The Choctaw Nation. The Choctaw Nation (Choctaw: Chahta Yakni) is a Native American territory covering about 6,952,960 acres (28,138 km2; 10,864 sq mi), occupying portions of southeastern Oklahoma in the United States. The Choctaw Nation is the third-largest federally recognized tribe in the United States and the second-largest Indian reservation in area after the Navajo.
It has a current population of 223,000+. It occupies 10 counties in Oklahoma. It is larger than 8 states. It is one of three Choctaw tribes in the US. (The other tribes are in Mississippi and Louisiana.) In 1830, when President Andrew Jackson decided that white men should own Choctaw land in the south, the Indigenous People were forced onto the ‘Trail of Tears’ and marched to the territory of Oklahoma. This horrendous relocation began a sad history that continues to this day.
Officially a domestic dependent nation since 1971, in July 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in McGirt v. Oklahoma that the eastern area of Oklahoma- about half of the modern state- never lost its status as a Native reservation. This includes the city of Tulsa (located between Muscogee and Cherokee territory). The area includes lands of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Muscogee and Seminole. Among other effects, the decision potentially overturns convictions of over a thousand cases in the area involving tribe members convicted under state laws. The ruling is based on an 1832 treaty, which the court ruled was still in force, adding that “Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.” As such, the Choctaw Nation returned from a domestic dependent nation status to that of an Indian reservation.
The Choctaw Nation has had a long fascinating contribution to The US and to other nations. In 1847 the Choctaws heard of the famine and starving conditions happening in Ireland due to the ‘Great Potato Famine’. The Choctaw people said, ‘…it was not that long ago that we faced starvation and famine as we were forced out of our home…’. They collected $170 (the equivalent of $5000 in today’s currency) and sent it to the Irish People. This began the special relationship between The Choctaw and the Irish.
During World War One a group of Choctaw soldiers were speaking in their native tongue when an officer overheard them. The Germans kept intercepting Allied communications and deciphering any code that was being used. Once the Allied messages were read by the Choctaw ‘Code Talkers’ it completely changed the war effort.
The flag of the Choctaw Nation was redesigned in 1970. It is a purple field with the ‘Great Seal of the Choctaw Nation’ in the center.
Leave a Reply