Beliefs

In ancient times, our Chickasaw ancestors placed great importance and meaning on those locations defined as important by history and tribal religion. The story of our great migration, describing how the tribe moved from the “place of the setting sun” to the east as determined by Abaꞌ Binniꞌliꞌ (the one who sits above), was central in explaining the importance of our Homeland. One can only imagine the sorrow experienced by our Chickasaw ancestors when the Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress on May 28, 1830. Chickasaw and other Southeastern Indians were forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands.

Explanations of natural phenomena and descriptions of one's place in the universe were common themes as well. Chickasaw elders conveyed traditional knowledge to younger generations to keep traditions and tribal stories alive, thereby instilling in younger generations cultural identity and tribal cohesiveness. The stories of our elders had significance in describing tribal history, not in terms of chronological dates, but more in terms of how events and locations impacted nature and our people.

Family histories remain increasingly important for Chickasaws in today's society, and it continues to connect our Chickasaw citizens to their Chickasaw culture and identity. Like language, the preservation of family information is fundamentally important to understanding our culture, and like oral tradition, it must be passed on to future generations of Chickasaws.

Portions of the narratives were taken from Jeannie Barbour, The Journal of Chickasaw History - Vol. 6 #4 Series 24, 2000.

Last Updated: 12/21/2016