Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi


Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi

Race, Class, and Nation Building in the Jim Crow South, 1830-1977

Katherine M. B. Osburn

Indians of the Southeast Series

342 pages
10 illustrations


July 2014


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July 2014


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eBook (EPUB)
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July 2014


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eBook (PDF)
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July 2014


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About the Book

When the Choctaws were removed from their Mississippi homeland to Indian Territory in 1830, several thousand remained behind, planning to take advantage of Article 14 in the removal treaty, which promised that any Choctaws who wished to remain in Mississippi could apply for allotments of land. When the remaining Choctaws applied for their allotments, however, the government reneged, and the Choctaws were left dispossessed and impoverished. Thus begins the history of the Mississippi Choctaws as a distinct people.


Despite overwhelming poverty and significant racial prejudice in the rural South, the Mississippi Choctaws managed, over the course of a century and a half, to maintain their ethnic identity, persuade the Office of Indian Affairs to provide them with services and lands, create a functioning tribal government, and establish a prosperous and stable reservation economy. The Choctaws’ struggle against segregation in the 1950s and 1960s is an overlooked story of the civil rights movement, and this study of white supremacist support for Choctaw tribalism considerably complicates our understanding of southern history. Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi traces the Choctaw’s remarkable tribal rebirth, attributing it to their sustained political and social activism.



Author Bio

Katherine M. B. Osburn is an associate professor of history at Arizona State University. She is the author of Southern Ute Women: Autonomy and Assimilation on the Reservation, 1885–1934 (Nebraska, 2008).



"Osburn’s book fits nicely into the scholarship of negotiated Indian identity."—C. R. Kasee, CHOICE

"The national narrative Osburn creates here coheres and opens up new lines in inquiry, while her suggestive interventions on race and class call attention to the importance of local and regional context to our understanding of tribal histories."—Jacki Thompson Rand, Journal of Southern History

"Osburn's outstanding study of the Mississippi Choctaw reminds the reader that American Indian history cannot be separated from American history."—Nicholas Timmerman, Native American and Indigenous Studies

"A vital contribution to both Mississippi Choctaw and Southern history."—Mikaëla M. Adams, Journal of American Ethnic History

“In this extensively researched book, Osburn presents a compelling history of the Mississippi Choctaws and sheds new light on these often forgotten people.”—Sheri M. Shuck-Hall, author of Journey to the West: The Alabama and Coushatta Indians


Choctaw Resurgence in Mississippi rests on extraordinary amounts of newly uncovered sources, with an unusually high degree of originality.”—Ted Ownby, Center for the Study of Southern Culture, University of Mississippi.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Series Preface
1. From the First Removal to the Second, 1830–1898
2. From the Second Removal to Recognition, 1898–1918
3. Establishment of the Agency, 1918–1930
4. The Choctaw Agency and the Patronage Economy, 1918–1930
5. The Depression and the Indian New Deal, 1929–1945
6. The Choctaw Tribal Council, 1945–1965
7. Termination, Segregation, and Choctaw Nation Building, 1951–1964
8. Relocation, Resistance, and Civil Rights, 1951–1964
Epilogue and Conclusions: Choctaw Juridical Status and Self-Determination, 1964–1977
List of Abbreviations

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