Choctaw - Settlements

The basic Choctaw social unit was the town, usually located along tributaries of major rivers. Approximately ninety towns were divided into three major districts clustered in the upper reaches of the Pearl River, the western tributaries of the Tombigbee River, and the Chickasawhay River in southern Mississippi. Settlements ranged from fifty to five hundred people. Larger towns were fortified and had a physical center including a council house and field for stickball. These larger towns served as social, economic, and religious centers for surrounding settlements. With the end of colonial warfare, the population dispersed from the towns and from the centers of the Districts. Following removal to Oklahoma, the more acculturated mixed-blood Choctaw settled in the rich bottomlands, while the more traditional Choctaw settled in isolated Communities in hill country. The Mississippi Choctaw remained on marginal land protected by hills and swamps. The Purchase of lands for the current Mississippi Choctaw Reservation centered on lands where Choctaw were located, resulting in a dispersed pattern of six major reservation communities. In Oklahoma, the Choctaw are concentrated in what was the old Choctaw Nation in southeastern Oklahoma. Here traditional Choctaw rural communities still exist on more Marginal lands.

The aboriginal Choctaw house was of wattle-and-daub construction, oval or square, with a single door, no windows, and a steeply sloping roof of thatch. This was usually accompanied by one or more open roofed structures, referred to as summer houses, and by granaries. In this century, most rural Choctaw have lived in poorly constructed frame houses, but public housing programs have made great improvements.


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