July 14, 2012

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma


The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma was native to the Southeastern United States and members of the Muskogean linguistic family, which traces its roots to a mound-building, maize-based society that flourished in the Mississippi River Valley for more than a thousand years before European contact.  

Official Tribal Name: The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

Address: P.0. Box 1210, Durant, OK 74702-1210
Phone: 1-800-522-6170

Email: vonna@choctawnation.com

Chippewa Cree t-shirt

Official Website: http://www.choctawnation.com/ 

Recognition Status: Federally Recognized

Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: Chahta – The name of a legendary chief

Common Name: Choctaw

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Mispellings:

Chactaw, Chaktaw, Chatha, Chocktaw

Name in other languages:

Region: South Eastern

State(s) Today: Oklahoma 

Traditional Territory: Mississippi River Valey 

Confederacy: Five Civilized Tribes, Muskogean


The Choctaw signed nine treaties with the United States before the Civil War, beginning with the Treaty of Hopewell in 1786 – which set boundaries and established universal peace between the two nations. Subsequent treaties, however, reshaped those borders and forced the Choctaw to cede millions of acres of land. In 1830, the United States seized the last of the Choctaw’s ancestral territory and relocated the tribe to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi 

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Genealogy Resources:

Black Choctaws adopted through the Dawes Commission


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Language Classification: Muskogean >> Western Muskogean >> Choctaw

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Number of fluent Speakers 


The Books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, Translated into Choktaw Language  


Bands, Gens, and Clans

The Choctaw like all of the Muscogean tribes was a matriarchal and clan culture. There were two distinct Moieties: Imoklashas (elders) and Inhulalatas (youth). Each moiety had several clans or Iskas, it is estimated there were about 12 Iskas altogether. Identity was established first by Moiety and Iska, so a Choctaw identified himself first as Imoklasha or Inhulata and second as Choctaw.TheChoctaw clans include the Wind, Bear, Deer, Wolf, Panther, Holly Leaf, Bird, Raccoon and Crawfish Clans. 

Related Tribes: The Five Civilized Tribes are the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole. They are so called because they were some of the first tribes to adopt European culture as their own.

Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, Jena Band of Choctaw, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, Texas Band of Choctaw Indians (Yowani Choctaw), MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians, Mount Tabor Indian Community 

The Chickasaw and Choctaw were once one tribe.

Traditional Allies:

The Choctaw were early allies of the French, Spanish and British during the 18th century.

Traditional Enemies:

In the 1750’s the tribe was involved in a Civil War that decimated whole villages. The division was driven by factions affiliated with the Spanish and the other the French. In the 18th century the Choctaw were generally at war with the Creeks or the Chickasaw Indians.

Ceremonies / Dances / Games:

Choctaw Stickball

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Legends / Oral Stories:

Choctaw Creation Story

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Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs



Choctaw People of Note:

Lane Adams – Major League Baseball player, Kansas City Royals (Nephew of Choctaw Tribal member and attorney Kalyn Free)

Marcus Amerman (b. 1959) – bead, glass, and performance artist

Michael Burrage (b. 1950) – former U.S. District Judge

Steve Burrage (b. 1952) – Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector

Choctaw Code Talkers – World War I veterans

Clarence Carnes (1927–1988) – Alcatraz inmate

Tobias William Frazier, Sr. (1892–1975) – Choctaw code talker

Samantha Crain (b. 1986) – singer/songwriter, musician

Kalyn Free – attorney

Rosella Hightower (1920–2008) – prima ballerina

Phil Lucas (1942–2007) – filmmaker

Green McCurtain (d. 1910) – Chief from 1902–1910

Cal McLish (1925–2010) – Major League Baseball pitcher

Devon A. Mihesuah (b. 1957) – author, editor, historian

Joseph Oklahombi (1895-1960) – Choctaw code talker

Peter Pitchlynn (1806–1881) – Chief from 1860–1866

Gregory E. Pyle (b. 1949) – former Chief of the Choctaw Nation

Summer Wesley – attorney, writer, and activist

Wallis Willis – composer and Choctaw freedman

Scott Aukerman (b. 1970) – actor, comedy writer, podcaster

Catastrophic Events:

Tribe History:

Although their first encounter with Europeans ended in a bloody battle with Hernando de Soto’s fortune-hunting expedition in 1540, the Choctaw would come to embrace European traders who arrived in their homeland nearly two centuries later. 

Following the Revolutionary War, many Choctaw had already intermarried, converted to Christianity and adopted other white customs. The Choctaw became known as one of America’s Five Civilized Tribes, which also included the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminole.

The Choctaw Tribe of Oklahoma ended up in Oklahoma after a forced march from their homeland, now referred to as the Trail of Tears. Many different Indian tribes had their own trail of tears, but the Choctaw were the first tribe to make this trek to what was then Indian Territory, now called Oklahoma.

During World War I and II, the U.S. Military used members of the Choctaw Nation for secure communications. They became the first code-talkers.

Choctaw History Timeline

In the News:

Further Reading:

US Tribes C to D
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