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People and Buildings of the Choctaw Nation

The missionaries found the precepts of the Choctaw’s to be moral; and also that they respected old age, and kept fresh in memory the wise councils of their; fathers, whose lessons of wisdom the experience of the past, taught their youthful minds to look upward, and whose teachings they did not forget in their mature years. Their tenderness to and watchful care of the aged and infirm was truly remarkable; they looked upon home and regarded their country as sacred institutions, and in the defense of which they freely staked their lives; they also inculcated a high regard for parents, and were always courteous by instinct as well as by teaching; they held in high veneration the names of the wise, the good, and the brave of their ancestors, and from their sentiment toward the dead grew sweet flowers in the heart. They believed that integrity alone was worthy of station, and that promotion should rest on capacity and faithfulness; they also had swift and sure methods of dealing with the incorrigible, official or private; nor were they impatient of the slow processes of the years but knew how to wait in faith and contentment; and if they were not as progressive, as our opinion demands in its rush for gain and pompous show, they had at least conquered the secret of National and individual steadfastness. Today we are a prodigal and wasteful people; the Indians are frugal and economical. In 14 months after the location of the mission at Elliot by the indefatigable perseverance of Mr. Kingsbury, a sufficiency of houses were erected, a school was opened, and...

Missionaries Among the Choctaw

In 1832, at Hebron, the home of the missionary, Calvin Cushman and his family, was the place appointed for the assembling of all the Choctaws in that district preparatory to their exodus from their ancient domains to a place they knew not where; but toward the setting sun as arbitrary power had decreed. Sad and mournful indeed was their gathering together helpless and hopeless under the hand of a human power that knew no justice or mercy. I was an eyewitness to that scene of despairing woe and heard their sad refrain. I frequently visited their encampment and strolled from one part of it to another; while from every part of their wide extended camp, as I walked, gazed and wondered at the weird appearance of the scene, there came, borne upon the morn and evening breeze from every point of the vast encampment, faintly, yet distinctly, the plaintive sounds of weeping rising and falling in one strangely sad and melancholy chorus, then dying away in a last, long drawn wail. It was the Availing of the Choctaw women even as that of Rachel for her children. Around in different groups they sat with their children from whose quivering lips sobs and moans came in subdued unison; now, in wild concert united, their cries quivered and throbbed as they rose and fell on the night air, then dying away in a pathetic wail proclaiming, in language not to be misunderstood, the pressure of the anguish that was crushing their souls hidden from human eyes and told only to the night. Truly, their grief was so deep, so overpowering, that even...

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