Five Civilized Tribes


Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.

Five Civilized Tribes,

inclusive term used since mid-19th cent. for the CherokeeCherokee
, largest Native American group in the United States. Formerly the largest and most important tribe in the Southeast, they occupied mountain areas of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.
..... Click the link for more information.
, ChickasawChickasaw
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They occupied N Mississippi and were closely related in language and culture to the Choctaw.
..... Click the link for more information.
, ChoctawChoctaw
, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They formerly occupied central and S Mississippi with some outlying groups in Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana.
..... Click the link for more information.
, CreekCreek,
Native North American confederacy. The peoples forming it were mostly of the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages).
..... Click the link for more information.
, and SeminoleSeminole,
Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They separated (their name means "separatist") from the Creek in the early 18th cent.
..... Click the link for more information.
 tribes of E Oklahoma. By 1850 some 60,000 members of these tribes were settled in the Indian TerritoryIndian Territory,
in U.S. history, name applied to the country set aside for Native Americans by the Indian Intercourse Act (1834). In the 1820s, the federal government began moving the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) of the Southeast to
..... Click the link for more information.
 under the Removal Act of 1830, which provided that this territory was to be held communally on the condition that the tribes surrendered certain land rights E of the Mississippi River. These tribes never lived on a reservation and were officially recognized as domestic dependent nations. Before crossing the Mississippi River, the Cherokee and the Creek had evolved a highly developed agricultural culture in the SE United States. Each tribe had a written constitution, a judiciary system, a bicameral legislature, an executive branch, and a public school system.

After the American Civil War, the majority of tribes having aided the Confederacy, all treaties were put aside, their lands were restricted to E Oklahoma, and their black slaves, who had numbered several thousand, were freed. Later a federal policy of detribalization resulted in loss of the governmental functions of the Five Tribes and the division of all land into individual holdings. Although the tribal governments have continued to function, they have little authority and serve mainly in an advisory capacity.

Bibliography

See G. Foreman, The Five Civilized Tribes (1934, repr. 1966) and Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes (new ed. 1953, repr. 1966); A. Debo, And Still the Waters Run (1940, repr. 1966); R. S. Cotterill, Southern Indians (1954, repr. 1963); M. T. Bailey, Reconstruction in Indian Territory (1972); T. Perdue, Nations Remembered (1980).

References in periodicals archive ?
Caption: The 1830s Indian Removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from the southeastern states cost thousands of native lives before, during, and after the journey.
He was also unusual in being a defender of the rights of the Five Civilized Tribes, believing Native Americans had rights to their land.
While the focus is on the Creek nation, many of the themes addressed will be applicable equally to the other nations from the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory.
The Muscogee Indians, better known as the Creeks, (1) and recognized as one of the Five Civilized Tribes, (2) lived along the Chattahoochee River in Georgia and Alabama when white settlers began arriving.
A: At the opening of The Passage [a permanent display of Cherokee artwork on the shores of the Tennessee River], it was incredible to see the presence of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, who came back to these sites--to see the emotion and the passion they brought to the river, and to see the Five Civilized Tribes come together .
For descendants of the five civilized nations forced westward on the Trail of Tears--Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw Creek and Seminole--some of the legwork is cut down, since repositories such as the Five Civilized Tribes Museum and the regional National Archives facility in Fort Worth, Texas, hold a wealth of documents.
These were the Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes, and especially the Seminoles, who resisted their removal from Florida in eight years of guerrilla warfare, succumbing finally to a combination of deception and superior force.
When, for example, the members of the Five Civilized Tribes -- notwithstanding their being clothed, Christianized, and literate -- were compelled in the 1830s to remove to the West, large numbers of Americans signed petitions against their expulsion.
And other documents relating to the Five Civilized Tribes
The original denizens of Indian Territory were the Five Civilized Tribes (the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles).