A dark and painful time in American and Chickasaw history

The first group of Chickasaws removed from the Homeland gathered at Sealy's District in Memphis, Tennessee, on July 4, 1837. They left with personal belongings, cattle, horses and slaves.

Indian Removal is one of the most painful experiences in United States history. Chickasaw families were met with starvation, disease, death, among many other hardships along the way, traveling hundreds of miles in extreme cold and heat. It is reported that more than 500 Chickasaw citizens died of dysentery and smallpox. Some scholars believe that the leader Tishominko was among the fatalities, but new research suggests that he died in 1838 within the Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory, at the age of 80.

Government records state that the Chickasaw people removed to Indian Territory between 1837-1851. However, according to official Chickasaw Nation records, Chickasaw families continued to arrive in Indian Territory up to the 1890s, as evidenced by Chickasaw tribal enrollment in the Dawes Rolls.

Most Chickasaws settled in the western part of the Choctaw Nation near the 98th meridian. Between 1837-1856, the Choctaw Nation became the western boundary of Indian Territory, which extended from the Canadian River to the north, the present-day border of Texas to the west, and the Red River to the south.