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The Five Civilized Tribes

How It's Used

"Immediately, some supporters imbued the circle, and its surrounding field, with a mystical significance, noting how some of the alignments squared with the sun. Others rather breathlessly proclaimed the discovery 'America's Stonehenge.' A stream of faxes, telephone calls and e-mails poured in from people around the world urging its preservation, and a motley collection of protesters gathered daily in a campaign to 'Save the Circle.'

"The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes, which unites the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole nations, joined the fight, passing a resolution of support for 'our sacred religious sites' and condemning those who would allow the circle to be lost 'for the sake of redundant development.'"

—Sue Anne Pressley, "Indian Site Inspires More Emotion Than Donations: As Deadline Nears, Miami Struggles to 'Save the Circle,'" The Washington Post, November 26, 1999, p. A03.

"My 13-year-old son, John, and I had driven cross-country last July to Oklahoma, which in the language of the Choctaw means 'red people,' looking for American Indian powwows because, like many American families, we have an Indian ancestor, a Choctaw. Earlier that morning we had left Guthrie, the territory's first capital, 15 miles north of Oklahoma City; picked up my husband, John, at Will Rogers World Airport; and headed southwest toward the town of Anadarko, tribal headquarters for the Plains Apache, Western Delaware and Wichita. Although this part of the world has been Indian territory for 20,000 years, it wasn't officially designated as such until 1825, when the United States government promised it to the Plains Indians and what were known as the Five Civilized Tribes -- Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole -- 'for as long as grass grows and water runs.'"

—Annasue McCleave Wilson, "Seeking Out Powwows," The New York Times, July 2, 2000.

"It's an especially bitter pill for Indians here since the story of Oklahoma is intimately entwined with the tortured history of Native Americans. In the 1830s, five Southeastern tribes that had taken up Christian ways and lived in agricultural settlements - the so-called five civilized tribes - were marched at gunpoint, often in the brutal winter months, to what is now Oklahoma to make way for white settlers moving into Georgia and neighboring states. Thousands died along the infamous 'trail of tears' in one of the most shameful chapters in America's treatment of Native Americans."

—Michael Rezendes, "Few Are Sharing in Casino Windfall," The Boston Globe, December 11, 2000.

"The Cherokees are generally thought to be a Southeastern tribe with roots in Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, although many Cherokees are identified today with Oklahoma. That could be for two reasons: They were forcibly removed from earlier lands by treaty in the 1830s, but there is still the Eastern Band of Cherokees in western North Carolina.

"The largest of the so-called Five Civilized Tribes, which also included Choctaws, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminoles, the Cherokees were the first tribe to have a written language, and by 1820 they had even adopted a form of government resembling that of the United States."

—Damon Veach, "Classic work on Cherokees is reprinted," The Times-Picayune, March 16, 2003.

"Sept. 20-21: Ocmulgee Indian Celebration, Macon. The heritage of the Southeast's indigenous people, called the Five Civilized Tribes (Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole), is honored. With dancers, artists, storytellers, and Navajo-Ute flutist Carlos Nakai performing with the Macon Symphony Orchestra."

—Paula Crouch Thrasher, "Detours: Fall's a festival in the South," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 14, 2003.


Related on eAlmanac
The Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy
The Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy

Beyond eAlmanac
Wikipedia article on the Five Civilized Tribes
The Five Civilized Tribes Museum

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