A tribe is more than a group of people claiming to be of a common heritage.
It is knowing you belong to a family of people, who remember your ancestors,
your language, religion, culture and you.
Beginning in the 1500s, the Europeans were the first to make contact, bringing disease.
Because we had no natural immunity, the deadly European plagues wipe out large numbers
of natives, leaving much wanted space for settlers. Indians were also forced off their
land by more deliberate means, notably warfare.
In the eighteenth century, another kind of displacement from the land began. Many tribes
were pressured with laws, treaties, threats and other strong-arm tactics to move from
their homelands. During the nineteenth century, especially 1815 to 1850, Indian "removals"
reached their peak. The uprooting and relocating of whole native populations became part of
federal government policy.
Once in the newly established Indian Territory, many Indians endured terrible conditions and
deprivation, the federal government had not made a plan for dealing with them. Indians native
to the area often reated with violence to the new arrivals from the east. Feuding and factionalism
weakened tribes from within. Often the new settlers were herded onto smaller reservations only
to find land rights under attack by floods of land-hungry settlers moving westward. It became clear
to the government policy-makers that "the Indian problem," as it was referred, was far from solved.
By the 1880s, a plan to dissolve Indian tribes and end communal land holdings began. In 1887,
a federal law called the General Allotment Act or the Dawes Act was enacted. The Dawes Act sought to end
the system of communal property. It broke up reservations into allotments, or indivdual plots of land
to be granted to individual Indian families. The names of these Chickasaw along with other vital
information appeared, on these rolls.
The Dawes List was implemented in Oklahoma, long after the removal. If your ancestors remained in
Mississippi, more common than not, no records of your family's surnames will appear on this list. To
complicate matter even further, most courthouses were burned during the civil war, leaving any hope
of a paper trail destroyed and many documents were simply destroyed by the government. As policy stands
now, you can not register with the Chickasaw Nation, if your ancestors are not on the rolls.
When the Chickasaws were forced from their homelands in Mississippi, to
Indian Territory, in Oklahoma, it left many families and individuals seperated. Those
who remained in Mississippi, for what ever reason, not only lost their culture,
but lost the ability to become one with a nation, as did the generations who came next
and still the ones to come.
This page is designed to gather information and start putting the pieces of our
heritage back together. If you or a family member were born in Mississippi and
of Chickasaw descent and your family names do not appear on the Dawes Rolls, please join
me in the search for recognition from the Chickasaw Nation, in Oklahoma and/or the Federal
Government. If you or a family member have been searching for your Chickasaw heritage and
are running into dead-ends, please contact me with your family history, using the e-mail address
IF WE ALL STAND TOGETHER, WE CAN NOT BE IGNORED ANY LONGER!