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Florida Guide > Florida History

Choctaw people

The Florida Choctaw Indian was the Native American who lived in the north west area of Florida (now known as the pan handle) The name derives from one of their most respected chiefs who was called Chatha and somehow this became Choctaw.

Choctaw homes were made of plaster and river cane and the roofs were thatched. These homes would have been sited in a village that was surrounded by a fortifying wall.

Back in the day, these Native Americans would have spoken their own language which was similar to the Chikasaw language and each tribe would have understood the other. This is not surprising when I tell you that at one time the tribes were one. Their allegiance one to the other seems to have been somewhat fluid.

The women wore the typical wrap round skirt made out of fibre and the men wore a garment known as breech cloths. They both would have worn mocassins on their feet and ponchos in the winter. Both sexes wore their hair long and some of the men would wear a feather fringe. Tatoos were also sported and their faces painted for special occasions or for going into battle.

The women were considered to be the real heads of household even though in the past they could not be made chief. They tended the children and grew the crops. The crops would have been sunflowers, squash, beans and corn. Meanwhile, the men would have been out hunting and fishing.

Cooking was done on a firestone and a typical meal would be a fish or game stew with sassapass tea to wash it down.

They fashioned canoes for fishing and used nets and spears to capture the fish. Bows and arrows were used to kill game and tomahawks and truncheons for going into battle.

In their leisure time they made beaded art work and made baskets woven from river cane; woodcarving was also a popular pursuit

Next we move to a shameful episode in their history. The Americans called it Indian removal but the Choctaws had the phrase Trail of Tears. Whatever you call it this was the mostly forcible removal of the Native Americans to a designated territory in Oklahoma.

They were made to walk to Oklahoma and many thousands perished along the way.

Coming up to the 21st century there are 2 separate Choctaw Tribes; one in Oklahoma on trust land and the other in Mississipi where they have their own reservation. They have their own justice systems and live in conventional homes. Some people still wear mocassins and ribboned shirts but on the whole they wear modern clothes.

We aim to provide accurate and useful information, but if you feel anything provided here is not accurate or out of date, please email us with the address of the page concerned and any comments so we can amend as necessary.

Page added on: 11 August 2009
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