Nothing Lost: Enduring Spirit of the Choctaw

There is the waking world and the world of dreams. In my waking world, as I read about my Choctaw ancestors in the early years, I imagine the good lives of these simple Choctaw people, lives that have almost faded beyond our ken as time takes us further and further away from this era. These … Continue reading Nothing Lost: Enduring Spirit of the Choctaw

The 1843 Choctaw Almanac

An almanac is a publication with a calendar for the upcoming year, particularly in terms of weather, astronomy and meteorology. The most well-known example in our modern era is the Farmers Almanac. Another famous example from colonial times is Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard's Almanack. First published on December 19, 1732 under his pseudonym of Richard … Continue reading The 1843 Choctaw Almanac

The Wedding Gift

Choctaw brothers and sisters -  join me on a trip back to the late 1800s to visit a young orphan, one of many orphaned children in those days. This young orphan had in his family tree, both the celebrated Choctaw-French LeFlore family, and also the patriarch of the Spring family who was an officer in … Continue reading The Wedding Gift

Choctaw Academy – The Great Experiment

From its inception in 1825, the Choctaw Academy was the great hope of the Choctaw leaders. It had never been done – creating a great school of learning for Native American children, by the tribes themselves, was a true visionary act on the part of the Choctaw leaders.  They could have asked for much material … Continue reading Choctaw Academy – The Great Experiment

Remembering The Good Times

Friends and Community – never have these two words seemed so treasured as right now. Perhaps it is just the current times we live in, but rarely have I read an old story that resonated so truly with me.  I have not heard of Henry G. Rind before now, but apparently he was an early … Continue reading Remembering The Good Times

The Indian Peace Medals

It seems like the stuff of dreams – to actually receive a silver medal from a U.S. President or even a foreign King. In the 1700s and early 1800s, there were many Native American Chiefs who had that experience. For most, that medal became part of their ceremonial garb, a personal treasure that they would … Continue reading The Indian Peace Medals

Atoka in the Early Days

In September 1872  the M.K.&T. railroad had arrived in Atoka County, making its  current terminus at the tiny town of Atoka. Right off the bat the people of Atoka had an uphill battle in getting people to pronounce and spell the name of their town. What was the town called?  Was it "Ar-tok-a," or "Ah-tok-a," … Continue reading Atoka in the Early Days

The Four Daughters of Choctaw Chief B.F. Smallwood

A basket of valentines to our four lovely ladies in this blog. Through the mists of long-ago years, I retrieved the names of Chief Smallwood’s daughters: Mary Jane, Lorinda, Amelia, and Elmira. All except the youngest daughter, Elmira, were born before the Civil War in the old Kiamitia County. Chief Smallwood married his second wife, … Continue reading The Four Daughters of Choctaw Chief B.F. Smallwood

Superintendents of Wheelock Academy

Thinking of Wheelock Academy this morning  as Pushmataha Hall is draped in fresh snow. For its students, it was a tough life at times, burdened down with tedious chores and a new language. But it was also the birthplace of great friendships and memories. Historic names have stepped into leadership roles at Wheelock.  Besides its … Continue reading Superintendents of Wheelock Academy

Trader V. B. Tims of Doaksville

Who was V.B. Tims? We all remember the name DOAK - a name that is ingrained into our Choctaw culture for many reasons. It was Doak's Stand where the hotly-disputed Treaty of Dancing Rabbit was signed in 1830, calling for the removal of the Choctaw Indians. It was the man Josiah S. Doak who in … Continue reading Trader V. B. Tims of Doaksville

We Are A Dancing People

One of the most spectacular contemporary intertribal dance competitions is the World Hoop Contest held every February in Phoenix at the Heard Museum. The 2019 winner was a young Creek man from Florida named Cory Boettner who won the Adult Division after top-ten finishes for three years running. And placing an impressive Third Place in … Continue reading We Are A Dancing People

Henry Starr’s Boldest Crime

…Was the Double Bank Robbery in March 1915 at Stroud, Oklahoma. The Indian Territory outlaw claimed to have robbed more banks "than any man in America," which some say was at least twenty-one banks. Henry George Starr was born on December 2, 1873, near Fort Gibson in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory, the son of … Continue reading Henry Starr’s Boldest Crime

Lost in the Choctaw Nation

"There were no roads over here, just trails, and they just spread in every direction." That was a young boy's first impression of the Choctaw Nation in 1890. “When I was about four or five years old we left Alabama and went by train to Mount Pleasant, Texas. My father, mother, and family and my … Continue reading Lost in the Choctaw Nation

Oldest Native American Structures in North America

I was horrified recently when a friend told me she visited Ireland because she wanted to see something old. Her comment made me realize that we’ve lost so much real history with the long suppression of our Native American history. Here’s a hint. The Americas were inhabited long before Christopher Columbus reached in New World … Continue reading Oldest Native American Structures in North America

The First Choctaw Newspaper

In the early years people of the Indian Territory had to rely on outsider newspapers for news, but slowly an increase in commerce and a more-educated people made local newspapers more viable. Established in 1820, The Arkansas Gazette was always a reliable, well-respected newspaper. Thirty years later, a list printed in 1849 named sixteen pre-Civil … Continue reading The First Choctaw Newspaper