The term "Five Civilized Tribes" derives from the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States. It refers to five Native American nations—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole.These are the first five tribes that European settlers generally considered to be "civilized". Examples of colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes include Christianity, centralized governments, literacy, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and plantation slavery practices. The Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the Europeans.
The history of the United States, a country in North America, began with the settlement of Indigenous people before 15,000 BC. Numerous cultures formed. The arrival of Christopher Columbus in the year of 1492 started the European colonization of the Americas. Most colonies formed after 1600. By the 1760s, thirteen British colonies contained 2.5 million people along the Atlantic coast east of the Appalachian Mountains. After defeating France, the British government imposed a series of new taxes after 1765, rejecting the colonists' argument that new taxes needed their approval. Tax resistance, especially the Boston Tea Party (1773), led to punitive laws by Parliament designed to end self-government in Massachusetts.
Native Americans, also known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations. The term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander".
The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.
The term has been criticized for its ethnocentric definition of civilization.
The Five "Civilized" Tribes were indigenous peoples of the Americas who lived in the Southeastern United States. Most were descendants of what is now called the Mississippian culture, an agrarian culture that grew crops of corn and beans, with hereditary religious and political elites. The Mississippian Culture flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from 800 to 1500. Before European contact these tribes were generally matrilineal societies. Agriculture was the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns (some covering hundreds of acres and populated with thousands of people). These communities regulated their space with planned streets, subdivided into residential and public areas. Their system of government was hereditary. Chiefdoms were of varying size and complexity, with high levels of military organization.
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the Pre-Columbian peoples of North, Central and South America and their descendants.
The Southeastern United States is broadly, the eastern portion of the Southern United States, and the southern portion of the Eastern United States. It comprises at least a core of states on the lower Atlantic seaboard and eastern Gulf Coast. Expansively, it includes everything south of the Mason-Dixon line, the Ohio River and the 36°30' parallel, and as far west as Arkansas and Louisiana. There is no official U.S. government definition of the region, though various agencies and departments use different definitions.
The Mississippian culture was a mound-building Native American civilization that flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from approximately 800 to 1600, varying regionally. It was composed of a series of urban settlements and satellite villages (suburbs) linked together by loose trading networks. The largest city was Cahokia, believed to be a major religious center.
George Washington and Henry Knox pursued an agenda of cultural transformation in relation to Native Americans. The Cherokee and Choctaw tended, in turn, to adopt and appropriate certain cultural aspects of the federation of colonies. At the time of the Declaration of Independence, the culture of the United States as a nation was, itself, emergent. Many of the cultural practices appropriated by The Five Tribes were ones that they found useful.
George Washington was an American political leader, military general, statesman, and Founding Father who also served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. He led Patriot forces to victory in the nation's War for Independence. He presided at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 which established the U.S. Constitution and a federal government. Washington has been called the "Father of His Country" for his manifold leadership in the formative days of the new nation.
Henry Knox was a military officer of the Continental Army and later the United States Army, who also served as the first United States Secretary of War from 1789 to 1794.
In the early part of the 19th century, the U.S. government initiated a displacement of the existing societies living east of the Mississippi River, including The Five Tribes, to lands west of the river. This displacement initiative, dubbed the Indian Removal, forced a significant number of the Five Tribes to Indian Territory in other parts of the North American continent. A significant number were displaced to the area that would, in future, become the state of Oklahoma. At the time of their removal, the tribes were suzerain nations.
Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
The federally legislated displacement of the tribes from their homes east of the Mississippi River took place over several decades during the series of removals, which is also known as the Trail of Tears. The territory to which they were displaced was, at the time, called Indian Territory, currently eastern Oklahoma. The most infamous removal was the Cherokee Trail of Tears of 1838, when President Martin Van Buren enforced the contentious Treaty of New Echota with the Cherokee Nation. One point of contention regarding the treaty is whether it is an instrument of mass displacement in violation of the human rights on which the new republic had been established, or a legal exchange of territory for land further west.
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
The Trail of Tears was a series of forced relocations of Native Americans in the United States from their ancestral homelands in the Southeastern United States, to areas to the west that had been designated as Indian Territory. The forced relocations were carried out by government authorities following the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1830. The relocated peoples suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their new designated reserve, and many died before reaching their destinations. The forced removals included members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations, as well as their African slaves. The phrase "Trail of Tears" originates from a description of the removal of many Native American tribes, including the infamous Cherokee Nation relocation in 1838.
As general terms, Indian Territory, the Indian Territories, or Indian country describe an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government for the relocation of Native Americans who held aboriginal title to their land. In general, the tribes ceded land they occupied in exchange for land grants in 1803. The concept of an Indian Territory was an outcome of the 18th- and 19th-century policy of Indian removal. After the Civil War (1861–1865), the policy of the government was one of assimilation.
During the American Civil War, the politics of the Five Tribes were divergent. The Choctaw and Chickasaw fought predominantly alongside the Confederates while the Creek and Seminole fought alongside the Union. The Cherokee fought a civil war within their own nation between the majority Confederates and the minority, pro-Union camps. As an element in Reconstruction after the Civil War, new Reconstruction Treaties were signed with the indigenous nations that had entered into treaties with the Confederate States of America. The Civil War was not good to the tribes. The first three battles of the Civil War were fought in Indian territory, with some tribes joining treaties with the Confederates, and others with the Union.
Once the tribes had been relocated to Indian Territory, the United States government promised that their lands would be free of white settlement. Some settlers violated that with impunity, even before 1893, when the government opened the "Cherokee Strip" to outside settlement in the Oklahoma Land Run. In 1907, the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory were merged to form the state of Oklahoma. Relative to other states, all Five Tribes are represented in significant numbers in the population of Oklahoma today.
Washington promulgated a doctrine that held that American Indians were biologically equals, but that their society was inferior. He formulated and implemented a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process, which Thomas Jefferson continued.The noted Andrew Jackson historian Robert Remini wrote "they presumed that once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans. Washington's six-point plan included impartial justice toward Indians; regulated buying of Indian lands; promotion of commerce; promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Indian society; presidential authority to give presents; and punishing those who violated Indian rights. The government appointed agents, like Benjamin Hawkins, to live among Indians and to encourage them, through example and instruction, to live like whites. The tribes of the southeast adopted Washington's policy as they established schools, took up yeoman farming practices, converted to Christianity, and built homes similar to those of their colonial neighbors.
How different would be the sensation of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America – This opinion is probably more convenient than just.— Henry Knox, Notes to George Washington from Henry Knox.
It is notable that the legal systems among the five tribes reputedly appropriated slavery.
The Cherokee, ( // ; Cherokee Ani-Yunwiya (ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ)) are people of the Southeastern United States, principally upland Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. They speak an Iroquoian language. In the 19th century, historians and ethnographers recorded their oral tradition that told of the tribe having migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, where other Iroquoian-speaking peoples were.
Of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The UKB are mostly descendants of "Old Settlers", Cherokee who migrated to Arkansas and Oklahoma about 1817. They are related to the Cherokee who were forcibly relocated there in the 1830s under the Indian Removal Act. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina, and are descendants of those who resisted or avoided relocation.In addition, there are numerous Cherokee heritage groups throughout the United States, such as the satellite communities sponsored by the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokee tribe is the largest tribe in the nation, having 729,533 members.
The Chickasaw are Native American people of the United States who originally resided along the Tennessee River and other parts of Tennessee, west of present-day Huntsville, Alabama, parts of Mississippi and the southwest side of Kentucky. They spoke some French and some English. Some historians credit the Chickasaws' intervention in the French and Indian War on the side of the British as decisive in ensuring that the United States became an English-speaking nation. [tʃikaʃːa] ), that either means "rebel" or "comes from Chicsa". The Chickasaw are divided in two groups: the "Impsaktea" and the "Intcutwalipa". The Chickasaws were one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" who went to the Indian Territory during the era of Indian Removal. Unlike other tribes, who exchanged land grants, the Chickasaw received financial compensation from the United States for their lands east of the Mississippi River. The Chickasaw Nation is the thirteenth largest federally recognized tribe in the United States. The Chickasaws built some of the first banks, schools, and businesses in Indian territory. They also signed a treaty with the Southern United States during the Civil War and brought troops to fight for the Confederates.Originating further west, the Chickasaw moved east of the Mississippi River long before European contact. All historical records indicate the Chickasaw lived in northeastern Mississippi from the first European contact until they were forced to remove to Oklahoma, where most now live. They are related to the Choctaws, who speak a similar language, both forming the Western Group of the Muskogean languages. "Chickasaw" is the English spelling of Chikasha (Muskogee pronunciation:
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States (Mississippi, Alabama and, to a lesser extent, Louisiana). There were about 20,000 members of this tribe when they were forced to move to Indian territory. Many of them did not survive.They are of the Muskogean linguistic group. The word Choctaw (also rendered as Chahta, Chato, Tchakta, and Chocktaw) is possibly a corruption of the Spanish chato, meaning flattened, in allusion to the tribe's custom of flattening the heads of infants. Noted anthropologist John Swanton, however, suggests that the name belonged to a Choctaw leader. They were descended from people of the Mississippian culture which was located throughout the Mississippi River valley. The early Spanish explorers, according to the historian Walter Lee Williams, encountered their ancestors. Although smaller Choctaw groups are located in the southern region, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are the two primary Choctaw associations. This tribe was predominantly farmers (like most Indians were at the time) until they were removed from their land. They have grown substantially since the Trail of Tears and there are currently about 231,000 members, making the Choctaw the third largest Native American population in the United States. The capital of the Choctaw Nation is currently located in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma.
The Muscogee Creek are an American Indian people originally from the southeastern United States, specifically Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama.They were there from around 1500 AD till they were forced out by the American Government in the early 19th century. Mvskoke is their name in traditional spelling. The Muscogee Creek tribe is not one tribe but a group of several tribes, each of which had their own distinct land. Starting in 1836, the U.S. forced them to move west of the Mississippi along with the other civilized tribes to "Indian territory". About 20,000 Muscogee members were forced to walk the Trail of Tears, the same amount as the Choctaws. Modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Their language, Mvskoke , is a member of the Creek branch of the Muskogean language family. The Seminole are related to the Muscogee and speak a Creek language as well.
Federally recognized Creek tribes included the Muscogee Creek Nation, Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town, Kialegee Tribal Town, Thlopthlocco Tribal Town, and the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida.
The Seminole are a Native American people originally of Florida and now residing in Florida and Oklahoma. The Seminole nation came into existence in the 18th century and was composed of renegade and outcast Native Americans from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, most significantly the Creek Nation, as well as African Americans who escaped from slavery in South Carolina and Georgia. While roughly 3,000 Seminoles were forced west of the Mississippi River, including the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, who picked up new members along the way, approximately 300 to 500 Seminoles stayed and fought in and around the Everglades of Florida. In a series of United States wars against the Seminoles in Florida, about 1,500 U.S. soldiers died. The Seminoles never surrendered to the US government, and consequently the Seminole of Florida call themselves the "Unconquered People".Federally recognized Seminole tribes today include the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and Seminole Tribe of Florida. For about twenty years after the move to Indian Territory (Oklahoma), the Seminoles refused to live with the Muscogee Creek tribe or under their Government until they finally reached an agreement with the Government to sign a treaty and live with them. The Seminoles favored the North during the Civil War and remained loyal to the Union and proceeded to move north into Kansas.
The term "civilized" has historically been used to distinguish the Five Tribes from other Native American groups that were formerly often referred to as "wild" or "savage".Texts written by non-indigenous scholars and writers have used words like "savage" and "wild" to identify Indian groups that retained their traditional cultural practices after European contact. As a consequence of evolving attitudes toward ethnocentric word usage and more rigorous ethnographical standards, the term "Five Civilized Tribes" is rarely used in contemporary academic publications.
The word "civilized" was used by whites to refer to the Five Tribes, who, during the 18th and early 19th centuries, actively integrated Anglo-American customs into their own cultures.Sociologists, anthropologists, and interdisciplinary scholars alike are interested in how and why these native peoples assimilated certain features of the alien culture of the white settlers who were encroaching on their lands. The historian Steve Brandon asserts that this "adaptation and incorporation of aspects of white culture" was a tactic employed by the Five Nations peoples to resist removal from their lands. While the term "Five Civilized Tribes" has been institutionalized in federal government policy to the point that the US Congress passed laws using the name, the Five Nations themselves have been less accepting of it in formal matters, and some members have declared that grouping the different peoples under this label is effectively another form of colonization and control by white society. Other modern scholars have suggested that the very concept of "civilization" was internalized by individuals who belonged to the Five Nations, but because much of Native North American history has been communicated by oral tradition, little scholarly research has been done to substantiate this.
In present-day commentary on Native American cultures, the term "civilized" is contentious and not commonly used in academic literature. Some commentators, including the Indian activist Vine Deloria, Jr., have asserted that it is demeaning and implies that the indigenous peoples of the North American continent were "uncivilized" before their contact with the habits, customs, and beliefs of Anglo-American settlers. The term is based on the assumption that different peoples possess objective "degrees" of civilization that may be assessed and raises the question of just what qualities define "civilization". Consequently, it is considered a judgmental term whose meaning is dependent on the user's perspective, and thus best avoided.
The Choctaw are a Native American people originally occupying what is now the Southeastern United States. Their Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean language family group. Hopewell and Mississippian cultures, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. About 1,700 years ago, the Hopewell people built Nanih Waiya, a great earthwork mound located in what is central present-day Mississippi. It is still considered sacred by the Choctaw. The early Spanish explorers of the mid-16th century in the Southeast encountered Mississippian-culture villages and chiefs. The anthropologist John Reed Swanton suggested that the Choctaw derived their name from an early leader. Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak.
Indian removal was a forced migration in the 19th century whereby Native Americans were forced by the United States government to leave their ancestral homelands in the eastern United States to lands west of the Mississippi River, specifically to a designated Indian Territory. The Indian Removal Act was signed by Andrew Jackson, who took a hard line on Indian removal, but it was put into effect primarily under the Martin van Buren administration.
The Muscogee, also known as the Mvskoke, Creek and the Muscogee Creek Confederacy, are a related group of indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands. Mvskoke is their autonym. Their original homelands are in what now comprises southern Tennessee, all of Alabama, western Georgia and part of northern Florida.
The Chickasaw are an indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands. Their traditional territory was in the Southeastern United States of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee. They are of the Muskogean language family and are federally recognized as the Chickasaw Nation.
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830, and proclaimed on February 24, 1831, between the Choctaw American Indian tribe and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act. The treaty ceded about 11 million acres (45,000 km2) of the Choctaw Nation in what is now Mississippi in exchange for about 15 million acres (61,000 km2) in the Indian territory, now the state of Oklahoma. The principal Choctaw negotiators were Chief Greenwood LeFlore, Musholatubbee, and Nittucachee; the U.S. negotiators were Colonel John Coffee and Secretary of War John Eaton.
The State of Sequoyah was a proposed state to be established from the Indian Territory in the eastern part of present-day Oklahoma. In 1905, with the end of tribal governments looming, Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes—the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole—in Indian Territory proposed to create a state as a means to retain control of their lands. Their intention was to have a state under Native American constitution and governance. The proposed state was to be named in honor of Sequoyah, the Cherokee who created a writing system in 1825 for the Cherokee language.
The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889 was the first land rush into the Unassigned Lands. The area that was opened to settlement included all or part of the Canadian, Cleveland, Kingfisher, Logan, Oklahoma, and Payne counties of the US state of Oklahoma. The land run started at high noon on April 22, 1889, with an estimated 50,000 people lined up for their piece of the available two million acres (8,000 km2).
The history of Oklahoma refers to the history of the state of Oklahoma and the land that the state now occupies. Areas of Oklahoma east of its panhandle were acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, while the Panhandle was not acquired until the U.S. land acquisitions following the Mexican–American War.
The "Farewell Letter to the American People" was a widely published letter by Choctaw Chief George W. Harkins in February 1832. It denounced the removal of the Choctaw Nation to Oklahoma.
The Yowani are a band of the Choctaw tribe. Their original territory was along the Chickasawhay River in Mississippi, where they had a village known as Yowani. European traders set up a post nearby, which later developed in the 19th century as the town of Shubuta. The Yowani continued to expand their holdings, eventually venturing into Louisiana, where they established close ties with the Koasati and Caddo. They later adopted many of the Caddo customs.
The American Civil War saw Native American individuals, bands, tribes, and nations participate in numerous skirmishes and battles. Native Americans served in both the Union and Confederate military during the American Civil War. They were found in the Eastern, Western, and Trans-Mississippi Theaters. At the outbreak of the war, for example, the majority of the Cherokees sided with the Union, but soon after allied with the Confederacy. Native Americans fought knowing they might jeopardize their sovereignty, unique cultures, and ancestral lands if they ended up on the losing side of the Civil War. 28,693 Native Americans served in the Union and Confederate armies during the Civil War, participating in battles such as Pea Ridge, Second Manassas, Antietam, Spotsylvania, Cold Harbor, and in Federal assaults on Petersburg.
The Sequoyah Constitutional Convention was an American Indian-led attempt to secure statehood for Indian Territory as an Indian-controlled jurisdiction, separate from the Oklahoma Territory. The proposed state was to be called the State of Sequoyah.
An Organic Act is a generic name for a statute used by the United States Congress to describe a territory, in anticipation of being admitted to the Union as a state. Because of Oklahoma's unique history,, an explanation of the Oklahoma Organic Act needs a historic perspective. In general, the Oklahoma Organic Act may be viewed as one of a series of legislative acts, from the time of Reconstruction, enacted by Congress in preparation for the creation of a unified State of Oklahoma. The Organic Act created Oklahoma Territory, and Indian Territory that were Organized incorporated territories of the United States out of the old "unorganized" Indian Territory. The Oklahoma Organic Act was one of several acts whose intent was the assimilation of the tribes in Oklahoma and Indian Territories through the elimination of tribal reservations and the elimination of the tribes' communal ownership of property.
On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, a significant number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas had been relocated from the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi. The inhabitants of the eastern part of the Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes, were suzerain nations with established tribal governments, well established cultures, and legal systems that allowed for slavery. Before European Contact these tribes were generally matriarchial societies, with agriculture being the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns with planned streets, residential and public areas. The people were ruled by complex hereditary chiefdoms of varying size and complexity with high levels of military organization.
The Treaty of Pontotoc Creek was a treaty signed on October 20, 1832 by representatives of the United States and the Chiefs of the Chickasaw Nation assembled at the National Council House on Pontotoc Creek, Mississippi. The treaty ceded the 6,283,804 million acres of the remaining Chickasaw homeland in Mississippi in return for Chickasaw relocation on an equal amount of land west of the Mississippi River.
African slaves were owned by Native Americans from the colonial period until the United States' Civil War. The interactions between Native Americans and African Slaves in the antebellum United States is complex, given that slavery played a significant role in the creation and construction of America. This slavery institution relied largely on the enslavement of Africans and Native Americans owned by white European colonists and later white Americans after the United States gained independence from Great Britain.
The Mount Tabor Indian Community is a state-recognized tribe made up of primarily Cherokee as well as Choctaw, Chickasaw and Muscogee-Creek people located in Rusk County, Texas. They are descended from Cherokee who had migrated to Texas prior to the Cherokee War of 1839 under Duwa'li, or The Bowl. They were later joined by members of other remnant Southeast tribes, such as the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Muscogee.
Carpenter v. Murphy is a pending case before the Supreme Court of the United States and raises the question of whether Congress disestablished the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation. Although this question is specific to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, the Court’s decision is likely to also apply to reservations of the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Seminole Nations because all five nations have similar histories within the state of Oklahoma.