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" I was born upon the prairie where the wind blew free, and there was nothing to break the light of the sun. I was born where there were no enclosures, and where everything drew free breath. I want to die there, and not within walls." - Ten Bears, Comanche Chief

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 American Indian Tribes Map & Encyclopedia

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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.

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.

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.

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.