Choctaw are the largest tribe belonging to the branch of the Muskogean family that includes the Chickasaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole. According to oral history, the tribe originated from Nanih Waya, a sacred hill near present-day Noxapater, Mississippi. Nanih Waya means “productive or fruitful hill, or mountain.” During one of their migrations, they carried a tree that would lean, and every day the people would travel in the direction the tree was leaning. They traveled east and south for sometime until the tree quit leaning, and the people stopped to make their home at this location, in present-day Mississippi. The people have made difficult transitions throughout their history. In 1830, the Choctaw who were removed by the United States from their southeastern U.S. homeland to Indian Territory became known as the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.
About the Author
Donovin Arleigh Sprague provides insight into the Choctaw in a collection of nearly 200 images of people and events connected with their history. He is a historian, lecturer, artisan, musician, and the author of five Arcadia books. Sprague is the director of education at Crazy Horse Memorial and an instructor at Black Hills State University, both in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He worked for the Choctaw Nation for nearly three years and has traveled extensively throughout the Choctaw Nation. He is a Lakota great-great-grandson of Chiefs Hump I and II and family descendant of Chief Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, renowned medicine man.