Chickasaw Indians

 Chiasha Saya. I am Chickasaw…

Among the 573 Indian Nations, the Chickasaw Nation are thought to have migrated, mostly likely, from the Northeast Woodland  prior to recorded Chickasaw history. Some archeologists suggests these indigenous people relocated in the 1500s. The Chickasaw Nation migrated to what is now known in the United States as Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. The Chickasaw native language is Muskogean. Among the better known Muskogean tribes would include Creek, Seminole and the Alabama Indian Nations. The Chickasaw Indians are among the 13th largest American Native Nation in this land and are one of the 573 recognized nations by the United States government.

First Contact with the Chickasaw Indians

The first European contact was by Hernando de Soto in 1540. Hernando lived among the developed villages for a time until the people began to no longer trust them in which de Soto and his men quickly moved on. By this time in oral history of the Chickasaws, they had developed a matrilineal descent (through the mother’s line) which passed her clan and social status to her children, and the nation’s laws and religion was well developed. The Indigenous Nations of the Chickasaw were successful inter-tribal tradesmen and then later trading with the French and English. The Chickasaw were famous for horsebreeding.

Life the of Chickasaw Indian Nation…

The Chickasaw Indian homes were oval shaped (verses round like a wetu). The frame was of saplings (wattle) and daub (mud and straw/grass) which formed a plaster. The meeting place was in the center of the village. They were primarily hunters and farmers. One of favorite sports of the Chickasaw was a game very similar to La Crosse. The eastern Indians known for being fierce warriors. The last great known Chickasaw warrior was Tishomingo who died of small pox in the relocation during the Trail of Tears. He was among the 5 civilized tribes relocated to the Southeast area of the Choctaw lands later called Okla humma (Oklahoma). Okla humma is a Chickasaw word meaning ‘red people.’

Treaties with the Chickasaw Native Nation…

1786 Treaty of Hopewell stated that the Chickasaw nation and the United States nation would bury the hatchet forever and live in peace with one another.

1818 Treaty of Old Town. U.S. persuaded the nation to give up their tribal lands.

1832 For the refusal to relinquish more of their lands, they were pressured into the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek. In this treaty the lands were taken by the U.S. government and the people were removed to lands on the west side of the Choctaw nation in Okla humma which came to be known as Indian Territory. (Some of my native relatives were born in Indian Territory.) The majority of the nation remained in this area where the nation resides today.

1854 They re-established themselves as an independent nation from the Choctaws.

There are about 60,000 Chickasaw native Indian members today with most dwelling in Okla humma. The Chickasaw nation’s center is Ada, Okla humma.

Photo is a bronze statue of Chickasaw braves. Found at the Visitor Center in Sulphur, OK.

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