Choctaw Migration Legends

Writers of history offered several versions of the Choctaws migration legend. This one was first published in 1828 by Rev. Alfred Wright.

They say, that the Creeks, Chickasaws, and Choctaws emigrated together, from a distant country far to the west. The Creeks were in front; the Choctaws in the rear. The Choctaws emigrated under the conduct of a great leader and prophet.

While residing at the west, they were led to believe, that there was a good country at a great distance towards the rising of the sun, and they were induced to take a long and perilous journey in search of it. Some of them state, that in consequence of the great distance, their provisions failed, and they stopped during the warm season to plant corn to furnish themselves with food for the remainder of the journey. Their great leader and prophet had the direction of all their movements on their journey.

He carried the hobuna, sacred bag, containing all their sacred things, and a long white pole as the badge of his authority. When he planted the white pole, it was a signal for their encamping. He was always careful to set this pole perpendicularly, and to suspend upon it the sacred bag. None were allowed to come near it, and no one but himself might touch it.

During the time of their encampment, whether for one night or more, the pole was invariably found to alter its position, and incline towards the rising sun. This was a signal for them to proceed on their journey. The pole continued to incline towards the east until they reached Nunih waiya, and there it remained in its perpendicular position. From this they concluded, that they had found the country of which they were in search.

They remained at this place under direction of their leader, and there adopted their civil policy. This account seems probable. For it is evident that the present inhabitants of this part of the country must at some former period, have emigrated from the west.

The Chickasaws are said generally to retain a traditional knowledge of the emigration of their ancestors from the west. The Choctaws in this part of the nation appear generally to have lost all knowledge of such an event, and refer their origin to Nunih Waiya.

The aged interpreter before mentioned supposes, that when the Choctaws arrived at the country they now inhabit, they killed or drove out by force, the former inhabitants, and having obtained possession of their land by injustice and violence, they wished to erase from their history the memory of such a transaction, and from motives of policy, endeavored to prevent the knowledge of their emigration from being transmitted to posterity, and therefore, inculcated the belief that they were created at Nunih Waiya, where he supposes they adopted their regulations. And in this way he undertakes to account for the prevalence of this belief; and also for the ignorance of the Choctaws with respect to their emigration from the west.