Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration

Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Seminole

Post-Removal Regeneration and Resilience

3-cent Indian Centennial stamp
Issued in Muskogee, Oklahoma, October 15, 1948.

The Chickasaw, Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee and Seminole peoples became known by non-Natives as The Five Civilized Tribes after making every effort to adapt to the ways requested by their treaties - establishing courts and a formalized code of laws, and constructing schools and churches. Nevertheless, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830, intending to open up Indian land for settlement by European migrants. Their lands now appropriated, the five tribes were forcibly relocated to “Indian Country,” today’s Oklahoma, their long walk known as The Trail of Tears. Amid the unjust conditions they had endured, these Southeastern peoples retained their resolve to resettle as sovereign tribal nations, to establish themselves on new homelands and to continue their traditions and cultures.

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Oklahoma Seminole women's turtle shell Stomp Dance rattles c. 1900.
02/3498 Courtesy, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.