- Victoria Lindsay Levine
Native American tribe from the Southeastern United States who speak a Muskogean language; their ancestors belonged to the Mississippian culture known for building massive earthen mounds which they used as ceremonial sites. At the time of European contact the Choctaw lived in central and southern Mississippi and southwestern Alabama. They were the first tribe removed from the Southeast by the US federal government, beginning in 1830. Some remained in the South, but most resettled in what is now the state of Oklahoma. With a population of 160,000, the Choctaw are among the largest tribes in North America. Three groups have received federal recognition: the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, and the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians (Louisiana). The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians is recognized by the state of Alabama. Other Choctaw population centers include Texas, California, Oregon, and Illinois. Choctaw musical culture includes diverse traditional styles, such as songs to accompany social dances, fiddle tunes to accompany house dances, and Choctaw-language Christian hymns....