Choctaw Indian Tribe
Choctaw. Meaning unknown, though Halbert (1901) has suggested that they received their name from Pearl River, "Hachha".
Ani'-Tsa'ta, Cherokee name.
Flat Heads, from their custom of flattening the heads of infants.
Nabuggindebaig, probably the Chippewa name for this tribe, signifying
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.
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.
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
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
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
east, Newton County.
Inkillis tamaha, in the northeastern part of Jasper County.
in the southwestern part of Jasper County.
Okatalaia, in the eastern part of Smith County or the western part of
Oktak chito tamaha, location unknown. Oskelagna, probably in Jasper
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
Talahoka, in Jasper County.
Yowani, on the east side of Chickasawhay River, in the southern part of
Abissa, location uncertain.
Atlantchitou, location unknown.
Bok chito, probably on Bogue Chitto, in Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
Bokfalaia, location uncertain.
Bokfoka, location unknown.
Boktokolo, location unknown.
Chunky, on the site of Union, Newton County.
Chunky chito, on the west bank of Chunky Creek, about half a mile below
confluence of that creek with Talasha Creek-later this belonged to the
East Kunshak chito, near Moscow, in Kemper County.
Halunlawi asha, on the site of Philadelphia, in Neshoba County.
chuka, location unknown.
Hashuk homa, location unknown.
Imoklasha, on the headwaters of Talasha Creek, in Neshoba County, in sec
tions 4, 9, and 16, tp. 9, range 13, east.
Iyanabi, on Yannubbee Creek, about 8 miles southwest of De Kalb, in Kemper
Itichipota, between the headwaters of Chickasawhay and Tombigbee Rivers.
Kafitalaia, on Owl Creek, in section 21, tp. 11, range 13, east, in
Kashtasha, on the south side of Custusha Creek, about 3 miles a little
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
Kunshak bolukta, in the southwestern part of Kemper County some 2
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
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
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
Osak talaia, near the line between Neshoba and Kemper Counties.
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
Shumotakali, in Kemper County, between the two head prongs of Black Water
Tiwaele, location unknown.
Tonicahaw, location unknown. Utapacha, location unknown.
West Abeka, location unknown.
West Kunshak chito, in Neshoba County, near the headwaters of Oktibbeha
Wiatakali, about 1 mile south of the De Kalb and Jackson road, in Neshoba
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
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
Imoklasha iskitini, on Flat Creek, the eastern prong of Yazoo Creek, in
Itokchako, near East Aheka, in Kemper County.
Kunshaktikpi, on Coonshark Creek, a tributary of Kentarky Creek, in
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
The following were outside the original town cluster:
Bayou Chicot, south of Cheneyville, St. Landry Parish, La.
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
Coila, in Carroll County, probably occupied by Choctaw.
Heitotowa, at the site of the later Sculleyville, Choctaw Nation, Okla.
Shukhata, on the site of Columbus, Ala.
Teeakhaily Ekutapa, on the lower Tombigbee River.
Tombigbee, on or near
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.
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.
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:
the most numerous tribe in the Southeast next to the
(2) as depending more than most other tribes in the region on
(3) for certain peculiar customs such as head deformation,
extensive use of ossuaries for the dead, and the male custom of wearing
the hair long,
(4) as faithful allies of the French against the English
but always at peace with the United States Government,
(5) as having
furnished the names to counties in Alabama, Mississippi, and Oklahoma, and
settlements in the same States, and in Van
Buren County, Ark.
Notes About the Book:
Source: The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, 1953, Bureau of
American Ethnology, Bulletin 145, US Government Printing Office, Washington DC.
Online Publication: The manuscript was scanned and then ocr'd. Minimal editing
has been done, and readers can and should expect some errors in the textual