The Choctaw Indians lived in lower Mississippi. Before contact with the whites, the Choctaw Indians were a very powerful tribe and had a population of 15,000+. They had livestock and were an intelligent and progressive people. It is said that in the 1820s the Choctaw Indians were erecting buildings such as barns and schoolhouses.
The Choctaw came to the aid of General Andrew Jackson when the United States was warring with the Creek Indians. The Choctaw were able to maintain peace with the whites. However, they were keeping an eye on what was happening to other American Indian tribes and were not surprised when they were asked to take a trip to the West.
The United States promised to compensate the Choctaw Indians for the farms and buildings they were being forced to abandon. They were also promised that they would be setup properly in the West. However, like most promises made to the American Indians, this did not happen. Hundreds of Choctaw died on the journey to the West.
Once the Choctaw arrived in the West, they began again. They made laws, built churches and schools, organized republics and they soon became a literate nation (like the Cherokee) and put their language in writing.
It is interesting to note that the Choctaws have always been a generous people. During the Irish famine, the Choctaw collected money and sent it to help the starving Irish. The Choctaw had not forgotten what it felt like to starve only sixteen years prior on the Trail of Tears.
Members of the Choctaw nation have gone on to become distinguished citizens of the United States; some even have served as members of Congress.
Joseph Paige © 2006