Five Civilized Tribes
The term Five Civilized Tribes was applied by European Americans in the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States to the five major Native American nations in the Southeast—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek (Muscogee), and Seminole.  Americans of European descent classified them as "civilized" because they had adopted attributes of the Anglo-American culture. Examples of such colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes, included Christianity, centralized governments, literacy in English, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and chattel slavery practices, including purchase of enslaved African Americans. For a period, the Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the European Americans, before the United States promoted Indian Removal of these tribes from the Southeast.
In the 21st century, this term has been criticized by some scholars for its ethnocentric assumptions by Anglo-Americans of what they considered civilized, but representatives of these tribes continue to meet regularly on a quarterly basis in their Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes.
The descendants of these tribes, who primarily live in what is now Oklahoma, are sometimes referred to as the Five Tribes of Oklahoma. Numerous other federally recognized tribes are also located in Oklahoma.
The Five Civilized Tribes is a term used by European Americans for five major indigenous tribes who lived in the Southeastern United States. They coalesced historically in an area that had been strongly influenced by the Mississippian culture. Before European contact, these tribes generally had matrilineal kinship systems, with property and hereditary positions passed through the mother's family. But they were much more egalitarian and decentralized than the Mississippian culture peoples at their height.
Based on the development of surplus foods from cultivation, Mississippian towns had more dense populations, and they developed artisan classes, and hereditary religious and political elites. The Mississippian Culture flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from 800 to 1500 CE. Agriculture was the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns (some covering hundreds of acres and populated with thousands of people). They were known for building large, complex earthwork mounds. These communities regulated their space with planned streets, subdivided into residential and public areas. Their system of government was hereditary. Chiefdoms were of varying size and complexity, with high levels of military organization.
President George Washington and Henry Knox, the first Secretary of War, implemented a policy of cultural transformation in relation to Native Americans. The Cherokee and Choctaw tended, in turn, to adopt and appropriate certain cultural aspects of the federation of colonies. At the time of the Declaration of Independence, the culture of the rebel colonies seeking to form a union was itself, emergent. The Five Tribes generally adopted cultural practices from European Americans that they found useful. Typically the bands who had towns or villages closer to whites, or interacted more with them through trading or intermarriage, took up more of such new practices. Those towns that were more isolated from whites tended to keep to their traditional cultures.
Experiment of "civilizing"
Washington promulgated a doctrine that held that American Indians were biologically equals, but that their society was inferior. He formulated and implemented a policy to encourage the "civilizing" process, which Thomas Jefferson continued. Historian Robert Remini wrote that the American leaders "presumed that once the Indians adopted the practice of private property, built homes, farmed, educated their children, and embraced Christianity, these Native Americans would win acceptance from white Americans. Washington's six-point plan included impartial justice toward Indians; regulated buying of Indian lands; promotion of commerce; promotion of experiments to civilize or improve Indian society; presidential authority to give presents; and punishing those who violated Indian rights.
The government appointed Indian agents, such as Benjamin Hawkins in the Southeast, to live among Indians and to encourage them, through example and instruction, to live like whites. The tribes of the Southeast adopted Washington's policy as they established schools, took up yeoman farming practices, converted to Christianity, and built homes similar to those of their colonial neighbors. These five tribes also adopted the practice of chattel slavery: holding enslaved African Americans as forced workers.
How different would be the sensation of a philosophic mind to reflect that instead of exterminating a part of the human race by our modes of population that we had persevered through all difficulties and at last had imparted our Knowledge of cultivating and the arts, to the Aboriginals of the Country by which the source of future life and happiness had been preserved and extended. But it has been conceived to be impracticable to civilize the Indians of North America – This opinion is probably more convenient than just.— Henry Knox, Notes to George Washington from Henry Knox.
In the early Federal period, after the US became independent, white settlers pushed into the interior and into the Deep South, areas that were still largely dominated by Native Americans. They were land hungry. Invention of the cotton gin had made cultivation of short-staple cotton profitable in the interior, and settlers encroached on Native American lands in the Upper South, western Georgia, and the future states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. They demanded the chance to cultivate these lands for agriculture. Armed conflicts occurred between some of the tribes and the settlers, who kept pushing west. They demanded that state and federal governments let them buy land.
In the early 19th century, under such leaders as Andrew Jackson, elected President in 1828, and others, the U.S. government formally initiated Indian Removal - forcing those tribes still living east of the Mississippi River, including The Five Tribes, to lands west of the river. Congress passed authorizing legislation in 1830, to fund such moves and arrange for new lands in what became known as Indian Territory to the west. Most members of the Five Tribes were forced to Indian Territory before 1840, many to what later became the states of Kansas and Oklahoma. The Cherokee Nation resisted removal until 1838 and lost thousands of members in removal, along what they called the Cherokee Trail of Tears. President Martin Van Buren had enforced the Treaty of New Echota, although the Senate had not ratified it, and a majority of the tribe said they had not agreed to its cessions of communal land.
Once the tribes had been relocated to Indian Territory, the United States government promised that their lands would be free of white settlement. But settlers soon began to violate that, and enforcement was difficult in the western frontier.
In the late 19th century, under the Dawes Act and related legislation, the US government decided to break up communal tribal lands, allocating 160-acre plots to heads of households of enrolled members of the tribes. It determined that land left over was "surplus" and could be sold, including to non-Native Americans. Allotment was also a means to extinguish Indian title to these lands, and the US government required the dissolution of tribal governments prior to admission of the territories as the US state of Oklahoma.
Later, as European-American settlement increased in the Oklahoma Territory, pressure built to combine the territories and admit Oklahoma as a state. In 1893, the government opened the "Cherokee Strip" to outside settlement in the Oklahoma Land Run. In 1907, the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory were merged to form the state of Oklahoma. Relative to other states, all Five Tribes are represented in significant numbers in the population of Oklahoma today.
The Cherokee, (//; Cherokee: ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯᎢ, romanized: Aniyvwiyaʔi) are people of the Southeastern United States, principally upland Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. They speak an Iroquoian language. In the 19th century, historians and ethnographers recorded their oral tradition that told of the tribe having migrated south in ancient times from the Great Lakes region, the base of most other Iroquoian-speaking peoples.
Of the three federally recognized Cherokee tribes, the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The UKB are mostly descendants of "Old Settlers", Cherokee who migrated to Arkansas and Oklahoma about 1817. They are related to the Cherokee who were forcibly relocated there in the 1830s under the Indian Removal Act. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is on the Qualla Boundary in western North Carolina, and are descendants of those who resisted or avoided relocation. Although the Cherokee Nation sponsors some satellite communities, it does not recognize Cherokee heritage groups that are seeking federal recognition. The Cherokee tribe has 729,533 enrolled members.
The Chickasaw are Indian people of the United States who originally resided along the Tennessee River and other parts of Tennessee, in the southwest side of Kentucky, west of present-day Huntsville, Alabama, and in parts of Mississippi. They spoke some French and some English. Some historians credit the Chickasaws' intervention in the French and Indian War on the side of the British as decisive in ensuring that the United States became an English-speaking nation. Originating further west, the Chickasaw moved east of the Mississippi River long before European contact. All historical records indicate the Chickasaw lived in northeastern Mississippi from the first European contact until they were forced to remove to Oklahoma, where most now live. They are related to the Choctaws, who speak a similar language, both forming the Western Group of the Muskogean languages. "Chickasaw" is the English spelling of Chikasha (Muskogee pronunciation: [tʃikaʃːa]), that either means "rebel" or "comes from Chicsa". The Chickasaw are divided in two groups: the "Impsaktea" and the "Intcutwalipa". The Chickasaws were one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" who went to the Indian Territory during the era of Indian Removal. Unlike other tribes, who exchanged land grants, the Chickasaw received financial compensation from the United States for their lands east of the Mississippi River. The Chickasaw Nation is the thirteenth largest federally recognized tribe in the United States. The Chickasaws built some of the first banks, schools, and businesses in Indian territory. They also signed a treaty with the Southern United States during the Civil War and brought troops to fight for the Confederates.
The Choctaw are Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States (Mississippi, Alabama and, to a lesser extent, Louisiana). There were about 20,000 members of this tribe when they were forced to move to Indian territory. Many of them did not survive. They are of the Muskogean linguistic group. The word Choctaw (also rendered as Chahta, Chato, Tchakta, and Chocktaw) is possibly a corruption of the Spanish chato, meaning flattened, in allusion to the tribe's custom of flattening the heads of infants. Noted anthropologist John Swanton, however, suggests that the name belonged to a Choctaw leader. They were descended from people of the Mississippian culture which was located throughout the Mississippi River valley. Historians such as Walter Lee Williams have documented some early Spanish explorers encountering chiefs of the Mississippian culture, ancestors of some of the Five Tribes.
Although smaller Choctaw groups are located in the southern region, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are the two primary federally recognized tribes. This people were historically cultivated beans, maize and squash, like other settled Indians. They also hunted and fished for some of their diet. Since the early nineteenth century, the tribe has recovered and increased in number. The federally recognized tribes have about 231,000 members in total, making the Choctaw the third-largest Native American population in the United States. The capital of the Choctaw Nation is in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma.
The Creek, or Muscogee, are originally from Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama. They resided there from approximately 1500 AD until they were forcibly displaced by the American government in the early 19th century. Mvskoke is their name in the Muskogee language. The Muscogee Creek were not one tribe but a confederacy of several, each of which had their own distinct land and sometimes dialects or languages in the Muskogean family.
Starting in 1836, the American government forced them to remove west of the Mississippi along with the other Southeast tribes to what was designated as Indian Territory. About 20,000 Muscogee members were forced to walk the Trail of Tears, the same number as the Choctaw. Modern Muscogee live primarily in Oklahoma, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Their language, Mvskoke, is a member of the Creek branch of the Muskogean language family.
Federally recognized tribes descended from the Creek Confederacy include the Muscogee Creek Nation, Kialegee Tribal Town, and Thlopthlocco Tribal Town in Oklahoma; Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, and Alabama-Quassarte Tribal Town.
The Seminole people originally included many of Creek origin, but developed as a separate culture, through a process of ethnogenesis, before Indian Removal. (See below.)
The Seminole are a Native American people that developed in Florida. Federally recognized tribes of this people now reside in Oklahoma and Florida. The Seminole nation came into existence in the late 18th century and was composed of renegade and outcast Native Americans from Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama, most significantly from among the loose Creek confederacy. They were joined by African Americans who escaped from slavery in South Carolina and Georgia. During Indian Removal and the Seminole Wars, roughly 3,000 Seminoles were forced by the US to remove west of the Mississippi River. The Seminole Nation of Oklahoma is made up of their descendants.
But approximately 300 to 500 Seminoles migrated to the Everglades of Florida, where they gained refuge and resisted removal. The US waged two more wars against the Seminoles in Florida in an effort to dislodge them, and about 1,500 U.S. soldiers died. The Seminole never surrendered to the US government, and consequently the Seminole of Florida call themselves the "Unconquered People".
For about twenty years after the move to Indian Territory (Oklahoma), the Seminole refused to live with the Muscogee Creek tribe or under their government until they finally reached an agreement with the Government to sign a treaty and live with them. The Seminole favored the North during the Civil War and remained loyal to the Union. They moved north into Kansas during the war.
Federally recognized Seminole tribes today include the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma and Seminole Tribe of Florida. In addition, the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida was part of the Seminole Tribe in that state until 1962, when they gained independent federal recognition as a tribe. They speak the Mikasuki language, also called Seminole and related to Creek, or Muskogee, but the two languages are mutually unintelligible. Ancestors of each of these tribes were among Creek bands in the region in the eighteenth century, but the Seminole developed an independent culture in Florida.
Terminology and usage
The term "civilized" has historically been used to distinguish the Five Tribes from other Native American groups that were formerly often referred to as "wild" or "savage". Texts written by non-indigenous scholars and writers have used words like "savage" and "wild" to identify Indian groups that retained their traditional cultural practices after European contact. As a consequence of evolving attitudes toward ethnocentric word usage and more rigorous ethnographical standards, the term "Five Civilized Tribes" is rarely used in contemporary academic publications.
The word "civilized" was used by whites to refer to the Five Tribes, who, during the 18th and early 19th centuries, actively integrated Anglo-American customs into their own cultures. Sociologists, anthropologists, and interdisciplinary scholars alike are interested in how and why these native peoples assimilated certain features of the alien culture of the white settlers who were encroaching on their lands. The historian Steve Brandon asserts that this "adaptation and incorporation of aspects of white culture" was a tactic employed by the Five Nations peoples to resist removal from their lands. While the term "Five Civilized Tribes" has been institutionalized in federal government policy to the point that the US Congress passed laws using the name, the Five Nations themselves have been less accepting of it in formal matters, and some members have declared that grouping the different peoples under this label is effectively another form of colonization and control by white society. Other modern scholars have suggested that the very concept of "civilization" was internalized by individuals who belonged to the Five Nations, but because much of Native North American history has been communicated by oral tradition, little scholarly research has been done to substantiate this.
In present-day commentary on Native American cultures, the term "civilized" is contentious and not commonly used in academic literature. Some commentators, including the Indian activist Vine Deloria Jr., have asserted that it is demeaning and implies that the indigenous peoples of the North American continent were "uncivilized" before their contact with the habits, customs, and beliefs of Anglo-American settlers. The term is based on the assumption that different peoples possess objective "degrees" of civilization that may be assessed and raises the question of just what qualities define "civilization". Consequently, it is considered a judgmental term whose meaning is dependent on the user's perspective, and thus best avoided.
Freedmen of the Five Tribes
This section needs additional citations for verification. (October 2021)
The Five Tribes participated in Native American slave ownership and enslaved black people before and during the American Civil War. They largely supported the Confederacy during the war, severing ties with the federal government, because they were promised their own state if the Confederacy won. During Removal to Indian Territory, "the Five Tribes considered enslaved Black people an ideal way of transporting capital to the West" because they were "movable property."
After the end of the war, the U.S. required these tribes to make new peace treaties, and to emancipate their slaves, as slaves had been emancipated and were granted citizenship in the US. All Five Tribes acknowledged "in writing that, because of the agreements they had made with the Confederate States during the Civil War, previous treaties made with the United States would no longer be upheld, thus prompting the need for a new treaty and an opportunity for the United States to fulfill its goal of wrenching more land" from their grasp.
They were required to offer full citizenship in their tribes to those freedmen who wanted to stay with the tribes. Those who wanted to leave could become US citizens. By that time, numerous families had intermarried or had other personal ties with African Americans.
The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 declared all slaves in the Confederacy—states in rebellion and not under the control of the Union—to be permanently free. It did not end slavery in the five border states that had stayed in the Union. Slavery everywhere in the United States was abolished with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in December 1865. The Civil Rights Act of 1866, passed over the veto of President Andrew Johnson, gave ex-slaves full citizenship (except for voting) in the United States. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified to make clear that Congress had the legal authority to do so. The Fifteenth Amendment extended the franchise to all adult males; only adult males among whites had previously had the franchise, and it was sometimes limited by certain requirements. The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments are known as the "civil rights amendments", the "post-Civil War amendments", and the "Reconstruction Amendments".
To help freedmen transition from slavery to freedom, including a free labor market, President Abraham Lincoln created the Freedmen's Bureau, which assigned agents throughout the former Confederate states. The Bureau also founded schools to educate freedmen, both adults and children; helped freedmen negotiate labor contracts; and tried to minimize violence against freedmen. The era of Reconstruction was an attempt to establish new governments in the former Confederacy and to bring freedmen into society as voting citizens. Northern church bodies, such as the American Missionary Association and the Freewill Baptists, sent teachers to the South to assist in educating freedmen and their children, and eventually established several colleges for higher education. U.S. Army occupation soldiers were stationed throughout the South via military districts enacted by the Reconstruction Acts; they tried to protect freedmen in voting polls and public facilities from violence and intimidation by white Southerners, which were common throughout the region.
In the late 20th century, the Cherokee Nation voted to restrict membership to only those descendants of persons listed as "Cherokee by blood" on the Dawes Rolls of the early 20th century. This decision excluded most Cherokee Freedmen (by that time this term referred to descendants of the original group). At the time, registrars tended to classify any person with visible African-American features as a Freedman, not inquiring or allowing them to document Indian descent.
Since the late 20th century, the Freedmen have argued that the Dawes Rolls were often inaccurate in terms of recording Cherokee ancestry among persons of mixed race, even if they were considered Cherokee by blood within the tribe. The registrars confused appearance with culture. In addition, the Freedmen have argued that the post-Civil War treaties made between the tribes and the US granted them full citizenship in the tribes. The Choctaw Freedmen and Creek Freedmen have similarly struggled with their respective tribes over the terms of citizenship in contemporary times. (The tribes have wanted to limit those who can benefit from tribal citizenship, in an era in which gaming casinos are yielding considerable revenues for members.) The majority of members of the tribes have voted to limit membership, and as sovereign nations, they have the right to determine their rules. But descendants of freedmen believe their long standing as citizens since the post-Civil War treaties should be continued.
In 2017 the Cherokee Freedmen were granted citizenship again in the tribe. The Cherokee Nation was the first among the five tribes to update its constitution to include the Cherokee Freedmen as full citizens.
Because the Chickasaw allied with the Confederacy, after the Civil War the United States government required the nation also to make a new peace treaty in 1866. It included the provision that they emancipate the enslaved African Americans and provide full citizenship to those who wanted to stay in the Chickasaw Nation. The Chickasaw and Choctaw negotiated new treaties "without a clause accepting their guilt, allowing them to declare that they had been forced into a Confederate alliance by American desertion." Unlike other tribes the Chickasaw tribal leaders "never offered freedpeople citizenship." The slaves were freed and they could continue to live within the boundaries of the nation as second-class citizens, or they could "migrate to the United States" and no longer be associated with the tribe (and therefore miss making the Dawes Rolls of the 1890s, which registered tribal members).
Today, the Choctaw-Chickasaw Freedmen Association of Oklahoma represents the interests of freedmen descendants in both of these tribes. The freed people of the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole nations were able to enjoy most citizenship rights immediately after emancipation.
But the Chickasaw Nation and Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma never granted citizenship to their Freedmen. They enacted legislation "akin to the U.S. 'Black Codes,' which set certain wages for ex-slaves and attempted to force freedpeople to find employment under Indian tribal members."
The only way that African Americans could become citizens of the Chickasaw Nation at that time was to have one or more Chickasaw parents, or to petition for citizenship and go through the process available to other non-Natives, even if they were known to have been of partial Chickasaw descent in an earlier generation. Because the Chickasaw Nation did not provide citizenship to their freedmen after the Civil War (it would have been akin to formal adoption of individuals into the tribe), they were penalized by the U.S. Government. It took more than half of their territory, with no compensation. They lost territory that had been negotiated in treaties in exchange for their use after removal from the Southeast.
In July 2021, the Cherokee Freedmen asked Congress to withhold housing assistance money until the Five Civilized Tribes addressed the citizenship status of freedmen's descendants. They took this action although the Cherokee Nation had already updated its constitution to end their exclusion of the Cherokee Freedmen as members. In 2018, Congress removed the blood quantum requirement for land allotment for the Five Tribes, though it had not been a tribal citizenship requirement. Historian Mark Miller notes,
Even so-called purely ‘descendancy’ tribes such as the Five Tribes with no blood quantum requirement jealously guard some proven, documentary link by blood to distant ancestors. More than any single BIA [Bureau of Indian Affairs] requirement, however, this criterion has proven troublesome for southeastern groups [seeking federal recognition] because of its reliance on non-Indian records and the confused (and confusing) nature of surviving documents.
Like other federally recognized tribes, the Five Tribes have participated in shaping the current BIA Federal Acknowledgment Process for tribes under consideration for such recognition. They are suspicious of groups that claim Indian identity but appear to have no history of culture and community.
- Former Indian Reservations in Oklahoma
- Cultural assimilation of Native Americans
- Civilization Fund Act
- Praying Indians
- Mission Indians
- Kill the Indian, Save the Man
- Clinton, Fred S. "Oklahoma Indian History, from The Tulsa World". The Indian School Journal, Volume 16, Number 4, 1915, page 175-187.
- Barry Pritzker (2000). A Native American Encyclopedia: History, Culture, and Peoples. Oxford University Press. p. 389. ISBN 978-0-19-513877-1.
- "Five Civilized Tribes". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture. Oklahoma Historical Society. Archived from the original on 2014-12-28. Retrieved 2015-01-22.
- Roberts, Alaina. "Opinion: How Native Americans adopted slavery from white settlers". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Smith, Ryan P (6 March 2018). "How Native American Slaveholders Complicate the Trail of Tears Narrative". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
- Michael D. Green (2006). "The Five Tribes of the Southeastern United States". In Charles Robert Goins; Danney Goble (eds.). Historical Atlas of Oklahoma. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 52–53. ISBN 9780806134833.
- "Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes".
- Smith, C.R. (2000). "The Native People of North America | Southeast Culture Area". cabrillo.edu. Cabrillo College. Archived from the original on 23 November 2018. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
- Perdue, Theda (2003). "Chapter 2 "Both White and Red"". Mixed Blood Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South. The University of Georgia Press. p. 51. ISBN 0-8203-2731-X.
- Remini, Robert (1998) . "The Reform Begins". Andrew Jackson. History Book Club. p. 201. ISBN 0-9650631-0-7.
- Miller, Eric (1994). "George Washington And Indians". Eric Miller. Retrieved 2 May 2008.
- Moser, George W. A Brief History of Cherokee Lodge #10. (retrieved 26 June 2009)
- Mooney, James (1900). Myths of the Cherokee and Sacred Formulas of the Cherokees. 393: Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4286-4864-7.CS1 maint: location (link)
- William L. Anderson; Ruth Y. Wetmore; John L. Bell (2006). "Cherokee Indians - Part 5: Trail of Tears and the creation of the Eastern Band of Cherokees | NCpedia". Encyclopedia of North Carolina www.ncpedia.org. State Library of North Carolina. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
- "Status and Trends in the Education of American Indians and Alaska Natives: 2008".
- "The Official Site of the Chickasaw Nation | History". Chickasaw.net. 2014-10-31. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
- Jesse Burt & Bob Ferguson (1973). "The Removal". Indians of the Southeast: Then and Now. Abingdon Press, Nashville and New York. pp. 170–173. ISBN 0-687-18793-1.
- Foreman, Grant 1971. "The Five Civilized Tribes: Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, Seminole" (Civilization of the American Indian)
- "Choctaw History". Fivecivilizedtribes.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 29 October 2021.
- Frederick Webb Hodge (1907). ... Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico: A-M. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 288.
- Horatio Bardwell Cushman (1899). History of the Choctaw, Chickasaw and Natchez Indians. Headlight printing house. p. 564.
- Swanton, John (1931). Source Material for the Social and Ceremonial Life of the Choctaw Indians. The University of Alabama Press. p. 29. ISBN 0-8173-1109-2.
- Williams, Walter (1979). "Southeastern Indians before Removal, Prehistory, Contact, Decline". Southeastern Indians: Since the Removal Era. Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. pp. 7–10.
- "History". Choctaw Nation. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
- Transcribed documents Archived February 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine Sequoyah Research Center and the American Native Press Archives
- "Muscogee (Creek) Nation". Muscogeenation-nsn.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-10-08. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
- Mark I. Greenberg; Samuel Proctor; William Warren Rogers; Canter Brown (1997). Mark I. Greenberg; William Warren Rogers; Canter Brown (eds.). Florida's heritage of diversity: essays in honor of Samuel Proctor. Sentry Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-889574-03-5.
- "Seminole History". DOS.Myflorida.com. Florida Department of State. 2016. Archived from the original on May 30, 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
- "Seminole History". Fivecivilizedtribes.org. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 2021-10-29.
- Thomas Donaldson; Fletcher Meredith; John Davidson; John W. Lane (1894). Revised by editors of the United States Census Office. 11th Census, 1890 (ed.). Indians : the Five Civilized Tribes in Indian Territory: The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations. United States Census Printing Office. p. 7.
- Robert M. Lewis (21 January 2008). "Wild American Savages and the Civilized English: Catlin's Indian Gallery and the Shows of London". European Journal of American Studies. 3 (3–1): 13, 15. doi:10.4000/ejas.2263. ISSN 1991-9336. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
- Theda Perdue; Michael D Green (22 June 2005). The Columbia Guide to American Indians of the Southeast. Columbia University Press. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-231-50602-1.
- Vine Deloria Jr. (28 June 2010). Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties: An Indian Declaration of Independence. University of Texas Press. p. 9. ISBN 978-0-292-78946-3.
- Jennifer McClinton-Temple; Alan Velie (12 May 2010). Encyclopedia of American Indian Literature. Infobase Publishing. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-1-4381-2087-4.
- Grant Foreman (1934). The Five Civilized Tribes. University of Oklahoma Press (Reprinted 17 April 2013). p. 13. ISBN 978-0-8061-8967-3.
- Linda W. Reese; Patricia Loughlin (15 August 2013). Main Street Oklahoma: Stories of Twentieth-Century America. University of Oklahoma Press. pp. 24–25, note 2. ISBN 978-0-8061-5054-3.
- University of Arkansas staff (January 10, 2019). "The term "Five Civilized Tribes"". University of Arkansas Libraries. Archived from the original on January 21, 2019.
- "Confederacy signs treaties with Native Americans". Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Roberts, Alaina E. (2021). I've Been Here All the While: Black freedom on Native Land. Philadelphia. pp. 39–45. ISBN 978-0-8122-9798-0. OCLC 1240582535.
- Cunningham, Frank (1998). General Stand Watie's Confederate Indians. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 9780806130354. ISBN 9780806130354.
- Cherokee Nation v. Raymond Nash, et al. and Marilyn Vann, et al. and Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior ruling, August 30, 2017
- Chow, Kat (2017-08-31). "Judge Rules That Cherokee Freedmen Have Right To Tribal Citizenship". npr. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
- Cherokee Nation Attorney General Todd Hembree issues statement on Freedmen ruling, August 31, 2017 (Accessible in PDF format as of September 8, 2017
- Kelly, Mary Louise (February 25, 2021). "Cherokee Nation Strikes Down Language That Limits Citizenship Rights 'By Blood'". NPR. Retrieved 6 May 2021.
- The Choctaw Freedmen of Oklahoma, african-nativeamerican.com. (accessed October 17, 2013)
- Roberts, Alaina E. (2021). I've Been Here All the While: Black freedom on Native Land. Philadelphia. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-8122-9798-0. OCLC 1240582535.
- Roberts, Alaina E. (September 7, 2017). "A federal court has ruled blood cannot determine tribal citizenship. Here's why that matters". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 18, 2020.
- Herrera, Allison (September 21, 2021). "Interview: Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton Talks About Freedmen Citizenship". KOSU_Daily. KOSU. NPR. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
- Herrera, Allison (29 July 2021). "Freedmen Ask Congress To Withhold Housing Assistance Money Until Tribes Address Citizenship". KOSU. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- "Congress strips blood quantum requirement from Stigler Act". Tahlequah Daily Press. Retrieved 30 July 2021.
- Miller, Mark (August 16, 2013). Claiming Tribal Identity. p. 172. ISBN 9780806150512.
- Miller, Mark (August 16, 2013). Claiming Tribal Identity. p. 7. ISBN 9780806150512.