Born in 1721, James Colbert was a trader who moved to the Chickasaw Nation in the mid 18th century. Over time, Colbert had several Chickasaw wives and fathered many sons. He raised his sons with awareness of the “white man’s ways,” while also allowing them to learn the Chickasaw culture and customs.
As the Chickasaw tribe follows a matrilineal system, the sons of Colbert acquired status and leadership as a result of their mother’s membership with the tribe. These children grew up bilingual and served at great capacity as leaders for the Chickasaws. The sons served as interpreters and chiefs and proved to be very skilled in these roles.
James Colbert will be known forever for his legacy in the Chickasaw Nation. He married into the tribe and was a compassionate friend to the Indians for a great part his life.