Resisting European-American settlers encroaching on their territory, they were forced by the US to sell their country in the 1832 Treaty of Pontotoc Creek and move to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) during the era of Indian Removal in the 1830s. Most of their descendants remain as residents of what is now Oklahoma.
As a result of Congress’ Indian Removal Act, our Chickasaw people were forced to remove to Indian Territory. The foresight and skilled negotiating practices of Chickasaw leaders led to favorable sales of Chickasaw lands in Mississippi. This allowed the Chickasaw Nation, unlike other tribes, to pay for our own removal.
In fact, before the U.S. became a country, Southeastern Indians were living across what is now Tennessee in groups known as tribes. One of the historic tribes who lived in Tennessee are the Chickasaw. In the 1700s, the Chickasaw lived in parts of modern-day Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee.
The U.S. Department of War forcibly removes the Chickasaw from Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, and Tennessee, to Indian Territory (which is now known as Oklahoma). Unlike others removed from the Southeast, the Chickasaw negotiate compensation for lost lands from the U.S., receiving more than $500,000.
The Chickasaws are original people of the American southeast, particularly Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. Most Chickasaws were forced to move to Oklahoma in the 1800’s, and their descendants live in Oklahoma today.
Most of their descendants remain as residents of what is now Oklahoma. The Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma is the 13th-largest federally recognized tribe in the United States. Its members are related to the Choctaw and share a common history with them.
By the late 1970’s the Chickasaw were well assimilated into non-Indian society, with about 7,000 (including 300-500 full-bloods) living in Oklahoma. The tribal headquarters was at Ardmore, and about 1,261 acres of tribally owned land remained, with about 95,000 acres of allotted land.
Although suffering hardships after the defeat of the Confederacy, the tribe regained prosperity. Many Chickasaws became successful farmers and ranchers. Chickasaws built some of the first schools, banks, and businesses in Indian Territory.
Chickasaw Nation Industries, (CNI) a federally-chartered corporation established in 1996 for $50,000 now has revenues of more than $350 million annually.
The Chickasaw language was the primary language of Chickasaw people for hundreds of years. Chickasaw is a Muskogean language, and Chickasaw and Choctaw together form the Western branch of the Muskogean language family. Chickasaw is also related to Alabama, Koasati, Mvskoke—Seminole, Hitchiti and Mikasuki.
The Chickasaws had seen removal as inevitable, and had not resisted. They signed a treaty in 1832 which stated that the federal government would provide them with suitable western land and would protect them until they moved.
Under the settlement agreement, the United States will pay the Chickasaw Nation $46.5 million, and the Choctaw Nation $139.5 million.
The original Chickasaw Indians lived in small villages. Their homes were one room wattle and daub homes made with a wood frame covered with a plaster of mud and straw. Typically the homes would be laid out in an oval with the center of the village being the main meeting place.
Chickasaws believed in single supreme creator called Ababinili. However, they also believed that the sun was the ultimate spiritual power as it created and sustained life. They also believed in lesser spirits of clouds, sky, witches and evil spirits.