A Gathering of Statesmen: Records of the Choctaw Council Meetings, 1826-1828

By in Indigenous Peoples on March 9, 2013

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The early decades of the nineteenth century brought intense political turmoil and cultural change for the Choctaw Indians. While they still lived on their native lands in central Mississippi, they would soon be forcibly removed to Oklahoma. This book makes available for the first time a key legal document from this turbulent period in Choctaw history. Originally written in Choctaw by Peter Perkins Pitchlynn (1806–1881), and painstakingly translated by linguist Marcia Haag and native speaker Henry Willis, the document is reproduced here in both Choctaw and English, with original text and translation appearing side by side.

A leader and future chief of the Choctaw Nation, Pitchlynn created this record in the wake of a series of Choctaw Council meetings that occurred during the years 1826–1828. The council consisted of chiefs and other tribal statesmen from the nation’s three districts. Their goal for these meetings was to uphold traditions of Choctaw leadership and provide guidance on conduct for Choctaw people “according to a common mind.” 

Featuring an in-depth introduction by historian Clara Sue Kidwell, this book is an important foundational source for understanding the evolution of the Choctaw Nation and its eventual adoption of a formal constitution.

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