Choctaw Indians

Choctaw Indians

Article Index:

Choctaw Ancestry

 Nine more treaties were agreed upon, the final being the infamous Dancing Rabbit Creek Treaty signed September 15, 1830. There were additional treaties made with the Choctaws who had removed to Indian Territory. Those who remained became the target of unscrupulous land speculators as the Federal Government made repeated efforts to remove them.

The Choctaw Indian tribe had existed in the Southeastern United States for several centuries before the Dutch engineer and adventurer Bernard Romans visited the area in 1771 that would later become Newton County. He was not the first white man to come in contact with the Choctaw Indian tribe or the first to write about them, but he was the first person to attempt to both describe their customs in great detail and to map the villages in which they lived. During a process of approximately two years he traveled throughout the Choctaw Nation to meet the Chahta people and write about his experiences.

The first documented visit of a white man to Newton County, Mississippi, was that of Regis du Roullet, an officer of the French colonial government, who from October 13 through October 15, 1729, stayed at the village of the Yellow Cane People, Oskilahna, now in southeastern Newton County and near the Jasper County line. He would later visit other villages in the county. Roullet was authorized by the French provisional government to strengthen trading relations between the French and Choctaws while dissuading the Choctaws from trading with the English. Based on notes from his journal we know that traders, both from France and England, had preceded him into Choctaw territory.

At their height of power the Choctaw Indian tribe occupied and controlled most of what would later become the southern two-thirds of Mississippi, much of the Mississippi Delta, and part of western Alabama. Although there were regional differences in physical appearance and language, the Choctaws were bound together by a common government, social practices, and history.

Our greatest understanding of their culture comes from the writings of Henry Sales Halbert (1827-1916), a Catholic missionary and teacher to the Choctaws from 1888-ca 1900. Living at Tucker in Neshoba County and at Conehatta in Newton County, H. S. Halbert provides a detailed description of the culture and history of the Choctaws through his prolific writings. In the early 1900’s his research efforts were joined by those of John Reed Swanton (1873-1958).

The Choctaw culture was strictly matriarchal and any discussion of Choctaw ancestry begins with the knowledge that the greater prestige in ancestry begins with an understanding of the family tree of your mother, your grandmother, ad infinitum. Most Choctaws lived in villages since this arrangement provided mutual protection as well as other advantages. The Choctaw mother spent most of her time at the village, giving birth and rearing the children. The farm plot of maize, beans and other crops were also her responsibility and those of her younger children.

The primary roles of the Choctaw adult male were those of hunter and protector; therefore, the male often spent more time in the forests and fields than at the village where his family lived. He followed game on a seasonal basis, meaning he had to frequently relocate his camp. While it may seem difficult for the modern reader to comprehend, and given the fact that Indians traveled primarily by foot, Choctaw braves ventured as far north as Georgia, Kentucky and Missouri in search for material from which to make their spears and arrowheads and as far west as the modern states of New Mexico and Arizona in search of bison and other game. 

Picture of Pushmataha the most famous Choctaw leader.


Excerpt from: 

Picture from Wikipedia

Choctaw Indians

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. The Choctaws are famous for their extreme generosity in providing famine relief during the Irish Potato Famine.