The Cherokee people are located in two distinct regions representing their history under the United States. The Eastern Band of Cherokee are located in North Carolina and Tennessee, the traditional homeland of the people who call themselves "Ani Yun Wiya" or "Real People". The term Cherokee was probably given to them by their neighbors in the southeast, the Creeks. The Creeks called them "Tciloki", meaning "people of a different speech".
The modern Cherokee nation has more enrolled members than any other in the United States. The 1990 census showed around 400,000 Cherokees living in the country.
The major component of the Cherokee nation is found in Oklahoma. In 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act which evicted all Indians in the southeastern United States to what is now
Oklahoma. At the time of this act, the Cherokee were an advanced nation having built towns and cities, having a written constitution and even printing their own newspapers in the Cherokee language. The
Cherokee had been interacting with the United States government for quite some time on a true government to government relationship. Part of the fear that caused the move was that the Cherokee would actually take steps to become a truly independent nation on the western boundaries of the United States. The primary motivation, however, was greed. The whites in Georgia, the Carolinas, Tennessee and Alabama desired the lands of the Cherokee. The United States military had the might to grant the whites their wish.
The Chickasaw Nation constitutes one of the five so-called "civilized" nations of Oklahoma. These tribes, as well as many others, were forcibly evicted by the United States to what was then called the Indian Territory.
The Chickasaw Nation was constituted at Tishomingo, Oklahoma on March 4, 1856. Its constitution was adopted August 16, 1867 and its tribal seal designed some forty years later in 1907. The original capital of the Chickasaw, Tishomingo, was named for the last great war chief from the days when the Chickasaw lived in the southeastern part of the United States.
The Chickasaw have been in Oklahoma for almost 150 years, they recall their days in the east, a time where their heritage blossomed, their history, pride and glory, a time that they will not forget. Their hearts still lie along the banks of the Mississippi, though they do not.
The Choctaw of Oklahoma were the first of the five "Civilized Tribes" to reluctantly accept expulsion from their native lands in what is now the southern halves of the states of Mississippi and Alabama and move to Oklahoma. Although their history included a long alliance with the government of the United States and they even served under then Gen. Andrew Jackson, when time came to move the Choctaw westward, they received no consideration from the government.
As part of the "Trail of Tears" the Choctaw lost almost twenty five percent of their people to disease, starvation and predatory whites during the long march from the southeast to Oklahoma. Once there, they
quickly reorganized their tribal government even though more died after arrival. The ravages of disease and starvation continued but were now compounded by attacks from hostile western Indians.
When the United States Civil War broke out in 1860 the Choctaw, as well as most of the Indians forced into the Indian Territory, sided with the Confederacy. Three chiefs of the Choctaw were Apuckshenubbee,
Pushamataha and Mosholatubbee.