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Choctaw - The largest tribe belonging to the southern branch of the Muskhogean family  they were farming Indians, formerly of the middle and southern sections of what is now Mississippi.  Their name is said to have come from the Spanish word chato, which means "flat," because of their custom of flattening their heads.

The earliest historical record of these Indians is when they were found by De Soto in 1540.  They were friendly to the French when the latter settled the Louisiana Territory, and were always at peace with the United States Government.  The Choctaw began to migrate to the Indian Territory in 1835 when they ceded most of their lands to the government.

Choctaw Lodges
They had a strange custom in burying their dead.  They first cleaned the bones before  putting then in boxes and baskets in their bone houses.  This work was done by "old gentlemen with very long nails,"  They allowed their fingernails to grow long just for this purpose.  Another unusual custom among the Choctaw was that of the men wearing their hair long, and for this reason some of their neighbors gave them the name of "Long Hairs."

A jargon of the Choctaw language was called the Mobile trade language, also known as the Chickasaw trade language.  The Chickasaw and Choctaw languages were similar.  There were reports that during World War I the Choctaw language was used as a code language by intelligence officers.  A Choctaw would be placed at each end of a field telephone and would transmit messages in his own tongue.  A similar report came out of World War II.

The Choctaw joined with the Cherokee and others as a member of the Five Civilized Tribes.  The tribe has furnished the name for counties in Alabama, mississippi, and Oklahoma, and settlements in the same states, as well as in Arkansas.
 

Related Information within this Site
[ Five Civilized Tribes ][ Mobile ]
[ Mound Builders ][ Trading Languages ]