Introduction - Choctaw IndiansEver wonder where the game of stickball came from? America's oldest field sport actually came from the Choctaw Indians who would often play stickball as a way of settling disputes among tribes and as a way to entertain Choctaw kids. The Choctaw are a Southeast American Indian Tribe with roots in Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana. They were a matriarchal society where the women were the farmers, gatherers, and caretakers of the family while the men were the hunters and defenders. Listed below are more facts about this interesting tribe of people including information on their rich culture and history as well as the type of houses, food and weapons they used.
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Choctaw Indian Tribe General Facts
- The Choctaw harvested corn, squash, beans, and pumpkin. They caught fish and made meals such as soups and stews out of the food they gathered.
- Today there are two Choctaw tribes, the Mississippi Choctaw who gained federal recognition in 1945 and the Oklahoma Choctaws. Each governs its own tribe members independently, one living on a reservation and one on trust land.
- The Indian removal of the 1800's by the U.S. government, called The Trail of Tears, forced the Choctaw out of their homeland and into the unfamiliar territory of Oklahoma.
- The Choctaw tribes were known for their colorful clothing. The women typically wore multi-colored dresses or wrap-around skirts and the men wore colorful shirts made of woven fibers.
- Houses were usually built around cornfields and were made from a combination of plaster made from mud, vines, and bark which went into making the thatched roof.
- Transportation before the Europeans introduced horses usually consisted of travel by foot, dog sleds for carrying possessions, and dugout canoes when traveling by water.
- The Choctaw were a part of the Five Civilized Tribes, a name given to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw tribes by the white settlers. Unlike the Iroquois Confederacy, these five tribes did not have a special alliance together.
- Choctaw Code Talkers were a great help to the U.S. Army during both World War I and World War II. A Choctaw Army member named Billy Albert was the first to suggest that the Choctaw use their native language over radio frequencies to transmit coded messages. The goal was to confuse U.S. enemies and it is believed to have worked, especially on German troops.
Choctaw and the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Facts
- The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830 was the very first official transfer of land under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. It was between the Choctaws and the U.S. government.
- The Choctaw tribe gave up 11 million acres of Mississippi territory in exchange for 15 million acres of land in Oklahoma.
- It was considered to be a time of peace during the Treaty of Dancing Rabbits.
- Part of the treaty states that the Choctaw would be reimbursed for land improvements and aided in their westward travel. More than half of the Indians ended up dying due to disease and malnourishment on the 500 mile (800 kilometer) trip which would become known as the Trail of Tears.