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After Removal

After Removal: The Choctaw in Mississippi

Samuel J. Wells
Roseanna Tubby
Copyright Date: 1986
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    After Removal
    Book Description:

    This informative study helps to complete the saga of the Choctaw by documenting the life and culture of those who escaped removal. It is an account that until now has been left largely untold.

    The Choctaw Indians, once one of the largest and most advanced tribes in North America, have mainly been studied as the first victims of removal during the Jacksonian era. After signing the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, the great mass of the tribe--about 20,000 of perhaps 25,000--was resettled in what is present-day Oklahoma. What became of the thousands that remained?

    The history of the Choctaw remaining in Mississippi has been given only scant attention by scholars, and generally it has been forgotten by the public. As this new book points out, several thousand remained on individual land allotments or as itinerant farm workers and continued to follow old customs. Many of mixed-blood abandoned their ancestral ways and were merged into the white community. Some faded into the wilderness.

    Despite many obstacles, the remnants of this Mississippi Choctaw society endured and in the modern era through federal legislation have been recognized as a society known as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

    eISBN: 978-1-61703-084-0
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-2)
    Samuel J. Wells

    After the signing of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, the U.S. government began the methodical removal of the Choctaw Indians from their native land in present-day Mississippi, uprooting about 20,000 of the estimated 25,000 tribesmen in the process. What became of the thousands of people who remained? A few hundred households stayed behind with government approval and were given individual parcels of land reservations as a treaty stipulation. Some other Choctaw—mixed-bloods who had already abandoned their ancestral ways and had chosen white culture as a life-style—simply merged with the incoming white settlers and stayed in...

  4. 1 The Mississippi Choctaw: From the Removal Treaty to the Federal Agency
    (pp. 3-32)
    Ronald N. Satz

    Several generations of scholars have investigated the treatment of the southern Indian tribes during the Jacksonian era. Since Andrew Jackson was one of those rare individuals who left his imprint on an era, and since his Indian policy was quite controversial, the considerable attention granted him by historians is readily understandable, especially in connection with the so-called Trail of Tears.¹ Until recently, however, the postremoval experiences of Indian groups who continued to reside in the South after the removal era of the 1830s have been largely neglected by scholars.² The Indians who refused to heed President Jackson’s removal policy included...

  5. 2 Choctaw Farmsteads in Mississippi, 1830
    (pp. 33-41)
    Rufus Ward

    The Choctaw Indians in Mississippi in the 1830s lived in a fashion little different from that of the white settlers moving into the new state. Research that has focused on the small farms of the Choctaw in Lowndes, Clay, and Oktibbeha counties in Mississippi has provided documentary and artifactual evidence dating to the time of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. During this period the Choctaw lived in log or frame houses, raised livestock, farmed, used English-made dishes, and often enjoyed economic status that was equal to, if not higher than, that of the early white settlers in the area....

  6. 3 The Role of Mixed-Bloods in Mississippi Choctaw History
    (pp. 42-55)
    Samuel J. Wells

    The thousands of mixed-bloods among the Choctaw Indians prior to removal played important roles as intermediaries between the tribe and American officials on the frontier. Identification of them is necessary if we are to see their influence on the outcome of American history in proper perspective. First, however, we must lay aside the illusion that frontier history was a mere “cowboy and Indian” conflict in which the noble brave clashed with the greedy land grabber, or the dirty savage molested the innocent homesteader. The presence of English-speaking mixed-bloods and Choctaw-speaking white men throughout most of the postcontact period suggests that...

  7. 4 Chief Greenwood Leflore and His Malmaison Plantation
    (pp. 56-63)
    R. Halliburton Jr.

    Among the Choctaw who did not emigrate to Indian Territory during the nineteenth century, Greenwood Leflore, a Mississippi Choctaw mixed-blood, is the most famous. His story begins in 1792, when the French Canadian voyageur Louis Le Fleur arrived at Mobile in the French province of Louisiana. Louis Le Fleur soon established friendly relations with the Indians in the surrounding area, began trading with them, and established trading posts in the present-day state of Mississippi. One of his trading stations was called Le Fleur’s Bluff and was situated near the present city of Jackson. Le Fleur married Rebecca Cravat, a mixed-blood...

  8. 5 The Choctaw Struggle for Land and Identity in Mississippi, 1830–1918
    (pp. 64-93)
    Clara Sue Kidwell

    In September of 1830, a small number of leaders of the Choctaw tribe signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, by which the tribe ceded all claims to its lands in the state of Mississippi and agreed to move to an area west of the Mississippi River that had been guaranteed to the Choctaw by a treaty in 1820. Because of the resistance of many members of the tribe, however, Article 14 was inserted in the treaty so that members of the tribe who wished to stay in Mississippi could become citizens of the state and could claim individual allotments...

  9. 6 The Second Choctaw Removal, 1903
    (pp. 94-111)
    Charles Roberts

    In the summer and fall of 1903, the federal government transported 290 Mississippi and Louisiana Choctaw to the Choctaw Nation in the Indian Territory.¹ This removal was part of a larger relocation that took as many as 1,462 Choctaw to the West by March 4, 1907, when tribal rolls were closed. Of the 2,534 Mississippi Choctaw identified in the annual report of the commissioner of Indian affairs for 1907, 1,072 had chosen to stay in Mississippi or were not given notice sufficient to permit them to make a decision.² This removal was instigated by the government’s decision to terminate the...

  10. 7 Holy Rosary Indian Mission: The Mississippi Choctaw and the Catholic Church
    (pp. 112-121)
    John Christopher Langford

    The Mississippi Choctaw were a scattered remnant of a once proud nation living as outcasts in their ancestral homeland when the Catholic church established its first missions in Neshoba County in 1843. Not until 1881, however, when the newly appointed bishop of Natchez, Right Reverend Francis Janssens, made an inspection tour of his immense diocese, which included the entire state of Mississippi, did the true plight of the Choctaw become apparent to the church man.¹

    Janssens discovered that most Choctaw earned their livelihoods through sharecropping, day labor, or subsistence farming. A few were employed in the lumber industry. Disease and...

  11. 8 Economic Progress and Development in the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians since 1945
    (pp. 122-136)
    Jesse O. McKee and Steve Murray

    The Mississippi Choctaw’s most important success in modern times has been progress in the economic development of their reservation. The main influences leading to this development have been increased educational opportunities for all Choctaw and the federal government’s policy of self-determination, which has given American Indians an increasing voice in their own destiny.

    The federal government has at different times appeared to be the Choctaw’s best friend and worse enemy in the long battle for self-sufficiency in the twentieth century. After its discovery of extreme poverty among the Choctaw in the early part of the century, the U.S. government appeared...

  12. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 137-146)
  13. Contributors
    (pp. 147-148)
  14. Index
    (pp. 149-153)