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"People of the Mother Mound"

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The Choctaw Indian Nation, a Muskogean tribe also known as Chakchiuma, or Chatot, traces its roots to the Mississippi Valley and some parts of Alabama.

The Choctaw Indians' origin Myth is a fascinating one:  The tribe had been travelling through rough terrain and dense forest for  months, carrying the numerous bones of their dead; this task had taken its toll on the living, who grew more fatigued with each passing day of their seemingly unending journey.

It is then that they came upon a creek, which the Chief decided they would use as their encampment for the winter.

When the warmer climes came, the tribe was healthy from rest and an abundance of food from the surrounding area, so they decided to make the creek their permanent home.

Overlooking the creek was a steep hill with an indent in one side, which the Choctaw named "Nunih Waya", meaning: "Productive Mound".  Nunih Waya is also often referred to as "The Mother Mound"; from this, the Choctaw encampment got the name "Nanih Waya".

The Choctaw were a Matriarchal society, which explains why they liken abundance from nature to a mother's care. 

The Choctaw, along with five other southern tribes were moved to Oklahoma following the treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830.   Many Choctaw died from disease, famine and attacks from white men and hostile Indians including the Comanche, during this transition, which came to be known as the "Trail of Tears".

Those who adjusted to the relocation were soon assimilated by religious missionaries sent to Oklahoma in an effort to "civilize" the Natives.  The missionaries stressed the importance of education in the goal of establishing a better rapport with the white man.

The Choctaw sided with the Confederates during the Civil war of 1860, an alliance which prompted the Choctaw to become the first US Indian tribe to adopt a flag of their own; the flag, carried by the Choctaw Confederate Soldiers, features a circle surrounding a calumet, and a bow with three arrows symbolizing the three Choctaw Sub-Nations.

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Featured Book

Searching for the Bright Path : The Mississippi Choctaws from Prehistory to Removal (Indians of the Southeast)
by James T. Carson

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Other Choctaw Books 

The Choctaw Nation (Native Peoples)
by Allison Lassieur

The Cultural Transformation of a Native American Family and Its Tribe 1763-1995 : A Basket of Apples (Sociocultural, Political, and Historical Studies
by Joel H. Spring

The Sharpest Sight : A Novel (American Indian Literature and Critical Studies, Vol. 1)
by Louis Owens



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