... Sleep not longer, O Choctaws and Chickasaws ... Will not the bones of our dead be plowed up, and their graves turned into plowed fields?"
Tecumseh, 1811 - The Portable North American Indian Reader.


Early in 1811, Tecumseh
Tecumseh
Tecumseh was a Native American leader of the Shawnee and a large tribal confederacy which opposed the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812...

 attempted to recover lands from U.S. settlers and to push them out of the Northwest. Tecumseh met the Choctaws to persuade them to join the alliance. Pushmataha
Pushmataha
Pushmataha , the "Indian General", was one of the three regional chiefs of the major divisions of the Choctaw in the nineteenth century. Many historians considered him the "greatest of all Choctaw chiefs"...

, considered by historians to be the greatest Choctaw leader, countered Tecumseh's influence. As chief for the Six Towns (southern) district, Pushmataha strongly resisted such a plan, arguing that the Choctaw and their neighbors the Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

 had always lived in peace with European Americans, had learned valuable skills and technologies, and had received honest treatment and fair trade. The joint Choctaw-Chickasaw council voted against alliance with Tecumseh. On Tecumseh's departure, Pushmataha accused him of tyranny over his own Shawnee and other tribes. Pushmataha warned Tecumeseh that he would fight against those who fought the United States.

With the outbreak of war, Pushmataha led the Choctaws in alliance with the U.S., arguing in favor of opposing the Creek
Creek people
The Muscogee , also known as the Creek or Creeks, are a Native American people traditionally from the southeastern United States. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida...

 Red Sticks
Red Sticks
Red Sticks is the English term for a traditionalist faction of Creek Indians who led a resistance movement which culminated in the outbreak of the Creek War in 1813....

' alliance with Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 after the massacre at Fort Mims. Pushmataha arrived at St. Stephens, Alabama
St. Stephens, Alabama
St. Stephens is an unincorporated census-designated place in Washington County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 495. Located near the Tombigbee River in the southwestern part of the state, it is composed of two distinct sites: Old St. Stephens and New St. Stephens....

 in mid-1813 with an offer of alliance and recruitment. He was escorted to Mobile
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

 to speak with General Flournoy, then commanding the district. Flournoy initially declined Pushmataha's offer and offended the chief. However, Flournoy's staff quickly convinced him to reverse his decision. A courier with a message accepting the offer of alliance caught up with Pushmataha at St. Stephens.

Returning to Choctaw territory, Pushmataha raised a company of 125 Choctaw warriors with a rousing speech and was commissioned (as either a lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant Colonel (United States)
In the United States Army, United States Air Force, and United States Marine Corps, a lieutenant colonel is a field grade military officer rank just above the rank of major and just below the rank of colonel. It is equivalent to the naval rank of commander in the other uniformed services.The pay...

 or a brigadier general
Brigadier general (United States)
A brigadier general in the United States Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps, is a one-star general officer, with the pay grade of O-7. Brigadier general ranks above a colonel and below major general. Brigadier general is equivalent to the rank of rear admiral in the other uniformed...

) in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 at St. Stephens. After observing that the officers and their wives would promenade along the Alabama River
Alabama River
The Alabama River, in the U.S. state of Alabama, is formed by the Tallapoosa and Coosa rivers, which unite about north of Montgomery.The river flows west to Selma, then southwest until, about from Mobile, it unites with the Tombigbee, forming the Mobile and Tensaw rivers, which discharge into...

, Pushmataha summoned his own wife to St. Stephens.

Pushmataha joined the U.S. Army under General Claiborne in mid-November, and some 125 Choctaw warriors took part in an attack on Creek forces at Kantachi (near present day Econochaca, Alabama) on 23 December 1813. With this victory, Choctaw began to volunteer in greater numbers from the other two districts of the tribe. By February 1814, a larger band of Choctaws under Pushmataha had joined General Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

's force for the sweeping of the Creek territories near Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle and the county seat of Escambia County, Florida, United States of America. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 56,255 and as of 2009, the estimated population was 53,752...

. Many Choctaw departed from Jackson's main force after the final defeat of the Creek at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend. By the Battle of New Orleans
Battle of New Orleans
The Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815 and was the final major battle of the War of 1812. American forces, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, defeated an invading British Army intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory the United States had acquired with the...

, only a few Choctaw remained with the army; they were the only Native American tribe represented in the battle.

Doak's Stand (1820)

In October 1820, Andrew Jackson and Thomas Hinds
Thomas Hinds
Thomas Hinds was a politician from the U.S. state of Mississippi.Born in Berkeley County, Virginia , Hinds would later move to Greenville, Mississippi...

 were sent as commissioners representing the United States, to conduct a treaty that would require the Choctaw to surrender to the United States a portion of their country located in present day Mississippi. They met with chiefs, mingos (leaders), and headsmen such as Colonel Silas Dinsmore and Chief Pushmataha at Doak's Stand on the Natchez Trace
Natchez Trace
The Natchez Trace, also known as the "Old Natchez Trace", is a historical path that extends roughly from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee, linking the Cumberland, Tennessee and Mississippi rivers...

.
The convention began on October 10 with a talk by "Sharp Knife", the nickname of Jackson, to more than 500 Choctaws. Pushmataha accused Jackson of deceiving them about the quality of land west of the Mississippi. Pushmataha responded to Jackson's retort with "I know the country well ... The grass is everywhere very short ... There are but few beavers, and the honey and fruit are rare things." Jackson resorted to threats, which pressured the Choctaws to sign the Doak's Stand treaty. Pushmataha would continue to argue with Jackson about the conditions of the treaty. Pushmataha assertively stated "that no alteration shall be made in the boundaries of the portion of our territory that will remain, until the Choctaw people are sufficiently progressed in the arts of civilization to become citizens of the States, owning land and homes of their own, on an equal footing with the white people." Jackson responded with "That ... is a magnificent rangement and we consent to it, [American Citizenship], readily." Historian Anna Lewis stated that Apuckshunubbee, a Choctaw district chief, was blackmailed by Jackson to sign the treaty. On October 18, the Treaty of Doak's Stand
Treaty of Doak's Stand
The Treaty of Doak's Stand was signed on October 18, 1820 between the United States and the Choctaw Indian tribe. Based on the terms of the accord, the Choctaw agreed to give up approximately one-half of their remaining Choctaw homeland...

 was signed.

Article 4 of the Treaty of Doak's Stand prepared Choctaws to become U.S. citizens when he or she became "civilized." This article would later influence Article 14 in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

Negotiations with the US government (1820s)

Apuckshunubbee, Pushmataha, and Mosholatubbee, the principal chiefs of the three divisions of Choctaw, led a delegation to Washington City (the 19th century name for Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

) to discuss the problems of European Americans' squatting on Choctaw lands. They sought either expulsion of the settlers or financial compensation for the loss of their lands. The group also included Talking Warrior, Red Fort, Nittahkachee, who was later Principal Chief; Col. Robert Cole and David Folsom, both Choctaw of mixed-race ancestry; Captain Daniel McCurtain, and Major John Pitchlynn
John Pitchlynn
John Pitchlynn was a Scottish-American who served as the official U.S. Interpreter for relations between the government of the United States and the Choctaw Nation, an office known at the time as the Choctaw Agency...

, the U.S. interpreter, who had been raised by the Choctaw after having been orphaned when young and married a Choctaw woman. Apuckshunubbee died in Maysville, Kentucky of an accident during the trip before the party reached Washington.

Pushmataha met with President James Monroe
James Monroe
James Monroe was the fifth President of the United States . Monroe was the last president who was a Founding Father of the United States, and the last president from the Virginia dynasty and the Republican Generation...

 and gave a speech to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

, reminding him of the longstanding alliances between the United States and the Choctaws. He said, "[I] can say and tell the truth that no Choctaw ever drew his bow against the United States ... My nation has given of their country until it is very small. We are in trouble." On January 20, 1825, Pushmataha and other chiefs signed the Treaty of Washington City
Treaty of Washington City
The Treaty of Washington City was a treaty signed on January 20, 1825 between the Choctaw and the United States Government.-Overview:...

, by which the Choctaw ceded more territory to the United States.

Pushmataha died in Washington of a respiratory disease described as croup
Croup
Croup is a respiratory condition that is usually triggered by an acute viral infection of the upper airway. The infection leads to swelling inside the throat, which interferes with normal breathing and produces the classical symptoms of a "barking" cough, stridor, and hoarseness...

, before the delegation returned to the Choctaw Nation. He was given full U.S. military burial honors at the Congressional Cemetery
Congressional Cemetery
The Congressional Cemetery is a historic cemetery located at 1801 E Street, SE, in Washington, D.C., on the west bank of the Anacostia River. It is the final resting place of thousands of individuals who helped form the nation and the city of Washington in the early 19th century. Many members of...

 in Washington, D.C.

The deaths of these two strong division leaders was a major loss to the Choctaw Nation, but younger leaders were arising who were educated in European-American schools and led adaptation of the culture. Threatened with European-American encroachment, the Choctaw continued to adapt and take on some technology, housing styles, and accepted missionaries to the Choctaw Nation, in the hopes of being accepted by the Mississippi and national government. In 1825 the National Council approved the founding of the Choctaw Academy for education of its young men, urged by Peter Pitchlynn
Peter Pitchlynn
Peter Perkins Pitchlynn , or Hat-choo-tuck-nee , was a Choctaw chief of Choctaw and Anglo-American ancestry...

, a young leader and future chief. The school was established in Blue Spring, Scott County, Kentucky
Scott County, Kentucky
Scott County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The population was 47,173 in the 2010 Census. Its county seat is Georgetown.Scott County is part of the Lexington–Fayette Metropolitan Statistical Area.-Geography:...

; it was operated there until 1842, when the staff and students were transferred to the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

. There they founded the Spencer Academy in 1844.

With the election of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson was the seventh President of the United States . Based in frontier Tennessee, Jackson was a politician and army general who defeated the Creek Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend , and the British at the Battle of New Orleans...

 as president in 1828, many of the Choctaw realized that removal was inevitable. They continued to adopt useful European practices but faced Jackson's and settlers' unrelenting pressure.

1830 election and treaty

In March 1830 the division chiefs resigned, and the National Council elected Greenwood LeFlore
Greenwood LeFlore
Greenwood LeFlore or Greenwood Le Fleur was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw in 1830 before removal. Before that, the nation was governed by three district chiefs and a council of chiefs...

, chief of the western division, as Principal Chief of the nation to negotiate with the US government on their behalf, the first time such a position had been authorized. Believing removal was inevitable and hoping to preserve rights for Choctaw in Indian Territory and Mississippi, LeFlore drafted a treaty and sent it to Washington, DC. There was considerable turmoil in the Choctaw Nation among people who thought he would and could resist removal, but the chiefs had agreed they could not undertake armed resistance.

Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830)

At Andrew Jackson's request, the United States Congress opened what became a fierce debate on an Indian Removal Bill. In the end, the bill passed, but the vote was very close. The Senate passed the measure 28 to 19, while in the House it narrowly passed, 102 to 97. Jackson signed the legislation into law June 30, 1830, and turned his focus onto the Choctaw in Mississippi Territory.
On August 25, 1830, the Choctaw were supposed to meet with Andrew Jackson in Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin, Tennessee
Franklin is a city within and the county seat of Williamson County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 62,487 as of the 2010 census Franklin is located approximately south of downtown Nashville.-History:...

, but Greenwood Leflore
Greenwood LeFlore
Greenwood LeFlore or Greenwood Le Fleur was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw in 1830 before removal. Before that, the nation was governed by three district chiefs and a council of chiefs...

, a district Choctaw chief, informed Secretary of War John H. Eaton that his warriors were fiercely opposed to attending. President Jackson was angered. Journalist Len Green writes "although angered by the Choctaw refusal to meet him in Tennessee, Jackson felt from LeFlore's words that he might have a foot in the door and dispatched Secretary of War Eaton and John Coffee to meet with the Choctaws in their nation." Jackson appointed Eaton and General John Coffee as commissioners to represent him to meet the Choctaws at the Dancing Rabbit Creek near present-day Noxubee County, Mississippi
Noxubee County, Mississippi
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 12,548 people, 4,470 households, and 3,222 families residing in the county. The population density was 18 people per square mile . There were 5,228 housing units at an average density of 8 per square mile...

.
The commissioners met with the chiefs and headmen on September 15, 1830, at Dancing Rabbit Creek. In a carnival-like atmosphere, they tried to explain the policy of removal to an audience of 6,000 men, women, and children. The Choctaws faced migration or submitting to U.S. law as citizens. The treaty required the to cede their remaining traditional homeland to the United States; however, a provision in the treaty made removal more acceptable.
On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830 between the Choctaw and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act...

 was signed. It represented one of the largest transfers of land that was signed between the U.S. Government and Native Americans without being instigated by warfare. By the treaty, the Choctaw signed away their remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for European-American settlement. Article 14 allowed for some Choctaw to stay in Mississippi, and nearly 1,300 Choctaws chose to do so. They were the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens. Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Choctaw at this crucial time split into two distinct groups: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a semi-autonomous Native American homeland comprising twelve tribal districts. The Choctaw Nation maintains a special relationship with both the United States and Oklahoma governments...

 and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

. The nation retained its autonomy, but the tribe in Mississippi submitted to state and federal laws.

Removal era

After ceding nearly 11000000 acres (44,515.5 km²), the Choctaw emigrated in three stages: the first in the fall of 1831, the second in 1832 and the last in 1833. Nearly 15,000 Choctaws made the move to what would be called Indian Territory
Indian Territory
The Indian Territory, also known as the Indian Territories and the Indian Country, was land set aside within the United States for the settlement of American Indians...

 and then later Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Oklahoma is a state located in the South Central region of the United States of America. With an estimated 3,751,351 residents as of the 2010 census and a land area of 68,667 square miles , Oklahoma is the 28th most populous and 20th-largest state...

. About 2,500 died along the Trail of Tears
Trail of Tears
The Trail of Tears is a name given to the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations from southeastern parts of the United States following the Indian Removal Act of 1830...

. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was ratified by the U.S. Senate on February 25, 1831, and the President was anxious to make it a model of removal. Principal Chief George W. Harkins
George W. Harkins
George W. Harkins was an attorney and prominent chief of the Choctaw tribe during the Indian removals. Elected as principal chief after the national council deposed his maternal uncle, Greenwood LeFlore, in 1834 Harkins was elected judge of the Red River District in Indian Territory...

 wrote a farewell letter to the American people before the removals began. It was widely published
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis-Charles-Henri Clérel de Tocqueville was a French political thinker and historian best known for his Democracy in America and The Old Regime and the Revolution . In both of these works, he explored the effects of the rising equality of social conditions on the individual and the state in...

, noted French political thinker and historian, witnessed the Choctaw removals while in Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

 in 1831:
Approximately 4,000–6,000 Choctaw remained in Mississippi in 1831 after the initial removal efforts. The U.S. agent William Ward, who was responsible for Choctaw registration in Mississippi under article XIV, strongly opposed their treaty rights. Although estimates suggested 5000 Choctaw remained in Mississippi, only 143 family heads (for a total of 276 adult persons) received lands under the provisions of Article 14. For the next ten years, the Choctaws in Mississippi were objects of increasing legal conflict, racism, harassment, and intimidation. The Choctaws described their situation in 1849: "we have had our habitations torn down and burned, our fences destroyed, cattle turned into our fields and we ourselves have been scourged, manacled, fettered and otherwise personally abused, until by such treatment some of our best men have died." Joseph B. Cobb, who moved to Mississippi from Georgia, described the Choctaw as having "no nobility or virtue at all, and in some respect he found blacks, especially native Africans, more interesting and admirable, the red man's superior in every way. The Choctaw and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

, the tribes he knew best, were beneath contempt, that is, even worse than black slaves." Removal continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1846 1,000 Choctaw removed, and in 1903, another 300 Mississippi Choctaw were persuaded to move to the Nation in Oklahoma. By 1930 only 1,665 remained in Mississippi.

Pre-Civil War (1840)

In the 1840s, the Choctaw chief Greenwood LeFlore
Greenwood LeFlore
Greenwood LeFlore or Greenwood Le Fleur was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw in 1830 before removal. Before that, the nation was governed by three district chiefs and a council of chiefs...

 stayed in Mississippi after the signing of Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek and became an American citizen, a successful businessman, and a state politician. He was elected as a Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 representative and senator, was a fixture of Mississippi high society, and a personal friend of Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Finis Davis , also known as Jeff Davis, was an American statesman and leader of the Confederacy during the American Civil War, serving as President for its entire history. He was born in Kentucky to Samuel and Jane Davis...

. He represented his county in the state house for two terms and served as a state senator for one term. Some of the elite used Latin language, an indulgence used by some politicians. LeFlore, in defense of his heritage, spoke in the Choctaw language
Choctaw language
The Choctaw language, traditionally spoken by the Native American Choctaw people of the southeastern United States, is a member of the Muskogean family...

 and asked the Senate floor which was better understood, Latin or Choctaw.

Midway through the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849), a group of Choctaw collected $710 (although many articles say the original amount was $170 after a misprint in Angi Debo's The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Nation) and sent it to help starving Irish men, women and children.
"It had been just 16 years since the Choctaw people had experienced the Trail of Tears, and they had faced starvation ... It was an amazing gesture. By today's standards, it might be a million dollars" according to Judy Allen, editor of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma's newspaper, Bishinik, based at the Oklahoma Choctaw tribal headquarters in Durant, Oklahoma.
To mark the 150th anniversary, eight Irish people retraced the Trail of Tears In the late 20th century, Irish President Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson
Mary Therese Winifred Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She first rose to prominence as an academic, barrister, campaigner and member of the Irish Senate...

 extolled the donation in a public commemoration.

For the Choctaw who remained in or returned to Mississippi after 1855, the situation deteriorated. Many lost their lands and money to unscrupulous whites. the state of Mississippi refused the Choctaw any participation in government. Their limited understanding of the English language caused them to live in isolated groups. In addition, they were prohibited from attending any of the few institutions of higher learning, as the European Americans considered them free people of color
Free people of color
A free person of color in the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, is a person of full or partial African descent who was not enslaved...

 and excluded from the segregated white institutions. The state had no public schools prior to those established during the Reconstruction era.

American Civil War (1861)

At the beginning of the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, Albert Pike
Albert Pike
Albert Pike was an attorney, Confederate officer, writer, and Freemason. Pike is the only Confederate military officer or figure to be honored with an outdoor statue in Washington, D.C...

 was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native Americans. In this capacity he negotiated several treaties, including the Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws
Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws
The Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws was a treaty signed on July 12, 1861 between the Choctaw and Chickasaw and the Confederate States of America. At the beginning of the American Civil War, Albert Pike was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native Americans...

 in July 1861. The treaty covered sixty-four terms, covering many subjects, such as Choctaw and Chickasaw nation sovereignty, Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 citizenship possibilities, and an entitled delegate in the House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America.
Some Choctaw identified with the Southern cause and a few owned slaves. In addition, they well remembered and resented the Indian removals from thirty years earlier, and the poor services they received from the federal government. The main reason the Choctaw Nation agreed to sign the treaty was for protection from regional tribes. Soon Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 battalions were formed in Indian Territory and later in Mississippi in support of the southern cause.

The Confederacy
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 wanted to recruit Indians east of the Mississippi River in 1862, so they opened up a recruiting camp in Mobile, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Mobile is the third most populous city in the Southern US state of Alabama and is the county seat of Mobile County. It is located on the Mobile River and the central Gulf Coast of the United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 during the 2010 census. It is the largest...

. The Confederacy advertised in the Mobile Advertiser and Register for recruits:
General Arnold Spann organized the first battalion of Choctaw in Mississippi in February 1863. After a Confederate troop train wreck, referred to as the Chunky Creek Train Wreck of 1863
Chunky Creek Train Wreck of 1863
The Chunky Creek Train Wreck of 1863 happened during the American Civil War near the town of Hickory, Mississippi on the Chunky River. On February 19, 1863 the train Mississippi Southern left the Meridian, Mississippi depot at 3:00 am to transport Confederate soldiers and some civilians to the...

, near Hickory, Mississippi
Hickory, Mississippi
Hickory is a town in Newton County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 499 at the 2000 census. The town is named after Andrew Jackson, nicknamed "Old Hickory," who passed through the area on his way to fight the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812.-Geography:Hickory is located...

, the new Choctaw Battalion led rescue and recovery efforts. Led by Jack Amos and Elder Williams, the Indians rushed to the scene, stripped, and plunged into the flooded creek. Many of the passengers were rescued due to their heroic acts." The noted Choctaw historian Clara Kidwell writes, "in an act of heroism in Mississippi, Choctaws rescued twenty-three survivors and retrieved ninety bodies when a Confederate troop train plunged off a bridge and fell into the Chunky River."

Major S. G. Spann, Commander of Dabney H. Maury Camp of Meridian, Mississippi
Meridian, Mississippi
Meridian is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Mississippi. It is the sixth largest city in the state and the principal city of the Meridian, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area...

, wrote about the deeds of the Choctaw years after the Civil War had ended. After the Union captured Mississippi Choctaws in Ponchatoula, Louisiana
Ponchatoula, Louisiana
Ponchatoula is a city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 5,180 at the 2000 census. Ponchatoula calls itself the "Strawberry Capital of the World". It is part of the Hammond Micropolitan Statistical Area. The current mayor is Bob Zabbia.-Geography:Ponchatoula is...

, they were taken to New York, where several died in a Union
Union (American Civil War)
During the American Civil War, the Union was a name used to refer to the federal government of the United States, which was supported by the twenty free states and five border slave states. It was opposed by 11 southern slave states that had declared a secession to join together to form the...

 prison. Spann describes the incident,
"[Maj. J.W. Pearce] established two camps—a recruiting camp in Newton County and a drill camp at Tangipahoa—just beyond the State boundary line in Louisiana in the fall of 1862. New Orleans at that time was in the hands of the Federal Gen. B.F. Butler. Without notice a reconnoitering party of the enemy raided the camp, and captured over two dozen Indians and several non-commissioned white officers and carried them to New Orleans. All the officers and several of the Indians escaped and returned to the Newton County camp; but all the balance of the captured Indians were carried to New York, and were daily paraded in the public parks as curiosities for the sport of sight-seers."

Mississippi Choctaw

From about 1865 to 1918, Mississippi Choctaws were largely ignored by governmental, health, and educational services and fell into obscurity. In the aftermath of the Civil War, their issues were pushed aside in the struggle between defeated Confederates, freedmen and Union sympathizers. Records about the Mississippi Choctaw during this period are non-existent. They had no legal recourse, and were often bullied and intimidated by local whites, who tried to re-establish white supremacy
White supremacy
White supremacy is the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior to people of other racial backgrounds. The term is sometimes used specifically to describe a political ideology that advocates the social and political dominance by whites.White supremacy, as with racial...

. They chose to live in isolation and practiced their culture as they had for generations.

Following the Reconstruction era and conservative Democrats' regaining political power in the late 1870s, white state legislators passed laws establishing Jim Crow laws
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

 and legal segregation by race. In addition, they effectively disfranchised freedmen and Native Americans by the new Mississippi constitution of 1890, which changed rules regarding voter registration and elections to discriminate against both groups. The white legislators effectively divided society into two groups: white and "colored," into which they classified Mississippi Choctaw and other Native Americans. They subjected the Choctaw to racial segregation and exclusion from public facilities along with freedmen and their descendants. The Choctaw were non-white, landless, and had minimal legal protection.

At the turn of the 20th century, only 1,253 Choctaw Indians remained in Mississippi. "The beginning of the 20th century found Mississippi Choctaws struggling to overcome poverty, discrimination, and lack of opportunity."

After a US Congressional investigation discovered their poor living conditions, in 1918 the US Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 (BIA) established the Choctaw Agency. Under segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

, few schools were open to Choctaw children, whom the white southerners classified as non-whites. The Choctaw agency was based in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

, a center of several Indian communities. It set up elementary schools and worked to address the poor health conditions of the Choctaw, building a hospital in Philadelphia for tribal members. Dr. Frank McKinley was the first superintendent. Prior to McKinley's arrival, the Choctaw had grouped themselves in six communities.

Because the state remained dependent on agriculture, despite the declining price of cotton, most landless men earned a living by becoming sharecroppers. The women created and sold traditional hand-woven baskets. Choctaw sharecropping declined following World War II as major planters had adopted mechanization, which reduced the need for labor.

Choctaw Nation

The Confederacy’s loss was also the Choctaw Nation’s loss. Prior to removal, the Choctaws had interacted with Africans in their native homeland of Mississippi, and the wealthiest had bought slaves. The Choctaw who developed larger plantations adopted chattel slavery, as practiced by European Americans, to gain sufficient labor. During the antebellum period, enslaved African Americans had more formal legal protection under United States law than did the Choctaw. Moshulatubbee, the chief of the western region, held slaves, as did many of the Europeans who married into the Choctaw nation. The Choctaw took slaves with them to Indian Territory during removal, and descendants purchased others there. They kept slavery until 1866. After the Civil War, they were required by treaty with the United States to emancipate the slaves within their Nation and, for those who chose to stay, offer them full citizenship and rights. Former slaves of the Choctaw Nation were called the Choctaw Freedmen
Choctaw Freedmen
The Choctaw freedmen were enslaved African Americans who became part of the Choctaw Nation with emancipation after the American Civil War, a requirement of the 1866 treaty the US made with the Choctaw. The Choctaw had sided with the Confederacy during the war....

. After considerable debate, the Choctaw Nation granted Choctaw Freedmen citizenship in 1885. In post-war treaties, the US government also acquired land in the western part of the territory and access rights for railroads to be built across Indian Territory. The Choctaw chief Allen Wright suggested Oklahoma (red man, a portmanteau of the Choctaw words okla "man" and humma "red") as the name of the newly ceded territory.

The improved transportation afforded by the railroads increased the pressure on the Choctaw Nation. It drew large-scale mining and timber operations, which added to tribal receipts. But, the railroads and industries also attracted European-American settlers, including new immigrants to the United States.

With the goal of assimilating the Native Americans, the Curtis Act of 1892, sponsored by a Native American who believed that was the way for his people to do better, ended tribal governments. In addition, it proposed the end of communal, tribal lands. Continuing the struggle over land and assimilation, the US proposed the end to the tribal lands held in common, and allotment of lands to tribal members in severalty (individually). The US declared land in excess of the registered households needs to be "surplus" to the tribe, and took it for sale to new European-American settlers. In addition, individual ownership meant that Native Americans could sell their individual plots. This would also enable new settlers to buy land from those Native Americans who wished to sell. The US government set up the Dawes Commission
Dawes Commission
The American Dawes Commission, named for its first chairman Henry L. Dawes, was authorized under a rider to an Indian Office appropriation bill, March 3, 1893...

 to manage the land allotment policy; it registered members of the tribe and made allocations of lands.

Beginning in 1894, the Dawes Commission was established to register Choctaw and other families of the Indian Territory, so that the former tribal lands could be properly distributed among them. The final list included 18,981 citizens of the Choctaw Nation, 1,639 Mississippi Choctaw, and 5,994 former slaves, most held by Choctaws in the Indian/Oklahoma Territory. (At the same time, the Dawes Commission registered members of the other Five Civilized Tribes for the same purpose. The Dawes Rolls have become important records for proving tribal membership.) Following completion of the land allotments, the US proposed to end tribal governments of the Five Civilized Tribes and admit the two territories jointly as a state.

Territory transition to Oklahoma statehood (1889)

The establishment of Oklahoma Territory following the Civil War was a required land cession by the Five Civilized Tribes, who had supported the Confederacy. The government used its railroad access to the Oklahoma Territory to stimulate development there. The Indian Appropriations Bill of 1889 included an amendment by Illinois Representative William McKendree Springer
William McKendree Springer
William McKendree Springer was a United States Representative from Illinois.He was born near New Lebanon, Sullivan County, Indiana, May 30, 1836; moved to Jacksonville, Illinois, with his parents in 1848; attended the public schools in New Lebanon and Jacksonville and the Illinois College at...

, that authorized President Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison
Benjamin Harrison was the 23rd President of the United States . Harrison, a grandson of President William Henry Harrison, was born in North Bend, Ohio, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana at age 21, eventually becoming a prominent politician there...

 to open the two million acres (8,000 km²) of Oklahoma Territory for settlement, resulting in the Land Run of 1889
Land Run of 1889
The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land run into the Unassigned Lands and included all or part of the 2005 modern day Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the U.S. state of Oklahoma...

. The Choctaw Nation was overwhelmed with new settlers and could not regulate their activities. In the late 19th century, Choctaws suffered almost daily from violent crimes, murders, thefts and assaults from whites and from other Choctaws. Intense factionalism divided the traditionalistic "Nationalists" and pro-assimilation "Progressives," who fought for control.

In 1905, delegates of the Five Civilized Tribes met at the Sequoyah Convention to write a constitution for an Indian-controlled state. They wanted to have Indian Territory admitted as the State of Sequoyah
State of Sequoyah
The State of Sequoyah was the proposed name for a state to be established in the eastern part of present-day Oklahoma. In 1905, faced by proposals to end their tribal governments, Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory proposed such a state as a means to retain some...

. Although they took a thoroughly developed proposal to Washington, DC, seeking approval, eastern states' representatives opposed it, not wanting to have two western states created in the area, as the Republicans feared that both would be Democrat-dominated, as the territories had a southern tradition of settlement. President Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt was the 26th President of the United States . He is noted for his exuberant personality, range of interests and achievements, and his leadership of the Progressive Movement, as well as his "cowboy" persona and robust masculinity...

, a Republican, ruled that the Oklahoma and Indian territories had to be jointly admitted as one state, Oklahoma. To achieve this, tribal govdernments had to end and all residents accept state government. Many of the leading Native American representatives from the Sequoyah Convention participated in the new state convention. Its constitution was based on many elements of the one developed for the State of Sequoyah.

In 1906 the U.S. dissolved the governments of the Five Civilized Tribes. This action was part of continuing negotiations by Native Americans and European Americans over the best proposals for the future. The Choctaw Nation continued to protect resources not stipulated in treaty or law. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma was admitted to the union as the 46th state.

World War I (1918)

In the closing days of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, a group of Choctaws serving in the U.S. Army used their native language as the basis for secret communication among Americans, as Germans could not understand it. They are now called the Choctaw Code Talkers
Choctaw Code Talkers
Choctaw code talkers were a group of Choctaw Indians from Oklahoma who pioneered the use of Native American languages as military code. Their exploits took place during the waning days of . The government of the Choctaw Nation maintains these men comprised the first code talkers ever to serve in...

. The Choctaws were the Native American innovators who served as code talker
Code talker
Code talkers was a term used to describe people who talk using a coded language. It is frequently used to describe 400 Native American Marines who served in the United States Marine Corps whose primary job was the transmission of secret tactical messages...

s. Captain Lawrence, a company commander, overheard Solomon Louis and Mitchell Bobb conversing in the Choctaw language
Choctaw language
The Choctaw language, traditionally spoken by the Native American Choctaw people of the southeastern United States, is a member of the Muskogean family...

. He learned there were eight Choctaw men in the battalion.

Fourteen Choctaw Indian men in the Army's 36th Division trained to use their language for military communications. Their communications, which could not be understood by Germans, helped the American Expeditionary Force
American Expeditionary Force
The American Expeditionary Forces or AEF were the United States Armed Forces sent to Europe in World War I. During the United States campaigns in World War I the AEF fought in France alongside British and French allied forces in the last year of the war, against Imperial German forces...

 win several key battles in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, during the last big German offensive of the war. Within 24 hours after the US Army starting using the Choctaw speakers, they turned the tide of battle by controlling their communications. In less than 72 hours, the Germans were retreating and the Allies were on full attack. The 14 Choctaw Code Talkers were Albert Billy, Mitchell Bobb, Victor Brown, Ben Caterby, James Edwards, Tobias Frazer, Ben Hampton, Solomon Louis, Pete Maytubby, Jeff Nelson, Joseph Oklahombi, Robert Taylor, Calvin Wilson, and Captain Walter Veach.

More than 70 years passed before the contributions of the Choctaw Code talkers were fully recognized. On November 3, 1989, in recognition of the important role the Choctaw Code Talkers played during World War I, the French government presented the Chevalier de L'Ordre National du Mérite (the Knight of the National Order of Merit) to the Choctaws Code Talkers.

The US Army again used Choctaw speakers for coded language during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Reorganization (1934)

During the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 and the Roosevelt Administration
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, officials began numerous initiatives to alleviate some of the social and economic conditions in the South. The 1933 Special Narrative Report described the dismal state of welfare of Mississippi Choctaws, whose population by 1930 had declined to 1,665 people. John Collier
John Collier (reformer)
John Collier was an American social reformer and Native American advocate. He served as Commissioner for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the President Franklin D. Roosevelt administration, from 1933-1945...

, the US Commissioner for Indian Affairs (now BIA), had worked for a decade on Indian affairs and been developing ideas to change federal policy. He used the report as instrumental support to re-organize the Mississippi Choctaw as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

. This enabled them to establish their own tribal government, and gain a beneficial relationship with the federal government.

In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the Indian Reorganization Act. This law proved critical for survival of the Mississippi Choctaw. Baxter York, Emmett York, and Joe Chitto worked on gaining recognition for the Choctaw. They realized that the only way to gain recognition was to adopt a constitution. A rival organization, the Mississippi Choctaw Indian Federation
Mississippi Choctaw Indian Federation
The Mississippi Choctaw Indian Federation is a now-defunct organization of Choctaws and a former rival governing body of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. They opposed federal tribal recognition because of fears of dominance by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and were never federally recognized...

, opposed tribal recognition because of fears of dominance by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is an agency of the federal government of the United States within the US Department of the Interior. It is responsible for the administration and management of of land held in trust by the United States for Native Americans in the United States, Native American...

 (BIA). They disbanded after leaders of the opposition were moved to another jurisdiction. The first Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians tribal council members were Baxter and Emmett York with Joe Chitto as the first chairperson.

With the tribe's adoption of government, in 1944 the Secretary of the Interior declared that 18000 acres (72.8 km²) would be held in trust for the Choctaw of Mississippi. Lands in Neshoba
Neshoba County, Mississippi
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 28,684 people, 10,694 households, and 7,742 families residing in the county. The population density was 50 people per square mile . There were 11,980 housing units at an average density of 21 per square mile...

 and surrounding counties were set aside as a federal Indian reservation
Indian reservation
An American Indian reservation is an area of land managed by a Native American tribe under the United States Department of the Interior's Bureau of Indian Affairs...

. Eight communities were included in the reservation land: Bogue Chitto
Bogue Chitto, Mississippi
Bogue Chitto is a census-designated place in Kemper and Neshoba Counties in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The population was 533 at the 2000 census. It should not be confused with the other Bogue Chitto, which is an unincorporated area in Lincoln County....

, Bogue Homa, Conehatta
Conehatta, Mississippi
Conehatta is a census-designated place in Newton County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 997 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Conehatta is located at ....

, Crystal Ridge, Pearl River
Pearl River, Mississippi
Pearl River is a census-designated place in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 3,156 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Pearl River is located at ....

, Red Water, Tucker
Tucker, Mississippi
Tucker is a census-designated place in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 534 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Tucker is located at ....

, and Standing Pine
Standing Pine, Mississippi
Standing Pine is a census-designated place in Leake County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 509 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Standing Pine is located at ....

.

Under the Indian Reorganization Act, the Mississippi Choctaws re-organized on April 20, 1945 as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. This gave them some independence from the Democrat-dominated state government, which continued with enforcement of racial segregation and discrimination.

World War II (1941)

World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was a significant turning point for Choctaws and Native Americans in general. Although the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830 between the Choctaw and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act...

 stated Mississippi Choctaws had U.S. citizenship, they had become associated with "colored people" as non-white in a state that had imposed racial segregation under Jim Crow laws
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

. State services for Native Americans were non-existent. The state was poor and still dependent on agriculture. In its system of segregation, services for minorities were consistently underfunded. The state constitution and voter registration rules dating from the turn of the 20th century kept most Native Americans from voting, making them ineligible to serve on juries or to be candidates for local or state offices. They were without political representation.

A Mississippi Choctaw veteran stated, "Indians were not supposed to go in the military back then ... the military was mainly for whites. My category was white instead of Indian. I don't know why they did that. Even though Indians weren't citizens of this country, couldn't register to vote, didn't have a draft card or anything, they took us anyway."

Van Barfoot
Van T. Barfoot
Van Thurman Barfoot is a retired United States Army officer and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in World War II.-Biography:...

, a Choctaw from Mississippi, who was a sergeant and later a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, 157th Infantry, 45th Infantry Division, received the Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor
The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is bestowed by the President, in the name of Congress, upon members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her...

. Barfoot was commissioned a second lieutenant after he destroyed two German machine gun nests, took 17 prisoners, and disabled an enemy tank.

Post-Reorganization (1946)

After World War II, pressure in Congress mounted to reduce Washington's authority on Native American lands and liquidate the government's responsibilities to them. In 1953 the House of Representatives passed Resolution 108, proposing an end to federal services for 13 tribes deemed ready to handle their own affairs. The same year, Public Law 280 transferred jurisdiction over tribal lands to state and local governments in five states. Within a decade Congress terminated federal services to more than sixty groups despite intense opposition by Indians. Congress settled on a policy to terminate
Indian termination policy
Indian termination was the policy of the United States from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s. The belief was that Native Americans would be better off if assimilated as individuals into mainstream American society. To that end, Congress proposed to end the special relationship between tribes and the...

 tribes as quickly as possible. Out of concern for the isolation of many Native Americans in rural areas, the federal government created relocation programs to cities to try to expand their employment opportunities. Indian policy experts hoped to expedite assimilation of Native Americans to the larger American society, which was becoming urban. In 1959, the Choctaw Termination Act was passed. Unless repealed by the federal government, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma would effectively be terminated as a sovereign nation as of August 25, 1970.

President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 halted further termination in 1961 and decided against implementing additional terminations. He did enact some of the last terminations in process, such as with the Ponca
Ponca
The Ponca are a Native American people of the Dhegihan branch of the Siouan-language group. There are two federally recognized Ponca tribes: the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and the Ponca Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma...

. Both presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 repudiated termination of the federal government's relationship with Native American tribes.

Mississippi Choctaw Self-Determination Era

The Choctaw people continued to struggle economically due to bigotry, cultural isolation, and lack of jobs. The Choctaw, who for 150 years had been neither white nor black, were "left where they had always been"-- in poverty. Will Campbell, a Baptist minister and Civil Rights activist, witnessed the destitution of the Choctaw. He would later write, "the thing I remember the most ... was the depressing sight of the Choctaws, their shanties along the country roads, grown men lounging on the dirt streets of their villages in demeaning idleness, sometimes drinking from a common bottle, sharing a roll-your-own cigarette, their half-clad children a picture of hurting that would never end." With reorganization and establishment of tribal government, however, over the next decades they took control of "schools, health care facilities, legal and judicial systems, and social service programs."

The Choctaws witnessed the social forces that brought Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer was a campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi which had historically excluded most blacks from voting...

 and its after effects to their ancient homeland. The Civil Rights
Civil rights
Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations, and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.Civil rights include...

 Era produced significant social change for the Choctaw in Mississippi, as their civil rights were enhanced. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

, most jobs were given to whites, then blacks. Donna Ladd
Donna Ladd
Donna Ladd is an American investigative journalist who helped create The Jackson Free Press, an award-winning freely distributed newsweekly...

 wrote that a Choctaw, now in her 40s, remembers "as a little girl, she thought that a 'white only' sign in a local store meant she could only order white, or vanilla, ice cream. It was a small story, but one that shows how a third race can easily get left out of the attempts for understanding."
On June 21, 1964 James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner (renowned civil rights worker
Mississippi civil rights worker murders
The Mississippi civil rights workers murders involved the lynching of three political activists in Neshoba County, Mississippi on June 21, 1964, during the American Civil Rights Movement....

s) disappeared; their remains were later found in a newly constructed dam. A crucial turning point in the FBI investigation came when the charred remains of the murdered Mississippi civil rights workers' station wagon was found on a Mississippi Choctaw reservation. Two Choctaw women, who were in the back seat of a deputy's patrol car, said they witnessed the meeting
of two conspirators who expressed their desire to "beat-up" the boys. The end of legalized racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 permitted the Choctaws to participate in public institutions and facilities that had been reserved exclusively for white patrons.

Phillip Martin
Phillip Martin
Phillip Martin was the democratically elected Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a federally recognized American Indian tribe of 8,300 enrolled members living on or near 30,000 acres of reservation land in east central Mississippi...

, who had served in the U. S. Army in Europe during World War II, returned to visit his former Neshoba County, Mississippi
Neshoba County, Mississippi
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 28,684 people, 10,694 households, and 7,742 families residing in the county. The population density was 50 people per square mile . There were 11,980 housing units at an average density of 21 per square mile...

 home. After seeing the poverty of his people, he decided to stay to help. Martin served as chairperson in various Choctaw committees up until 1977.

Martin was elected as Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. He served a total of 30 years, being re-elected until 2007. Martin died in Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson, Mississippi
Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the US state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County ,. The population of the city declined from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census...

, on February 4, 2010. He was eulogized as a visionary leader, who had lifted his people out of poverty with businesses and casinos built on tribal land.

Changes after the civil rights era were reflected in sports and other venues. In 1981, the African-American athlete, Marcus Dupree
Marcus Dupree
Marcus L. Dupree is a former American football player. He was one of the most highly recruited high school football players ever. He graduated with the first class in Philadelphia that was desegregated for the entire 12 years he went to school...

, played his final high school football game at Warriors Stadium of the Choctaw Indian Reservation's tribal high school
Choctaw Tribal School System
The Choctaw Tribal School System is a school district based in the community of Choctaw, Mississippi . A non-public entity operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, the district consists of eight schools in three counties – Neshoba, Leake, and Newton – and has a total enrollment of 1,700...

. He finished with 5,284 rushing yards on 8.3 yards per carry; there was considerable media coverage to witness the record-breaking event that was praised by many Mississippians.

Choctaws today

In the social changes around the Civil Rights Era, between 1965 and 1982 Native Americans renewed their commitments to the value of their ancient heritage. Working to celebrate their own strengths and exercise appropriate rights; they dramatically reversed the trend toward abandonment of Indian culture and tradition. During the 1960s, Community Action programs connected with Native Americans were based on citizen participation. In the 1970s, the Choctaws repudiated the extremes of Indian activism. The Oklahoma Choctaw sought a local grassroots solution to reclaim their cultural identity and sovereignty as a nation. The Mississippi Choctaw would lay the foundations of business ventures. Policy continued toward the ideology of Self-Determination.
Soon after this, Congress passed the landmark Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975
Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975
The Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 authorized the Secretaries of the Department of Interior, Health, Education and Welfare and some other government agencies to enter into contracts with, and make grants directly to, federally recognized Indian tribes...

, completing a 15-year period of federal policy reform with regard to American Indian tribes. The legislation included means by which tribes could negotiate contracts with the BIA to manage more of their own education and social service programs. In addition, it provided direct grants to help tribes develop plans for assuming responsibility. It also provided for Indian parents' involvement on school boards.
Beginning in 1979 the tribal council worked on a variety of economic development initiatives, first geared toward attracting industry to the reservation. They had many people available to work, natural resources and no taxes. Industries have included automotive parts, greeting cards, direct mail and printing, and plastic-molding. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of the state's largest employers, running 19 businesses and employing 7,800 people.

Starting with New Hampshire in 1963, numerous state governments began to operate lotteries and other gambling to raise money for government services. In 1987 the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 ruled that federally recognized tribes could operate gaming facilities on reservation land free from state regulation. In 1988 the U.S. Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
Indian Gaming Regulatory Act
The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act is a 1988 United States federal law that establishes the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming. There was no federal gaming structure before this act...

 (IGRA). It set the terms for Native American tribes to operate casino
Casino
In modern English, a casino is a facility which houses and accommodates certain types of gambling activities. Casinos are most commonly built near or combined with hotels, restaurants, retail shopping, cruise ships or other tourist attractions...

s.

After years of waiting under the Ray Mabus
Ray Mabus
Raymond Edwin "Ray" Mabus, Jr. is the 75th United States Secretary of the Navy. Mabus served as the 60th Governor of the U.S...

 administration, Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice
Kirk Fordice
Daniel Kirkwood "Kirk" Fordice, Jr. was a politician from the US state of Mississippi. He was the 61st Governor of Mississippi from January 14, 1992, until January 11, 2000.-Biography:...

 in 1992 gave permission for the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to develop Class III gaming. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) has one of the largest casino resorts in the nation; it is located in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

. The Silver Star Casino opened its doors in 1994. The Golden Moon Casino opened in 2002. The casinos are collectively known as the Pearl River Resort
Pearl River Resort
Pearl River Resort is a Native American-run resort located in Choctaw, Neshoba County, Mississippi. It is owned and operated by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians....

.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a semi-autonomous Native American homeland comprising twelve tribal districts. The Choctaw Nation maintains a special relationship with both the United States and Oklahoma governments...

 has its own gaming operations: the Choctaw Casino Resort
Choctaw Casino Resort
The Choctaw Casino Resort is a luxury casino and hotel located in Durant, Oklahoma. The hotel tower has 12 floors and contains 330 rooms and suites, and a casino covering more than with over 3,000 slot machines...

 and Choctaw Casino Bingo
Choctaw Casino Bingo
Choctaw Casino Bingo in Durant, Oklahoma was the first Choctaw casino to be constructed, in 1987, and was also the original casino before the construction of new Choctaw Casino Resort in 2005...

, popular gaming destinations in Durant
Durant, Oklahoma
Durant is a city in Bryan County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 15,877 at the 2010 census. Durant is the principal city of the Durant Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 42,416 in 2010...

. Near the Oklahoma-Texas border, they serve residents of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas. The largest regional population base from which they draw is the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

After nearly two hundred years, the Choctaw have retaken control of the ancient site of Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya
Nanih Waiya is an ancient earthwork mound in Winston County, Mississippi, constructed by indigenous people during the Middle Woodland period, about 0-300 CE. Since the 17th century, the historic Choctaw have venerated Nanih Waiya as their sacred origin location in traditional beliefs.Today the...

. For years protected as a Mississippi state park, Nanih Waiya was returned to the Choctaw in 2006, under Mississippi Legislature State Bill 2803.

Jack Abramoff's Introduction to Indian lobbying

In the second half of the 1990s, Abramoff was employed by Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, the lobbying arm of Preston Gates & Ellis
Preston Gates & Ellis
Preston Gates & Ellis, LLP, also known as Preston Gates, was a law firm with offices in the United States, China and Taiwan. Its main office was in the IDX Tower in Seattle, Washington...

 LLP law firm based in Seattle, WA. In 1995, Abramoff began representing Native American tribes with gambling interests, starting with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

.

The Choctaw originally had lobbied the federal government directly, but beginning in 1994, they found that many of the congressional members who were respondent to their issues had either retired or were defeated in the "Republican Revolution
Republican Revolution
The Republican Revolution or Revolution of '94 is what the media dubbed Republican Party success in the 1994 U.S. midterm elections, which resulted in a net gain of 54 seats in the House of Representatives, and a pickup of eight seats in the Senate...

" of the 1994 elections
United States House elections, 1994
The 1994 U.S. House of Representatives election was held on November 8, 1994, in the middle of President Bill Clinton's first term. As a result of a 54-seat swing in membership from Democrats to Republicans, the Republican Party gained a majority of seats in the United States House of...

. Nell Rogers, the tribe's specialist on legislative affairs, had a friend who was familiar with Abramoff's father and Abramoff's work as a Republican activist. The tribe contacted Preston Gates, and soon after hired the firm and Abramoff.

One of Abramoff's first acts was to defeat a Congressional bill, that sought to use the unrelated business income tax (UBIT) to tax Native American casinos, sponsored by Reps. Bill Archer
William Reynolds Archer, Jr.
William Reynolds “Bill” Archer, Jr. is a former American lawyer and politician. Archer served two terms, from 1967 to 1971, in the Texas House of Representatives — changing from the Democratic to the Republican party in 1969 — and later represented Texas in the United States House as a Republican...

 (R-TX) and Ernest Istook
Ernest Istook
Ernest James Istook Jr. is a former Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Oklahoma's 5th congressional district. He held his congressional seat for 14 years, completing seven terms in the House...

 (R-OK). Since the matter involved taxation, Abramoff enlisted help from his College Republican acquaintance Grover Norquist
Grover Norquist
Grover Glenn Norquist is an American lobbyist, conservative activist, and founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform...

, and his Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform
Americans for Tax Reform is an advocacy group and taxpayer group whose stated goal is "a system in which taxes are simpler, flatter, more visible, and lower than they are today. The government's power to control one's life derives from its power to tax...

 (ATR). The bill was eventually defeated in 1996 in the Senate, due in part to grassroots work by ATR, for which the Choctaw paid $60,000.

According to Washington Business Forward, a lobbying trade magazine, "[Tom DeLay]
Tom DeLay
Thomas Dale "Tom" DeLay is a former member of the United States House of Representatives, representing Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1984 until 2006. He was Republican Party House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2005, when he resigned because of criminal money laundering charges in...

 was a major factor in those victories, and the fight helped cement the alliance between the two men.

Purporting to represent Native Americans before Congress and state governments in this new field, Jack Abramoff
Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal
The Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal is a United States political scandal relating to the work performed by political lobbyists Jack Abramoff, Ralph E. Reed, Jr., Grover Norquist and Michael Scanlon on Indian casino gambling interests for an estimated $85 million in fees. Abramoff and Scanlon...

 and Michael Scanlon
Michael Scanlon
Michael Scanlon, AKA "Sean Scanlon", is a former communications director for Rep. Tom DeLay, lobbyist, and public relations executive who has pleaded guilty to corruption charges related to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal...

 used fraudulent means to gain profits of $15 million in payment from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Congressional hearings were held and charges were brought against Abramoff and Scanlon. In an e-mail sent January 29, 2002, Abramoff tells Scanlon "I have to meet with the monkeys from the Choctaw tribal council."

On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pled guilty to three felony counts — conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion — involving charges stemming principally from his lobbying activities in Washington on behalf of Native American tribes. In addition, Abramoff and other defendants must make restitution of at least $25 million that was defrauded from clients, most notably the Native American tribes.

MOWA Choctaw

For generations Choctaw Indians lived in Mobile and Washington Counties in southwestern Alabama. These Indians traced their lineage to two groups of Choctaw that settled the area in the early 19th century. The first group had been allies of the Red Sticks during the Creek War of 1813-14 and hid in the remote swamps after their defeat. The second group arrived in the 1830s, when they hid rather than be removed to the western Indian Territories. These two groups merged and lived in relative isolation from white contact for several decades. Over the years, the MOWA (for Mobile and Washington) faced discrimination, persecution, and debt peonage because of their racial status, which in the eyes of the federal government was undocumented and ambiguous. Despite achieving official recognition as a Native American tribe by the state of Alabama, the MOWA Choctaw were still fighting for federal recognition in the 21st century.

Choctaw in the 2010 Census

4,513 people in Alabama reported being Choctaw in the 2010 Census. They were exceeded in number by the 23,403 people in California who reported being Choctaw. California's number also exceeded the 9,260 Choctaw in Mississippi and the 4,840 Choctaw in Arkansas. Texas with 24,024 Choctaw had more, and all these numbers were dwarfed by the 79,006 Choctaw in Oklahoma. There were Choctaw in every state of the Union, the lowest number being the 10 in Rhode Island.

Culture

After the fall of the Mississippian Culture, Choctaw culture would be established and greatly evolve over the centuries, combining mostly European-American influences; however, interaction with Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 greatly shaped it as well. They were known for their rapid incorporation of modernity, developing a written language, transitioning to yeoman
Yeoman
Yeoman refers chiefly to a free man owning his own farm, especially from the Elizabethan era to the 17th century. Work requiring a great deal of effort or labor, such as would be done by a yeoman farmer, came to be described as "yeoman's work"...

 farming methods, and accepting European-Americans and African-Americans into their society. The Choctaw also practiced Head Flattening, but the practice eventually fell out of favor. In mid-summer the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians celebrate their culture during the Choctaw Indian Fair
Choctaw Indian Fair
For centuries the Mississippi Choctaws have gathered at the ripening of the first corn. This gathering was called "The New Corn Ceremony" or "Green Corn Festival." The present day Choctaw Indian Fair has roots in this ancient celebration....

 with ball games, dancing, cooking and entertainment.

Clans

Within the Choctaws were two distinct Moieties: Imoklashas (elders) and Inhulalatas (youth). Each moiety had several clans or Iskas, it is estimated there were about 12 Iskas altogether. Identity was established first by Moiety and Iska, so a Choctaw identified himself first as Imoklasha or Inhulata and second as Choctaw. Children belonged to the Iska of their mother meaning they are matrilineal. The following were some major districts:
  • Okla Hannalli (people of six towns)
  • Okla Tannap (people from the other side)
  • Okla Fayala (people who are widely dispersed)


John Swanton writes "there are only the faintest traces of groups with truly totemic designations, the animal and plant names which occur seeming not to have had a totemic connotation."
Swanton also adds 'Adam Hodgson ... who "spoke English very well," told ... "that there were tribes or families among the Indians, somewhat similar to the Scottish clans; such as, the Panther family, the Bird family, Raccoon Family, the Wolf family."' The following are possible totemic clan designations:
  • Wind
  • Bear
  • Deer
  • Wolf
  • Panther
  • Holly Leaf
  • Bird
  • Raccoon
  • Crawfish

Games

Choctaw stickball
History of Lacrosse
Lacrosse has its origins in a tribal game played by all eastern Woodlands Native Americans and by some Plains Indians tribes in what is now Canada. The game has been modernized extensively by European immigrants to create its current form....

, the oldest field sport in North America, was also known as the "little brother of war" because of its roughness and substitution for war. When disputes arose between Choctaw communities, stickball provided a civil way to settle issues. The stickball games would involve as few as twenty or as many as 300 players. The goal posts could be from a few hundred feet apart to a few miles. Goal posts were sometimes located within each opposing team's village. A Jesuit priest referenced stickball in 1729, and George Catlin painted the subject. The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians continue to practice the sport.

Chunkey
Chunkey
Chunkey is a game of Native American origin. It was played by rolling disc shaped stones across the ground and throwing spears at them in an attempt to place the spear as close to the stopped stone as possible...

 was a game that consisted of a stone-shaped disk that was about 1–2 inches in length. The disk was thrown down a 200 feet (61 m) corridor so that it could roll past the players at great speed. As the disk rolled down the corridor, players would throw wooden shafts at it. The object of the game was to strike the disk or prevent your opponents from hitting it.

Other games included corn, cane, and moccasin games. The corn game included five to seven kernels of corn. One side was blackened and the other side white. Points were assigned for each color. One point was awarded for the black side and 5-7 points for the white side. There were usually only two players.

Language

The Choctaw language is a member of the Muskogean family and was well known among the frontiersmen, such as U.S. President Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison, of the early 19th century. The language is closely related to Chickasaw
Chickasaw
The Chickasaw are Native American people originally from the region that would become the Southeastern United States...

, and some linguists consider the two dialects a single language. The Choctaw language is the essence of tribal culture, tradition, and identity. Many Choctaw adults learned to speak the language before speaking English. The language is a part of daily life on the Mississippi Choctaw reservation. The following table is an example of Choctaw text and its translation:
Chata Anumpa: Hattak yuka keyu hokυtto yakohmit itibachυfat hieli kυt, nan isht imaiυlhpiesa atokmυt itilawashke; yohmi ha hattak nana hohkia, keyukmυt kanohmi hohkia okla moma nana isht aim aiυlhpiesa, micha isht aimaiυlhtoba he aima ka kanohmi bano hosh isht ik imaiυlhpieso kashke. Amba moma kυt nana isht imachukma chi ho tuksυli hokmakashke.

English Language: That all free men, when they form a special compact, are equal in rights, and that no man or set of men are entitled to exclusive, separate public emolument or privileges from the community, but in consideration of public services.

Religion

The Choctaws believed in a good spirit and an evil spirit. They may have been sun, or Hushtahli, worshippers. The historian Swanton wrote, "[T]he Choctaws anciently regarded the sun as a deity ... the sun was ascribed the power of life and death. He was represented as looking down upon the earth, and as long as he kept his flaming eye fixed on any one, the person was safe ... fire, as the most striking representation of the sun, was considered as possessing intelligence, and as acting in concert with the sun ... [having] constant intercourse with the sun ..." The word nanpisa (the one who sees) expressed the reverence the Choctaw had for the sun.
Prayers may have been introduced by missionaries; however, Choctaw prophets were known to have addressed the sun. Swanton wrote, "an old Choctaw informed Wright that before the arrival of the missionaries, they had no conception of prayer. However, he adds, 'I have indeed heard it asserted by some, that anciently their hopaii, or prophets, on some occasions were accustomed to address the sun ...'"

Traditional clothing

The colorful dresses worn by today's Choctaw are made by hand and adapted from the 19th century European-American designs. Choctaws today wear Choctaw clothing mainly for special events. Choctaw elders, especially the Choctaw women, dress in their traditional garb every day. Choctaw dresses are trimmed by full diamond, half diamond or circle and crosses that represent stickball sticks.

Treaties

Land was the most valuable asset, which the Native Americans held in collective stewardship. The United States systematically obtained Choctaw land for conventional European-American settlement through treaties, legislation, and threats of warfare. Although the Choctaw made treaties with Great Britain, France, Spain, and the Confederate States of America; the nation signed only nine treaties with the United States. Some treaties which the US made with other nations, such as the Treaty of San Lorenzo, indirectly affected the Choctaw.

The Treaty of Mount Dexter

The Treaty of Mount Dexter
Treaty of Mount Dexter
The Treaty of Mount Dexter was signed between the United States and the Choctaws. The treaty was signed November 16, 1805. The area ceded was from the Natchez District to the Tombigbee Alabama River watershed, mostly in present-day Mississippi.-Terms:...

 treaty conveyed vast amounts
of land in what is now southeastern Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

 and southwestern Alabama
Alabama
Alabama is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama ranks 30th in total land area and ranks second in the size of its inland...

,
including much of the western portion of Clarke County, Alabama
Clarke County, Alabama
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*54.5% White*43.9% Black*0.4% Native American*0.3% Asian*0.0% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*0.7% Two or more races*1.0% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

, to
the United States.

Reservations

Reservations can be found in Alabama-(MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians are a state-recognized Native American tribe located in southern Alabama, primarily in Washington and Mobile counties. The MOWA Choctaw Reservation is located along the banks of the Mobile and Tombigbee rivers, on 300 acres near the small southwestern Alabama...

), Louisiana-(Jena Band of Choctaw Indians
Jena Band of Choctaw Indians
The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians are one of three federally-recognized Choctaw groups in the United States. They are based in La Salle and Catahoula Parishes in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The Jena Band received federal recognition in 1995. Tribal membership totals 241.-Government:The tribe is...

; United Houma Nation; Choctaw-Apache of Ebarb; Bayou Lacombe Choctaw; Clifton Choctaw), Texas-(Mount Tabor Indian Community), Mississippi-(Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

), and Oklahoma-(Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a semi-autonomous Native American homeland comprising twelve tribal districts. The Choctaw Nation maintains a special relationship with both the United States and Oklahoma governments...

). Other population centers include California, Oregon, Dallas, Houston and Chicago
Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

.

Influential leaders

  • Tuscaloosa
    Chief Tuscaloosa
    Tuskaloosa was a paramount chief of a Mississippian chiefdom in what is now the U.S. state of Alabama. His people were possibly ancestors to the several southern Native American confederacies who later emerged in the region...

     (?-d. October 1540) retaliated against Hernando de Soto at the Battle of Mabilia. The battle was the first major conflict in North America between Native Americans and Europeans.
  • Franchimastabe (d. 19th c.) was a transitional benefactor and a contemporary of Taboca. To some Americans he was the "leading chief of the Choctaws." He led a war party with British forces against American rebels.
  • Taboca (d. 19th c.) was a traditional "prophet-chief" who led a delegation starting in October 1785 to Hopewell, South Carolina.
  • Apuckshunubbee
    Apuckshunubbee
    Apuckshunubbee was one of three principal chiefs of the Choctaw Native American tribe in the early nineteenth century, from before 1800. He led the western or Okla Falaya District in present-day Mississippi...

     (ca. 1740–1824) was chief of the Okla Falaya (Tall People) district in old Choctaw nation. He died in Kentucky on his way to Washington D.C. to conduct negotiations.
  • Pushmataha
    Pushmataha
    Pushmataha , the "Indian General", was one of the three regional chiefs of the major divisions of the Choctaw in the nineteenth century. Many historians considered him the "greatest of all Choctaw chiefs"...

     (Apushmataha) (1760s–December 24, 1824) was a chief in old Choctaw nation. He negotiated treaties with the United States and fought on the American's side in the War of 1812. He died in Washington D.C. and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.
  • Mosholatubbee
    Mosholatubbee
    Mushulatubbee was the chief of the Choctaw Okla Tannap , one of the three major Choctaw divisions during the early 19th century...

     (1770–1836) was a chief in the Choctaw nation before the removal and after. He went to Washington D.C. to negotiate for the tribe in 1824 and was the only major leader to return. In the summer of 1830, he ran for a seat in the Congress of the United States to represent the state of Mississippi.
  • Greenwood LeFlore
    Greenwood LeFlore
    Greenwood LeFlore or Greenwood Le Fleur was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw in 1830 before removal. Before that, the nation was governed by three district chiefs and a council of chiefs...

     (June 3, 1800–August 31, 1865) was a District Chief of the Choctaws in Mississippi. He was an influential state representative and senator in Mississippi.
  • George W. Harkins
    George W. Harkins
    George W. Harkins was an attorney and prominent chief of the Choctaw tribe during the Indian removals. Elected as principal chief after the national council deposed his maternal uncle, Greenwood LeFlore, in 1834 Harkins was elected judge of the Red River District in Indian Territory...

     (1810–1890) was a district Choctaw chief in Indian Territory (1850–1857) prior to the Civil War and author of the "Farewell Letter to the American People
    Farewell Letter to the American People
    The "Farewell Letter to the American People" was a widely published letter by the Choctaw Chief George W. Harkins in 1832. The letter denounced the removal of the Choctaw Nation to Oklahoma. The letter is still considered one of the most important documents in Native American history....

    ".
  • Peter Pitchlynn
    Peter Pitchlynn
    Peter Perkins Pitchlynn , or Hat-choo-tuck-nee , was a Choctaw chief of Choctaw and Anglo-American ancestry...

     (January 30, 1806–January 17, 1881) was a highly influential leader during the removal era and long after. He represented the Choctaws in Washington D.C. for some years and is buried in the Congressional Cemetery. Charles Dickens
    Charles Dickens
    Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

     described him "as stately and complete a gentleman of nature's making as ever I beheld."
  • Phillip Martin
    Phillip Martin
    Phillip Martin was the democratically elected Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a federally recognized American Indian tribe of 8,300 enrolled members living on or near 30,000 acres of reservation land in east central Mississippi...

     (March 13, 1926–February 4, 2010) was the Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians from 1979–2007 and worked in tribal government for over fifty years. He encouraged outside investment and reduced unemployment to nearly 0% on the reservation.

See also

  • William Bartram
    William Bartram
    William Bartram was an American naturalist. The son of Ann and John Bartram, William Bartram and his twin sister Elizabeth were born in Kingsessing, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. As a boy, he accompanied his father on many of his travels, to the Catskill Mountains, the New Jersey Pine Barrens,...

  • Choctaw Culture
  • Choctaw mythology
    Choctaw mythology
    Choctaw mythology is related to Choctaws who are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States . In the 19th century, Choctaws were known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" because they had integrated numerous cultural and technological practices of their European...

  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
    Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
    The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma is a semi-autonomous Native American homeland comprising twelve tribal districts. The Choctaw Nation maintains a special relationship with both the United States and Oklahoma governments...

  • Choctaw Trail of Tears
    Choctaw Trail of Tears
    The Choctaw Trail of Tears was the relocation of the Choctaw Nation from their country referred to now as the Deep South to lands west of the Mississippi River in Indian Territory in the 1830s...

  • Cyrus Byington
    Cyrus Byington
    Cyrus Byington was a White Christian missionary from Massachusetts who worked with the Choctaw in Mississippi and later in Indian Territory, later called Oklahoma, during 19th century. He set out to construct a lexicon of the Choctaw language in order to translate Christian prayers, hymns, and...

  • Jena Band of Choctaw Indians
    Jena Band of Choctaw Indians
    The Jena Band of Choctaw Indians are one of three federally-recognized Choctaw groups in the United States. They are based in La Salle and Catahoula Parishes in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The Jena Band received federal recognition in 1995. Tribal membership totals 241.-Government:The tribe is...

  • Gideon Lincecum
    Gideon Lincecum
    Gideon Lincecum was an American pioneer, historian, physician, philosopher, and naturalist. Lincecum is known for his exploration and settlement of what are now the U.S. states of Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, which was then beyond the western borders of the Thirteen Colonies...

  • List of Choctaw Treaties
  • List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
    Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
    The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes of Choctaw Indians. On April 20, 1945, the tribe organized under the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Also in 1945 the Choctaw Indian Reservation was created in Neshoba and surrounding counties...

  • MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
    MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
    The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians are a state-recognized Native American tribe located in southern Alabama, primarily in Washington and Mobile counties. The MOWA Choctaw Reservation is located along the banks of the Mobile and Tombigbee rivers, on 300 acres near the small southwestern Alabama...

  • okay ("okeh")

External links

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