Jackson County Times

Top Story News

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Choctaw’s of Jackson County

Ancient American Tribe is still functioning in our area.
By Sid Riley
Last week there were a couple of Choctaw Indians sitting in our offices at the Jackson County Times. They were here for an interview about their tribal nation and what functions and traditions they are continuing in our area at this time. They were Mrs. Willie Williams and Mrs. Annie Dudley, both of whom reside in Jackson County.
The Choctaw Indians were once widely dispersed throughout Florida, including Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia. They are believed to have once been part of the Chicasaw Tribe, since their languages are so similar. There tale is a sad one, as was the experiences of most Native American tribes.
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of 1830 called for the relocation of the Indian tribes which inhabited lands in the Eastern 13 colonies of what is now the United States to reservations in Oklahoma.
The long, hard trek from their homelands to these reservations in Oklahoma was named the “Trail of Tears” due to the many deaths and extreme miseries of the torturous trip.
The Choctaws were among the most socially developed Indian tribes. They were the first Indians to have a Tribal Flag. This flag was created by the Choctaw Indian Soldiers, a valiant unit which was formed to fight with the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Today there are two recognized Choctaw tribes, one living in Mississippi on a Choctaw Reservation, and the other living on trust land in Oklahoma. But based on our interview last week, it appears we also have Choctaws living in Jackson County, a former reservation.
Their statement reads as follows: “The Choctaw Bay Tribe is one of the forgotten tribes of Jackson County. There are many places in this area named in preservation of the Choctaws. For instance such names as, Chattahoochie River, Choctawhatchee River, Choctawatchee Bay, Choctaw Beach, Charlotte Bay, Chataqua, and historical Big Springs of Choctawhatchee, just to name a few.
During the Indian removals from the colonies, the Choctaw signed a treaty called the U.S. Choctaw Treaty of 1786 with Congress to preserve Florida as our reservation lands. There were invasions which created the American Revolution, Scott massacre, The Battle of Ekana-chatte, and others. The final Indian removal of 1830 created the Dawes Commission where the Choctaws received homesteads designed to put tribal land in fractionation. Some of these homesteads were in Jackson County, and the descendents of these original homestead owners remain in our area.
These original treaties were made for the benefit and advantage of the Choctaw People. Today, Choctaw descendants still inhabit these lands before and after Andrew Jackson became Governor and President of the United States.”
This group has regular Tribal Council meetings, recognized Tribal Elders and Tribal Clerk.. Alfonso James. Jr., is their elected Tribal Chief. They teach their children tribal rituals and customs, history and genealogy of their families. They are promoting their legal claims in the courts and political sectors. They also hold an annual “Pow Wow” at which they discuss tribal matters and practice reliving the traditions and customs of their tribe.
So the Choctaw Tribe is alive and doing well in the Florida Panhandle, and Jackson County. For more information email Choctawtribeofflorida@chattinchoctawnewsletter.org.

No comments:

Post a Comment