Chickasaw Removal is the most traumatic chapter in Chickasaw history. As a result of Congress’ Indian Removal Act, our Chickasaw people were forced to remove to Indian Territory. The foresight and skilled negotiating practices of Chickasaw leaders led to favorable sales of Chickasaw lands in Mississippi. This allowed the Chickasaw Nation, unlike other tribes, to pay for our own removal.

Chickasaw families were met with hardship and death along the Removal, traveling hundreds of miles in extreme cold and heat; however, Chickasaws suffered less than other tribes because we controlled our departures and chose favorable seasons to travel. This undoubtedly saved many lives that otherwise could have been lost.

Other tribes removed to Indian Territory were the Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee and Seminole. The Chickasaws were one of the last to remove. In 1837, we signed the Treaty of Doaksville with the Choctaw Nation and purchased the right for the settlement of our Chickasaw people in our own district within Choctaw Territory. Most Chickasaws removed to Indian Territory from 1837-1851. However, Chickasaw families continued to arrive in Indian Territory up to the 1890s, as evidenced by Chickasaw tribal enrollment in the Dawes Rolls.

As we began to move into our district, we discovered Plains Indian tribes roaming freely across the lands. These tribes still lived a migratory lifestyle and made frequent raids on our homesteads. They did not understand the United States removing other tribes onto their historic homeland. To fulfill the treaty promise to protect the removed Southeastern tribes, the federal government built Fort Washita and Fort Arbuckle to maintain peace between the various tribes. Chickasaws still desired our own separate territory to restore governmental authority for our people and separate affairs from the Choctaws. In 1856, we separated from the Choctaws and created our own constitution for our own separate lands.