The origins of the Choctaw tribe are not specifically known. Some say the tribe descends from the Mississippian mound-builders. Others say that they came from somewhere in the west. What is known is that in the stories that have been passed down through generations, and combined with archealogical evidence, the Choctaws descend from people who hunted prehistoric animals such as the mastadon, bison, caribou and mammoths.
When the British began settling along the east coast, they began making slaves of the Native Americans. This endeared the tribes to deal more with the French, who had begun explorations and settlements along the central parts of the country. The first documented contact between the French and the Choctaws was in 1699, although it is likely that contact between them occurred earlier. The Choctaws formed a relationship with New France.
During the American Revolution, the tribe was divided. Some chose to side with the British. Chief Franchimastabé led a group of warriors to Natchez to fight the American rebels. When he and his men arrived, the Americans had already left, but the Choctaw remained and saw that those in the area remained loyal to the British. However, other companies of Choctaw warriors joined Washington and fought with the Colonies. Many were assigned as scouts under Washington, Morgan, Wayne and Sullivan.
Over a thousand warriors fought for the British, primarily in their campaigns against Spain. However, many also fought against the British with Spain.
After the American Revolution, the Choctaws never raised their weapons against the United States. Individual warriors joined Tecumseh and the hostile Creek tribes but the leadership of the Choctaw tribes kept out of hostilities with the United States. Over the next few years, some of the Choctaw warriors served as scouts for the United States in assorted Indian Wars in the midwest.
President George Washington and Secretary of State Henry Knox implemented a policy based upon the tribal members being equal, but their society being inferior. Their 6-point policy included impartial justice toward Native Americans; regulated buying tribal lands; promoting commerce; civilizing tribal society; presidential authority to give presents; and punishing those who violated Indian rights. Agents were appointed to teach assorted tribes how to live like white settlers. The Choctaw embraced these practices, establishing schools, yeoman farming, converting to Christianity and building houses like their Colonial neighbors.
The Choctaw made treaties with the United States for trade. Then settlers began moving west. The Choctaw made several treaties selling their lands to the government in exchange for other lands in Indian Territory. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit, in 1830, separated the Choctaw into two separate entities, The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The Mississippi Band became United States citizens, subject to state and federal laws. The Nation retained its autonomy.
After the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit, the Mississippi Band was plagued with poverty and discrimination. In many instances, the Choctaw were treated lower than the slaves. In 1945, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians had it's Constitution and By-Laws approved by the Department of the Interior. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma had four more treaties to settle differences between them and the Chickasaw tribe which had also relocated to Indian Territory. The Choctaw Nation's Constitution was ratified in 1984. Their present location is in 10 1/2 counties in southeastern Oklahoma.
Treaty 3 Jan 1786
Treaty 17 Dec 1801
Treaty 17 Oct 1802
Treaty 31 Aug 1803
Treaty 16 Nov 1805
Treaty 24 Oct 1816
Treaty of Doak's Stand, 18 Oct 1820
Treaty 20 Jan 1825
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit 27 Sep 1830
Treaty (with Chickasaw) 17 Jan 1837
Treaty (with Chickasaw) 4 Nov 1854
Treaty (with Chickasaw) 22 Jun 1855
Treaty (with Chickasaw) 28 Apr 1866
Bishinik, the Chahta News Bird
Two Brothers Who Followed the Sun
Choctaw Corn Legend
Grandmother Spider Brings Fire to the People
How Poison Got Into the World
The Alligator and The Hunter
Indian Census, 1885
Indian Census, 1926 - 1932
Indian Census, 1933 - 1939
Choctaw Hymn Book (1858)
Complete Choctaw Definer (1892)
Choctaw & Chickasaw Indians Volume 1
Choctaw & Chickasaw Indians Volume 2
A History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians
Choctaw Nation Marriages 1890 - 1900 in Oklahoma
Life Among the Choctaw Indians and Sketches of the South-West
A Sketch of the Life of Ocha Tubbee
Constitution and Laws of the Choctaw Nation
The Choctaw of Bayou Lacomb, St Tammany Parish, Louisiana
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