Choctaw Tribe – Choctaw Indians (possibly a corruption of the Spanish chato, ‘flat’ or ‘flattened,’ alluding to the custom of these Indians of flattening the head). An important tribe of the Muskhogean stock, formerly occupying middle and south Mississippi, their territory extending, in their most flourishing days, for some distance east of Tombigbee River, probably as far as Dallas County, Georgia. Ethnically they belong to the Choctaw branch of the Muskhogean family, which included the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Huma and their allies, and some small Indian tribes which formerly lived along Yazoo River. The dialects of the members of this branch are so closely related that they may be considered as practically identical1.
Choctaw Tribe History and Ethnology
Choctaw Eagle Dance, George Catlin, 1845-8.
The Choctaw give the Eagle Dance once a year, to the War Eagle, the bird that conquers all other varieties of the Eagle species; and the tail feathers of the Eagles the Choctaw use to decorate the heads of the brave.
The earliest notice of these Indians is found in the De Soto narratives for 1540. The giant Tascalusa, whom he met in his march down Coosa Valley and carried to Mauvila, was a Choctaw chieftain; and the natives who fought the Spaniards so fiercely at this town belonged to a closely related tribe. When the French, about the beginning of the 18th century, began to settle colonies at Mobile, Biloxi, and New Orleans, the Choctaw came early into friendly relations with them and were their allies in their wars against other Indian tribes. In the French War on the Natchez, in 1730, a large body of Choctaw warriors served under a French officer. They continued this friendship until the English traders succeeded in drawing over to the English interest some of the east Choctaw towns. This brought on a war between them and the main body, who still adhered to the French, which continued until 1763. The tribe was constantly at war with the Creeks and Chickasaw. After the French had surrendered their American possessions to Great Britain, in 1763, and to some extent previously thereto, members of the tribe began to move across the Mississippi, where, in 1780, Milfort2 met some of their bands who were then at war with the Caddo. About 1809 a Choctaw village existed on Wichita River, and another on Bayou Chicot, Opelousas Parish, Louisiana. Morse (1820) says there were 1,200 of them on the Sabine and Neches Rivers, and about 140 on Red River, near Pecan point3. It is stated by some historians that this tribe, or parties of it, participated in the Creek War; this, however, is emphatically denied by Halbert4, who was informed in 1877 by some of the oldest members of the tribe that the Choctaw manifested no hostility toward the Americans during this conflict. A small band of perhaps 30 were probably the only Choctaw with the Creeks. The larger part of those in Mississippi began to migrate to Indian Territory in 1832, having ceded most of their lands to the United States in various treaties5.
- Choctaw Indians – Swanton
- The Choctaw of Bayou Lacomb
This collection depicts the specific culture and history of the Choctaw tribe residing within Bayou Lacomb, Louisiana. Included are the geography, history, society, language, ethnology, and myths, legends and religion of the Choctaws who resided within the area of Bayou Lacomb. By the people of the tribe, or, more correctly, that portion of the tribe now under consideration, they themselves are called the Chata’ogla or the Chata’ people or family. According to them, the first word can not be translated as it is merely a proper name.
- History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians
- 1822 Congressional Report on Indian Affairs
Jedediah Morse's 1822 report to Congress of his travels through Indian Territory on behalf of the office of Secretary of War - Jedediah was tasked by a resolution of Congress to report of his travels amongst the tribes throughout the United States. Acknowledging that he did not visit all of the tribes, and that he relied on known facts and materials for the body of text he provided, Jedediah presented a large collection of tabular data and descriptive content. This data was then used by Congress to shape it's policies as it dealt with expansion further west, and specifically tribal relations.
- Indian Missions of the Southern States
According to Morgan6 the Choctaw were divided into two phratries, each including 4 gentes, as follows:
A. Kushapokla (Divided people)
- Kushiksa (Reed)
B. Watakihulata (Beloved people)
- Chufaniksa (Beloved people)
- Iskulani (Small people)
- Chito (Large people)
- Shakchukla (Crayfish people)
Besides these, mention is made of a gens named Urihesahe7, which has not been identified. Morgan’s list is probably far from complete.
Choctaw Tribe Culture and Life
The Choctaw were preeminently the agriculturists of the southern Indians. Though brave, their wars in most instances were defensive. No mention is made of the “great house,” or “the square,” in Choctaw towns, as they existed in the Creek communities, nor of the busk. The game of chunkey, as well as the ball play, was extensively practiced by them. It was their custom to clean the bones of the dead before depositing them in boxes or baskets in the bone-houses, the work being performed by “certain old gentlemen with very long nails,” who allowed their nails to grow long for this purpose. The people of this tribe also followed the custom of setting up poles around the new graves, on which they hung hoops, wreaths, etc., to aid the spirit in its ascent. As their name seems to imply, they practiced artificial head flattening.
- Choctaw Nation Schools in 1904
- The Choctaw Freedmen and Oak Hill Industrial Academy
The aim of the Author in preparing this volume has been to put in a form, convenient for preservation and future reference, a brief historical sketch of the work and workers connected with the founding and development of Oak Hill Industrial Academy, established for the benefit of the Freedmen of the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, by the Presbyterian Church, U. S. A., in 1886, when Miss Eliza Hartford became the first white teacher, to the erection of Elliott Hall in 1910, and its dedication in 1912; when the name of the institution was changed to "The Alice Lee Elliott Memorial."
- The MOWA Choctaws
Extinction by Reclassification: The MOWA Choctaws of South Alabama and Their Struggle for Federal Recognition - In the 1930s, Carl Carmer, a professor at the University of Alabama and author of Stars Fell on Alabama, traveled around Alabama collecting unusual stories. He said that he chose "to write of Alabama not as a state which is part of a nation, but as a strange country in which I once lived." One of his stories describes his efforts to determine the ancestry of the so-called Cajuns who lived around Citronelle in southwest Alabama.
- Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek
This section of our website is being created for those who have searched in vain for their Mississippi Choctaw Ancestors. Many knowledgeable people have contributed information to help you find these missing ancestors. Because of the controversy of the Article 14 Claimants it may not be possible to establish tribal affiliation, but with the help of so many it may be possible to prove that your family was indeed Native American.
- The Indian Races of North and South America
The Indian Races of North and South America provides ethnographic information (manners, peculiarities and history) on the tribes of North and South America. We've added pictures to the mix, to provide some sort of visual reference for the reader. This is an important addition to AccessGenealogy's collection for it's inclusion of tribes in South America and Central America, as well as the Caribbean Islands.
- The Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma
Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma - This manuscript has been extracted from Congressional records relating to relief of specific individuals of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma. If one of your ancestors was rejected or added to the rolls of any of the five civilized tribes in Oklahoma you should peruse the information here. It contains a lot of case work involving specific Native Americans and those that attempted to prove themselves as part of the tribes.
- Life Among the Choctaw Indians
Henry Benson worked as a missionary amongst the Choctaw at the Fort Coffee Academy for Boys in the mid 1800's. In this manuscript he depicts the formation of the Academy and missionary amongst the Indians, providing valuable insight into the tribal customs of the Choctaw after they had been forcibly moved to the Indian Territory. He also provides glimpses into the lives of westerners before the Civil War in the south-west.
- A Bill to Reopen the Rolls of the Choctaw-Chickasaw Tribe
- Choctaw Mixed Bloods and the Advent of Removal
Choctaw Mixed Blood and the Advent of Removal: This dissertation by Samuel James Wells lists the names and families of the known mixed bloods and examines their role in tribal history, especially regarding land treaties during the Jeffersonian years preceding Removal. This dissertation includes a database of over three thousand names of known and probable mixed bloods drawn from a wide range of sources and therefore has genealogical as well as historical value.
- Col. William Wards Register
Colonel William Ward was appointed United States agent to register Choctaw Indians according to Article 14 of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, September 1830. The treaty was ratified February 24, 1831 and the six month time limit for those wishing to remain ended August 24, 1831. The registration procedure resulted in numerous "contingent claims" by members of the Choctaw Nation.
Choctaw Indians Chiefs and Leaders
Choctaw Indians Rolls and Census
- Free US Indian Census Schedules 1885-1940
- Choctaw Indian Agency (Mississippi)
- Union Agency
- Native American Rolls
- Armstrong Rolls
Search and understand the Armstrong Rolls as they relate to your Choctaw ancestor. Each 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, to be bounded by sectional lines of survey; in like manner shall be entitled to one half that quantity for each unmarried child which is living with him over ten years of age; and a quarter section to such child as may be under 10 years of age, to adjoin the location of the parent. If they reside upon said lands intending to become citizens of the States for five years after the ratification of this Treaty, in that case a grant in fee simple shall issue; said reservation shall include the present improvement of the head of the family, or a portion of it. Persons who claim under this article shall not lose the privilege of a Choctaw citizen, but if they ever remove are not to be entitled to any portion of the Choctaw annuity.
- McKennon Roll
In 1896-1897 the Kern-Clifton Roll was created to fill in the omissions of the Wallace Roll. Proposed Legislation for the Full-blood and identified Choctaws of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama: Memorial Evidence and Brief published I believe in 1913.
- Report Relating to the Enrollment of Citizens and Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes
- Index to Final Roll
- Search the Final Rolls
- Choctaw Military Rolls
There are, or at least were formerly, several dialects spoken in different sections; these, however, differed so little that they have not been considered worthy of special mention.
Choctaw Tribe Treaties
- Treaty With The Choctaw, January 3, 1786
- Treaty With The Choctaw, October 17, 1801
- Treaty With The Choctaw, October 17, 1802
- Treaty With The Choctaw, August 31, 1803
- Treaty With The Choctaw, November 16, 1805
- Treaty with the Choctaw, October 24, 1816
- Treaty with the Choctaw, October 18, 1820
- Treaty with the Choctaw, January 20, 1825
- Treaty With The Choctaw, September 27, 1830
- Treaty With The Comanche, Etc., August 24, 1835
- Treaty With The Choctaw And Chickasaw, January 17, 1837
- Treaty With The Choctaw And Chickasaw, November 4, 1854
- Treaty With The Choctaw And Chickasaw, June 22, 1855
- Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, September 27, 1870
- Agreement With The Cherokee and other Tribes in The Indian Territory, September 13, 1865
- Treaty With The Comanche And Kiowa, October 18, 1865
- Treaty with the Choctaw and Chickasaw, April 28, 1866
Choctaw Tribe Land Claims
The small Muskhogean tribes known as Mobilian, Tohome or Tomez, Tawasa, Mugulasha, Acolapissa, Huma, and Conshac, on the gulf coast of Mississippi and Alabama, are sometimes called Choctaw, but the Choctaw proper had their villages inland, on the upper courses of the Chickasawhay, Pearl, and Big Black Rivers, and the west affluent of the Tombigbee. At least in later times they were distinguished into three sections, each under its mingo or chief. The western division was called Oklafalaya, ‘the long people,’ and consisted of small, scattered villages; the northeastern, Ahepatokla (Oypatukla), ‘potato-eating people,’ and the southeastern district came to be called Oklahannali, ‘Sixtowns,’ from the name of the dominant subdivision. The people of these two latter districts lived in large towns for mutual defense against their constant enemies the Creeks. Gatschet gives Cobb Indians as the name of those Choctaw settled west of Pearl River.
The population of the tribe when it first came into relations with the French, about the year 1700, has been estimated at front 15,000 to 20,000. Their number in 1904 was 17,805, exclusive of 4,722 Choctaw freedmen (Negroes). These are all under the Union Agency, Indian Territory. To these must be added a small number in Mississippi and Louisiana.
Choctaw Tribe Mailing Lists
Online Choctaw Tribe Resources
Choctaw Gallery of Photos
- The Choctaw Court House, Clear Creek
- As suggested by his nickname, “Daddy” Richard Weaver was an elder held in high esteem by other members of the MOWA community. He was 92 when interviewed and photographed in 1983. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Mississippi Choctaw group wearing traditional garb, c. 1908
- Choctaw Village near the Chefuncte, The women appear to be making dye to color the strips of cane beside them, by François Bernard, 1869
- Choctaw Winnowing Basket
- Leon Taylor (1922-2003), father of Chief Wilford “Longhair” Taylor, was an important source of the MOWAs’ oral tradition. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- A melding of traditional and contemporary culture, the MOWA Choctaw pow-wow has taken place the third weekend in June for the past twenty-six years. Traditional dress and dance regalia are featured in the three-day event, which draws an average attendance of 3,500. Men, women, and children perform ritualistic dances and compete for titles of honor in the annual pow-wow pageant. Pictured left to right are Kearah Gale Chestang, Tiny Tot; Adreinne Reed, Little Miss Princess, Washington County; Brittaney Johnston, Senior Princess; Viola Campbell, Tribal Mother; Whitney Danielle Reed, Junior Princess; Jolene Weaver, Little Miss Princess, Mobile County.
- Portrait of Choctaw Two Girls, 1868
- Viney Reed Taylor, grandmother of Chief Wilford “Longhair” Taylor. The lives and culture of their generations document the persistence of the south Alabama Choctaws through the mid- and late nineteenth century. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Group of Nine Near Wood Frame Building 1909, Photograph of Choctaws in Mississippi or Louisiana
- The Old Farm House: The Pioneer Home of a Choctaw Chief, Leflore, and of the Oak Hill School
- Frank Boykin and John Everett, on either side of the young Joseph “Muff” Ryans, photographed in the 1920s with (left to right) W. H. Ryans Jr., James “Jimbo” Patrick, Rob Boykin, and W. H. Ryans Sr. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Push-ma-ta-ha. Chactan (Choctaw) Warrior, from History of the Indian Tribes of North America
- Group of Mississippi Choctaw males in the late 50s or early 60s. Photograph by Bob Ferguson. Copyright by Bob Ferguson. Used with Permission.
- Tom and Virginia Byrd Weaver, early twentieth century. Like other MOWAS, the Weavers fed their large family by planting gardens-especially corn, peas, and squash-supplemented by hunting, fishing, and gathering. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Mó-sho-la-túb-bee, He Who Puts Out and Kills, Chief of the (Choctaw) Tribe, by George Catlin, 1834
- Faunceway Baptiste, a Choctaw man in 1868, of mixed-race ancestry. Smithsonian Institution
- Ella Weaver Taylor, mother of Chief Wilford “Longhair” Taylor, was one of the many MOWA elders interviewed for the tribe’s petition for federal recognition. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Grave in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC, a National Historic Landmark. Peter Perkins Pitchlynn, d. 1881, Choctaw chief
- This school had served the south Alabama Choctaws for one hundred years when it was photographed in 1935 by the Historic American Buildings Survey. (Courtesy of Library of Congress)
- A Choctaw Woman, George Catlin, 1834
- Tul-lock-chísh-ko, Drinks the Juice of the Stone, in Choctaw Ball-player’s Dress, George Catlin, 1834
- Toshkachîto Demonstrating Usage of a Blowgun
- Wounded Choctaw soldier in World War I, U.S. National Red Cross Hospital No. 5, Auteuil, France
- Choctaw Eagle Dance, George Catlin, 1845-8
- Chief Wilford “Longhair” Taylor (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Choctaw Nation senate in 1898. Oklahoma Historical Society
- Mississippi Choctaw Phillip Martin and his wife Bonnie, with two kids. Photograph by Bob Ferguson. Copyright by Bob Ferguson. Used with Permission
- Martha “Minna” Rivers. (Courtesy of MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center)
- Pushmataha A Choctaw Warrior 1764 – 1824
- P.P. Pitchlynn, Speaker of the National Council of the Choctaw Nation and Choctaw delegate to the government of the United States
- Choctaw Drum
- The Choctaw Church, Clear Creek
- Bankston Johnson – full blooded Choctaw Indian “Rough Rider” [on horseback aiming rifle]
- Eagle Dance, Choctaw, George Catlin, 1835-7
- Peter Perkins Pitchlynn was the Choctaw Principal Chief from 1864-1866
- Tul-lock-chísh-ko, Choctaw Ball Player. George Catlin, 1834
- Bayou Lacomb Choctaw Mound
- Favored Young Choctaw Freedman
- Choctaw Coders. Photo Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society
- Kút-tee-o-túb-bee, How Did He Kill?, a Noted Brave, George Catlin, 1834