The Five Civilized Tribes
The Five Civilized Tribes History, definition, map, and resources for Native
American Indians are discussed. Who are the Five Civilized Tribes? Where are the Five Civilized Tribes
Located? The following list reflects the 5 Tribes or Nations: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.
The Five Civilized Tribes is the term applied to five American Indian (aka Native American) nations:
the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. They were considered civilized by white society because they had
adopted many of the colonists' customs and had generally good relations with their neighbors. The Five Civilized Tribes lived
in the Southeastern United States before their forced removal to other parts of the country; many were relocated to what is
currently referred to as the state of Oklahoma. Today, many Native Americans, especially those from other
nations, find the "Five Civilized Tribes" label patronizing or racist. When the tribes are discussed together, sometimes the
modified label "Five Tribes" is used to avoid the suggestion that other indigenous peoples were savages. Cherokee
Indian Territory Nation Oklahoma
|Map of Southeastern Native American Indians
|(Five Civilized Tribes Map)
Land occupied by Southeastern Tribes, 1820s.
(Adapted from Sam Bowers Hilliard, "Indian Land Cessions" [detail], Map
Supplement 16, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 62, no. 2 [June 1972].)
8. Illinois Confederation
|Five Civilized Tribes
|Native American Tribes
During the American Civil War,
the Five Tribes were divided in their loyalties. The Choctaw and Chickasaw fought predominantly
on the Confederate side, while the Creek, Seminole and especially the Cherokee were split between the Union and the Confederacy.
Manifest Destiny and the Homestead Act assisted in
the destruction of the American Indian.
|Oklahoma Land Openings
|(Five Civilized Tribes Map)
Once the tribes had been relocated
to Indian Territory, the United States government promised that their lands would be
free of white settlement. Some settlers violated the agreement with impunity even before 1893, when the government opened
the "Cherokee Strip" to outside settlement by the Oklahoma Land Run. In 1907, the territories
of Oklahoma and Indian Territory were merged into the new state of Oklahoma; where all Five Civilized Tribes currently have a major presence. (See Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory.)
|Oklahoma State Map : "Indian Territory Vanquished"
|(Click to Enlarge)
Formed from the Indian Territory on November 16, 1907, Oklahoma (Oklahoma Settlement History) was the 46th state to enter the union. Its citizens are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city
is Oklahoma City. While the Five Civilized Tribes remain, the "Indian Territory" officially vanished...
Viewing: 500 Nations
(372 minutes). Description: 500 Nations is an eight-part documentary (more than 6 hours and that's not including its interactive CD-ROM
filled with extra features) that explores the history of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America, from pre-Colombian
times through the period of European contact and colonization, to the end of the 19th century and the subjugation of the Plains
Indians of North America. 500 Nations utilizes historical texts, eyewitness
accounts, pictorial sources and computer graphic reconstructions to explore the magnificent civilizations which flourished
prior to contact with Western civilization, and to tell the dramatic and tragic story of the Native American nations' desperate
attempts to retain their way of life against overwhelming odds. Continued below...
word "Indian," and most will conjure up images inspired by myths and movies: teepees, headdresses, and war paint; Sitting
Bull, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and their battles (like Little Big Horn) with the U.S. Cavalry. Those stories of the so-called
"horse nations" of the Great
Plains are all here, but so is a great deal more. Using impressive computer imaging, photos, location film footage
and breathtaking cinematography, interviews with present-day Indians, books and manuscripts, museum artifacts, and more, Leustig
and his crew go back more than a millennium to present an fascinating account of Indians, including those (like the Maya and
Aztecs in Mexico and the Anasazi in the Southwest) who were here long before white men ever reached these shores.
the arrival of Europeans like Columbus, Cortez, and DeSoto that marked the beginning of the end for the Indians. Considering
the participation of host Kevin Costner, whose film Dances with Wolves was highly sympathetic to the Indians, it's no bulletin
that 500 Nations also takes a compassionate view of the multitude of calamities--from alcohol and disease to the corruption
of their culture and the depletion of their vast natural resources--visited on them by the white man in his quest for land
and money, eventually leading to such horrific events as the Trail of Tears "forced march," the massacre at Wounded Knee,
and other consequences of the effort to "relocate" Indians to the reservations where many of them still live. Along the way,
we learn about the Indians' participation in such events as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as well as popular
legends like the first Thanksgiving (it really happened) and the rescue of Captain John Smith by Pocahontas (it probably didn't).
NEW! Recommended Viewing: We Shall Remain (PBS)
(DVDs) (420 minutes). Midwest Book Review: We Shall Remain is a three-DVD thinpack set collecting five documentaries from
the acclaimed PBS history series "American Experience", about Native American leaders including Massasoit, Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa,
Major Ridge, Geronimo, and Fools Crow, all who did everything they could to resist being forcibly removed from their land
and preserve their culture. Continued below…
ranged from military action to diplomacy, spirituality, or even legal and political means. The stories of these individual
leaders span four hundred years; collectively, they give a portrait of an oft-overlooked yet crucial side of American history,
and carry the highest recommendation for public library as well as home DVD collections. Special features include behind-the-scenes
footage, a thirty-minute preview film, materials for educators and librarians, four ReelNative films of Native Americans sharing
their personal stories, and three Native Now films about modern-day issues facing Native Americans. 7 hours. "Viewers will
be amazed." "If you're keeping score, this program ranks among the best TV documentaries ever made." and "Reminds us that
true glory lies in the honest histories of people, not the manipulated histories of governments. This is the stuff they kept
from us." --Clif Garboden, The Boston Phoenix.
Reading: 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. Description: 1491 is not so much the story of a year, as of what that year stands for: the long-debated (and often-dismissed) question
of what human civilization in the Americas was like before the Europeans crashed
the party. The history books most Americans were (and still are) raised on describe the continents before Columbus as a vast, underused
territory, sparsely populated by primitives whose cultures would inevitably bow before the advanced technologies of the Europeans.
For decades, though, among the archaeologists, anthropologists, paleolinguists, and others whose discoveries Charles C. Mann
brings together in 1491, different stories have been emerging. Among the revelations: the first Americans may not have come
over the Bering land bridge around 12,000 B.C. but by boat along the Pacific coast 10 or even 20 thousand years earlier; the
Americas were a far more urban, more populated, and more technologically advanced region than generally assumed; and the Indians,
rather than living in static harmony with nature, radically engineered the landscape across the continents, to the point that
even "timeless" natural features like the Amazon rainforest can be seen as products of human intervention. Continued below...
Mann is well
aware that much of the history he relates is necessarily speculative, the product of pot-shard interpretation and precise
scientific measurements that often end up being radically revised in later decades. But the most compelling of his eye-opening
revisionist stories are among the best-founded: the stories of early American-European contact. To many of those who were
there, the earliest encounters felt more like a meeting of equals than one of natural domination. And those who came later
and found an emptied landscape that seemed ripe for the taking, Mann argues convincingly, encountered not the natural and
unchanging state of the native American, but the evidence of a sudden calamity: the ravages of what was likely the greatest
epidemic in human history, the smallpox and other diseases introduced inadvertently by Europeans to a population without immunity,
which swept through the Americas faster than the explorers who brought it, and left behind for their discovery a land that
held only a shadow of the thriving cultures that it had sustained for centuries before. Includes outstanding photos and maps.
Recommended Reading: Nations
Remembered: An Oral History of the Five Civilized Tribes, 1865-1907 (Contributions in Ethnic Studies) (Hardcover). Description:
This work offers a view of Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole life rarely glimpsed by the scholar or general
public.... An impeccably researched and readable document that will appeal to specialist and generalist alike.
Recommended Reading: The
Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole (Civilization of the American Indian) (455 pages)
(University of Oklahoma Press). Description: Fascinating and captivating study of the often referred to Five
Civilized Tribes, with each tribe's: evolution, struggles, Indian removal, treaties, internal and external strife, and outlook...numerous
maps and photographs compliment this research. Continued below...
By focusing on all 'Five Tribes' it also presents a better understanding of how the tribes interrelated
in the Indian Territory (most of present-day Oklahoma). While most authors only focus on "a tribe"
rather than "the tribes," Foreman, by interconnecting the tribes, conveys a more comprehensive understanding of the Five Nations.
A Student's Guide to Native American
Genealogy (Oryx American Family Tree Series) (Hardcover).
Description: This major contribution to
young adult genealogy studies helps create ethnic pride, self-esteem, and
awareness of the extraordinary accomplishments each ethnic group has brought to
the American experience. Designed for use in grades 6-12, this important new
series explores the creation of the American people while promoting the use and
understanding of solid research techniques. Oryx American Family Tree Series
enhances the social studies curriculum--especially the thematic strands in the
New Curriculum Standards for Social Studies-- culture, time, continuity, and
change; people, places and environment; individual development and identity;
individuals, groups, and institutions; power, authority, and governance; global
connections. Continued below...
While using the volumes
in this series, young
adults experience a uniquely personalized opportunity to practice the historians
craft as they learn how to collect data, obtain and evaluate documents and
sources, use the latest electronic tools for researching, and conduct and record
eyewitness accounts of historical events in family life. The volumes carefully
describe the challenges unique to researching each ethnic group or region. Also
explained are the "why" and "how" of tracing their roots if users are adopted or
come from nontraditional families. Also, each book in the series provides basic
historical and cultural background information. As young adults explore their
cultural heritage, they gain self-esteem, personal identity, and ethnic pride.
Each volume in the Oryx American Family Tree Series is packed with hundreds of
annotated bibliographic references for print, electronic, and media sources, as
well as many helpful organizations. Every book is lavishly illustrated with
4-color and black and white photographs throughout and features a glossary and
an index. The series is published in sturdy 6" x 9" casebound volumes of
approximately 200 pages printed on acid-free paper.
About the Author
E. Barrie Kavasch is a research
associate at the
Institute for American Indian Studies in Washington, CT.
She has written and lectured extensively
on Native American foods and healing plants. Her other publications include the
highly acclaimed book Native Harvests. Of Creek, Cherokee, and Powhatan descent,
Ms. Kavasch can trace her own ancestry to the famous daughter of Chief Powhatan,
Guide To Native American Genealogy
gives young people the tools to discover their Native American roots, while
giving their teachers an easy way to enhance the curriculum -- whether it be
social studies, history, or geography. Middle and High school students learn how
to collect data, obtain and evaluate documents and sources, use the latest
electronic tools for researching, conduct interviews, and record eyewitness
accounts of historical events in family life. A Student's Guide To Native
American Genealogy lists annotated bibliographic references for print,
electronic, and media sources, as well as many helpful organizations. Barrie
Kavasch provides historical and cultural Native American background and there
are full color and b/w illustrative photographs throughout. -- Midwest Book Review
“The work is
nicely done and appears to offer
useful advice to the person wishing to explore this interesting aspect in the
field of genealogy.”–ARBA
people the tools to discover
their Native American roots, while giving their teachers an easy way to enhance
the curriculum - whether it be social studies, history or,
provides an easy to understand
overview of the history of immigration and culture in the U.S. for the
particular ethnic group....Where these books shine, for the student and adult
genealogist, is in the resource listings....For students, these books provide a
great way of getting started in geneology and learning about the life and
heritage of their ancestors. For adult researchers these books provide excellent
resources to move beyond the genealogical books into learning about the history,
culture and experience of their ancestors.”–FGS
will drool over the rich lode of
resources identified in this book, and students will appreciate the
straightforward, practical advice in tracing genealogical roots....this book is
a "must buy" if your library serves a Native-American population of any
size....This title will be useful for history or social studies classes and as a
resource for librarians. If the other titles in this series prove as useful and
informative as this title, consider purchasing other ethnic groups as
needed.”–Tena Natale Litherland Head Librarian, Webb School
Try the Search Engine for Related Studies: Cherokee Chief William Holland Thomas: Cherokee Indian
Agent to Washington; Tsali: Cherokee Hero and Legend; President Andrew Jackson; Cherokee War Rituals, Culture, Festivals,
Government, and Beliefs; Cherokee Indians and the American Civil War; Cherokee Declaration and the American Civil War; History
of the Cherokee Indians.