Territorial Era

Astute leadership and strategic negotiating skills put the Chickasaws in charge of their own removal, faring much better than the first four southeastern tribes to move west. Yet threats from other Indian nations, the Chickasaws' gradual separation from the Choctaws, the outbreak of the Civil War and influx of white settlers leading up to Oklahoma’s official statehood, all made this a challenging time for the Chickasaw Nation.

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Removal

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.

The Tragedy of Broken Trust

Promises were broken and generations of Chickasaws are affected
“The Tragedy of Broken Trust” recounts a side of American history that isn’t taught in schools.

Education and Commerce

The founding of the first Chickasaw holissaapisa, or schools
Once settled, the Chickasaws recognized the importance of developing their own commerce and educational systems.

Edmund Pickens Selected As Chief

One of his numerous leadership positions in service of the Chickasaw people
Edmund Pickens was selected as the first chief of the Chickasaw District of the Choctaw Nation in 1841.

Fort Washita

Protected the Chickasaw people from Plains Indians and non-native intruders
Fort Washita was established in 1842 under Colonel Zachary Taylor as the southwestern-most military post of the United States.

Committee of Vigilance

Established to manage the Chickasaws' external affairs separately from the Choctaw Nation
After living with the Choctaws for more than a decade, the Chickasaws were ready to terminate their compact.

Fort Arbuckle

Built to protect the Chickasaw people from attack by the Plains Indians
Fort Arbuckle was built in 1851, northwest of Fort Washita. Plains Indians continued to be a threat to the Chickasaws and Choctaws.

Settling Down

A separation from the Choctaw Nation and a new era of self-governance
In 1855 the Chickasaw signed a treaty of separation from the Choctaws and regained their independence and rights to self-government.

Winchester Colbert Elected As Governor

Served as the second governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Winchester Colbert was elected as governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1858. He served as governor from 1858-1860, 1862-1864, and 1864-1866.

Civil War and More Broken Promises

A tumultuous time for the United States and the Chickasaw Nation
The Civil War came. At first, the Chickasaw didn’t know which side to choose or if they should remain neutral.

Treaty of 1866

The aftermath of the American Civil War
At the end of the Civil War, the five southeastern tribes and others faced reparations for opposing the North. All were summoned to Washington.

Benjamin Overton Elected As Governor

Known for his no-nonsense attitude and advocacy for the improvement of Chickasaw education
Benjamin Overton became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1874. He served as governor from 1874-1876, 1876-1878, 1880-1882, and 1882-1884.

Benjamin Burney Elected As Governor

His governorship enabled Benjamin Franklin Overton to resume the executive functions at a later date
Benjamin Burney became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1878. He served as governor from 1878-1880.

Jonas Wolf Elected As Governor

As a Chickasaw leader, Wolf was known for being a man of rugged integrity
Jonas Wolf became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1884. He served as governor from 1884-1886 and then again from 1892-1894.

William Guy Elected As Governor

Opposed discriminating policies affecting tribal members regarding quantity of Indian blood
William Guy became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1886. He served as governor from 1886-1888.

Dawes Act

Destroyed tribal land tenure and opened treaty lands to non-Indian private ownership
In 1887, Congress enacted the General Allotment Act, also known as the Dawes Act. The purpose and effect of the Act was to destroy tribal land tenure.

William Byrd Elected As Governor

Conscientious and resilient in his push for independent status for the Native Americans
William Byrd became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1888. He served as governor from 1888-1890 and 1890-1892.

Land Run and Its Effects

Marked an increase in non-Indian settlement and led to statehood for Oklahoma
On April 22, 1889, thousands of non-Indians left the town of Purcell and rushed to claim their 160-acre tracts in the "unassigned lands" to the north.

Coming of the Railroads

Although the railway facilitated trade, it also brought non-Indians onto tribal lands
Railroads opened the nation to expanded trade. The Chickasaw had grown cotton since the early 1800s. Cotton processing became a major industry again.

Palmer S. Mosely Elected As Governor

Served as the 20th and the 23rd Governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Palmer S. Mosely was elected as governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1894. He served as governor from 1894-1896 and 1902-1904.

Robert M. Harris Elected As Governor

Served as the 21st governor of the Chickasaw Nation
Robert M. Harris became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1896. He served as governor from 1896-1898.

Atoka Agreement

Although ratified by the Chickasaw government, it was later voted down by the Chickasaw people
Chickasaw and Choctaw representatives negotiated with Dawes agents for almost three weeks until the Atoka Agreement was signed on April 23, 1897.

Douglas H. Johnston Elected As Governor

The first governor of the Chickasaw people to be appointed by the president of the United States
Douglas H. Johnston became governor of the Chickasaw Nation in 1898. He served as governor from 1898-1900, 1900-1902, 1904-1906, and 1906-1939.

Curtis Act Passes

The incorporated Atoka Agreement authorized the federal government to allot Chickasaw lands
Despite opposition from the Chickasaws, Congress incorporated the Atoka Agreement into the Curtis Act, which passed on June 28, 1898.

Capitol Building

Despite the efforts of the federal government, construction began on the Chickasaw National Capitol Building
Chickasaws began construction of the Chickasaw National Capitol Building in April of 1898 despite the federal government's assimilation attempts.