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Choctaw AT-70 - History

Choctaw AT-70 - History


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Choctaw V
(AT-70: dp. 1,240, 1. 206'; b. 38'6"; dr. 16'4"; s. 16 k.;
cpl. 86; a. 1 3'; cl. Cherokee)

The fifth Choctaw (AT-70) was launched 18 October 1942 by Charleston Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Charleston, S.C., sponsored by Mrs. L. Cordell, commissioned 21 April 1943, Lieutenant J. D. Garland in command, and reported to the Atlantic Fleet.

From 17 June 1943 to 8 May 1944, Choctaw served at Bermuda, where she aided assembling convoys and new ships undergoing training with tug and target-towing services. Putting to sea 8 May, she was reclassified ATF-70 16 May, and reached Oran 19 May to take Holder (DE-401! in tow for New York City, where she delivered her tow 9 June. She returned to her duties at Bermuda until 22 July, when she sailed for ports in Wales to take two LSTs in tow for New York, arriving 30 September.

After overhaul at Norfolk, Choctaw sailed for tug duty at St. John's and Argentia, Newfoundland, between 20 November 1944 and 8 December, when she sailed to rendezvous with Huron (PF-19). She took the collision damaged ship in tow for Bermuda and Charleston, and returned to Newfoundland for service between 3 January 1946 and 14 March. She then operated off the east coast and in the Caribbean on salvage duty and in towing targets until 16 October 1946, when she arrived at Orange, Tex. There she was placed in commission in reserve 1 February 1947, and out of commission in reserve 11 March 1947.


Choctaw AT-70 - History

The history of the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma began in 1820 when tribal leaders in central Mississippi signed the Treaty of Doak's Stand, ceding rich cotton lands in the delta region east of the Mississippi River for approximately thirteen million acres in the Canadian, Kiamichi, Arkansas, and Red River watersheds in southeastern Oklahoma. Although some families moved into the new land, the majority did not until Andrew Jackson pushed his Indian Removal Act through Congress in 1830. In that year Choctaw leaders signed the Dancing Rabbit Creek, ceding their remaining territory in Mississippi and agreeing to move west. During the fall and winter of 1831–32, more than six thousand Choctaw arrived in what was soon to be known as "the Indian Territory." They settled primarily around Boggy Depot in the western part of their new lands, Doaksville in the southeast, and Skullyville in the northeast. During 1832 and 1833 about five thousand more Choctaw arrived.

Citizens of each of the three traditional districts of the nation east of the Mississippi River generally stayed together in the west. As they organized their new government, they retained the old district names Moshulatubbee (northeast), Pushmataha (southwest), and Apukshunnubbee (southeast). Their settlement patterns differed from life in the east primarily in that they did not maintain compact villages but settled on more widely separated farms. The towns of Doaksville, Skullyville, and Boggy Depot were mainly commercial centers with U.S. post offices, blacksmith shops, and commercial stores.

Although the removal had been costly in terms of loss of life, the Choctaw reestablished their government by adopting a new constitution in 1838. The document was necessary, as they had agreed to lease the westernmost part of their land to the Chickasaw Nation, whose removal treaty allowed them to select their own new homeland. The new Choctaw constitution created for the Chickasaw a fourth district and also followed the existing division of powers within the nation. Chiefs of the three districts formed an executive branch, a representative council formed a legislative branch, and courts formed a judicial branch. A "lighthorse" or military unit enforced the laws.

In 1842 the Choctaw Nation adopted a new constitution that instituted a bicameral legislature. In that same year the nation took control of the schools that had been established under the auspices of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Missionaries who had worked in the old nation followed their parishioners west. The council itself operated Spencer Academy near Doaksville as a training ground for young men who were expected to become leaders of the tribe. The nation also valued education for women and supported the Chuwalla (Chuwahla) Female Seminary at Pine Ridge in Puckshanubbee District, the Kunsha (Kunaha or Koonaha) Female Seminary at Goodwater, on the east side of the Boggy River in Pushamattahaw district, Ayannubbee (Ianubbe) Female Seminary near Eagletown, and Wheelock Academy. The Methodist Episcopal Church was given charge of boys' and girls' schools at Fort Coffee in Moshulatubbee district and Nanawaiya Academy near the nation's Council House (west of present Tuskahoma). Funding for these institutions came from annuity payments for land ceded in an 1825 treaty.

By the 1850s the population of the Choctaw Nation was a mix of people. Some retained old customs, such as traditional marriages, or ritual courtship, in which a young man pursued a young woman, and she indicated her willingness or unwillingness to be caught. By 1855 there were eleven Christian churches, with a combined membership of 1,094, and in 1860 the ABCFM reported twelve, with a membership of 1,362. Choctaw law provided that "no person who denies the being of a God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this nation nor shall he be allowed his oath in any court of justice." Despite Christian influence, traditional Choctaw stickball games were still played. Traditional customs of hospitality still persisted in the sharing of food, and kinship terminology emphasized descent through the mother's line.

The 1850s also brought new influences into the nation. These were embodied in railroad development, in new economic activity generated by the Net Proceeds Case, which had been initiated by Peter Pitchlynn to recover the proceeds of the sale of Choctaw lands east of the Mississippi, and in the final separation of the Choctaw and Chickasaw governments. The Chickasaw Nation leaders were increasingly restive in their status as a division of the Choctaw government, and the boundary line between their respective territories was still at issue. At this same time the U.S. government was looking for land upon which to settle hostile Plains tribes under its reservation policy. A treaty in 1855 satisfied these several concerns. The Chickasaw gained political independence, although the Choctaw and Chickasaw land base remained jointly owned. Railroad rights-of-way through these lands were guaranteed, the federal government agreed to the Net Proceeds claim, and the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations leased the land west of the 98th Meridian to the federal government for the settlement of western tribes.

In the pre–Civil War years slavery was an overriding issue. The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions rejected slavery unequivocally, but the missionaries themselves, some of whom had labored among the Choctaws since 1818, realized that they lived in a nation with many leaders who embraced the institution. In 1859 the missionaries gave up their affiliation with the ABCFM and joined the Presbyterian denomination.

The Choctaw Nation signed a treaty with the Confederate government in 1861. Because of the number of slaveholders among its leadership, the Choctaw people were the most strongly committed of the Indian Territory's nations to the Southern cause. The Confederacy's fall meant, however, that the Five Tribes were forced to negotiate new treaties with the U.S. government. As defeated nations, they were forced to cede territory and to accede to the United States' demands for expanded railroad rights-of-way across Indian lands. The federal government also forced them to sell their western lands. During the course of the negotiations for these treaties, however, Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested that the name "Oklahoma" be used for a territory that was being proposed for the tribes residing within the region.

The result of the Civil War was to undermine tribal governments. The conflict opened Indian Territory to exploitation by railroads and non-Indian ranchers, coal miners, and commercial entrepreneurs. Although the Choctaw Nation had tried to regulate the activities of non-Indians by imposing fees and licenses, and also in the 1870s to regulate marriage between tribal citizens and non-Indians, the nation was quickly overwhelmed by noncitizens.

The late-nineteenth-century federal policy of Indian assimilation, embodied in the General Allotment Act (the Dawes Severalty Act) in 1887, was imposed upon the Choctaw Nation in the Curtis Act in 1898. This latter legislation, which abolished tribal courts and was intended to hasten the demise of tribal governments, also codified the text of an agreement that the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations had signed in 1897 with the Dawes Commission at Atoka. The Atoka Agreement implemented allotment, but it also set aside the coal and asphalt deposits in the northern part of the Choctaw Nation as communal assets for tribe members. In 1902 the Choctaw and Chickasaw signed a supplement to the Atoka Agreement in order to expedite the allotment process and facilitate implementation of the Curtis Act.

Soon after the Curtis Act became law, the Five Tribes mounted a final political effort to forestall dissolution of their governments. In 1905 their representatives met in the Sequoyah Convention to propose the creation of an Indian state that would be admitted to the Union. Although the move failed, the Sequoyah Convention became a model for the Oklahoma Constitutional Convention. In 1906 Congress passed the final law determining the dissolution of the governments of the Five Tribes in Indian Territory.

The 1902 supplement to the Atoka Agreement, however, maintained the Choctaws' communal coal and asphalt holdings as communal property. These "segregated coal lands" were supposed to be sold by the U.S. government in order to provide the tribe with income. Because the coal lands were not sold in the post-statehood period, a Choctaw government continued to exist, and it struggled to protect these resources. Some tribe members wanted a per capita distribution of the land and its minerals. The federal government, however, sold thirty-year leases to mining companies, hoping that coal prices might rise. In 1942, during World War II, the minerals became valuable for the war industries, and hearings ensued to debate whether the government should continue the leases, with their ongoing income for Choctaws, or liquidate the tribal estate. In 1948 the U.S. government itself purchased most of the coal lands from the Choctaw Nation for $8.5 million. In the 1950s the U.S. government pursued a policy of terminating the special relationship between itself and the Indian tribes. This led to an initiative in 1959 by the appointed Choctaw Nation chief to put the remaining portion of the tribe's mineral holdings into a private trust. That would terminate the federal relationship and give half of the income to be liquidated for a per capita payment.

Growing national Indian activism in the 1960s led to repeal of the termination legislation. Afterward, local initiatives funded by federal War on Poverty programs gave rise to a resurgence of Choctaw national identity. In 1971 the U.S. Congress restored the rights of the Five Tribes to hold popular elections for their chiefs. In June 1984 the Choctaws also adopted a new constitution with a balance of powers among executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century the Choctaw Nation derived income from gaming operations (bingo and pari-mutuel wagering on horse racing), manufacturing, and personnel management services for federal agencies. The total tribal enrollment stood at approximately 127,000 members. The Choctaw Nation headquarters were maintained in Durant, Oklahoma. Cultural revitalization activities included Choctaw language classes offered via the Internet and an annual Choctaw Labor Day celebration including both popular country music singers and religious services with singing of Choctaw hymns. The Choctaw Nation has achieved economic success while preserving its history and promoting elements of its culture.

Bibliography

Choctaw Nation Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman.

Angie Debo, The Rise and Fall of the Choctaw Republic (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1934).

John Edwards, "The Choctaw Indians in the Middle of the Nineteenth Century," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 10 (September 1932).

Grant Foreman, Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972).

Charles J. Kappler, Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 5 vols. (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1904–1941).

H. Craig Miner, The Corporation and the Indian: Tribal Sovereignty and Industrial Civilization in Indian Territory, 1865–1907 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1976).

James D. Morrison, The Social History of the Choctaw Nation, 1865–1907, ed. James C. Milligan and L. David Norris (Durant, Okla.: Creative Informatics, 1987).

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Citation

The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Clara Sue Kidwell, &ldquoChoctaw (tribe),&rdquo The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=CH047.

© Oklahoma Historical Society.


A Special Look Into the History of the Choctaw Durant Property

A tournament at Choctaw Casino Resort harkens back to poker’s beginnings as a game of chance on the Mississippi River and then among cowboys and settlers in the American West. And the western history of the Choctaw Native Americans and Oklahoma’s cowboy and ranching culture is a major part of the casino and event.

A stroll through the property offers an opportunity to take in architecture and design representative of the Southwest and Native American culture through colors, artwork, and other aspects. Artwork featuring buffalo, Indian warriors, cowboys, coyotes, and other aspects of the Native American and western experience can be seen throughout the property. Players in the field sporting cowboy hats is a norm, like they’ve just gotten off a horse after a day out on the ranch.

Over both starting flights, we’ve seen plenty of rounders ready to lasso in some pots in the comfy Grand Theater.

The Choctaw is now a thriving casino and economic engine of southeast Oklahoma, but getting here for the tribe has not been easy. It has been a long road for the proud Choctaw Indians to the successful flourishing tribe that it is today.

Big Bingo To Big Casino

While the casino is now a massive draw from across Oklahoma and North Texas, the property had humble origins. In 1987, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma tribe opened the Choctaw Bingo Palace, a 28,000-square-foot facility that was a hit in Durant and attracted players not just from Oklahoma, but also from across the Red River where gambling was (and remains) illegal in Texas.

With big payouts and lots of fun, business boomed. The Bingo Palace became the first Indian Bingo Hall to award $1 million to a lucky winner. The tribe would later add bingo facilities at the Arrowhead Resort in Canadian, the Choctaw Village Shopping Center in Idabel, and in Pocola, according to fivecivilizedtribes.org. The bingo facilities employed more than 200 people and provided a key income to the tribe.

In the late-20th century and into the 2000s, high-stakes bingo flourished and would become the precursor to the major resort casinos that can now be found throughout the state on tribal lands. Many Indian casinos like the Choctaw that now have games ranging from craps and blackjack to poker and slot machines have their roots in the popularity of high-stakes bingo, a tradition of that has its roots in the tradition of tribal self-government. According to David Schwatrz’s exhaustive history book on gambling, Roll the Bones, the Penobscot Indians of Maine and the Seminoles of Florida were the first tribes to begin offering bingo in the 1970s. Oklahoma was soon to follow this trend in the 1980s.

“In 1975, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act supported and reinforced tribal governments,” according to the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. “As a result … American Indians in Oklahoma formed thirty-nine tribal governments that have been federally recognized. These nations exercise powers of self-government, including business councils, and many have tribal courts with law enforcement.”

This new sense of self-determination was an economic boon to tribes in Oklahoma including the Choctaw. By the end of the 20th Century there were 23 bingo and gaming operations on Oklahoma tribal lands. By then, eight Native American bands had successfully negotiated gaming compacts with the state, including the Choctaw Nation.

In 2004, Oklahomans voted to allow expanded Indian gaming spurring the Choctaw to build a bigger casino in 2006 and offering more traditional-style gaming. A larger casino was built onto the property in 2010 and the bingo hall was eventually closed.

Now, along with Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, the tribe boasts a total of eight casinos throughout the state.

Proud History

The Choctaw Nation has a rich history in Oklahoma, which is now home to about one-third of the entire nation’s Native American population, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society. Its people have persevered through painful times to become a modern economic leader in the state.

In 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek made the Choctaw the first Indian tribe to walk the Trail of Tears from their traditional homeland in Mississippi. As part of the agreement, the Choctaw were split into two groups: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band, who stayed behind and became US citizens.

The tribe overcame starvation and the move to their new lands. The federal government later curtailed more of their rights in preparation for Oklahoma to enter the union as a state. The federal government also encroached on the Indians’ new lands and Oklahoma’s Indians endured further hardships even after the state entered the union in 1907.

Despite continuing struggles endured by the tribe, 14 Choctaw Indians contributed mightily to the US efforts during World War I beginning in 1918. As part of the 142nd Infantry, members suggested using their native language to communicate military secrets on the front lines in France. Until that time, Germans had been intercepting military communications and cracking the codes. The Choctaw transmissions worked and led to a turnaround on the front lines. The military used the rouse again in World War II to great success. In the 1920s, the members of the tribe were made U.S. citizens by the federal government.

Today, the Choctaw tribe thrives and utilizes casino profits for health care, infrastructure, and the general welfare of its members. Durant is home to the tribe’s largest casino, and also serves as the Choctaw Nation official headquarters. The tribe is the largest single employer in the city and has a massive economic impact in Oklahoma.

Poker Palace and More

This year marks the third year the WPT has come to the Choctaw Casino, which hosts major poker events throughout the year. The WPT stop attracts players from across the country, and has become on of the more popular and prestigious events on the tour.

“We have big guarantees and big fields and draw from coast to coast,” tournament staff member Bill Bruce said. “It helps us diversify our draw of players. We’ve already got the circuit players coming here and the WPT is a different brand of players, so we’ve just covered the whole poker base across the country. That’s the strategy of bringing it here.”

Bruce has worked for eight years helping to organize tournaments at the Choctaw, and says the property continues to grow and expand, offering players more than just a poker tournament experience.

The AAA Four Diamond resort offers more than 776 luxurious rooms and suites. The Oasis Pool has proven popular with gamblers and families alike, boasting several pools (including an indoor oasis to beat the summer heat), 10 private cabanas, a swim-up bar, and water slide. To further offer itself as a destination for families, the property opened The District entertainment venue in 2015, featuring 20 bowling lanes, an arcade, laser tag, and a movie theater.

That same year, the Grand Theater (home of the WPT event), The Spa, and The Spa Tower (286 rooms) were also added. The casino complex offers 4,200 slot machines, 60 table games, and poker room with 30 tables. Numerous dining options abound including including 1832 Steakhouse and Gilley’s bar and restaurant.

“Once they built this beautiful showroom, it made it real easy to come in here and have big tournaments,” Bruce said. “They really want to cater to the poker players as best they can. It’s a different slice of life and a nice pace here. You wouldn’t think you’d want to take a vacation to Durant, Oklahoma, but clearly it’s quite popular with poker players. It’s different than going to one on the East Coast or West Coast. I think a lot of players, no matter what tour, circle it on their calendar and try to come here.”

Popular with the players it is. Season XVI marks the third consecutive season that the World Poker Tour has held an event at Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, Oklahoma, and it’s looking like another huge field. Two seasons ago, in Season XIV, a field of 1,175 entries was generated with Jason Brin scoring a first-place prize of $682,975. Last season, Season XV, James Mackey topped a field of 1,066 entries to win $666,758.


Tribal government

Even with the establishment of the Choctaw Indian Agency, the tribe still had no officially recognized government of its own. A Choctaw government did not come about until the passage of the federal Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. This legislation put an end to nearly five decades in which American Indians were expected to acculturate into non-Indian society. Land which formed the basis for what is now the Choctaw Indian Reservation was purchased and put in trust in 1939.

Tribal members were elected to a temporary tribal council which advised the agency superintendent. The first council was made up of ten tribal members: Bob Henry, Houston Steve, Anthen Johnson, Pat Chitto, Joe Chitto, Billy Nickey, Dempsey Morris, Willie Solomon, Nicholas Bell, and Baxter York. Unlike the modern tribal council, the first council was unable to introduce legislation or appropriate funds. These powers would not be possible until a tribal constitution established a federally recognized tribal government. In 1944, the Choctaws sent a proposed constitution to Washington, D.C. In December of that year, the 15,150 acres purchased for the Choctaw Indian Reservation were set aside for the tribe.

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians was federally recognized by the United States government in 1945, when the constitution was accepted by the federal government and ratified by vote of the tribal members. The temporary council called an election so that an official council could be selected. Joe Chitto of the Standing Pine Community was the first chairman of the council. The sixteen-member council was elected by the Choctaw people to two-year terms. The council chairman was selected by the council. By this time, the Choctaw Indian Agency was operating elementary schools in most of the Choctaw communities and had built a hospital for tribal members in Philadelphia.

In the mid-1970s, the tribal constitution was amended so that a tribal chief is elected by the people, effectively establishing executive and legislative branches of Choctaw government. At the same time, the term of office for the tribal council members was increased to four years.


Learn More About The Choctaws

Choctaw Indian Tribe An overview of the Choctaw people, their language and history.

Choctaw Language Resources Choctaw language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Choctaw Culture and History Directory Related links about the Choctaw people past and present.

Choctaw Indian Words Choctaw Indian vocabulary lists.


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your Choctaw Indian ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Choctaw Indian. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Choctaw Indian census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Choctaw Indian. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Choctaw Indian. For the veterans among your Choctaw Indian ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

There are 3,000 census records available for the last name Choctaw Indian. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Choctaw Indian census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

There are 642 immigration records available for the last name Choctaw Indian. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

There are 1,000 military records available for the last name Choctaw Indian. For the veterans among your Choctaw Indian ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.


Legends of America

An important tribe of the Muscogean family, the Choctaw tribe formerly occupied the middle and south Mississippi River with their territory extending as far east as Florida in their most flourishing days. They trace their roots to a mound-building, maize-based society that flourished in the Mississippi River Valley for more than a thousand years before European contact.

The Choctaw were preeminently the agriculturists of the southern Indians. They were known for their rapid incorporation of white customs, developed a written language, and welcomed European-Americans and African-Americans into their society, leading them to become known as one of the Five Civilized Tribes.

The earliest notice of these Native Americans is found in the Hernando de Soto’s narratives in 1540. Though this encounter would end in a bloody battle, as the brutalities of the expedition became known, the Choctaw would come to embrace European traders nearly two centuries later.

When the French, at the beginning of the 18th century, began to settle colonies at Mobile, Alabama Biloxi, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana, they befriended the Choctaw, who became their allies in wars against other Indian tribes. Though the Choctaw were closely related to the Chickasaw tribe in language and customs, they were constantly at war with them.

Choctaw Village by Francois Bernard, 1869

Later, English traders succeeded in drawing over to the English interest, some of the eastern Choctaw towns, which brought on war within the Choctaw, with those who were still loyal to the French. This animosity continued until the French and Indian War was over in 1763. After the French had surrendered their American possessions to Great Britain, and to some extent previously thereto, members of the tribe began to move across the Mississippi River.

During the American Revolution, most Choctaw supported the Thirteen Colonies‘ bid for independence from the British Crown. By the time President George Washington initiated a program to integrate Southeastern Indians into European American culture following the American Revolution, many Choctaw had already intermarried, converted to Christianity, and adopted other white customs.

Over the next several years, the Choctaw would enter into nine treaties with the U.S. Government, the last three of which were designed to move the Choctaw west of the Mississippi River. During the Indian Removal Period, President Andrew Jackson made the Choctaw exile a model of Indian removal. In 1831, nearly 17,000 Choctaw became the first Native Americans to walk the Trail of Tears to Indian Territory (Oklahoma.) Nearly 2,500 members perished along the way.

The last treaty however, also provided that Choctaw members could choose to stay in Mississippi and become U.S. Citizens, subject to the laws of the country and the state. Approximately 5,000-6,000 chose to remain, but would suffer legal conflict, harassment, and intimidation at the hands of the white settlers.

The Choctaw in Mississippi were later reformed as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and the removed Choctaw became the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The Choctaw were removed west of the Mississippi River starting in 1831, painting by Alfred Boisseau, 1846

Despite the many lives lost on the Trail of Tears, the Oklahoma Choctaw remained a hopeful and generous people. The first order of business upon arriving in their new homeland was to start a school and a church and drafted a new constitution.

During the Civil War, the Choctaw in both Oklahoma and Mississippi mostly sided with the Confederate States of America. At the beginning of the war, Albert Pike was appointed as the Confederate envoy to Native Americans. In this capacity, he negotiated several treaties, including the Treaty with Choctaw and Chickasaw in July 1861.

Some Choctaw identified with the Southern cause and a few owned slaves. In addition, they well remembered and resented the Indian removals from thirty years earlier and poor service they received from the federal government.

However, the main reason the Choctaw Nation agreed to sign the treaty, was for protection from regional tribes. Soon Confederate battalions were formed in Indian Territory and later in Mississippi in support of the southern cause.

After the Civil War, the Mississippi Choctaw were largely ignored by the government and fell into obscurity, though they continued to practice their culture as they had for generations. In the meantime, the Choctaw in Oklahoma struggled to maintain their nation, as land cessions were required by the Five Civilized Tribes, who had supported the Confederacy.

They were also required to free their slaves and make them citizens. Called Choctaw Freedmen, considerable debates occurred over the next several years, but they were finally granted Choctaw Nation citizenship in 1885.

In 1889, the government used its railroad access to the Oklahoma Territory to stimulate development there and opened two million acres for settlement, resulting in the Land Run of 1889. The Choctaw Nation was overwhelmed with new settlers and could not regulate their activities, suffering from violent crimes, murders, thefts and assaults from new settlers and other tribal members.

The struggle over land with the U.S. Government continued and soon the Dawes Commission was established to end the tribal lands held in common, and allot acreage to tribal members individually and dissolve the governments of the Five Civilized Tribes. Though the nations fought hard against this, the governments were dissolved in 1906 and the following year, Oklahoma was admitted as the 46th state.

In World War I, the Choctaw served in the U.S. military as the first Native American code talkers, using the Choctaw language as a natural code. Tribal members also served in World War II, after which the nation began efforts to reestablish itself. For the next two decades they worked hard to attract and develop new businesses and fight legislation to eliminate Native American rights of sovereignty. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was scheduled for termination when Congress repealed the law in 1970, citing the policy’s documented failure in helping Native Americans.

The repeal set the Choctaw in a new direction and in 1971, the nation held its first popular election of a chief since Oklahoma achieved statehood in 1907. They also established a tribal newspaper, began to enroll more members, and launched a movement to preserve the Choctaw language. Before long, a new Constitution was ratified which provided for an executive, legislative and judicial branch of the government.
The population of the tribe when it first came into relations with the French, about the year 1700, was estimated from 15,000 to 20,000. Their number in 1894 was 18,981 citizens of the Choctaw Nation, 1,639 Mississippi Choctaw, and 5,994 Freedmen. Today, they number nearly 200,000 strong. They operate business ventures, both in Mississippi and Oklahoma, in Gaming, Electronics, and Hospitality industries, while continuing to practice their language and cultural traditions.

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are the two primary Choctaw associations today, although smaller Choctaw groups are also located in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma
P.0. Box 1210
Durant, Oklahoma 74702-1210
800-522-617

Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
101 Industrial Road
Choctaw, Mississippi 39350
601-656-5251


The quirkiest roadside attraction in each of Alabama's 67 counties

After years of road-tripping across Alabama, I've come across many fun surprises on its roadsides. My favorites are listed here. Tell me yours by commenting or emailing [email protected]

NOTE: I'm saving historical and natural attractions for future slideshows.

(Source: PrattvilleAl.gov)

Bamboo Forest, Prattville.

In a section of a 26-acre area in Prattville called Wilderness Park, bamboo grows as much as 60 feet high and 6 inches in circumference. It was the first designated wilderness park in the country. In the 1940s, someone sent a packet of seeds to the owner of the property, who planted them. Before long the exotic plants covered a wide area of the property. The trees form a canopy overhead, making it a unique hiking spot, according to PrattvilleAL.gov.

Honorable mention: WC Rice’s Cross Garden, Prattville

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

George Barber’s over-sized lawn ornaments, Elberta

Businessman George Barber, who created Barber Motorsports Park and Vintage Museum in Birmingham, commissioned several large artworks to decorate his property at Barber Marina, including the Lady in the Bay, four dinosaurs, a Stonehenge replica, and dozens of statues.

Honorable mention: Monument to Dentistry, Spanish Fort

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

The Tree that Owns Itself, Eufaula

The sturdy 200-year-old oak in the yard of Confederate Capt. John A. Walker withstood a tornado in 1919. In 1936, local women persuaded the town council to deed the property to the 65-foot-tall, 85-foot-wide tree whose roots grew into it. A fence and marker were erected. But in 1961, the old oak was felled by a tornado. Since then, it has been replaced "several times," according to the Eufaula Chamber of Commerce. But each of the "sons of the Tree that Owns Itself" have also been liberated and have stood behind the fence and marker telling their story.

Honorable mention: Whiskey Bottle Tombstone clayton

(Contributed by Wil Elrick)

Ruins of Beehive Coke Ovens, West Blocton

The brick ruins of dozens of domed ovens are set into earthen embankments built by Cahaba Coal Company in 1883 in the town of Old Blocton, now known as West Blocton. City officials built a public viewing deck and preserved the historical site as Coke Ovens Park. The coke ovens totaled 467 at the height of production in the 1890s. They were used to rapidly heat coal to produce coke, which was a cleaner and easier-to-use form of coal. After operations ceased in 1909, the coke ovens were left to the elements. According to historical markers at the site, the ovens were used as shelters by hobos during the Depression. Click here to see more Alabama ruins.

(Contributed by Wil Elrick)

Three historic covered bridges

Blount is home to three historic covered bridges, the most in the state, and renovated them in 2012. The bridges are:

  • Easley Bridge in Rosa, a 95-foot span over built in 1927 over Dub Branch.
  • Horton Mill bridge in Oneonta, a 220-foot span built in 1934 over the Calvert Prong in the Warrior River. At 70 feet above the water, it is the highest covered bridge over any U.S. waterway.
  • Swann Bridge in Cleveland, a 324-foot span built in 1933 over the Black Warrior River. It is the longest in state.

Grave under theater floor, Union Springs

The Red Door Theatre building was initially Trinity Episcopal Church, built in about 1909 by architect Richard Kennon Perry when he was a local senior in high school. Some of the land for the existing Eley family cemetery was needed for the church, according to a history of the theatre on UnionSpringsAL.com. Some of the graves were moved, but the grave of Maj. Milton Butterfield, who died in the Civil War, remains. There is a marker in the church floor to indicate where the grave is beneath it.

Honorable Mention: Statue of a bird dog in Union Springs, the Field Trial Capital of the World.

Hank Williams Sr.’s Boyhood Home, Georgiana

This modest home on Rose Street in Georgiana is where Hank Williams Sr played guitar on the front porch in summer. In winter, he crawled underneath the house where he could feel "the warmth of the fireplace," according to hankmuseum.com

(Source: Berman Museum of World History)

Hitler’s Tea Set, Berman Museum, Anniston

The Berman Museum of World History isn’t a typical history museum. Instead, it catalogs the history of two prolific travelers and collectors: Farley and Germaine Berman. The couple collected art and cultural artifacts as they traveled the world, including a Tibetan religious icon dating to the 15th century, a royal Persian scimitar, a jeweled dagger that belonged to an Egyptian king, spy weapons and one of only two West guns in existence. Among the most unusual items on display at the Berman Museum is Adolf Hitler’s tea service. The silver tea set Hitler used while traveling.

Honorable Mention: World’s Largest Office Chair, Anniston

Kelly Kazek/[email protected])

Little Nadine’s Playhouse Mausoleum, Lanett

A child's grave in Oakwood Cemetery, in Lanett, is covered with a unique mausoleum – a brick house known as Little Nadine's Playhouse. When Nadine became sick with diphtheria at age 4, her parents, Julian and Alma Earles, were understandably distraught. At his sick daughter's pleadings of "Me want it now," Julian Earles had been building the playhouse as a Christmas gift but when his beloved daughter died on Dec. 18, the house became her mausoleum. The unusual grave site has appeared in a Ripley's Believe It or Not book and was featured in the book "Weird US: The ODDyssey Continues."

Honorable Mention: Joe Louis Statue

(Source: Karen G. Hill via FindaGrave.com)

Grave of Typewriter Inventor, Centre

John Pratt, inventor of the typewriter, is buried in Pratt Memorial Park on County Road 265 in Centre.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Big Peach water tower, Clanton

The water tower at Clanton, visible from Interstate 65, is painted to look like a peach in honor of the county’s largest crop.

Honorable mention: Town of Verbena, only one so-named in the world

(Source: RuralSWAlabama.com)

Alabama’s first oil well, Gilbertown

RuralSWAlabama.org says: "On January 2, 1944, the State of Alabama granted Hunt Oil Company a permit to drill the A. R. Jackson Well No. 1 at Gilbertown, AL. Hunt Oil Company was owned by the famous oil man, H. L. Hunt of Dallas, Texas. The drilling commenced on January 10, 1944, and oil was struck approximately one month later at 2,580 feet in fractured Selma chalk. The discovery of this well led to the creation of the State Oil and Gas Board of Alabama in 1945, and to the development and growth of the petroleum industry in Alabama."

(Kelly Kazek the book "Weird U.S.: The Oddyssey Continues")

Frozen faces on tombstones, Mt Nebo

Isaac Nettles created four of these “folk-art” tombstones with concrete faces that are located in Mt. Nebo Cemetery in Clarke County. He created them by making molds of living subjects by pressing their faces in sand and pouring in concrete.

Historic water tank, Lineville

The Lineville water tank in Clay County, built in 1917, is listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage.

Log Shoal Creek Church, Edwardsville

Shoal Creek Baptist Church was built in Edwardsville in 1895 and is one of the few surviving log churches in Alabama. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Open only for special events.

(Contributed by Wil Elrick)

Boll Weevil Monument, Enterprise

The World's Largest Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise is the world's largest boll weevil monument – and the world's only boll weevil monument. It was erected after the pesky insect destroyed crops, forcing farmers to diversify, as a reminder to how they overcame adversity. It was dedicated Dec. 11, 1919, at College and Main streets in downtown Enterprise.

(Source: Singing River Sculptures Facebook page)

20-foot aluminum musician, Muscle Shoals

This aluminum rocker, one of the Singing River Sculptures, is located near the library in Muscle Shoals. The 18-foot-tall figure is one of 13-15 planned for the Shoals area. They were created by Tuscumbia sculptor Audwin McGee using aluminum donated by Wise Alloys in Muscle Shoals.

Honorable Mention: World's Only Coon Dog Cemetery, Tuscumbia

(Source: RuralSWAlabama.org)

Last surviving Air Mail Beacon in U.S., Evergreen

According to RuralSWAlabama, the Kelly Act established U.S. Air Mail. In 1927, Civil Air Mail Route 23 was established between New Orleans and Atlanta and modified in 1931, leading to the construction of an emergency landing field midway between New Orleans and Atlanta." A tower had a rotating beacon to serve as a route marker. "This old beacon is believed to be the last remaining beacon for CAM-23 and possibly the last of the original Civil Air Mail route marker beacons remaining in the United States."

(Source: Fred the Town Dog Facebook page)

Grave of Fred, the Town Dog, Rockford

In 1993, a sick and bedraggled dog wandered into Rockford. The animal was called "Fred" and was nursed back to health by town residents. For the next ten years, Fred was the town mascot. Fred gained popularity through a regular newspaper column, "A Dog's Life," about his activities and encounters, and then national recognition after he was profiled on cable TV's Animal Planet. Fred died on December 23, 2002, and he was buried beside the historic rock Jail. Fred was inducted into the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association Animal Hall of Fame in 2004. Click here to see Fred's Facebook page.

(Source: City of Andalusia)

Where Hank Williams Sr. married Audrey Sheppard, Andalusia

In 1944, country singers Hank Williams and Audrey Sheppard were married in a Texaco station on the west side of Historical Central Street in Andalusia. A marker was erected in 2003 and a mural was dedicated last month.

F-16 plane school mascot, Highland Home

From waymarking.com: "People driving to the Gulf coast on U.S. Highway 331 probably never expect to see the F-16 monument on the campus of a local school. The history of the display goes back to the choice of the team mascot. In 1941, the United States entered World War II. The eleven members of the school football team entered the military and the football program was dropped for the duration of the war. According to one news story, after the war, the people of this Crenshaw County community decided to change the name of the school mascot from Panthers to the Flying Squadron. They spent decades trying to get a jet fighter to symbolize their school, finally succeeding in 2008. It was dedicated on November 23, 2008."

Ave Maria Grotto, Jerusalem in Miniature, Cullman

Ave Maria Grotto at St. Bernard's Abbey features tiny replicas of world-famous structures, made from concrete and found objects by a hunchback monk named Brother Joseph Zoettl. In his lifetime, Zoettl built 125 mini structures at the Abbey. It is now open as a tourist attraction.

(Source: James Emery via Wikimedia Commons)

Replica of a Wright Flyer Model B, Fort Rucker, Ozark

The Wright brother's Model B replica hangs in the Army Aviation Museum. It was built in 1993 by the Virginia Aviation Company of Warrenton, Va.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Face Well and Perine Well, Old Cahawba

Remnants of wells can still be found in the ghost town of Alabama's first state capital, now preserved as Old Cahawba Archaeological Site, including the preserved well on the E.M. Perine plantation that was once the deepest artesian well in the world. Its cool water was piped through the Perine mansion, making it the first air-conditioned home in Alabama, according to historian Jim Lewis. Another interesting fixture is an iron wellhead with a face shaped into it. Created in 1852, the Face Well is one of the most-photographed features at Old Cahawba. Click here to read more.

Junkosaurus Wrecks, Fort Payne

Local artist Mike Goggans, who spends his daylight hours as a responsible adult as a telecommunications engineer at Ladd Engineering, is the proud papa of a 21-foot-tall, 1.5-ton "baby" known as Junkosaurus Wrecks. It is one of several junk-sculpture animals at his roadside attraction on Lookout Mountain Parkway known as The Barnyard EIEIO.

Honorable Mention: Hosiery Museum, Fort Payne

Film set town of Spectre from Big Fish, Millbrook

By definition, Spectre, Alabama, isn't a real town – there are no human residents, stores or schools, or even pews inside its picturesque church. Spectre was created in the mind of Alabama-born author Daniel Wallace in his novel "Big Fish." When the book was being made into a movie in 2003, director Tim Burton discovered the little island in the middle of Jackson Lake, which is fed by the Alabama River, and breathed life into a once-fictional city that people loved so much they never wanted to leave. The set was left behind after filming and began to deteriorate. A few of the buildings burned accidentally. Today, the owners of the property have begun refurbishing the town of Spectre and turn it into a tourist attraction. Click here for the Jackson Lake Island Facebook page.

Poarch Creek Indian Museum, Atmore

According to the Poarch website: "The Poarch Creek Indians are descendants of a segment of the original Creek Nation, which once covered almost all of Alabama and Georgia. Unlike many eastern Indian tribes, the Poarch Creeks were not removed from their tribal lands and have lived together for almost 200 years in and around the reservation in Poarch, Alabama. The reservation is located eight miles northwest of Atmore, Alabama in rural Escambia County." A museum on the property tells the tribe's history.

Statue of Noccalula, Gadsden

The bronze statue of Noccalula, an Indian princess leaping over a massive waterfall, symbolizes a legendary love affair. The statue at the edge of the falls, originally called Black Creek Falls, was erected by the City of Gadsden to memorialize the tale, which states that Noccalula was the daughter of an Indian chief who fell in love with a courageous-but-penniless warrior. The chief insisted that his daughter marry someone of status and arranged her marriage to the chief of a neighboring tribe. Legend says on the day of the wedding, Noccalula allowed her handmaidens to dress her in wedding finery before slipping away and leaping over the edge of the falls. In his grief, her father renamed the site Noccalula Falls.

(Source: Fayette Historical Society)

Miniature replica of the City of Fayette

The Depot Museum operated by the Fayette Historical Society is housed in a historic train depot that features exhibits such as whiskey still and a Civil War-era drum. It was built by Historical Society member Bart Robertson.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Barrel atop Frosty Inn, Russellville

Grissom's Frosty Inn was built in 1960 by Raymond, Betty and Homer Grissom in Russellville. It is currently owned by the Hester family.

Honorable Mention: King’s Drive-In Theatre

(Source: Constitutionguy2007 via Wikimedia Commons)

Constitution Oak, Geneva

The Constitution Oak is one of the oldest and largest in the state. It is located in Fowler Park. According to the City of Geneva website: "The Big Oak is as much a part of Geneva's history as its rivers. It can be found listed on the Alabama Forestry's list of Alabama's Famous & Historic Trees. This publication states this tree was a recognized meeting place when the town of Geneva was first settled. People gathered under this tree for meetings and information of the development of the area."

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Hay bale art on Jim Bird’s farm, Forkland

Located on Alabama Highway 43 between Demopolis and Eutaw, the farm is filled with artworks made from hay bales and junk, including discarded tires, bathtubs, hubcaps, pieces of wood, buckets, 55-gallon drums and whatever else is handy. Bird's art began in 1993 as the result of malfunctioning hay baler, according to RuralSWAlabama.org. "Bird's hay baler started spitting out bales that were rejected because of their out-of-round shape. Jim Bird used some of the rejected hay bales and created a caterpillar to surprise his wife, Lib, who was out of town," the website says.

(Source: Altairisfar via Wikimedia Commons)

Indian mounds, Moundville

Visitors can tour preserved mounds from the Mississippian culture and a museum. The site, used by natives from about 1000-1450 AD, had 29 platform mounds surrounding a rectangular plaza.

(Source: Dancin' Dave Facebook page)

Monuments to Dancin' Dave, Headland and Dothan

Before his death in 2015, Dave Whatley was a regular site around Headland. He always wore a sailor cap and loved to break into dances, entertaining those around him. To honor him, an artist created a Dancin' Dave fiberglass peanut – part of an art project recognizing the area's peanut production. In October, artist Charly Palmer created a mural in downtown Dothan featuring Dancin' Dave.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

World’s smallest city block, Dothan

A tiny concrete triangle on East Troy Street in downtown Dothan is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the World's Smallest City Block. Click here to read more.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Unclaimed Baggage, Scottsboro

Unclaimed Baggage, one of the city's largest tourist attractions, is also listed on dozens of sites as a must-see attraction. The massive store, more than 55,000-square-feet, sells used items recovered from lost luggage that is never claimed. The one-of-a-kind business has been featured on numerous TV shows and in magazines. Learn more here.

Honorable mention: Rock Zoo in Hollywood

(AL.com File Photo/TAMIKA MOORE)

Magic City Sign, Birmingham

A replica of Birmingham’s original Magic City sign was erected this year, 60 years after the first was demolished. The original sign stood in front of the Terminal Station. The replica, by Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, is 46-feet high.

  • Vulcan, world's largest cast-iron statue, Birmingham
  • One of last surviving dirigible mooring masts, Thomas Jefferson Hotel roof, Birmingham

(Source: BOW via FindaGrave.com)

Grave of notorious outlaw Rube Burrow

Rube Burrow, Dec. 11, 1855-Oct. 8, 1890, was known as the Jesse James of Alabama. He is buried in Fellowship Cemetery in Lamar County.

Click here to read about more notorious Alabama outlaws.

(Source: Carol Highsmith via Library of Congress)

Ruins of Forks of Cypress, Florence

The Greek Revival mansion called Forks of Cypress was designed by architect William Nichols for James and Sally Moore Jackson. Completed in 1830, the home was the only Greek Revival house in Alabama to feature a two-story colonnade around all four sides and composed of 24 columns. It was struck by lightning and burned in 1966 but its owners allow tours by appointment.

(Source: Jesse Owens Museum)

Replica of home where Jesse Owens was born, Oakville

The Oakville home were Olympic star Jesse Owens was born was reproduced as part of the Jesse Owens Memorial Park, which features a statue and museum. Owens shattered records – and Hitler's hopes of an Aryan sweep – in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where he won four gold medals. He is one of 17 Alabama-born athletes who have won individual Olympic gold since 1924.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Man buried in featherbed, Auburn

Billy Mitchell is buried in a crypt in Pine Hill Cemetery in Auburn. On his request, he was buried lying on his feather bed with his shoes tucked beneath.

Honorable mention: Marker at former site of World’s Largest Nehi Bottle, Auburn

Saturn 1B rocket at Ardmore Welcome Center

The Saturn 1B that welcomes motorists on Interstate 65 from Tennessee into Alabama is currently being refurbished.

Kelly Kazek | [email protected]

Ruins of Dicksonia plantation, Lowndesboro

Dicksonia was begun in 1830 by David White as a one-story home but it was extensively remodeled in 1856 by its second owner Wiley Turner. That home, built of wood, burned in 1939 and was replaced by near-replica thought to be fireproof. The home made of cast-concrete and steel was completed 1940 but it also burned in 1964. The ruins remain on the family property. Today the site can be rented for photography or events. Click here to learn more.

(AL.com File Photo/Mark Almond)

Hangar where Tuskegee Airmen trained, Tuskegee

Macon County is home to the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. A museum is located in one of the original hangars at Moton Field where the pilots received their basic flight training.

Grave of Monkeynaut, Huntsville

Miss Baker was a squirrel monkey, one of two monkeys who would become the first animals to be launched into space by the United States and be recovered alive. Miss Baker was born in 1957 and made her 16-minute space flight in 1959. She and Able, a rhesus monkey, returned to earth healthy and were treated as celebrities. Able would die four days later from complications of surgery to remove electrodes embedded for her flight. Miss Baker came to live at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, where she died of kidney failure Nov. 29, 1984, and, at 26, was one of the longest living squirrel monkeys on record. She is buried on the grounds of the space center, where visitors sometimes leave bananas atop her grave. Click here to read more.

Honorable Mention: Eggbeater Jesus mosaic, First Baptist Church, Huntsville

Glover Mausoleum, Demopolis

The Greek Revival Glover Mausoleum built in 1845 on a bluff overlooking the Tombigbee River is one of the largest in Alabama. It holds burial vaults for 30 people. According to RuralSWAlabama.org, it was built by Mary Anne Glover, the second wife of Allen Glover. It was recorded in the historic American Buildings Survey in 1934 and listed on the National Register of Historic places in 1974.

Jerry Brown Pottery, Hamilton

Jerry Brown Pottery is the only known mule-powered pug mill still operating in the United States, according to the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce. Jerry Brown, who died earlier this year, was a ninth-generation potter. Pottery made from the mule-powered mill is still sold in Hamilton and the town holds an annual festival. Read more here.

(Source: Albertville Chamber of Commerce)

Monument to the Fire Hydrant, Albertville

Albertville is home to the Mueller Company, which produces fire hydrants. To commemorate the 1 millionth fire hydrant manufactured at the plant, a chrome fire hydrant was placed outside the Albertville Chamber of Commerce.

(Source: Tad Denson, MyShotz.com)

MoonPie Over Mobile

In 2008, Mobile hosted its first New Year's Eve MoonPie drop. The event was marked with two World's Largest MoonPies, one edible and the other a 600-pound lighted version of the confection that is lowered for a countdown to the new year.


Mike Boucher's Web Page

These articles were taken from various sources and are individually referenced if known. Many are from articles in the Choctaw Nation newspaper called the Bishinik or from its predecessor Hello Choctaw. Much of their info was taken in part from older texts and books many that were long out of print. I gathered this information for my children and grandchildren so that they may appreciate the Choctaw part of their heritage. I hope that others may also benefit from reading about their ancestors and begin to see the Choctaw Nation’s part in the history of America. I have received permission from the Bishinik and from other publishers in some instances, to place these on the web. For those authors I have not been able to find, please contact me if you wish changes or deletions made.

With apologies, I cannot authoritatively answer your Choctaw related questions, as I learned everything I know from books and articles similar to those on my web site. Check them out from your local library or interlibrary loan. Many of the old books are now being re-published and can be found for sale on the internet. Good Luck!

All material should be assumed to be copyrighted by the author, whether specifically noted or not!


Choctaw Indians

Choctaw Tribe: Meaning unknown, though Halbert (1901) has suggested that they received their name from Pearl River, “Hachha”. Also called:

  • Ani’-Tsa’ta, Cherokee name.
  • Flat Heads, from their custom of flattening the heads of infants.
  • Henne’sb, Arapaho name.
  • Nabuggindebaig, probably the Chippewa name for this tribe, signifying “flat heads.”
  • Pans falaya, “Long Hairs,” given by Adair.
  • Sanakfwa, Cheyenne name, meaning “feathers sticking up above the ears.”
  • Té-qta, Quapaw name.
  • Tca-qtr£ an-ya-df, or Tea-qti ham-ya, Biloxi name.
  • Tca-t a, Kansa name.
  • Tetes Plates, French equivalent of “Flat Heads.”
  • Tsah-tfl, Creek name.

Choctaw Connections. This was the largest tribe belonging to the southern Muskhogean branch. Linguistically, but not physically, it was most closely allied with the Chickasaw and after them with the Alabama.

Choctaw Location. Nearly all of the Choctaw towns were in the southeastern part of Mississippi though they controlled the adjoining territory in the present State of Alabama. The small tribes of Mobile were sometimes called Choctaw. (See also Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, and Arkansas.)

Choctaw Villages

From the earliest times of which we have any knowledge the Choctaw villages were distributed into three divisions: a southern, a northeastern, and a western, though a central group may also be distinguished. The southern division is fairly well defined by our several informants, but there is considerable disagreement with reference to the others. One authority gives but two divisions, an eastern and a western, and even cuts up the southern group between them. The following locations were established largely by Mr. H. S. Halbert (1901):

Southern or Sixtown Division:

  • Bishkun, in the northern part of Jasper County.
  • Bissasha, on the west side of Little Rock Creek, in Newton County, sect. 23, tp. 8, range 12, east.
  • Boktoloksi, on Boguetuluksi Creek, a southwest affluent of Chickasawhay River.
  • Chickasawhay, on Chickasawhay River about 3 miles south of Enterprise, Clarke County.
  • Chinakbi, on the site of Garlandville, in Jasper County.
  • Chiskilikbacha, probably in Jasper County.
  • Coatraw, 4 miles southwest of the town of Newton in sect. 17, tp. 5, range 11, east, Newton County.
  • Inkillis tamaha, in the northeastern part of Jasper County.
  • Nashobawenya, in the southwestern part of Jasper County.
  • Okatalaia, in the eastern part of Smith County or the western part of Jasper County.
  • Oktak chito tamaha, location unknown. Oskelagna, probably in Jasper County.
  • Puskustakali, in the southwest corner of Kemper County or the proximate part of Neshoba County.
  • Siniasha, location uncertain.
  • Tala, in the southern part of Newton County, between Tarlow and Bogue Felamma Creeks.
  • Talahoka, in Jasper County.
  • Yowani, on the east side of Chickasawhay River, in the southern part of Clarke County.
  • Abissa, location uncertain.
  • Atlantchitou, location unknown.
  • Ayoutakale, location unknown.
  • Bok chito, probably on Bogue Chitto, in Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
  • Bokfalaia, location uncertain.
  • Bokfoka, location unknown.
  • Boktokolo, location unknown.
  • Cabea Hoola, location unknown.
  • Chunky, on the site of Union, Newton County.
  • Chunky chito, on the west bank of Chunky Creek, about half a mile below the confluence of that creek with Talasha Creek-later this belonged to the southern district.
  • East Kunshak chito, near Moscow, in Kemper County.
  • Filitamon, location unknown.
  • Halunlawi asha, on the site of Philadelphia, in Neshoba County.
  • Hashuk chuka, location unknown.
  • Hashuk homa, location unknown.
  • Imoklasha, on the headwaters of Talasha Creek, in Neshoba County, in sections 4, 9, and 16, tp. 9, range 13, east.
  • Iyanabi, on Yannubbee Creek, about 8 miles southwest of De Kalb, in Kemper County.
  • Itichipota, between the headwaters of Chickasawhay and Tombigbee Rivers.
  • Kafitalaia, on Owl Creek, in section 21, tp. 11, range 13, east, in Neshoha County.
  • Kashtasha, on the south side of Custusha Creek, about 3 miles a little south of West Yazoo Town.
  • Konshak osapa, somewhere west of West Imoklasha.
  • Koweh chito, northwest of De Kalb, in Kemper County.
  • Kushak, on Lost Horse Creek, 4 miles southeast of Lazelia, Lauderdale County.
  • Kunshak bolukta, in the southwestern part of Kemper County some 2 miles from Neshoba County line and 1½, miles from the Lauderdale County line.
  • Kunshak chito, on or near the upper course of Oktibbeha River.
  • Lushapa, perhaps on Lussalaka Creek, a tributary of Kentarcky Creek, in Neshoba County.
  • Oka Chippo, location unknown.
  • Oka Coopoly, on Ocobly Creek, in Neshoba County.
  • Oka hullo, probably on or near the mouth of Sanoote Creek, which empties into Petickfa Creek in Kemper County.
  • Oka Kapassa, about Pinckney Mill, in sect. 23, tp. 8, range 11, east, in Newton County-possibly in the southern section.
  • Okalusa, in Romans’ time on White’s Branch, Kemper County.
  • Okapoola, location unknown.
  • Okehanea tamaha, location unknown.
  • Oklabalbaha, location unknown.
  • Oklatanap, location unknown.
  • Oony, south of Pinckney Mill, in Newton County-possibly in the southern division.
  • Osak talaia, near the line between Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
  • Osapa chito, on the site of Dixon Post Office, in Neshoba County.
  • Otuk falaia, location unknown.
  • Pante, at the head of Ponta Creek, in Lauderdale County.
  • Shinuk Kaha, about 7 miles a little north or east of Philadelphia, in Neshoba County.
  • Shumotakali, in Kemper County, between the two head prongs of Black Water Creek.
  • Tiwaele, location unknown.
  • Tonicahaw, location unknown. Utapacha, location unknown.
  • Watonlula, location uncertain.
  • West Abeka, location unknown.
  • West Kunshak chito, in Neshoba County, near the headwaters of Oktibbeha Creek.
  • Wiatakali, about 1 mile south of the De Kalb and Jackson road, in Neshoba County.
  • Yazoo, or West Yazoo, in Neshoba County, near the headwaters of Oktibbeha Creek, in sections 13 and 24, tp. 10, range 13, east.
  • Alamucha, 10 miles from Sukenatcha Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Athlepele, location unknown.
  • Boktokolo chito, at the confluence of Running Tiger and Sukenatcha Creeks, about 4 miles northwest of De Kalb.
  • Chichatalys, location unknown.
  • Chuka hullo, on the north side of Sukenatcha Creek, somewhere between the mouths of Running Tiger and Straight Creeks, in Kemper County.
  • Chuka lusa, location unknown.
  • Cutha Aimethaw, location unknown.
  • Cuthi Uckehaca, probably on or near the mouth of Parker’s Creek, which empties into Petickfa, in sect. 30, tp. 10, range 17, east.
  • East Abeka, at the junction of Straight Creek with the Sukenatcha, in Kemper County.
  • Escooba, perhaps on or near Petickfa Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Hankha Ula, on a flat-topped ridge between the Petickfa and Black Water Creeks, in Kemper County.
  • Holihta asha, on the site of De Kalb, in Kemper County.
  • Ibetap okla chito, perhaps on Straight Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Ibetap okla iskitini, at the head of the main prong of Yazoo Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Imoklasha iskitini, on Flat Creek, the eastern prong of Yazoo Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Itokchako, near East Aheka, in Kemper County.
  • Kunshaktikpi, on Coonshark Creek, a tributary of Kentarky Creek, in Neshoba County.
  • Lukfata, on the headwaters of one of the prongs of Sukenatcha River.
  • Oka Altakala, probably at the confluence of Petickfa and Yannubbee Creeks, in Kemper County.
  • Osapa issa, on the north side of Blackwater Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Pachanucha, location unknown.
  • Skanapa, probably on Running Tiger Creek, in Kemper County.
  • Yagna Shoogawa, perhaps on Indian branch of Running Tiger Creek.
  • Yanatoe, probably in southwest Kemper County.
  • Yazoo iskitini, on both sides of Yazoo Creek.

The following were outside the original town cluster:

  • Bayou Chicot, south of Cheneyville, St. Landry Parish, La.
  • Boutte Station, in St. Charles Parish, La.
  • Cahawba Old Towns, in Perry County, Ala., and probably on Cahawba River.
  • Cheponta’s Village, on the west bank of the Tombigbee River in the extreme southeastern part of Choctaw County, Ala.
  • Chisha Foka, on the site of Jackson.
  • Coila, in Carroll County, probably occupied by Choctaw.
  • Heitotowa, at the site of the later Sculleyville, Choctaw Nation, Oklahoma.
  • Shukhata, on the site of Columbus, Alabama.
  • Teeakhaily Ekutapa, on the lower Tombigbee River.
  • Tombigbee, on or near Tombigbee River.

A few other names of towns placed in the old Choctaw country appear on various maps, but most of these are probably intended for some of the villages given above.

Choctaw History

After leaving the ruins of Mabila, De Soto and his followers, according to the Gentleman of Elvas (see Robertson, 1933), reached a province called Pafallaya, but, according to Ranjel, to a chief river called Apafalaya. Halbert is undoubtedly right in believing that in these words we have the old name of the Choctaw, Pansfalaya, “Long Hairs,” and this is the first appearance of the Choctaw tribe in history. We hear of them again, in Spanish Florida documents of the latter part of the seventeenth century, and from this time on they occupied the geographical position always associated with them until their removal beyond the Mississippi. The French of necessity had intimate dealings with them from the time when Louisiana was first colonized, and the relations between the two peoples were almost invariably friendly. At one time an English party was formed among the Choctaw, partly because the prices charged by the Carolina traders were lower than those placed upon French goods. This was led by a noted chief named Red Shoes and lasted for a considerable time, one of the principal Choctaw towns being burned before it came to an end with the defeat of the British Party in 1750. In 1763, after French Government had given way to that of the English east of the Mississippi, relations between the latter and the Choctaw were peaceful though many small bands of Indians of this tribe crossed the Mississippi into Louisiana. The American Revolution did not alter conditions essentially, and, though Tecumseh and his emissaries endeavored to enlist the Choctaw in his favor, only about 30 individuals joined the hostile Creeks. The abstinence of the tribe as a whole was due very largely to the personal influence of the native statesman, Pushmataha, whose remains lie in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, surmounted by an impressive monument. Meanwhile bands of Choctaw continued moving across the Mississippi, but the great migration occurred after the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit, September 30, 1830, by which the tribe ceded their old lands. However, a considerable body of Choctaw did not leave at this time. Many followed, it is true, at the time of the allotment in Oklahoma, but upward of a thousand still remain, principally in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, Miss. The western Choctaw established a government on the model of those of the other civilized tribes and that of the United States, and it was not given up until merged in the State of Oklahoma early in the present century.

Choctaw Population. Estimates of the number of Choctaw warriors between 1702 and 1814 vary between 700 and 16,000. A North Carolina estimate made in 1761 says they numbered at least 5,000 men. Common estimates are between 4,000 and 5,000, but even these figures may be a trifle low since the first reliable census, that of Armstrong, in 1831, gave 19,554. However, there may have been a slight increase in population after the beginning of the nineteenth century, when an end was put to intertribal wars. Figures returned by the Indian Office since that time show a rather unusual constancy. They go as low as 12,500, and at the other extreme reach 22,707, but the average is from 18,000 to 20,000. The census of 1910 gave 15,917, including 1,162 in Mississippi, 14,551 in Oklahoma, 115 in Louisiana, 57 in Alabama, and 32 in other States, but the United States Indian Office Report for 1923 has 17,488 Choctaw by blood in Oklahoma, 1,600 “Mississippi Choctaw” in Oklahoma, and 1,439 in the State of Mississippi, not counting about 200 in Louisiana, Alabama, and elsewhere. A few small tribes were gathered into this nation, but only a few. The census of 1930 returned 17,757, of whom 16,641 were in Oklahoma, 624 in Mississippi, 190 in Louisiana, and the rest in more than 14 other States. In 1937 the Mississippi Choctaw numbered 1,908, from which it seems that many of the Mississippi Choctaw were missed in 1930 unless the “‘Mississippi Choctaw” already in Oklahoma are included.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Choctaw were noted:


Watch the video: Choctaw Four Step War Dance (July 2022).


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