Chickasaw Crime and Punishment

The United States statutes and those of Arkansas are in force in the Chickasaw Nation for the government of the whites, non-citizens, and such Indians as are naturalized. The Chickasaw law provides that treason against the Chickasaw Nation is punishable by death. Treason shall consist of levying war against the nation, adhering to its enemies and giving them aid and comfort. Conviction requires the testimony of two witnesses to the overt act or confession in open court. Murder is punished by hanging. The government is authorized to offer a reward not exceeding $500 for any person charged with or convicted of murder or other capital crimes. A fine of from $150 to $1,500 is imposed for maiming or wounding. For introducing spirituous liquors into the nation, the offender is liable to a fine of $10 for the first offense and $40 for each succeeding offense. Wills may be written or verbal and must be witnessed by two disinterested persons over the age of 10 years and recorded in the office of the county clerk of the county in which the individual resided within 2 months after the decease of the person making the will. To give a mortgage or deed of twist upon any personal property, and then to sell or otherwise dispose of the same or remove the same from the Chickasaw Nation, is considered grand larceny. Grand larceny is punishable by 39 lashes on the bare back or imprisonment for 1 year and restoration to the owner of the goods, chattels, money, or other articles of value stolen. Petty larceny under the value of $20 is punishable by infliction of 39 lashes or restitution to the owner of the goods, chattels, money, or other articles of value stolen. A conviction of arson imposes a full indemnity for damages done to the party injured and 30 lashes on the back. Gambling is punishable by a fine of from $100 to $1,000 or imprisonment in the national jail from 10 to 60 days. For threatening the life of another, a person is subject to a fine of from $50 to $300. Horse stealing is punishable by a fine of not more than $200, 39 lashes on the bare back, and imprisonment not exceeding 1 year. For the third offense the punishment is death by hanging. For the pulling or leaving down a fence, the offender is liable for the damage done to the owner of the farm or 60 days’ confinement in the national jail. A fine of $5 is imposed for ball playing or horse racing on Sunday. Any person who shall cut down any pecan or hickory tree or even a limb for the purpose of getting the nuts is liable to a fine of from $25 to $50. White men residing in the nation summoned to attend the Indian court are subject to a fine of from $5 to $50 for refusal or removal from the limits of the Chickasaw Nation. Carrying arms is prohibited, except to sheriffs, constables, and others summoned by them, under a penalty of from $1 to $25 for each offense. Bribery is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding 6 months in the national jail. Non-citizens not lawfully residing within the limits of the Chickasaw Nation hunting wild game, trapping, or fishing are dealt with as intruders and are reported to the proper authorities of the United States. Forgery is punishable by imprisonment in the national jail for not less than 1 month nor exceeding 2 years, and a fine of not less than $25. No person, citizen, noncitizen, or freedman, can carry any pocket pistol or revolver of any kind within the limits of the Chickasaw Nation, under penalty of a fine of from $25 to $100. Whenever the punishment is whipping the same is inflicted by either the sheriffs or constables by means of a good hickory switch.


Donaldson, John. The Chickasaw, 11th Census of the United States. Washington, D.C.: Robert P. Porter, Superintendent, US Printing Office. 1892

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