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THE CHOCTAW (In the Choctaw language , _CHAHTA_) are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States
United States
(modern-day Alabama
Alabama
, Florida
Florida
, Mississippi
Mississippi
, and Louisiana
Louisiana
). Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group.

The Choctaw
Choctaw
are descendants of the peoples of the Hopewell and Mississippian cultures , who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River valley and its tributaries. About 1,700 years ago, the Hopewell people built Nanih Waiya , a great earthwork mound located in what is central present-day Mississippi. It is still considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers of the mid-16th century in the Southeast encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs. The anthropologist John Reed suggested that the Choctaw
Choctaw
derived their name from an early leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw
Choctaw
phrase _Hacha hatak_ (river people).

The Choctaw
Choctaw
coalesced as a people in the 17th century, and developed three distinct political and geographical divisions: eastern, western and southern. These different groups sometimes created distinct, independent alliances with nearby European powers. These included the French , based on the Gulf Coast and in Louisiana; the English of the Southeast, and the Spanish of Florida
Florida
and Louisiana
Louisiana
during the colonial era. During the American Revolution
American Revolution
, most Choctaw
Choctaw
supported the Thirteen Colonies ' bid for independence from the British Crown . They never went to war against the United States
United States
but they were forcibly relocated during Indian Removal in order for the US to take over their land for development by European Americans.

In the 19th century, the Choctaw
Choctaw
were classified by European Americans as one of the " Five Civilized Tribes " because they adopted numerous practices of their United States
United States
neighbors. The Choctaw
Choctaw
and the United States
United States
(US) agreed to nine treaties. By the last three, the US gained vast land cessions; they removed most Choctaw
Choctaw
west of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River to Indian Territory , sending them on a forced migration far from their homelands. The Choctaw
Choctaw
were the first Native American tribe forced to relocate under the Indian Removal Act . The Choctaw
Choctaw
were exiled because the U.S. was greedy for their land, wanting to use its resources, and sell it for settlement and agricultural development by European Americans. Some US leaders believed that by reducing conflict between the peoples, they were saving the Choctaw
Choctaw
from extinction. The Choctaw
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 their National Council. They appointed a Choctaw
Choctaw
Delegate to represent them to the US government in Washington, DC.

By the 1831 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek , those Choctaw
Choctaw
who chose to stay in the newly formed state of Mississippi
Mississippi
were to be considered state and U.S. citizens; they were one of the first major non-European ethnic groups to be granted citizenship. (Article 14 in the 1830 treaty with the Choctaw
Choctaw
stated Choctaws may wish to become citizens of the United States
United States
under the 14th Article of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek on all of the combined lands which were consolidated under Article I from all previous treaties between the United States and the Choctaw.

During the American Civil War , the Choctaw
Choctaw
in both Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and Mississippi
Mississippi
mostly sided with the Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
. The Confederacy had suggested to their leaders that it would support a state under Indian control if it won the war. After the Civil War, the Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana
Louisiana
Choctaw
Choctaw
fell into obscurity for some time. The Choctaw
Choctaw
in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
no longer considered them part of the tribe. In 1978, the United Supreme Court of the United States
United States
held that all remnants of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation are entitled to all rights of the federally recognized Nation. The American Indian Policy Review Commission Final Report Volume I, Chapter 11, Page 468 on May 19, 1977 federally acknowledged/recognized the existence of the Choctaw Communities of Mobile and Washington Counties which are along the Tombigbee and Mobile Rivers where Choctaw
Choctaw
Treaties were negotiated in various Choctaw
Choctaw
Treaties.

The Choctaw
Choctaw
in Oklahoma
Oklahoma
struggled to build a nation. They transferred the Choctaw
Choctaw
Academy there and opened an academy for girls in the 1840s. In the aftermath of the Dawes Act
Dawes Act
in the late 19th century, the US dissolved tribal governments in order to extinguish Indian land claims and admit the Indian and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
territories as a state in 1909. From that period, the US appointed chiefs of the Choctaw
Choctaw
and other tribes in the former Indian Territory.

During World War I
World War I
, Choctaw
Choctaw
soldiers served in the U.S. military as the first Native American codetalkers , using the Choctaw language . After the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934, the Choctaw
Choctaw
reconstituted their government. The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation had kept their culture alive despite years of pressure for assimilation .

The Choctaw
Choctaw
are the third-largest federally recognized tribe. Since the mid-twentieth century, the Choctaw
Choctaw
have created new institutions, such as a tribal college , housing authority, and justice system. Today the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
, the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw Indians , and the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians are the federally recognized Choctaw
Choctaw
tribes. Mississippi
Mississippi
also recognizes another band, and smaller Choctaw
Choctaw
groups are located in Louisiana, Alabama, and Texas. The Alabama
Alabama
Choctaw
Choctaw
who are federally recognized under 24 C.F.R 1000 and 25 U.S.C. 4101 called the Native American Housing Self-Determination Act of 1986 (formerly the "Indian" Housing Act of 1937) under which the United States
United States
Federal Government jointly owns the MOWA Choctaw
Choctaw
Indian Reservation as land held in trust as a reservation and for the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians per multiple deeds in public records in Mobile County, Alabama
Alabama
Department of Revenue Records. The Department of Interior has listed the MOWA Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians as a trustee of Natural Resources in the Southeast Region of the United States. The National Park Service under the Secretary of Interior has posted public notice of the MOWA Choctaw Indian Reservation in Alabama. The Office of the Secretary of Interior issued the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians its Federal Bureau of Investigations ORI number formally acknowledging the Government to Government relationship in 1999.

The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians in Alabama
Alabama
and the Alabama Inter-Tribal Council, which is composed solely of non-federally recognized tribes under Chief Framon Weaver, obtained a US Supreme Court ruling that sovereign immunity applies not only to entities such as the Alabama
Alabama
Inter-Tribal Council as an arm of the tribe, but also that sovereign immunity is inherent and possessed of Indians because they are Indians. This decision of the U.S. Federal Court of Appeals was upheld by the United States
United States
Supreme Court in 2002.

CONTENTS

* 1 History

* 1.1 Paleo-Indian period * 1.2 Woodland culture * 1.3 Mississippian culture * 1.4 17th century emergence of Choctaw
Choctaw

* 1.5 Contact era

* 1.5.1 French colonization (1682) * 1.5.2 French and Indian War

* 1.6 United States
United States
relations

* 1.6.1 American Revolutionary War * 1.6.2 Post- American Revolutionary War * 1.6.3 Hopewell council and treaty (1786) * 1.6.4 War of 1812 * 1.6.5 Doak\'s Stand (1820) * 1.6.6 Negotiations with the US government (1820s)

* 1.7 1830 election and treaty * 1.8 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830)

* 1.9 Removal era

* 1.9.1 Pre-Civil War (1840)

* 1.9.2 American Civil War (1861)

* 1.9.2.1 Trans- Mississippi
Mississippi
Theater * 1.9.2.2 Western Theater

* 1.10 Choctaw
Choctaw
Under Reconstruction (1865)

* 1.10.1 Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
* 1.10.2 Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation * 1.10.3 Territory transition to Oklahoma
Oklahoma
statehood (1889)

* 1.11 Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
Delegation to Washington (1914)

* 1.11.1 Hearing at Union, Mississippi
Mississippi

* 1.12 World War I
World War I
(1918) * 1.13 Reorganization (1934) * 1.14 World War II
World War II
(1941)

* 1.15 Post-Reorganization (1946)

* 1.15.1 Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
Self-Determination Era

* 2 1960s to present

* 2.1 Jack Abramoff and Indian casino lobbying * 2.2 2011 Federal Bureau of Investigation Raid * 2.3 MOWA Choctaw
Choctaw
* 2.4 Choctaw
Choctaw
in the 2010 Census

* 3 Culture

* 3.1 Clans * 3.2 Games * 3.3 Language * 3.4 Religion * 3.5 Traditional clothing * 3.6 Communal economy

* 4 Treaties * 5 Reservations * 6 Influential leaders

* 7 See also

* 7.1 Notes

* 8 References

* 8.1 Further reading

* 9 External links

* 9.1 Official websites of Choctaw
Choctaw
Governments * 9.2 History and culture

HISTORY

PALEO-INDIAN PERIOD

Many thousands of years ago groups classified by anthropologists as Paleo-Indians lived in what today is referred to as the American South . These groups were hunter-gatherers who hunted a wide range of animals, including a variety of megafauna , which became extinct following the end of the Pleistocene
Pleistocene
age. The 19th-century historian Horatio B. Cushman noted that Choctaw
Choctaw
oral history accounts suggested their ancestors had known of mammoths in the Tombigbee River area; this suggests that the Choctaw
Choctaw
ancestors had been in the Mississippi area for at least 4,000–8,000 years. Cushman wrote: "the ancient Choctaw
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
fauna such as bison , mastodons , caribou , and mammoths . Direct evidence in the Southeast is meager, but archaeological discoveries in related areas support this hypothesis.

WOODLAND CULTURE

Later cultures became more complex. Moundbuilding cultures included the Woodland period people who first built Nanih Waiya . Scholars believe the mound was contemporary with such earthworks as Igomar Mound
Mound
in Mississippi
Mississippi
and Pinson Mounds in Tennessee
Tennessee
. Based on dating of surface artifacts, the Nanih Waiya mound was likely constructed and first occupied by indigenous peoples about 0–300 CE , 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 . 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.

MISSISSIPPIAN CULTURE

A Mississippian-era priest holding a severed head and ceremonial flint mace.

The Mississippian culture was a Native American culture that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States
United States
from 800 to 1500 CE. The Mississippian culture developed in the lower Mississippi
Mississippi
river valley and its tributaries, including the Ohio River. In present-day Mississippi, Moundville , Plaquemine ,

When the Spanish 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 are the peoples encountered by other early Spanish explorers, beginning on April 2, 1513, with Juan Ponce de León 's Florida
Florida
landing and the 1526 Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón expedition in South Carolina
South Carolina
and Georgia region. A Spanish expedition in the later 16th century, in what is now western North Carolina, encountered people of the Mississippian culture at Joara
Joara
and settlements further west. The Spanish built a fort at Joara
Joara
and left a garrison there, as well as five other forts. The following year all the Spanish garrisons were killed and the forts destroyed by the Native Americans, who ended Spanish colonization attempts in the interior.

17TH CENTURY EMERGENCE OF CHOCTAW

The contemporary historian Patricia Galloway argues from fragmentary archaeological and cartographic evidence that the Choctaw
Choctaw
did not exist as a unified people before the 17th century. Only then did various southeastern peoples, remnants of Moundville , Plaquemine , and other Mississippian cultures , coalesce to form a self-consciously Choctaw
Choctaw
people. The historical homeland of the Choctaw, or of the peoples from whom the Choctaw
Choctaw
nation arose, included the area of _ Nanih Waiya _, an earthwork mound in present-day Winston County, Mississippi
Mississippi
, which they considered sacred ground . Their homeland was bounded by the Tombigbee River to the east, the Pearl River on the north and west, and "the Leaf-Pascagoula system" to the South. This area was mostly uninhabited during the Mississippian -culture period.

While Nanih Waiya mound continued to be a ceremonial center and object of veneration, scholars believe Native Americans traveled to it during the Mississippian culture period. From the 17th century on, the Choctaw
Choctaw
occupied this area and revered this site as the center of their origin stories. These 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 recounted that "...when I asked them from whence the Chat-kas 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.

A people who by many peculiar customs, are very different from the other red men on the continent ... they are the Chactaws , more commonly known by the name of the Flatheads. These people are the only nation from whom I could learn any idea of a traditional account of a first origin; and that is their coming out of a hole in the ground, which they shew between their nation and the Chicsaws ; they tell us also that their neighbours were surprised at seeing a people rise at once out of the earth." —  Bernard Romans - _Natural History of East and West Florida
Florida
_

Early 19th century and contemporary Choctaw
Choctaw
storytellers describe that the Choctaw
Choctaw
people emerged from either Nanih Waiya mound or cave. A companion story describes their migration journey from the west, beyond the Mississippi
Mississippi
River , when they were directed by their leader's use of a sacred red pole.

The Choctaws, a great many winters ago, commenced moving from the country where they then lived, which was a great distance to the west of the great river and the mountains of snow, and they were a great many years on their way. A great medicine man led them the whole way, by going before with a red pole, which he stuck in the ground every night where they encamped. This pole was every morning found leaning to the east, and he told them that they must continue to travel to the east until the pole would stand upright in their encampment, and that there the Great Spirit
Great Spirit
had directed that they should live. —  George Catlin
George Catlin
- _Smithsonian Report_

CONTACT ERA

After the castaway Cabeza de Vaca of the ill-fated Narváez expedition returned to Spain, he described to the Court that the New World was the "richest country in the world." It commissioned the Spaniard Hernando de Soto to lead 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. From 1540 to 1543, Hernando de Soto traveled through present-day Florida
Florida
and Georgia , and then into the Alabama
Alabama
and Mississippi
Mississippi
areas that would later be inhabited by the Choctaw.

De Soto had the best-equipped militia at the time. As the brutalities of the de Soto expedition through the Southeast became known, ancestors to the Choctaw
Choctaw
rose in defense. The Battle of Mabila , an ambush arranged by Chief Tuskaloosa , was a turning point for the de Soto venture. The battle "broke the back" of the campaign, and they never fully recovered.

Hernando de Soto, leading his well-equipped Spanish fortune hunters, made contact with the Choctaws in the year 1540. He had been one of a triumvirate which wrecked and plundered the Inca empire and, as a result, was one of the wealthiest men of his time. His invading army lacked nothing in equipage. In true conquistador style, he took as hostage a chief named Chief Tuskaloosa, demanding of him carriers and women. The carriers he got at once. The women, Tuscaloosa said, would be waiting in Mabila (Mobile). The chief neglected to mention that he had also summoned his warriors to be waiting in Mabila. On October 18, 1540, de Soto entered the town and received a gracious welcome. The Choctaws feasted with him, danced for him, then attacked him." — Bob Ferguson - Choctaw
Choctaw
Chronology _

The archaeological record for the 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
Choctaw
society.

According to Patricia Galloway, the Choctaw
Choctaw
region of Mississippi, generally located between the Yazoo basin to the north and the Natchez bluffs to the south, was slowly occupied by Burial Urn people from the Bottle Creek Indian Mounds area in the Mobile, Alabama
Alabama
delta, along with remnants of people from the Moundville chiefdom (near present-day Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Alabama
), which had collapsed some years before. Facing severe depopulation, they fled westward, where they combined with the Plaquemines
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
Choctaw
(albeit with a strong Mississippian background).

Other scholars note the Choctaw
Choctaw
oral history recounting their long migration from west of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River.

French Colonization (1682)

Watercolor painting of Choctaw
Choctaw
men, painted for war and holding scalps, and children by Alexandre de Batz , mid–18th century

In 1682 La Salle was the first French explorer to venture into the southeast along the Mississippi
Mississippi
River. His expedition did not meet with the Choctaw; it established a post along the Arkansas River . The post signaled to the English that the French were serious at colonization in the South. The Choctaw
Choctaw
allied with French colonists as a defense against the English, who had been taking Choctaws as captives for the Indian slave trade .

The first direct recorded contact between the Choctaw
Choctaw
and the French was with Pierre Le Moyne d\'Iberville in 1699; indirect contact had likely occurred between the Choctaw
Choctaw
and British settlers through other tribes, including the Creek and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
. The Choctaw, along with other tribes, had formed a relationship with New France , French Louisiana
Louisiana
. Illegal fur trading may have led to further unofficial contact.

As the historian Greg O'Brien has noted, the Choctaw
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. They also expressed differences during and after the American Revolutionary War . Their divisions were roughly eastern, western (near present-day Vicksburg, Mississippi
Mississippi
) 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 the main trading partners of the Choctaw
Choctaw
before the Seven Years\' War , and the British had established some trading. After Great Britain defeated France, it ceded its territory east of the Mississippi
Mississippi
River. From 1763 to 1781, Britain was the Choctaw
Choctaw
main trading partner. With Spanish forces based in New Orleans
New Orleans
in 1766, when they took over French territory west of the Mississippi, the Choctaw
Choctaw
sometimes traded with them to the west. Spain
Spain
declared war against Great Britain during the American Revolution
American Revolution
in 1779.

French And Indian War

UNITED STATES RELATIONS

_ Choctaw
Choctaw
Village near the Chefuncte,_ by Francois Bernard, 1869, Peabody Museum – Harvard University. The women are preparing dye to color cane strips for making baskets.

American Revolutionary War

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

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

Over a thousand Choctaw
Choctaw
fought for Britain, largely against Spain\'s campaigns along the Gulf Coast . At the same time, a significant number of Choctaw
Choctaw
aided Spain.

Post-American Revolutionary War

Ferguson wrote that with the end of the Revolution, "'Franchimastabe', Choctaw
Choctaw
head chief, went to Savannah, Georgia to secure American trade." In the next few years, some Choctaw
Choctaw
scouts served in Ohio with U.S. General Anthony Wayne in the Northwest Indian War .

George Washington
George Washington
(first U.S. President) and Henry Knox (first U.S. Secretary of War) proposed the cultural transformation of Native Americans. Washington believed that Native American society was inferior to that of the European Americans. He formulated a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process, and Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
continued it. The historian Robert Remini wrote, "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
, to live among the Indians and to teach them through example and instruction, how to live like whites. While living among the Choctaw
Choctaw
for nearly 30 years, Hawkins married Lavinia Downs, a Choctaw
Choctaw
woman. As the people had a matrilineal system of property and hereditary leadership, their children were born into the mother's clan and gained their status from her people. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, a number of Scots-Irish traders lived among the Choctaw
Choctaw
and married high-status women. Choctaw
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.

Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins
was located at Milledgeville, Georgia (present day Mount Vernon, Alabama) where he administered the day to day functions of his tribe. While many references allude to Milledgeville being located in the present state of Georgia, they don't account for so-called viatories and diaries of Hawkins. In Hawkins diaries, he writes of his walks about the neighborhood where he visits many of the local Indian families including the Durants, Baileys, Weatherfords, etc. which are within walking distance of his starting point in Milledgeville. The property locations are well located on many maps of the vicinty and the residents are subject of many books, stories and histories that would be written after in the late 1880's and afterwards. The location of Hawkins' starting point is near the confluence of the Tombigbee and Alabama
Alabama
Rivers similar to Halbert and Ball's works in who also tell of their own neighborhood in Clarke County, Alabama. Hawkins apparently resided in what was then Milledgeville, Georgia (present day Alabama) and Clarke County as described by Halbert and Ball is at the same location as the Apalachee, Tohome, and present day MOWA Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians immediately across the swim of a River at the Red Fox Road in Mobile County along the Mobile and Washington County dividing line between the two. The Mobile and Washington County Choctaw
Choctaw
and Chickasaw Indians were formerly resident in Choctaw
Choctaw
and Sumter Counties of Alabama
Alabama
and are prominent in such cases was "Wall v. Williams in 1844 and Wall v. Williamson in 1847" which both involved ancestors of John Reid Young Everett, whose ancestors John Everett served as the Mayor of Mobile, as well as John Reid who served as the Mayor of Mobile, and John Reid Jr. who won the election for the Mayor of Mobile with only 170 votes (Mobile apparently did not have as many active voters) as described in Reid v. Moulton which was determined in the Alabama Supreme Court in favor of Reid, who was accused of voter fraud. The ancestors of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians of both Mobile and Washington County played a prominent role in Alabama
Alabama
history during the 1826-1927 period when John Reid finally died in 1927 and John Reid Jr. passed away in 1926 before him.

Whereas it hath at this time become peculiarly necessary to warn the citizens of the United States
United States
against a violation of the treaties made at Hopewell, on the Keowee, on the 28th day of November, 1785, and on the 3d and 10th days of January, 1786, between the United States
United States
and the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
nations of Indians ... I do by these presents require, all officers of the United States, as well civil as military, and all other citizens and inhabitants thereof, to govern themselves according to the treaties and act aforesaid, as they will answer the contrary at their peril. — George Washington, Proclamation Regarding Treaties, Regarding Treaties with the Cherokee, Choctaw
Choctaw
and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
1790.

Hopewell Council And Treaty (1786)

Starting in October 1785, _Taboca _, a Choctaw
Choctaw
prophet/chief, led over 125 Choctaws to the Keowee, near Seneca Old Town, now known as Hopewell, South Carolina
South Carolina
. After two months of travel, they met with U.S. representatives Benjamin Hawkins
Benjamin Hawkins
, Andrew Pickens , and Joseph Martin. In high Choctaw
Choctaw
ceremonial symbolism, they named, adopted, smoked, and performed dances, revealing the complex and serious nature of Choctaw
Choctaw
diplomacy. One such dance was the eagle tail dance. The Choctaw
Choctaw
explained that the bald eagle , who has direct contact with the upper world of the sun, is a symbol of peace. Choctaw
Choctaw
women painted in white would adopt and name commissioners as kin. :61 Smoking sealed the agreements between peoples, and the shared pipes sanctified peace between the two nations. :60

After the rituals, the Choctaw
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
United States
Congress . On January 3, 1786, the Treaty of Hopewell was signed. Article 11 stated, "he hatchet shall be forever buried, and the peace given by the United States
United States
of America, and friendship re-established between the said states on the one part, and all the Choctaw
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
Choctaw
convicted of crimes by the U.S., establish borderlines between the U.S. and Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, and the return any property captured from colonists during the Revolutionary War.

We have long heard of your nation as a numerous, peaceable, and friendly people; but this is the first visit we have had from its great men at the seat of our government. I welcome you here; am glad to take you by the hand, and to assure you, for your nation, that we are their friends. Born in the same land, we ought to live as brothers, doing to each other all the good we can, and not listening to wicked men, who may endeavor to make us enemies ... It is at the request which you sent me in September, signed by Puckshanublee and other chiefs, and which you now repeat, that I listen to your proposition to sell us lands. You say you owe a great debt to your merchants, that you have nothing to pay it with but lands, and you pray us to take lands, and pay your debt. The sum you have occasion for, brothers, is a very great one. We have never yet paid as much to any of our red brethren for the purchase of lands ... — President Thomas Jefferson, Brothers of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, December 17, 1803

After the Revolutionary War , the Choctaw
Choctaw
were reluctant to ally themselves with countries hostile to the United States. John Reed wrote, "the Choctaw
Choctaw
were never at war with the Americans. A few were induced by _ Tecumseh _ (a Shawnee leader who sought support from various Native American tribes) to ally themselves with the hostile Creeks , but the Nation as a whole was kept out of anti-American alliances by the influence of _Apushmataha _, 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 Shawnees , it will be seen that the whites and Indians in this section are living on friendly and mutually beneficial terms." PUSHMATAHA, 1811 – _Sharing Choctaw
Choctaw
History_. --------------------- "Where today are the Pequot ? Where are the Narragansett , the Mochican , 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, the Shawnee leader _ Tecumseh _ gathered Indian tribes in an alliance to try to expel U.S. settlers from the Northwest area south of the Great Lakes. Tecumseh met the Choctaws to persuade them to join the alliance. _ Pushmataha _, considered by historians to be the greatest Choctaw
Choctaw
leader, countered Tecumseh's influence. As chief for the Six Towns (southern) district, Pushmataha strongly resisted such a plan, arguing that the Choctaw
Choctaw
and their neighbors the Chickasaw
Chickasaw
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
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 Tecumseh that he would fight against those who fought the United States.

On the eve of the War of 1812 , Governor William C. C. Claiborne of Louisiana
Louisiana
sent interpreter Simon Favre to give a talk to the Choctaws, urging them to stay out of this "white man's war." Ultimately, however, the Choctaw
Choctaw
did become involved, and with the outbreak of the war, Pushmataha led the Choctaws in alliance with the U.S., arguing in favor of opposing the Creek Red Sticks ' alliance with Britain after the massacre at Fort Mims . Pushmataha arrived at St. Stephens, Alabama
Alabama
in mid-1813 with an offer of alliance and recruitment. He was escorted to Mobile 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
Choctaw
territory, Pushmataha raised a company of 125 Choctaw
Choctaw
warriors with a rousing speech and was commissioned (as either a lieutenant colonel or a brigadier general ) in the United States Army at St. Stephens. After observing that the officers and their wives would promenade along the Alabama
Alabama
River , Pushmataha summoned his own wife to St. Stephens to accompany him.

He joined the U.S. Army under General Ferdinand Claiborne in mid-November, and some 125 Choctaw
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
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
's force for the sweeping of the Creek territories near Pensacola, Florida
Florida
. Many Choctaw
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
New Orleans
, only a few Choctaw
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
Andrew Jackson
and Thomas Hinds were sent as commissioners representing the United States, to conduct a treaty that would require the Choctaw
Choctaw
to surrender to the United States
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
.

Finally Jackson resorted to threats and a temper tantrum to gain their consent. He warned them of the loss of American friendship; he promised to wage war against them and destroy the Nation; finally he shouted his determination to remove them whether they liked it or not. — Robert V. Remini, _Andrew Jackson_

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
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, , readily." Historian Anna Lewis stated that _Apuckshunubbee_, a Choctaw
Choctaw
district chief, was blackmailed by Jackson to sign the treaty. On October 18, the Treaty of Doak\'s Stand 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.

ARTICLE 4. The boundaries hereby established between the Choctaw Indians and the United States, on this side of the Mississippi
Mississippi
river, shall remain without alteration until the period at which said nation shall become so civilized and enlightened as to be made citizens of the United States
United States
... — Treaty with the Choctaw, 1820

Negotiations With The US Government (1820s)

In 1830 Mosholatubbee
Mosholatubbee
sought to be elected to the Congress of the United States. 1834, Smithsonian American Art Museum

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. ) to discuss the problems of European Americans' squatting on Choctaw
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
Choctaw
of mixed-race ancestry; Captain Daniel McCurtain, and Major John Pitchlynn , the U.S. interpreter, who had been raised by the Choctaw
Choctaw
after having been orphaned when young and married a Choctaw
Choctaw
woman. Apuckshunubbee died in Maysville, Kentucky of an accident during the trip before the party reached Washington.

Pushmataha met with President James Monroe and gave a speech to Secretary of War John C. Calhoun , reminding him of the longstanding alliances between the United States
United States
and the Choctaws. He said, " can say and tell the truth that no Choctaw
Choctaw
ever drew his bow against the United States
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 , by which the Choctaw
Choctaw
ceded more territory to the United States.

Pushmataha died in Washington of a respiratory disease described as croup , before the delegation returned to the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation. He was given full U.S. military burial honors at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

The deaths of these two strong division leaders was a major loss to the Choctaw
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
Choctaw
continued to adapt and take on some technology, housing styles, and accepted missionaries to the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, in the hopes of being accepted by the Mississippi
Mississippi
and national government. In 1825 the National Council approved the founding of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Academy for education of its young men, urged by Peter Pitchlynn , a young leader and future chief. The school was established in Blue Spring, Scott County, Kentucky ; it was operated there until 1842, when the staff and students were transferred to the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, Indian Territory . There they founded the Spencer Academy in 1844.

With the election of Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
as president in 1828, many of the Choctaw
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 , 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
Choctaw
in Indian Territory and Mississippi, LeFlore drafted a treaty and sent it to Washington, DC. There was considerable turmoil in the Choctaw
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)

Main article: Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek

At Andrew Jackson's request, the United States
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
Choctaw
in Mississippi
Mississippi
Territory.

"To the voters of Mississippi. Fellow Citizens:-I have fought for you, I have been by your own act, made a citizen of your state; ... According to your laws I am an American citizen, ... I have always battled on the side of this republic ... I have been told by my white brethren, that the pen of history is impartial, and that in after years, our forlorn kindred will have justice and "mercy too" ... I wish you would elect me a member to the next Congress of the States." — Mushulatubba, _Christian Mirror and N.H. Observer,_ July 1830. Kutteeotubbee was a noted warrior. 1834, Smithsonian American Art Museum

On August 25, 1830, the Choctaw
Choctaw
were supposed to meet with Andrew Jackson in Franklin, Tennessee
Tennessee
, but Greenwood Leflore , a district Choctaw
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, Mississippi
Mississippi
Territory . although the actual site of the Treaty was never specifically mentioned.

Say to them as friends and brothers to listen the voice of their father, & friend. Where now are, they and my white children are too near each other to live in harmony and the justice due father to his red children will them. beg you, tell them to listen. is the only one by which perpetuated as a nation ... I am very respectfully your friend, & the friend of my Choctaw
Choctaw
and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
brethren. Andrew Jackson. —  Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
to the Choctaw
Choctaw
however, a provision in the treaty made removal more acceptable.

ART. XIV. Each Choctaw
Choctaw
head of a family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so, by signifying his intention to the Agent within six months from the ratification of this Treaty, and he or she shall thereupon be entitled to a reservation of one section of six hundred and forty acres of land ... — Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, 1830

On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek 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
Choctaw
signed away their remaining traditional homelands, opening them up for European-American settlement. Article 14 allowed for some Choctaw
Choctaw
to stay in Mississippi, and nearly 1,300 Choctaws chose to do so. They were one of the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens. Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw
Choctaw
representative in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Choctaw
Choctaw
at this crucial time split into two distinct groups: the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians . The nation retained its autonomy, but the tribe in Mississippi
Mississippi
submitted to state and federal laws.

REMOVAL ERA

Main article: Choctaw Trail of Tears _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Eagle Dance_, 1835–37, by George Catlin
George Catlin
; Smithsonian American Art Museum

After ceding nearly 11,000,000 acres (45,000 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 and then later Oklahoma
Oklahoma
. About 2,500 died along the Trail of Tears . 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 wrote a farewell letter to the American people before the removals began. It was widely published

It is with considerable diffidence that I attempt to address the American people, knowing and feeling sensibly my incompetency; and believing that your highly and well improved minds would not be well entertained by the address of a Choctaw
Choctaw
... We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free ... — George W. Harkins, _George W. Harkins to the American People_ _ In 1831 a young 22-year-old George W. Harkins wrote the Farewell Letter to the American People_. This portrait was taken in the 1860s.

Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville
, noted French political thinker and historian, witnessed the Choctaw
Choctaw
removals while in Memphis, Tennessee
Tennessee
in 1831:

In the whole scene there was an air of ruin and destruction, something which betrayed a final and irrevocable adieu; one couldn't watch without feeling one's heart wrung. The Indians were tranquil, but sombre and taciturn. There was one who could speak English and of whom I asked why the Chactas were leaving their country. "To be free," he answered, could never get any other reason out of him. We ... watch the expulsion ... of one of the most celebrated and ancient American peoples. — Alexis de Tocqueville, _Democracy in America_

Approximately 4,000–6,000 Choctaw
Choctaw
remained in Mississippi
Mississippi
in 1831 after the initial removal efforts. The U.S. agent William Ward, who was responsible for Choctaw
Choctaw
registration in Mississippi
Mississippi
under article XIV, strongly opposed their treaty rights. Although estimates suggested 5000 Choctaw
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
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
Choctaw
and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
, 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
Choctaw
removed, and in 1903, another 300 Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
were persuaded to move to the Nation in Oklahoma. By 1930 only 1,665 remained in Mississippi.

“I do certify that the foregoing persons did apply to me as agent to have their names registered to remain five years and become citizens of the States before the 24th (August) 1831.” — William Ward, 1831, _Col. William Wards Register_

Pre-Civil War (1840)

Choctaw
Choctaw
chief Greenwood LeFlore's plantation home, Malmaison, was built in 1852 near Greenwood, Mississippi
Mississippi
and was described as a "palace in the wilderness."

In the 1840s, the Choctaw
Choctaw
chief Greenwood LeFlore stayed in Mississippi
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
representative and senator , was a fixture of Mississippi
Mississippi
high society, and a personal friend of Jefferson 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
Latin language
, an indulgence used by some politicians. LeFlore, in defense of his heritage, spoke in the Choctaw language and asked the Senate floor which was better understood, Latin or Choctaw.

Midway through the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849) , the Choctaw agency at Fort Smith, Arkansas organised a collection which amounted to $170 and sent it to help starving Irish men, women, and children. The Arkansas Intelligencer reported that "all subscribed, agents, missionaries, traders and Indians, a considerable portion of which fund was made up by the latter."

"It had been just 16 years since the Choctaw
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
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma's newspaper, _Bishinik_, based at the Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Choctaw
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 extolled the donation in a public commemoration.

On 18 June 2017 a memorial by the sculptor Alex Pentek, a circle of six-metre-tall steel feathers making a bowl and representing both the Choctaw
Choctaw
tradition and a symbolic bowl of food, was unveiled in Midleton , Co Cork .

For the Choctaw
Choctaw
who remained in or returned to Mississippi
Mississippi
after 1855, the situation deteriorated. Many lost their lands and money to unscrupulous whites. The state of Mississippi
Mississippi
refused the Choctaw
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 and excluded from the segregated white institutions. The state had no public schools prior to those established during the Reconstruction Era .

Choctaws ... were at the mercy of the whites who could commit crimes against them without fear of the law. Even black slaves had more legal rights than did the Choctaws during this period. — Charles Hudson- _The Southeastern Indians_

American Civil War (1861)

Further information: Choctaw
Choctaw
in the American Civil War Jackson McCurtain, Lieutenant Colonel of the First Choctaw
Choctaw
Battalion, CSA , future Principal Chief.

At the beginning of the American Civil War , Albert Pike was appointed as Confederate envoy to Native Americans. In this capacity he negotiated several treaties, including the Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws in July 1861. The treaty covered sixty-four terms, covering many subjects, such as Choctaw
Choctaw
and Chickasaw
Chickasaw
nation sovereignty, Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America
citizenship possibilities, and an entitled delegate in the House of Representatives of the Confederate States of America. In 1891, Horatio B. Cushman, a noted author and historian, wrote that the " United States
United States
abandoned the Choctaws and Chickasaws" when Confederate troops had entered into their nation.

Trans- Mississippi
Mississippi
Theater

Some Choctaw
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. There were several reasons why the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation agreed to sign the Choctaw
Choctaw
"> Choctaw
Choctaw
girls in 1868. Smithsonian Institution.

From about 1865 to 1914, Mississippi
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
Mississippi
Choctaw
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 . 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 and legal segregation by race. In addition, they effectively disfranchised freedmen and Native Americans by the new Mississippi
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
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
and other Native Americans. They subjected the Choctaw
Choctaw
to racial segregation and exclusion from public facilities along with freedmen and their descendants. The Choctaw
Choctaw
were non-white, landless, and had minimal legal protection.

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
Choctaw
sharecropping declined following World War II as major planters had adopted mechanization, which reduced the need for labor.

Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation

Peter Pitchlynn was the Choctaw
Choctaw
Principal Chief from 1864–1866, and a Choctaw
Choctaw
Delegate to Washington, DC for nearly two decades following. He is buried in the Congressional Cemetery
Congressional Cemetery
in Washington, D.C. Painting, 1834, Smithsonian American Art Museum

The Confederacy’s loss was also the Choctaw
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
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
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
Choctaw
nation. The Choctaw
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
Choctaw
Nation were called the Choctaw
Choctaw
Freedmen . After considerable debate, the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation granted Choctaw
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. Choctaw
Choctaw
chief, Allen Wright , suggested _Oklahoma_ (red man, a _portmanteau_ of the Choctaw
Choctaw
words _okla_ "man" and _humma_ "red") as the name of a territory created from Indian Territory in 1890.

The improved transportation afforded by the railroads increased the pressure on the Choctaw
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. Faunceway Baptiste, a Choctaw man in 1868, of mixed-race ancestry. Smithsonian Institution.

With the goal of assimilating the Native Americans, the Curtis Act of 1898 , 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 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
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
Choctaw
Nation, 1,639 Mississippi Choctaw, and 5,994 former slaves (and descendants of former slaves), most held by Choctaws in the Indian/ Oklahoma
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
Oklahoma
Statehood (1889)

Further information: Indian Territory and Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Territory Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation senate in 1898. Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Historical Society.

The establishment of Oklahoma
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
Oklahoma
Territory to stimulate development there. The Indian Appropriations Bill of 1889 included an amendment by Illinois Representative William McKendree Springer , that authorized President Benjamin Harrison to open the two million acres (8,000 km²) of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Territory for settlement, resulting in the Land Run of 1889 . The Choctaw
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 . 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 , a Republican, ruled that the Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and Indian territories had to be jointly admitted as one state, Oklahoma. To achieve this, tribal governments 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
Choctaw
Nation continued to protect resources not stipulated in treaty or law. On November 16, 1907, Oklahoma
Oklahoma
was admitted to the union as the 46th state.

MISSISSIPPI CHOCTAW DELEGATION TO WASHINGTON (1914)

From left to right, Chief Wesley Johnson, T. B. Sullivan, Culberson Davis, James E. Arnold, and Emil John.

By 1907, the Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
were in danger of becoming extinct. The Dawes Commission had sent a large number of the Mississippi Choctaws to Indian Territory, and only 1,253 members remained. Meetings were held in April and May 1913 to try to find a solution to this problem. Wesley Johnson was elected chief of the newly formed Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana
Louisiana
Choctaw
Choctaw
Council at the May 1913 meeting. After some deliberation, the council selected delegates to send to Washington, D.C. to bring attention to their plight. Historian Robert Bruce Ferguson wrote in his 2015 article that:

In late January 1914, Chief Wesley Johnson and his delegates (Culbertson Davis and Emil John) traveled to Washington, D. C. ... While they were in Washington, Johnson, Davis, and John met with numerous senators "> Louisiana
Louisiana
Choctaws in front of their cabin in 1909

In March 1917, federal representatives held hearings, attended by around 100 Choctaws, to examine the needs of the Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaws. Some of the congressmen who presided over the hearings were: Charles D. Carter of Oklahoma, William W. Hastings of Oklahoma, Carl T. Hayden of Arizona, John N. Tillman of Arkansas, and William W. Venable of Mississippi. These hearings resulted in improvements such as improved access to health care, housing, and schools.

After Cato H. Sells investigated the Choctaws' condition, the U. S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
Bureau of Indian Affairs
established the Choctaw
Choctaw
Agency on October 8 of 1918. The Choctaw
Choctaw
Agency was based in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Mississippi
, the center of Indian activity. Dr. Frank J. McKinley was its first superintendent, and he was also the physician.

Before 1916, six Indian schools operated in three counties: two in Leake, three in Neshoba, and one in Newton. The names of those schools were: Tubby Rock Indian School, Calcutta Indian School, Revenue Indian school, Red Water Indian School, and Gum Springs Indian School. The Newton Indian school's name is not known. The agency established new schools in the following Indian communities: Bogue Chitto, Bogue Homo, Conehatta, Pearl River, Red Water, Standing Pine, and Tucker. Under segregation , few schools were open to Choctaw children, whom the white southerners classified as non-whites.

The Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaws' improvements may have continued if it wasn't dramatically interrupted by world events. World War I
World War I
slowed down progress for the Indians as Washington's bureaucracy focused on the war. Some Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaws also served during the war. The Spanish Influenza also slowed progress as many Choctaws were killed by the world-wide epidemic.

WORLD WAR I (1918)

Choctaws in training in World War I
World War I
for coded radio "> Wounded Choctaw
Choctaw
soldier in World War I, U.S. National Red Cross Hospital No. 5, Auteuil, France.

Fourteen Choctaw
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 win several key battles in the Meuse-Argonne Campaign in France
France
, during the last big German offensive of the war. Within 24 hours after the US Army starting using the Choctaw
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
Choctaw
speakers for coded language during World War II
World War II
.

REORGANIZATION (1934)

Further information: Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians

During the Great Depression
Great Depression
and the Roosevelt Administration , officials began numerous initiatives to alleviate some of the social and economic conditions in the South. The 1933 _ Special
Special
Narrative Report_ described the dismal state of welfare of Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaws, whose population by 1930 had slightly increased to 1,665 people. John Collier , 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
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
as the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw Indians . 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
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
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
Indian Federation , opposed tribal recognition because of fears of dominance by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). They disbanded after leaders of the opposition were moved to another jurisdiction. The first Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
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 18,000 acres (73 km2) would be held in trust for the Choctaw
Choctaw
of Mississippi. Lands in Neshoba and surrounding counties were set aside as a federal Indian reservation . Eight communities were included in the reservation land: Bogue Chitto , Bogue Homa, Conehatta , Crystal Ridge, Pearl River , Red Water , Tucker , and Standing Pine .

Under the Indian Reorganization Act, the Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaws re-organized on April 20, 1945 as the Mississippi
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)

Further information: Native Americans and World War II
World War II
Congressional Gold Medal awarded for WWI and WWII service

World War II
World War II
was a significant turning point for Choctaws and Native Americans in general. Although the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek stated Mississippi
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 . 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
Mississippi
Choctaw
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 , a Choctaw
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
. 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)

Group of Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
males in the late 50s or early 60s. Photograph by Bob Ferguson.

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 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
Choctaw
Termination Act was passed. Unless repealed by the federal government, the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
would effectively be terminated as a sovereign nation as of August 25, 1970.

President John F. Kennedy 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 . Both presidents Lyndon Johnson
Lyndon Johnson
and Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
repudiated termination of the federal government's relationship with Native American tribes.

We must affirm the right of the first Americans to remain Indians while exercising their rights as Americans. We must affirm their right to freedom of choice and self-determination. We must seek new ways to provide Federal assistance to Indians-with new emphasis on Indian self-help and with respect for Indian culture. And we must assure the Indian people that it is our desire and intention that the special relationship between the Indian and his government grow and flourish. For, the first among us must be not be last. — _President Lyndon Johnson, Message to Congress "The Forgotten American", March 6, 1968. _

Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
Self-Determination Era

Phillip Martin and family in the late 50s or early 60s. Photograph by Bob Ferguson.

The Choctaw
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 D. 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 and its after effects to their ancient homeland. The Civil Rights Movement produced significant social change for the Choctaw
Choctaw
in Mississippi, as their civil rights were enhanced. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 , most jobs were given to whites, then blacks. Donna Ladd 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 workers ) disappeared; their remains were later found in a newly constructed dam. A crucial turning point in the FBI
FBI
investigation came when the charred remains of the murdered civil rights workers' station wagon was found on a Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
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 permitted the Choctaws to participate in public institutions and facilities that had been reserved exclusively for white patrons.

Phillip Martin , who had served in the U. S. Army in Europe during World War II, returned to visit his former Neshoba County, Mississippi home. After seeing the poverty of his people, he decided to stay to help. Martin served as chairperson in various Choctaw
Choctaw
committees up until 1977.

Martin was elected as Chief of the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw Indians. He served a total of 30 years, being re-elected until 2007. Martin died in Jackson, Mississippi
Mississippi
, 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.

1960S TO PRESENT

In the social changes around the Civil Rights era, between 1965 and 1982 many Choctaw
Choctaw
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 Choctaw repudiated the extremes of Indian activism. The Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Choctaw sought a local grassroots solution to reclaim their cultural identity and sovereignty as a nation. The Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
would lay the foundations of business ventures.

Federal policy under President Richard M. Nixon encouraged giving tribes more authority for self-determination, within a policy of federal recognition. Realizing the damage that had been done by termination of tribal status, he ended the federal emphasis of the 1950s on termination of certain tribes' federally recognized status and relationships with the federal government:

Forced termination is wrong, in my judgment, for a number of reasons. First, the premises on which it rests are wrong ... The second reason for rejecting forced termination is that the practical results have been clearly harmful in the few instances in which termination actually has been tried ... The third argument I would make against forced termination concerns the effect it has had upon the overwhelming majority of tribes which still enjoy a special relationship with the Federal government ... The recommendations of this administration represent an historic step forward in Indian policy. We are proposing to break sharply with past approaches to Indian problems. — _President Richard Nixon, Special
Special
Message on Indian Affairs, July 8, 1970. _

Soon after this, Congress passed the landmark Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 ; this completed a 15-year period of federal policy reform with regard to American Indian tribes. The legislation authorized processes by which tribes could negotiate contracts with the BIA to manage directly more of their education and social service programs. In addition, it provided direct grants to help tribes develop plans for assuming such responsibility. It also provided for Indian parents' participation on local school boards. Norma Howard ( Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma), award-winning watercolor painter, with Choctaw
Choctaw
stickball sticks made by her son.

Beginning in 1979 the Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
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 state or federal taxes. Industries have included automotive parts, greeting cards, direct mail and printing, and plastic-molding. The Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
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 in order to raise money for government services, often promoting the programs by promising to earmark revenues to fund education, for instance. In 1987 the Supreme Court of the United States
United States
ruled that federally recognized tribes could operate gaming facilities on reservations, as this was sovereign territory, and be free from state regulation. As tribes began to develop gaming, starting with bingo, in 1988 the U.S. Congress enacted the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA). It set the broad terms for Native American tribes to operate casinos , requiring that they do so only in states that had already authorized private gaming. Since then development of casino gaming has been one of the chief sources for many tribes of new revenues.

The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
developed gaming operations and a related resort: the Choctaw
Choctaw
Casino
Casino
Resort and Choctaw
Choctaw
Casino
Casino
Bingo are their popular gaming destinations in Durant . Located near the Oklahoma- Texas
Texas
border, these sites attract residents of Southern Oklahoma
Oklahoma
and North Texas. The largest regional population base from which they draw is the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex .

The Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians (MBCI) unsuccessfully sought state agreement to develop gaming under the Ray Mabus administration. But in 1992 Mississippi
Mississippi
Governor Kirk Fordice gave permission for the MBCI to develop Class III gaming. Theyhave developed one of the largest casino resorts in the nation; it is located in Philadelphia, Mississippi
Mississippi
near the Pearl River . The Silver Star Casino
Casino
opened its doors in 1994. The Golden Moon Casino
Casino
opened in 2002. The casinos are collectively known as the Pearl River Resort .

After nearly two hundred years, the Choctaw
Choctaw
have regained control of the ancient sacred site of Nanih Waiya . Mississippi
Mississippi
protected the site for years as a state park. In 2006, the state legislature passed a bill to return _Nanih Waiya_ to the Choctaw.

JACK ABRAMOFF AND INDIAN CASINO LOBBYING

Further information: Jack Abramoff Indian lobbying scandal Video capture from video of Senate Indian Affairs Committee Hearing on 'Lobbying Practices Involving Indian Tribes' on September 29, 2004 as found at indian.senate.gov

In the second half of the 1990s, lobbyist Jack Abramoff was employed by Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds LLP, the lobbying arm in Washington, DC of the Preston Gates it was sponsored by Reps. Bill Archer (R-TX) and Ernest Istook (R-OK). Since the matter involved taxation, Abramoff enlisted help from Grover Norquist , a Republican acquaintance from college, and his Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). The bill was eventually defeated in 1996 in the Senate, due in part to grassroots work by ATR. The Choctaw
Choctaw
paid $60,000 in fees to Abramoff.

According to _Washington Business Forward_, a lobbying trade magazine, Senator Tom DeLay
Tom DeLay
was also a major figure in achieving defeat of the bill. The fight strengthened Abramoff's alliance with him.

Purporting to represent Native Americans before Congress and state governments in the developing field of gaming, Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon used fraudulent means to gain profits of $15 million in total payments from the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians. After Congressional oversight hearings were held in 2004 on the lobbyists' activities, federal criminal charges were brought against Abramoff and Scanlon. In an e-mail sent January 29, 2002, Abramoff had written to Scanlon, "I have to meet with the monkeys from the Choctaw
Choctaw
tribal council."

On January 3, 2006, Abramoff pleaded guilty to three felony counts — conspiracy, fraud, and tax evasion. The charges were based principally on 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.

2011 FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION RAID

In July 2011, agents from the FBI
FBI
"seized" Pearl River Resort informational assets. The Los Angeles Times reported that the Indians are: "faced with infighting over a disputed election for tribal chief and an FBI
FBI
investigation targeting the tribe's casinos."

MOWA CHOCTAW

Other Choctaw
Choctaw
bands located in the United States
United States
include:

* Alabama
Alabama
- MOWA Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians:

The MOWA Choctaw
Choctaw
reside on a 600-acre reservation in southwestern Alabama
Alabama
with a total enrolled population of 3,600 (total population over 10,000). The tribe has the last Indian school in Alabama
Alabama
named Calcedeaver in Mount Vernon, Mobile County, Alabama. The Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs voted 11–2 in support of federal recognition for the MOWA Choctaw. To date the tribe has had 12 Congressional Bills, 3 appeals through the office of federal acknowledgement, and a federal lawsuit directed at its efforts for federal recognition.

Federal recognition is not a pre-requisite to accord a tribe sovereign immunity, according to _John. S. Bottomly v Passamaquoddy Tribe et al. _ 595 F.2d 1061 (1st Cir. 1979). In Bottomly, the United States Supreme Court held that the availability of sovereign immunity is not conditioned on formal federal recognition of a particular tribe. Therefore a tribe, its chief, nor its tribal officials do not need to prove that it has been federally recognized in order to assert immunity from suit for acts done in their official tribal capacity.

* Mississippi, Live Oak Choctaw * Louisiana:

-Bayou Lacombe Choctaw
Choctaw
-Clifton Choctaw
Choctaw
-Jena Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians -Choctaw-Apache of Ebarb

CHOCTAW IN THE 2010 CENSUS

In the 2010 US Census, there were people who identified as Choctaw living in every state of the Union. The states with the largest Choctaw
Choctaw
populations were:

* Oklahoma
Oklahoma
– 79,006 * Texas
Texas
– 24,024 * California
California
– 23,403 * Mississippi
Mississippi
– 9,260 * Arkansas – 4,840 * Alabama
Alabama
– 4,513

CULTURE

Main article: Culture of the Choctaw _ Tullockchishko_ (Drinks the Juice of the Stones) was the greatest of Choctaw
Choctaw
stickball players, 1834.

The Choctaw
Choctaw
people are believed to have coalesced in the 17th century, perhaps from peoples from Alabama
Alabama
and the Plaquemine culture. Their culture continued to evolve in the Southeast. The Choctaw practiced Head flattening as a ritual adornment for its people, but the practice eventually fell out of favor. Some of their communities had extensive trade and interaction with Europeans, including people from Spain
Spain
, France
France
, and England
England
greatly shaped it as well. After the United States
United States
was formed and its settlers began to move into the Southeast, the Choctaw
Choctaw
were among the Five Civilized Tribes, who adopted some of their ways. They transitioned to yeoman farming methods, and accepted European Americans and African Americans into their society. In mid-summer the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians celebrate their traditional culture during the Choctaw
Choctaw
Indian Fair 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. The people had a matrilineal kinship system, with children born into the clan or iska of the mother and taking their social status from it. In this system, their maternal uncles had important roles. Identity was established first by moiety and iska; so a Choctaw
Choctaw
identified first as Imoklasha or Inhulata, and second as Choctaw. Children belonged to the Iska of their mother. 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)

By the early 1930s, the anthropologist John Reed wrote of the Choctaw: "here 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." Reed wrote, " Adam Hodgson ... 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

A Mississippian era engraved shell discovered at Eddyville, Kentucky

Choctaw
Choctaw
stickball , 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
Jesuit
priest referenced stickball in 1729, and George Catlin
George Catlin
painted the subject. The Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw Indians continue to practice the sport.

Chunkey
Chunkey
was a game using a stone-shaped disk that was about 1–2 inches in length. :155 Players would throw the disk down a 200-foot (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. :155

Other games included using corn, cane, and moccasins. The corn game used five to seven kernels of corn. One side was blackened and the other side white. Players won points based on 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

Main article: Choctaw language

The Choctaw language is a member of the Muskogean family and was well known among the frontiersmen, such as Andrew Jackson
Andrew Jackson
and William Henry Harrison , of the early 19th century. The language is closely related to Chickasaw
Chickasaw
, and some linguists consider the two dialects a single language. The Choctaw language is the essence of tribal culture, tradition, and identity. Many Choctaw
Choctaw
adults learned to speak the language before speaking English. The language is a part of daily life on the Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
reservation. The following table is an example of Choctaw
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

Main article: Choctaw mythology

The Choctaw
Choctaw
believed in a good spirit and an evil spirit. They may have been sun, or _Hushtahli_, worshippers. The historian John Reed wrote,

"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 ... constant intercourse with the sun ..."

The word _nanpisa_ (the one who sees) expressed the reverence the Choctaw
Choctaw
had for the sun.

Anthropologist theorize that the Mississippian ancestors of the Choctaw
Choctaw
placed the sun at the center of their cosmological system. Mid-eighteenth-century Choctaws did view the sun as a being endowed with life. Choctaw
Choctaw
diplomats, for example, spoke only on sunny days. If the day of a conference were cloudy or rainy, Choctaws delayed the meeting until the sun returned, usually on the pretext that they needed more time to discuss particulars. They believed the sun made sure that all talks were honest. The sun as a symbol of great power and reverence is a major component of southeastern Indian cultures. — Greg O'Brien, _Choctaws in a Revolutionary Age, 1750–1830_ Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
group wearing traditional garb, c. 1908.

Choctaw
Choctaw
prophets were known to have addressed the sun. John Reed wrote, "an old Choctaw
Choctaw
informed Wright that before the arrival of the missionaries , they had no conception of prayer. He added, "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
Choctaw
are made by hand. They are based on designs of their ancestors, who adapted 19th-century European-American styles to their needs. Today many Choctaw
Choctaw
wear such traditional clothing mainly for special events. Choctaw
Choctaw
elders, especially the women, dress in their traditional garb every day. Choctaw
Choctaw
dresses are trimmed by full diamond, half diamond or circle, and crosses that represent stickball sticks.

COMMUNAL ECONOMY

Early Choctaw
Choctaw
communities worked communally and shared their harvest. They had trouble understanding why English settlers allowed their poor to suffer from hunger.

TREATIES

Main article: List of Choctaw Treaties The complete Choctaw Nation shaded in blue in relation to the U.S. state of Mississippi.

Land was the most valuable asset, which the Native Americans held in collective stewardship. The United States
United States
systematically obtained Choctaw
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.

RESERVATIONS

Reservations can be found in Alabama-( MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians ), Louisiana-( Jena Band of Choctaw Indians ; United Houma Nation ; Choctaw-Apache Tribe of Ebarb ; Bayou Lacombe Choctaw; Clifton Choctaw), Texas-(Mount Tabor Indian Community), Mississippi-( Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians ), and Oklahoma-( Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
). Other population centers include California, Oregon, Dallas
Dallas
, Houston
Houston
and Chicago
Chicago
. The Oklahoma
Oklahoma
reservation, is defined by treaty.

INFLUENTIAL LEADERS

Further information: List of Choctaw chiefs

* Tuscaloosa (died 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 (died 19th century) 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. Franchasmatabe attended the treaty talks of 1801 near Mobile, Alabama. * Taboca (died 19th century) was a traditional "prophet-chief" who led a delegation starting in October 1785 to Hopewell, South Carolina. * Apuckshunubbee (c. 1740–1824) was chief of the Okla Falaya (Tall People) district in old Choctaw
Choctaw
nation. He died in Kentucky on his way to Washington D.C. to conduct negotiations. * Pushmataha (Apushmataha) (1760s–December 24, 1824) was a chief in old Choctaw
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
Congressional Cemetery
in Washington D.C. * Mosholatubbee
Mosholatubbee
(1770–1836) was a chief in the Choctaw
Choctaw
nation before the removal and after. He went to Washington City 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 (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 (1810–1890) was a district Choctaw
Choctaw
chief in Indian Territory (1850–1857) prior to the Civil War and author of the " Farewell Letter to the American People ". * Peter Pitchlynn (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
described him "as stately and complete a gentleman of nature's making as ever I beheld." * Wesley Johnston (c. 1849 – 1925) was elected chief on May 10, 1913 in Meridian, Mississippi. He would lead the Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana
Louisiana
Choctaw
Choctaw
Council's delegation to Washington, D. C. in February 1914 where he met President Woodrow Wilson and many members of congress. There he expressed the dire situation of the Mississippi Choctaws. Wesley Johnston represented the Alabama
Alabama
Delegation from Southwest Alabama
Alabama
in Mobile and Washington Counties. * Phillip Martin (March 13, 1926 – February 4, 2010) was the Chief of the Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians from 1979 to 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

_ Wikimedia Commons has media related to CHOCTAW _.

* William Bartram * Chato people * Choctaw Culture * Choctaw mythology * Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
* Choctaw Trail of Tears * Cyrus Byington * Jena Band of Choctaw Indians * Gideon Lincecum * Steven Charleston * List of Choctaw Treaties * List of sites and peoples visited by the Hernando de Soto Expedition * Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians * MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians * okay ("okeh", etymology)

NOTES

* ^ Common misspellings and variations in other languages include CHACTA, TCHAKTA and CHOCKTAW.

REFERENCES

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FURTHER READING

* Alan Gallay (2002). _The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670–1717_. ISBN 978-0-300-10193-5 . * Akers, Donna L. _Living in the Land of Death: The Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, 1830–1860_, Lansing: Michigan State University, 2004. * Barnett Jr., James F. _Mississippi's American Indians._ Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2012. * Bartram, William. _Travels Through...Country of the Chactaws..._, Florida: printed by James & Johnson, 1791. * Ted F. Belue (1996). _The Long Hunt: Death of the Buffalo East of the Mississippi_. ISBN 978-0-8117-0968-2 . * Bushnell, David I. _Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 48: The Choctaw
Choctaw
of Bayou Lacomb, St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana._ Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1909. * Byington, Cyrus. _Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 46: A Dictionary of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Language._ Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1915. * Carson, James Taylor. _Searching for the Bright Path: The Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaws from Prehistory to Removal_. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. * Horatio Bardwell Cushman; Angie Debo (1962). _The History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez Indians_. ISBN 978-0-8061-3127-6 . * Patricia Galloway (1998-02-01). _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Genesis, 1500–1700: 1500–1700_. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-0-8032-7070-1 . * Haag, Marcia and Henry Willis. _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Language & Culture: Chahta Anumpa_. Norman, Okla: University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Press, 2001. * Hurley, Patrick J.(1883). National Atty. for Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation " Choctaw
Choctaw
Citizenship Litigation. * Jimmie, Randy and Jimmie, Leonard. _NANIH WAIYA Magazine, 1974, Vol I, Number 3_. * Kidwell, Clara Sue. _Choctaws and Missionaries
Missionaries
in Mississippi, 1818–1918_. University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Press: Norman and London, 1995. * Kidwell, Clara Sue. _The Choctaws in Oklahoma: From Tribe to Nation, 1855–1970_ 2007. * Lambert, Valerie. _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation: A Story of American Indian Resurgence._ U. of Nebraska Press, 2007. * Lincecum, Gideon. _Pushmataha: A Choctaw
Choctaw
Leader and His People_. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama
Alabama
Press, 2004. * Lincecum, Gideon. _Traditional History of the Chahta Nation, Translated from the Chahta by Gideon Lincecum, 1861_. University of Texas
Texas
Library, March 1932. * Mihesuah, Devon Abbott. _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Crime and Punishment, 1884–1907_ (2009) * Morrison, James D. _The Social History of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation, 1865–1907._ Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma, Durant, OK: Creative Informatics, Inc., 1987. * Tom Mould (2004). _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Tales_. University Press of Mississippi. ISBN 978-1-57806-683-4 . * O'Brien, Greg. _Choctaws in a Revolutionary Age, 1750–1830_. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002. * O'Brien, Greg, ed. _Pre-removal Choctaw
Choctaw
History: Exploring New Paths_. Norman: University of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
Press, 2008. * O'Brien, Greg. " Mushulatubbee and Choctaw
Choctaw
Removal: Chiefs Confront a Changing World." 2001. * O'Brien, Greg. "Pushmataha: Choctaw
Choctaw
Warrior, Diplomat, and Chief." 2001. * Pesantubbee, Michelene E. _ Choctaw
Choctaw
Women in a Chaotic World: The Clash of Cultures in the Colonial Southeast._ Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico, 2005. * John Reed (2008-06-01). _Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors (1922)_. ISBN 978-1-4368-2743-0 . * John Reed (2001-04-05). _Source Material for the Social and Ceremonial Life of the Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians_. University Alabama
Alabama
Press. ISBN 978-0-8173-1109-4 . * Wells, Samuel J., and Tubby, Roseanna (Editors). _After Removal, The Choctaw
Choctaw
in Mississippi._ Jackson and London: University Press of Mississippi, 1986. ISBN 0-87805-289-5 . * Gustavus James Nash Wilson (August 2009). _The Early History of Jackson County, Georgia .._. ISBN 978-0-217-62714-6 . * Mississippi
Mississippi
Choctaw
Choctaw
Reservation and Off-Reservation Trust Land, Mississippi
Mississippi
United States
United States
Census Bureau

EXTERNAL LINKS

OFFICIAL WEBSITES OF CHOCTAW GOVERNMENTS

* Mississippi
Mississippi
Band of Choctaw
Choctaw
Indians (official site) * Choctaw
Choctaw
Nation of Oklahoma
Oklahoma
(official site) * Jena Band of Choctaw Indians (official site) * Choctaw
Choctaw
Store * MOWA Choctaw
Choctaw
Housing