Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi
Race, Class, and Nation Building in the Jim Crow South, 1830-1977
Publication Year: 2014
Despite overwhelming poverty and significant racial prejudice in the rural South, the Mississippi Choctaws managed, over the course of a century and a half, to maintain their ethnic identity, persuade the Office of Indian Affairs to provide them with services and lands, create a functioning tribal government, and establish a prosperous and stable reservation economy. The Choctaws’ struggle against segregation in the 1950s and 1960s is an overlooked story of the civil rights movement, and this study of white supremacist support for Choctaw tribalism considerably complicates our understanding of southern history. Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi traces the Choctaw’s remarkable tribal rebirth, attributing it to their sustained political and social activism.
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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Theda Perdue, Michael D. Green
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At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we often use the word “miracle” to describe the Mississippi Choctaws. Examining their history before the “miracle,” Katherine M. B. Osburn reveals that the achievements of these people do not really constitute a miracle. Refusing to...
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My interest in the Mississippi Choctaws began about a decade ago when Theda Perdue asked me about my second book. I told her that I did not yet have a project and she suggested this one. “But Theda,” I replied, “I’ll have to learn the entire field of southern history in order...
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In the summer of 2004, my husband, Charlie, and I visited the reservation of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in Philadelphia, Mississippi, to meet with the director of research, Creda Stewart. Ms. Stewart graciously suggested several sources for research and then remembered...
1. From the First Removal to the Second, 1830–1898
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In 1830 agents of the United States government convinced the Choctaw Nation to sign a removal treaty by inserting a provision, Article 14, allowing some Choctaws to stay behind on allotments of land as citizens of Mississippi. The federal government failed to follow through, however,...
2. From the Second Removal to Recognition, 1898–1918
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Having only recently rebuilt their communities, the Mississippi Choctaws again faced removal in 1898 when the federal government moved to allot the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory. Because of Article 14, Choctaws remaining in Mississippi were also entitled to land, but...
3. Establishment of the Agency, 1918–1930
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Finally winning the 1918 appropriation was a triumph of political organizing, but it was only the first step toward tribal rebirth. Congress had recognized the Choctaws as Indians who deserved government land and services. Within two years, however, the U.S. Supreme Court proclaimed...
4. The Choctaw Agency and the Patronage Economy, 1918–1930
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Evaluation of the role the Choctaw Agency played in rural Mississippi sheds light on the context in which the Choctaws negotiated their survival and reveals the multiple perspectives of class, race, and power Choctaws engaged as they sought autonomy. The Choctaw Agency was...
5. The Depression and the Indian New Deal, 1929–1945
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The Great Depression and the New Deal brought significant challenges to the Choctaws. Economic collapse accentuated the importance of federal funds for all Mississippians. Yet discord over administration of those resources aggravated long- standing class conflicts in Neshoba...
6. The Choctaw Tribal Council, 1945–1965
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The creation of the Tribal Council in 1945 marked the Mississippi Choctaws’ official political rebirth, but it did not create an autonomous government. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) paternalism frustrated the council’s attempts to administer their shared resources in ways congruent...
7. Termination, Segregation, and Choctaw NationBuilding, 1951–1964
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Paradoxically, the Mississippi Choctaws constructed a tribal government just as federal Indian policy had shifted toward a program called termination. World War II had drained funds from the Indian Service, and Cold War ideology condemned Indian reservations as enclaves...
8. Relocation, Resistance, and Civil Rights, 1951–1964
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Termination went hand in hand with the relocation program, an effort of the Indian Service to move Indians from isolated reservations to urban areas where employment opportunities were allegedly greater.1 Government officials believed that relocation was the best solution...
Epilogue and Conclusions. Choctaw Juridical Status and Self- Determination, 1964–1977
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Following the opening of the high school, the Mississippi Choctaws inaugurated a series of initiatives that ultimately brought about the Choctaw Miracle. Working within pan-Indian networks and with allies in the Mississippi congressional delegation, tribal leaders instituted...
List of Abbreviations
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Page Count: 336
Publication Year: 2014