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Southeastern Native American Tribes (Special Collections): Chickasaw and Chocktaw

This research guide identifies Special Collections materials related to Cherokee, Chocktaw, Creek, Seminole, and Chickasaw Native Americans from 1782 to 2011.


Early in their history, the Chickasaw people migrated from west of the Mississippi to parts of present-day Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. Encroachment on Chickasaw land began in the early 1800s when the tribe allowed the United States to build the Natchez Trace through their territory and ceded some of their land to the U.S. Government. Removal began in 1832 with the treaty of Treaty of Pontotoc. They found a new home in what is now southeastern Oklahoma in 1854. The Chickasaw Nation was dissolved in 1906 to allow for Oklahoma’s creation and was re-formed with a new constitution in 1983. It now has approximately 12,000 residents.

Prior to the arrival of European colonists, the Choctaw people inhabited much of what are now the states of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The removal of the Choctaw people to Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) began in 1830 with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. The Choctaw Nation was formally established in 1860, but was dismantled in 1907 when the State of Oklahoma dissolved the Choctaw Nation’s government and declared the Choctaw citizens of Oklahoma. The Choctaw Nation was re-established in 1983 under the original 1860 Constitution, and has approximately 70,000 residents today.

Digital Resources


 Title page of Chahta spelling book
Title page of Chahta spelling book

William Cocke Letter to George Graham, 1817 July 17 (MS.1414)
A government agent describes his efforts with the Chickasaw and requests a meeting with President Monroe.

John Sevier Collection, 1782-1839 (MS.1941)
This collection contains a letter to John Meigs that strategizes about taking advantage of the Chickasaws.

David Henley Paymaster Bill, 1797 February 6 (MS.3466)
This bill authorizes $31 for physician visits to various Chickasaw.

H. S. Halbert Letter, 1881 September 24 (MS.2291)
Halbert writes about his ethnographic and archaeological work among the Choctaw Indians in Neshoba County, MS.

Hannah Thacher Letter, 1822 March 7-8 (MS.3250)
Thacher writes to friends at home about teaching the Chocktaw in 1822, a year after arriving at the mission in Mississippi.

Rare Books and Facsimiles

Constitution, Laws, and Treaties of the Chickasaws. 1975 (KF8228.C553 1975)
French-Indian Relations on the Southern Frontier, 1699-1762. 1980 (F372.W66 1980)
Lease of Indian Reservation--Chickasaws. 1832 (E99.C55 U5 1832)
Life Among the Choctaw Indians, and Sketches of the South-west.1860 (E99.C8 B4)
Report of the Secretary of War in Relation to Removal and Subsistence of the Choctaw Indians. 1845 (E99.C8 U55 1845)
Report on Treaty with Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. 1868 ((E99.C8 U69 1868 )
A Spelling Book: Written in the Chahta Language, with an English Translation. 1825 (PM873.S63 1825)

Special Collections and University Archives

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121 Hodges Library
1015 Volunteer Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37996

Go to Special Collections for more information.