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Choctaw

From Academic Kids

For information about the helicopter, see H-34 Choctaw
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Pushmataha was the leader of the Choctaws during the removal era of the early 19th century.

The Choctaws are a Native American people originally from the southeast United States (Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana). In the nineteenth century, they were known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes," so-called because they had integrated a number of cultural and technological "practices" of Europeans.

Contents

Pre-history

One creation story holds that the Choctaws emerged from the ground at a cave near Nanih Waiya. Another holds that it was the site on which a sacred "guiding pole" stood erect - a sign that they had arrived in the promised land.

Nanih Waiya is in Winston County, Mississippi about ten miles southeast of Noxapater. As a State Park it is now in the protection of the State of Mississippi.

Early history

The first significant European contact was made by the Spanard Hernando de Soto (explorer) in 1530. He had been one of a three conquistadors which wrecked and plundered the Inca empire, yet the Choctaws nearly annilated the European warrior's army. Desoto died of a fever.

During the American Revolutionary War, Choctaw scouts served under Generals George Washington, Daniel Morgan, Anthony Wayne, and John Sullivan. Some Choctaw scouts served with General Wayne again in the Northwest Indian War. During the American Civil War, the Choctaws sided with the southern states.

George Washington’s Indian Policy was used to “civilize” Indians. He believed that Indians were equals, but believed their society was inferior. The 6 points plan includes: 1) impartial justice toward Indians, 2) regulated buying Indian lands, 3) promoted commerce, 4) promoted experiments to civilize Indians, 5) give the president authority to give them “presents”, and finally 6) provided punishments to those who violate Indian rights. The Choctaws agreed to this policy.

Treaties

Nine treaties were signed between the Choctaws and the United States between the years of 1786 and 1830.

Treaty of Hopewell January 3, 1786
Treaty of Fort Adams December 17, 1801
Treaty of Fort Confederation October 17, 1802
Treaty of Hoe Buckintoopa August 31, 1803
Treaty of Mount Dexter November 16, 1805
Treaty of Fort St. Stephens October 24, 1816
Treaty of Doak's Stand October 18, 1820
Treaty of Washington City January 20,1825
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek September 15-27, 1830

The last treaty was the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830). The treaty signed away the remaining traditional homeland of the Choctaw to the United States. Article 14 of that treaty allowed for some Choctaws to remain in the state of Mississippi:

"ART. XIV. 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."

Those Choctaws who were "forcibly removed" to the Indian territory in the 1830s were organized as the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Those who signed under article 14 of the Treaty of Dancing Rabit Creek later formed the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Original Code Talkers

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Choctaw code talkers in World War I

In World War I, a group of Choctaws serving in the U.S. Army used their native language as a code. They were the forerunner to Native Americans from various nations, most notably the Navajo, who were used as radio operators, or code talkers, during World War II.

Recent history

In 1964, the wrecked car of three murdered civil rights workers was found on a Choctaw Reservation in Mississippi. (Choctaws had nothing to do with the murders.)

Famous Americans who supposedly claim Choctaw heritage include Roy Rogers (Western film actor), Brett Favre (NFL quarterback), James Meredith (the first person of African American heritage to attend the University of Mississippi), and Jessica Biel (actress).

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) has one of the largest casinos located near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The Silver Star Casino opened its doors in 1994. The Gold Moon Casino opened in 2002. The casinos are collectivelly known as the Pearl River Resort.

"Abramoff and partner Michael Scanlon inflated expenses and divided the profits from $15 million in payments from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, according to testimony and e- mails released at a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing." (Bloomberg Website)

"Choctaw Chief Phillip Martin did not testify, but released a prepared statement to the committee. 'After we learned what happened, we were astounded that a senior director at a major law firm would or could engage in misconduct of this sort -- whether as regards [to] billing fabrication or as regards [to] the more egregious "gimme five" scheme -- and that he was able to get away with it for so long.'" (Washington Post Website)

Location

The Choctaw Reservation in Mississippi has 8 communities: Bogue Chitto, Bogue Homa, Conehatta, Crystal Ridge, Pearl River, Red Water, Tucker, and Standing Pine. These communities are located throughout the state like a chain of "islands."

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Most Choctaws moved to Oklahoma during the removal period.

Culture

Stickball

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Stickball, the oldest field sport in America, was also know as the "little brother of war" because of its roughness and substitution for war. When disputes arouse between Choctaw communities, stickball provided a peaceful way to settle the issue. The earliest reference to stickball was in 1729 by a Jesuit priest. The stickball games would involve as few as twenty or as many as 300 players. With the goal posts any way from a few hundred feet apart to a few miles.

"The nature of the playing field was never strictly defined. The only boundaries were the two goalposts at either end of the playing area and these could be anywhere from 100 feet to five miles apart, as was the case in one game in the 19th century" (Kendall Blanchard, The Mississippi Choctaws at Play: The Serious Side of Leisure)

The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians still play stickball. Every year at the Choctaw Indian Fair near Philadelphia, Mississippi it can be seen.

Great Choctaws

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  • Tulli was one of the greatest Choctaw stickball players.

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  • Phillip Martin current chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. Reduced unemployment to nearly 0% on the reservation.

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See also

External links

de:Choctaw (Volk)

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