Definition of the Five Civilized Tribes
Definition: The Five Civilized Tribes were nations of Native American Indians who had assimilated cultural lifestyles and customs of the white colonists and settlers and had generally good relations with their neighbors.
Who were the Five Civilized Tribes?
The names of the Five Civilized Tribes were:
The Five Civilized Tribes lived in the Southeastern United States until the 1820s. The Cherokee referred to themselves as the "Principal People" as they were the largest tribe living in mountain areas of North and South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
Five Civilized Tribes
The Five Civilized Tribes were were considered civilized by Anglo-European settlers during the colonial period and the early federal period. The term was used to describe this collection of tribes and peoples from the mid 19th century. Many of the Five Civilized Tribes, particularly the Cherokee, married people of European descent and so were “mixed bloods” even before 1800.
Five Civilized Tribes - Adoption of Cultural Features
The Five Civilized Tribes adopted the following cultural features:
- European style houses
- European style dress
- European farming techniques and methods with herds of cattle, horses, pigs and some sheep
- European farming tools, including the plough and other agricultural tools and implements
- They produced cotton and owned cotton plantations
- They had several large towns and villages
- They had black slaves
- They had Christian Churches
Five Civilized Tribes - Political System and Government
The Five Civilized Tribes were self-supporting and had a political system and structure of government, directing and controlling the actions of its members, which included:
- A judiciary system
- A written constitution
- Two legislative chambers
- A public school system
Five Civilized Tribes - American Civil War
The American Civil War (1861–1865) saw the political division of the Five Civilised tribes. The Chickasaw and Choctaw tribes fought predominantly on the Confederate side. The Seminole and Creek tribes supported the Union. The Eastern Cherokees fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War. The Western Cherokees were divided, into Union and Confederate factions.
Five Civilized Tribes - Detribalization
The end of the American Civil War saw the demise of the Five Civilised Tribes. The treaties of the majority of tribes who had supported the Confederacy were put aside. Their lands were restricted to Eastern Oklahoma and their black slaves were freed. The federal policy of detribalization followed resulting in the loss of authority of the governmental functions of the Five Civilized Tribes. Land was divided into individual holdings.