The Chickasaw Indians in Oklahoma

Out of all the states in the US, none may have as rich a history as the state of Oklahoma. This is owed to the fact that Oklahoma is a melting pot of different cultures, and was originally home to different tribes of Native Americans. One of these is the Chickasaw Nation.

A member of the Five Civilized Tribes (alongside the Cherokee, the Seminole, the Choctaw, and the Muscogee,) the Chickasaw Indians were originally occupying territories around Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee and resisted European-American Settlers. However, they were eventually forced by the US to sell their country in 1832, and have since moved to Oklahoma.

Origin of the Name

The name Chickasaw, originally spelled as “Chikashsha,” means “rebel,” according to anthropologist John Swanton. It can also mean “comes from Chicsa,” as noted by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto. De Soto was impressed when he first came across the Chickasaw, amazed that they have an agrarian society with a very sophisticated governmental system with its own complex laws and religions. De Soto also noted that the Chickasaw tribe already lived in towns.


The language used by the Chickasaw is part of the Muskogean family, and is characterized as agglunative (complex words can be formed by stringing together different morphemes, without changing their spelling or pronounciation.) The language is unique because it uses the Subject/Object/Verb word order pattern (By way of comparison, English uses Subject/Verb/Object.) Fortunately for tourists, most Chickasaw Indians today can speak and understand plain English, so talking to them will not be difficult.

The Tribe in Modern Times

The current Chickasaw Nation is doing well, with the tribe being legally recognized by the US Government and currently the owner of 2 off-track wagering facilities, 7 gas stations, 2 bingo stalls, 18 casinos, 18 tribal smoke shops, and 2 truck stops. The tribe also own and operate several other commercial establishments outside of Oklahoma, including radio stations, hotel suites, gaming establishments, and even a spa in Texas. The tribe has an annual economic impact amounting to $13.9 billion.

Learning More About the Chickasaw Nation

Aside from their gaming establishments, the Chickasaw also operate several historical sites and museums, which may be the ideal place for people who want to learn more about their tribe’s storied past. These historical sites include the Chickasaw Cultural Center, the Chickasaw Nation Capitols, and the Kullihoma Grounds.