Pushmataha – Choctaw, Oklahoman, American
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This maker of American History endures as one of the greatest of Oklahoma’s founding fathers and namesake of a county even though he died nearly two centuries ago and never lived in the present-day Sooner State.
Born in modern-day Mississippi in 1764, young Pushmataha’s valor in battle and his intellectual heft, sharp wit, and oratorical eloquence propelled him to early Choctaw tribal leadership. His exploits in combat against the Osages, Caddos, and others were legendary and gained him great esteem among older Choctaw leaders.
By the early 1800s, the powerful Choctaws were probably the most populous indigenous tribe on the North American continent. Around 22,000 of them spread through modern-day Mississippi and Alabama, from the middle of the Mississippi River Valley southward to the Gulf of Mexico. They excelled as farmers, hunters, and diplomats alike, and traded and conversed effectively with the European powers who frequented the Gulf ports of the area.
The Mississippi and Alabama homeland of the Choctaws prior to most of them removing to Arkansas and Indian Territories.