Mississippi Indian Tribes
FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED TRIBES
Federal list last updated 3/07
STATE RECOGNIZED TRIBES
(Not recognized by the Federal Governemnt)
UNRECOGNIZED / PETITIONING TRIBES
- Choctaw Nation Mississippi River Clan
- Grand Village Natchez Indian Tribe
- Vancleave Live Oak Choctaw. Letter of Intent to Petition 06/14/2006.
FIRST CONTACT TO PRESENT
Before Europeans began to explore the area now known as Mississippi, three major Native American groups lived there. In the north and the eastern parts of the state were the Chickasaw. The Choctaw lived in the central part of territory and the Natchez lived in the southwest.
The Chickasaw were formidable warriors who lived in villages along streams and rivers. Men and women wore clothes made of buckskin in the summer and added buffalo robes in colder weather. Both men and women had long hair. The ultimate badge of honor for a Chickasaw warrior was a mantle, or robe, made out of swan feathers.
Groups of Chickasaw were generally independent of one another politically, but would organize together in times of war. Beginning during the American Revolution, Chickasaw lands in the Mississippi River area were confiscated because the Chickasaw supported the British. Eventually, because of the Indian Removal Act in 1830, the Chickasaw were re-settled in southeast Oklahoma on land that belonged to their former neighbors, the Choctaw.
The Choctaw people’s legends say they originated from "Nanih Waya" (which means Protective Mound), a sacred hill near what is now Noxapter, Mississippi.
Similar to the Chickasaw, the Choctaw were actually a loose confederation of clans or groups, each with its own village chief.
Before they were relocated to Oklahoma, however, the Choctaw had developed their first Constitution, which served as a governing document for the entire tribe.
PRE-CONTACT MISSISSIPPI TRIBES
PRE-HISTORIC CULTURES IN MISSISSIPPI
- 12,000 years ago - A river is born. As glaciers from the last Ice Age receded, flood waters carved the channel of the Mississippi.
- 10,000 to 9,000 years ago - First evidence of human habitation in Upper Mississippi region.
- 8,000 years ago - Hunters slaughtered giant bison in what is now Itasca State Park, leaving evidence of their presence.
- 2,000 years ago - Hopewell (Mound building) culture dominated the area. Burial mounds left at many sites along the river, including what is now Mounds Park in St. Paul.