Four Mothers Society

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The Four Mothers Society is a religious, political, and traditionalist organization of Muscogee Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw people, as well as the Natchez people enrolled in these tribes, in Oklahoma. It was formed as an opposition movement to the allotment policies of the Dawes Commission and various US Congressional acts in the 1890s. The society is religious in nature and opposed allotment because dividing tribal lands broke up tribal communities and resulted in "surplus" lands being seized and made available to non-Natives.

Background[edit]

With the passage of the Curtis Act in 1898 and Dawes Act, allotment became US policy and the various tribal governments were forced to allot land. The fact that the existing governments broke up the land was considered an outrage by many of members of the Four Mothers Societies. Chitto Harjo set up a new Creek government in Henryetta, which was acknowledged as the legitimate government by many of the Creeks. In 1900 a meeting was held at Hickory ceremonial grounds in which Pleasant Porter and his government was declared to have violated the 1867 Creek Constitution. They declared Porter's government invalid and declared Harjo to be the new principal chief.

Besides openly opposing allotment, the Four Mothers Societies maintain ceremonial groups for stomp dances, stickball games, feasts, meetings, and ceremonies. In the late 1980s there was at least one dance ground left among the Chickasaw and another among the Cherokee.[1] Today there are several Four Mothers Society grounds throughout eastern Oklahoma.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Thomas E. Malis. The Cherokee people: the story of the Cherokees from earliest origins to contemporary times. Council Oak Books, 1992. p. 308

References[edit]

  • Holm, Tom. The Great Confusion in Indian Affairs: Native Americans and Whites in the Progressive Era. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2005: 25-27.