Leadership, Accomplishment and Cultural Celebration

Indian Letters

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A letter from George Hudson, Councilman, Choctaw Nation to Peter Pitchlynn (Hat-choo-tuck-nee), Choctaw delegate to Washington, D.C. July 14, 1854.

The 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek meant the loss of remaining Choctaw homelands in Mississippi to the United States. By 1833, during forced removals west, 2,500 Choctaws had died including the mother of George Hudson. The US government then sought to push the Choctaw toward a centralized government led by a governor and away from the district leadership they had always known. George Hudson writes from Eagletown, location of a Choctaw court created by the 1850 Choctaw constitution, to Peter Pitchlynn, a Choctaw delegate in Washington, D.C. there to confront President Pierce with a continued case for payment of monies agreed to at the 1830 treaty. Hudson relates the frustrations at home over territorial boundary disputes with other removed tribes as well as white settlers.

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George Hudson, Choctaw Chief 1860-1862.
Courtesy of The Oklahoma Historical Society
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Peter Pitchlynn Há-tchoo-túc-knee, Snapping Turtle, a Half-breed, Choctaw, by George Catlin, painted in 1834 at Fort Gibson, Oklahoma.
Courtesy Smithsonian American Art Museum

Educated at a mission school, Hudson had become a lawyer and a noted orator. Peter Pitchlynn, educated at the University of Nashville, was later given the rank of colonel in the Civil War. He devoted the rest of his life to a demand for respect for original Choctaw treaty rights by the United States. Both Hudson and Pitchlynn would later become Principal Chiefs of the Choctaw Nation.

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Choctaw crossed shoulder sashes reflecting ancient motifs that appear on the pre-Columbian ceramics of their southeastern homelands.
18/859 Courtesy Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian