This tribe’s culture defines a significant part of our area’s history, heritage and people. The Choctaw culture is a modern, living culture. It is deeply rooted in the traditions and values of our Choctaw ancestors, but continues to adapt to a growing and changing world.
The Choctaw homelands were originally located in the southeastern United States, within present-day Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida panhandle. Choctaw heritage includes some of the mound-building communities that thrived in complex social groups for many generations prior to European arrival. European explorers first made contact with the Choctaws in the early 1500’s and witnessed dance, indigenous foods, and complex agriculture. Interactions with the Europeans led to extreme changes and adaptation in the Choctaw way of life.
In 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek led to the forced removal of the Choctaw people to Oklahoma along what is now known as the Trail of Tears and Death. Up until as late as 1903, Choctaws were still being relocated to Indian Territory.
Once in Oklahoma, the roots of a new Choctaw Nation were formed. Schools, churches, and farmsteads were established by Choctaws as they settled in the southeastern part of Indian Territory. Traditions, such as the game of stickball, social dancing, storytelling and arts held the Choctaw people together as a tribe in a new and strange environment. Cultural art forms such as basketry, pottery, flintknapping, beading and weaponry fabrication are still being practiced by modern tribal artisans along with painting, drawing, and sculpture. Stickball teams for young and old regularly play across the 10 ½ counties of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Dance, the Choctaw language, and stories continue to guide young Choctaws, alongside excellent educations, strong family relationships, and dreams of a dynamic future. The strength, tenacity, and good-humored nature of Choctaw people are still evident in our tribal members today. The ties of faith, family, and culture keep the Choctaw Nation growing with pride, hope, and success.