Chickasaws participated in the U.S. attempt to "civilize" them in the hope that they could retain their ancestral land base and maintain their sovereignty. When the U.S. approached George Colbert and Chinnubbee in 1805 to request a land cession the two Chickasaw leaders said they had no land to sell. Subsequently, the U.S. agent to the Chickasaws discovered or revealed that tribal members owed more than $20,000 to trading companies. George Colbert met the U.S. representatives at Chokkilissa', the principal Chickasaw village at the time. The Treaty of the Chickasaw Nation was signed on July 23, 1805. The federal government paid off $20,000 in Chickasaw trading debts in return for 2.25 million acres of hunting land in present-day Kentucky, central Tennessee and northern Alabama.