Pickett, in his History of Alabama states: “In 1771, the eastern district of the Choctaw Nation was known as Oy-pat-oo-coo-la, signifying the Small Nation; and the western district was called Oo-coo-la Falaya, Oo-coo-la Hanete and Chickasaha,” The four names are fair samples of the miserable corruption of the languages of the North American Indians every where, by the whites.
And in the above, Pickett is greatly in error in the word Oy-pat-oo-coo-la signifying “Small Nation,” if he uses it as a Choctaw or Chickasaw word. In the first place there is 110 such word in either of their languages, and even admitting there is, it cannot signify “small nation.” The words of both for small nation are Iskitini Pehlichika, small nation or kingdom. “And the western district was called Oo-coo-la Falaya, and Oo-coo-la Hanete and Chickasaha.” It is evident also that these three names are corruptions from Choctaw words. The first being a corruption of the words Okla Falaiah, Tall People; the second, “Oo-coo-la Hanete,” from Okla Hunnali, People Six, or Six People.
The third, Chickasaha, from Chikasah, Rebellion, all of which were names of different clans of the ancient Choctaws. There was also an ancient clan named Okla Isskitini, People Small, or Small People, which, no doubt, was corrupted to Oy-pat-oo-coo-la; if not, some linguist, other than a Choctaw, or Chickasaw, will have to give its signification.
Alas; If the errors of our race were confined alone to the orthography, orthoepy and signification of various Indian languages, though as inconsistent and absurd as they are in that of the Choctaw, we might be excusable; but when they enter into every department of our dealings with that people, there can be no excuse whatever offered in justification of them.
See the gross errors set forth in the publications regarding the Indians from first to last, clothed in scarcely a word of truth to hide their hideous deformity, so humiliating to justice, and all in direct opposition to known truth and common sense. The newspapers and periodicals of the present day are full of the same old stereotyped edition of vile calumniations and base falsehoods against that helpless people, the latter of which stand in close and worthy proximity to that of the devils to the mother Eve. Even that class of literature devoted to the instruction at the young, books and papers bearing the title of “School History of the United States,” “Youth’s Companion,” etc., are contaminated with falsehoods and defamatory articles against the Indians; the writers of: which seem determined that the memory of the North American Indians Must and Shall descend from generation to generation to the one which shall be the fortunate one to hear the tones of Gabriel’s mighty trumpet sounding a truce to longer defamation of the Red Race; and thus escape the nauseating dose which its predecessors have been forced to swallow; and though justice calls upon these white slanderers of the Red Race to turn their attention from the arduous labor attending the successful finding of a few defects in the Indians, to the correction of the hideous sins of their own race, yet they heed not her voice.
Before me lies a book bearing the title, “School History of the United States,” under the signature of “W. H. Venable.” by which its author would stuff the minds of the present generation, and those to follow, with the false assertions and self-imagined erudition, in which he has displayed as much knowledge of the North American Indians as might reasonably be expected to be found in a Brazilian monkey if writing its views upon the characteristics of the Laplanders in their icy homes. On page 17 of this so-called “Illumination of the Youthful Mind,” in the matter of Indian characteristics, is found the following absurdities: “The American Indians were fit inhabitants of the wilderness. Children of nature, they were akin to all that is rude, savage, and irredeemable. Their number within the limits of what is now the United States was at no time, since the discovery of America, above four hundred thousand individuals, for the Indian, hopelessly unchanging in respect to individual and social development, was as regarded tribal relations and local haunts, mutable as the wind.”
“Where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise,” therefore his “Ipse dixit.”
Again, (page 19) he affirms: “Stratagem, surprise, and the basest treachery were approved and practiced even by the bravest.” But what of the White Race? Did not Washington and his generals “approve and practice deception, surprise and stratagem” upon the British in fighting for the independence of these United States? Did not Oglethorpe “approve and practice stratagem and deception” upon the Spanish fleet, when he gave a Spanish prisoner his liberty if he would deliver a letter to one of his own men who had deserted and fled to the Spanish ships, the particulars of which are too well known to be repeated here? Did not Lee and Grant, yea, every officer from general down to captain, “approve and practice stratagem, deception and surprise,” during our Civil War? And when an advantage, by these means, was gained, was it not acknowledged as a grand display of superior generalship and dubbed “Military Skill?” When “practiced and approved” by the whites, they are virtues; but when by the Indians, in their wars of resistance against our oppression and avarice, they at once become odious characteristics. But when and upon whom, did the Indians approve and practice stratagem, surprise and the basest treachery? Alone, upon their enemies in war; never elsewhere. But we have alike “approved and practiced stratagem and surprise” in our wars with them always, and everywhere; and have, in numerous instances, approved and practiced the basest treachery,” upon them by false promises, misrepresentations and absolute falsehoods of such hideous proportions as to cause the devil to blush at his own impotency in the art, when trying to influence them to enter into treaties with us by which we would secure for ourselves their landed possessions, and all under the disguise of declared disinterested friendship, and deep-felt interest in their prosperity and happiness; and I challenge anyone to successfully refute the charge. Yet this man would contribute his mite of misrepresentation and false hood to assist others of his own congeniality, to hand down the Indians to the remotest posterity as a race of people the most infamous; but would have it remembered that he and his fall below their merits the white “children of the Lord.”
Therefore, he thus continues his lecture to the children, as set forth in his ephemeral history: “Language cannot exaggerate the ferocity of an Indian Battle, or the revolting cruelty practiced upon their captives of war.” Surely this sensitive educator of the young never perused that truthful little volume, bearing the name of “Our Indian Wards” as written by a Christian philanthropist, W. Manypenny! But thus he continues; “The very words tomahawk, scalping knife, and torture scaffold fill the fancy with dire images; and to say as savage as an Iroquois warrior is to exhaust the power of simile.” But in impressing the youthful “fancy with dire images while studying his “School History of tomahawks, scalping knives and torture scaffolds” and indelibly stamping upon their memories his emphatic “to say as savage as an Iroquois warrior is to exhaust the powers of simile,” he is scrupulously careful not to mention, or even drop a hint, in regard to the foul massacre of the friendly Cheyenne chief, Black Kettle and his band by Gen. Custer and his soldiers, Nov. 27th, 1868; of which Superintendent Murphy, after the diabolical massacre, wrote the commissioner of Indian affairs; “It was Black Kettle’s band of Cheyennes. Black Kettle, one of the best and truest friends the whites ever had among the Indians of the plains;” and of the “horrible” butchery of the Piegan Indians, on the 23rd of January, 1870, who were helplessly afflicted with the small pox, and guilty of no offense except being Indians, but in which assassination, one hundred and seventy-three Indians were slaughtered in cold blood by the whites, without the “loss of a man: ninety of whom were women, and fifty-five of them children, none older than twelve years, and many of them in their mothers arms;” and though the butchery of these unoffending and helpless human beings merits the execration of all men, yet the actors in the bloody scene lived to boast among their fellows “I too have killed an Indian,” though that Indian was an infant in its mother s arms; while their head was honored as the “Great” General Sheridan, backed by General Sherman, at whose feet sycophants bow and humbly solicit a smile from his august personage, then die happy, if obtained, but in despair, if refused. Merciful God! If the very words “tomahawk, scalping knife and torture fill the fancy with dire images; and to say as savage as an Iroquois warrior is to exhaust the powers of simile,” does not the butcher of helpless and unoffending Indian women and children by civilized whites equally “fill the fancy with dire images, and to say as savage as a Sheridan and Sherman in the blood-thirsty wars of exterminating the Indians of the western plains, to protect the white desperadoes in their depredations upon that help less people, and thereby stick another feather in their cap of war fame to conciliate shouts of the, rabble, music more sweet to their bloody senses than that of heavenly angels, “is to exhaust every power of simile.” In the name of truth, justice and humanity, if what Mr. Manypenny has revealed in his ” Our Indian Wards,” a copy of which every lover of truth, justice and humanity should purchase and read, as due to the interests of truth, justice, religion and humanity, is not enough to cause an indignant God to visit these United States with his avenging hand, then indeed they have nothing to fear in regard to what they must do. Be it as it may, there is abundant reason to tremble, if we would reflect that God is just.
On the 16th of February, 1763, the whole of Louisiana, for which they had so long struggled, passed entirely from under the dominion of the French to that of the English; and all evidences of their occupancy of the sea coast of Mississippi, since Iberville first landed there on the 16th of February, 1693, are now only remembered as matters of history and traditions of the long past.
In 1765, through the solicitation of Johnstone, then acting as governor, the Choctaws and Chickasaws convened in general council with him at Mobile, at which time were confirmed the former treaties of peace and friendship, and also regulations of trade were established between them and the English; and in 1777, the Choctaw’s, the first time ever be fore sold a small portion of their country then known as the Natchez District, to the English Superintendent of Indian Affairs, which lay on the Mississippi river and extended north from the bluff then known as Loftus Cliffs to the mouth of the Yazoo river, 110 miles above.
In June 1784, the Choctaws, Chickasaws and Muscogees convened in council at Pensacola, (corrupted from the Choctaw words Puska Okla, People with abundant bread) and there made a treaty of peace with Spain.
Soon after, Alexander McGillervey, the famous chief of the Muscogees, as representative of the Coweta claim of the Muscogees, together with the Seminoles, Mobelans (properly, Mobinahs) and Talapoosas (corrupted from the Choctaw Words Tuli Pushi, Iron Dust) concluded a treaty of peace and friendship with the same nation.
At this time, the United States set up her claim over the entire territories of the southern Indians by virtue of the English title, though the Cherokees, Choctaws, Chickasaws and Muscogees, whose landed possessions were more extensive than all the southern tribes combined; but out of which she finally ousted them, though they had replenished the feeble ranks of her army with their warriors, and helped her out from under the yoke of British oppression fighting under Gen. Wayne and Gen. Sullivan, only to have her yoke of oppression placed upon their necks in turn as a recompense of reward for their services and as a memento of our “distinguished” gratitude to them; while Spain claimed, at the same time, the lion s part of their territories by virtue of her treaties, not with the Indians, the legal owners, but with England and France; while the Indians In whom rested the only true and valid title, gazed upon the scene of controversy over their ancient domains, as silent but helpless spectators.
That the Choctaws were once a numerous people, even years after the destruction of Mobinah, the chief town of Tushkalusas Iksa or clan, by De Soto, there can be but little room for doubt. Their ancient traditions affirm they were at one time one hundred and fifty thousand strong, but some allowance perhaps should be made upon that statement, however, their territory, as late as 1771, extended from Middle Mississippi south to the Gulf of Mexico; and from the Alabama river west to the Mississippi river, embracing as fine a country as the eye could possibly desire to behold; and De Soto states he passed through towns and villages all along his route through their territory, as well as through the territories of other southern tribes. Roman states, in his travels through the Choctaw Territory in 1771, he passed through seventy of their towns. Rev. Cyrus Byington, who was a missionary among the Choctaws for many years previous to their exodus to the west, and had traveled all over their country in his labors of love and mercy, computed their number,” all told, at the time of their removal, at forty thousand, but at which time six thousand died en route many with cholera, and others with various other diseases contracted on the road, as is well authenticated. I was in formed, when traveling over their country in 1884, by an old Choctaw with whom I was personally acquainted when living east of the Mississippi, that many, when they first moved to their present homes, settled contiguous to the pestilential Red river, and in a few years four hundred of the colony had died, and the rest moved away from that stream of death to other parts of their territory.
Picket, in his History of Alabama, says: “In 1771 there were two thousand three hundred warriors registered upon the superintendent s books at Mobile, while two thousands were scattered over the country, engaged in hunting.” But that did not weigh the value of a poor scruple in sustaining the seemingly advanced position, that the Choctaws at that time only numbered about forty-three hundred warriors; as it is safe to say, the French did not register a fifth of the warriors, for several reasons: First, from their great aversion to their numbers being known to the whites; second, their dread and superstitious fear of having their names written in the “white man s books;” third, the great distance that the homes of thousands lay from Mobile, but few of whom ever saw the place; fourth, the missionaries who traveled all over their country found their villages and towns everywhere.; And if the French had twenty-three hundred Choctaw warriors names registered upon the pages of their books, I feel confident, from my own knowledge of the Choctaws over seventy years ago, in saying very few; if any, of the owners of those registered names knew they were recorded there. And if all be taken into consideration, the six thousand, the lowest estimate, slain in the destruction of Mobinah, then the great number that must have perished in their wars with the English and French, as allies first to the one and then to the other; and their wars with various other tribes; and the many that were killed and died from disease when engaged in our Revolutionary war; and the six thousand that died on their removal to the west in 1832-33; and the multiplied hundreds that died soon after their arrival to their present place of abode, from diseases contracted en route and from not being acclimated to their new country; and in addition to all this , the many depressing influences they have labored under since they have had to do with the White Race, and the terrible dispensation under which they have lived, they must, at an early period have”” been a numerous people, or long since they would have become totally extinct.
“The Severally Bill!” I was in the Indian Territory and read a letter from an Indian delegate in Washington City, to a friend in the Territory and was forcibly struck with the shameful truth of one sentence “Congress can and will pass any bill to destroy the Indians.” Yet nothing strange” in this, since rascality and debauchery characterize that once pure and noble body, if even half be true that is said about it, by those who have seen behind the curtains. I also read another letter written by an Indian in the Territory to a delegate of his people, then (Feb. 15, 1887,) in Washington from which, by request and permission, I copied the following without alteration: “Dear old friend:”
“Wounded and grieved over the action* of Congress and the President, who gave the Indians his word (which should be as his bond) to stand by us, when our rights were trespassed upon. Behold now, his actions in the severally bill. Are there no honest men, citizens of the United States? Alas, even the highest in power .has no regard for his word. There must be very little honesty among them, and if God forsakes us, we will soon be remembered only in story. God knows, if we had only the power that the United States have I would be willing to resent the wrong and insult, if it should be at the sacrifice of every drop of Indian blood that is 1 cir cling in our race.” (All praise to that noble and patriotic spirit), “Cleveland thinking” he might lose the next nomination for President, is willing to sacrifice his word or honor (whatever you may choose to call it) to be on the popular side. Away with such hypocrisy! He should be a man of some principle and stamina, but he lacks all of it.
“Dawes, when here, said he would do everything to advance our cause; that he was surprised to see the intelligence and evidences of progress existing among us. See too, what he has done! God will surely damn such hypocrites. Poor Mr. Brown, I feel sorry for him, standing alone, as it were, in the cause of humanity and justice; but I hope he will not feel disheartened in the good cause, but will gather strength from the ruins of broken treaties^ and shattered pledges, made and violated by his so-called great and magnanimous government. All honor and peace be his.
“We will ever feel grateful to him for the active part he took in our behalf. Had there been a few more honest and fearless men like him in Congress, we might have fared better. Inch by inch, does Congress trespass upon and violate the solemn vows was made. Surely such an outrage is almost enough to drive us to raise the tomahawk, and die, every one of us, in fighting for justice against such high handed tyranny and insupportable oppression of our help less and hopeless race. “
What patriotic heart but leaps with emotions of pride at the heroic sentiments expressed in the above. Truth, justice, humanity, Christianity, our honor and integrity as a professed Christian people, backed by a just and righteous God above, demand of us to proclaim our fiat to the scoundrels that today so curse our country and disgrace us as a people, in a tone of voice that shall be heard and, obeyed red, in the imperative command, Halt!
On June 22nd, 1784, the Spaniards convened a council at Mobile, Ala., in which the Choctaws and Chickasaws were largely represented; also a few other smaller tribes came with their families. As usual on all such occasions, the Spaniards, unexcelled only by the Americans afterwards, lavished upon the Indians their flattery and presents, each of equal value, with unwearied tongues and unsparing- hands, thus to induce them to form a treaty of alliance and trade, which was successfully consummated. The last article of this treaty then entered into, confirmed, in the name of the Spanish King, the Indians in the peaceable possession of all their territories within the King s dominions; and further more, it was stipulated, should any of them be deprived of their lands by any of the King s enemies, he would re possess them with other lands within his territories equal in extent and value to those lost. But as stipulations and promises, never intended to be fulfilled, and cajolery and flattery to deceive them into a trusting belief of true friendship, were the means adopted and practiced by the foreign nations that contended with each other for a portion of the North American Continent, so they, as the vicissitudes of war dictated, withdrew their interest in and protection from the confiding Indians to whom, they had made so many fair promises of protection, and manifested such hightentions of sincere and disinterested friendship, and hesitatingly assumed the right of transferring them to any nation which their interest demanded without a care, or even a thought, of the interests and welfare of the Indians; thus conclusively proving that they, each haunted with the fear of the other, using every effort to secure and maintain the good will of the Indians only for the purpose of interposing them between themselves and their encroaching rivals, when it was to their interests so to do.
The Spaniards again induced thirty-six of the most prominent and influential chiefs of the Choctaws and Chickasaws to visit them at New Orleans in 1787, where they were received and entertained with the greatest manifestations of sincere respect and friendship, by escorting them to public balls and military parades, and the usual bestowal of presents and flattery; nor did it ever occur to the Choctaws and Chickasaws that all this was but for the purpose of rendering them, their more easy prey, and their assumed friendship designed but to throw them off their guard, and thus conceal their real intentions; thus they were induced to renew their pledges of peace and friendship to the Spaniards, by smoking the pipe of peace in confirmation of their former treaty, by judging the actions of the Spaniards from the standpoint of the integrity and honesty of their own hearts.