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Splendid Land, Splendid People

The Chickasaw Indians to Removal

James R. Atkinson

Publication Year: 2003

Before the Chickasaws were removed to lands in Oklahoma in the 1800s, the heart of the Chickasaw Nation was located east of the Mississippi River in the upper watershed of the Tombigbee River in what is today northeastern Mississippi. Their lands had been called "splendid and fertile" by French governor Bienville at the time they were being coveted by early European settlers. The people were also termed "splendid" and described by documents of the 1700s as "tall, well made, and of an unparalleled courage. . . . The men have regular features, well shaped and neatly dressed; they are fierce, and have a high opinion of themselves."

The progenitors of the sociopolitical entity termed by European chroniclers progressively as Chicasa, Chicaca, Chicacha, Chicasaws, and finally Chickasaw may have migrated from west of the Mississippi River in prehistoric times. Or migrating people may have joined indigenous populations. Despite this longevity in their ancestral lands, the Chickasaw were the only one of the original "five civilized tribes" to leave no remnant community in the Southeast at the time of removal.

Atkinson thoroughly researches the Chickasaw Indians, tracing their history as far back as the documentation and archaeological record will allow. He historicizes from a Native viewpoint and outlines political events leading to removal, while addressing important issues such as slave-holding among Chickasaws, involvement of Chickasaw and neighboring Indian tribes in the American Revolution, and the lives of Chickasaw women.

Splendid Land, Splendid People will become a fundamental resource for current information and further research on the Chickasaw. A wide audience of librarians, anthropologists, historians, and general readers have long awaited publication of this important volume.

Published by: The University of Alabama Press


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p. 1-1


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pp. 2-7


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pp. 8-9

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

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1. Land of the Bones

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pp. 1-24

The “splendid and fertile” land on the upper Tombigbee River (Figure 1) in present-day northeast Mississippi contains the bones of the vast majority of the many thousands of Chickasaw people who have lived upon the earth to the ...

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2. Down a Long Road

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pp. 25-42

By the time France established a foothold along the Gulf Coast in 1699, the Muskhogean-speaking Chickasaw had for a number of years been directly associating with English traders coming into the nation from the Carolina ...

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3. The Long Road Narrows

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pp. 43-61

By the end of March 1736 Bienville had assembled at Mobile all the Frenchmen possible to the number of about 460. He also employed the services of a Swiss company about 100 strong. On April 1 the French force began its ascent of the ...

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4. The Road Has No Fork

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pp. 62-73

Having received his instructions from the king to launch a second expedition, Bienville had to decide on the most practical route to reach the villages. His alternatives other than the Mobile/Tombigbee River were to go up the ...

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5. The Road Lengthens

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pp. 74-87

Although the peace negotiated in March 1740 ended direct French participation in the war against the Chickasaw, there was no respite for the Chickasaw; actually, harassment of them increased. Even while the peace negotiations were ...

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6. A Better Road Traveled

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pp. 88-99

The road to impending possible destruction of the Chickasaw ¤nally came to an end in the early 1760s when the Seven Years’ War (French and Indian War) between France and Britain ended. The war had begun in 1754 when Britain ...

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7. A Road Unexpected

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pp. 100-119

In 1775 the average Chickasaw must have been greatly confused upon learning that the English colonies were in revolt against the British Crown, for both the English king and court and the colony officials subject to the king and court ...

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8. The Strange Road Ends

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pp. 120-138

Like the Spanish, the Americans eventually began making conciliatory gestures toward the Chickasaw. As had occurred in 1778, the Americans obtained the assistance of a Kaskaskia chief named Jean Baptiste de Coigne, who this time ...

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9. A Short but Dangerous Road

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pp. 139-159

By 1790 non-Indian descriptions and depictions of the Chickasaw settlements were basically similar to those of earlier times, but significant alterations had occurred. An update, therefore, is appropriate at this point. For this discussion ...

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10. The War Road Ends

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pp. 160-179

Prior to the Creek-Chickasaw peace, the Spanish had been trying to arrange a conference with the Four Nations tribes for the purpose of ending the war and creating “a permanent congress composed of three chiefs of each of the ...

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11. The Road West Begins

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pp. 180-213

By the turn of the nineteenth century the Chickasaw had unknowingly begun to move down a road that they were destined to never retravel. The trek had begun in the 1790s when the United States government realized that methods ...

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12. The Road West

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pp. 214-235

Because the Chickasaw were holding conferences and annuity payment assemblages at various places in the nation deemed suitable by the Chickasaw at the particular times, which gatherings were expensive and troublesome to the ...


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pp. 237-320


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pp. 321-341


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pp. 343-366

E-ISBN-13: 9780817383374
E-ISBN-10: 0817383379
Print-ISBN-13: 9780817350338
Print-ISBN-10: 0817350330

Page Count: 380
Publication Year: 2003