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Wilford Longhair Taylor’s Testimony

Wilford “Longhair” Taylor Tribal Chief MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians Testimony Before the Committee on Resources Unites States House of Representatives Hearing on the Federal recognition and acknowledgement process by the Bureau of Indian Affairs March 31, 2004 Mr. Chairman and committee members: good morning. My name is Wilford “Longhair” Taylor and I am the elected tribal chief of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. Thank you for granting me the opportunity to testify on the federal recognition and acknowledgement process by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The Choctaw Indians of Mobile and Washington Counties, Alabama (MOWA) are the descendants of American Indians who occupied this territory prior to European discovery. We selected the acronym, MOWA, to represent our modern day geographic location. We live in an area transected by the county line between south Washington and north Mobile Counties. Although the State of Alabama legislature officially recognized the MOWA Choctaw as a tribe in 1979, and an official recognition proposal was approved by a U.S. Senate committee in 1991, the Bureau of Indian Affairs later denied our petition for Federal acknowledgement. The criteria for Federal acknowledgement which a petitioning group must satisfy were designed to provide a uniform and objective review. However, the immense latitude granted to and demonstrated by the agency in its evaluation of the evidence submitted has clearly yielded arbitrary and subjective decisions. One example is the radically different standards applied in evaluating the petitions of the MOWA Choctaw and the Jena Choctaw. The oral histories of our venerated elders were discounted as “allegations” while the oral histories of the Jena Choctaw were described...

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. Carmer’s story provoked a flurry of interest in the “Cajans,” when in reality they were not Cajun at all. Instead, they were descendants of the indigenous Choctaw Indians of southwest Alabama. Originally appearing in The Alabama Review, Volume 59, July 2006, pages 163-204.

Choctaw Indian Research

Choctaw (possibly a corruption of the Spanish chcdu, ‘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, Ga. Ethnically they belong to the Choctaw branch of the Muskhogean family, which included the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Hunt and their allies, and some small tribes which formerly lived along Yazoo River. Archives, Libraries and Genealogy Societies Societies Oklahoma Historical Society Indian Archives Holdings Summary Oklahoma Genealogical Society United States Court – Indian Territory 1890 Census – Indian Territory, Old Towson County, Choctaw Nation Choctaw Indian Biography Choctaw Chiefs Pushmataha – Tribal Chief (Push-ma-ta-ha) Peter P. Pitchlynn Allen Wright (hosted at Native American Resources) Mushalatubee(hosted at Native American Resources) Peter Perkins Pitchlynn(hosted at Native American Resources) Choctaw Chiefs (hosted at Choctaw Nation) The Life of Okah Tubbee Bureau of Indian Affairs A Guide to Tracing your Indian Ancestry(PDF) Tribal Leaders Directory Recognized Indian Entities, 10/2010 Update (PDF) Choctaw Indian Cemeteries Mount Tabor Indian Cemetery -Texas (hosted at Paul and Dottie Ridenour’s Home Page) Indian Cemeteries (hosted at Accessgenealogy) Choctaw Indian Census 1860 Federal Census Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory (hosted at Indian Nations, OKGenWeb Archives) Choctaw, Part 1 Choctaw, Part 2 1885 Choctaw Census (Original records of Rusty Lang from ChoctawWeb) Atoka County Blue County Boktoklo County Cedar County Eagle County Gaines County Jack Forks County Kiamitia County Red River County San Bois County Skulyville County Sugar Loaf County Tobucksy County Towson County Wade County...

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