Alternate Choctaw Origins

Origin of Choctaws have different legends

Several versions of the origin of the Choctaws are existent. One version puts their earliest home near a great sea toward the land of the setting sun. They had come up out of the sea, lived awhile by the shore, and then packed up their possessions and started moving.

They were guided by a leader carrying a sacred pole. Each night, the pole was to be thrust upright into the ground, and the next morning, it would he leaning in the direction they were to go.

When the Choctaws came to a place where the sacred pole failed to lean, there they stopped and made their home. An amended version has the Choctaws gathering up the bones of all those who died on this journey, putting them in bags and carrying them piggyback until they reached their destination.

There the bones were to be deposited in a pile and a mound of dirt thrown up over them. The Choctaws have a long history of honoring their ancestors, and taking the remains of loved ones whenever they moved is one way they showed this respect.

Their sacred pole remained upright after crossing a great river and here the Choctaws stopped. The land was the present Mississippi.

They piled up their ancestors bones and covered them, forming a very large mound (Nanih Waiya). This mound became the sacred symbol of Choctaw unity and tradition. Today, it is located in Winston County, Mississippi and is open to visitors.

Another origin story holds that Choctaw ancestors came out of a hole or cave under the great mound, their bodies begin moist as at birth, and they stretched their bodies along the slope of the ground to dry, after which they scattered out and established their homes in the surrounding areas. There were numerous small mounds in the area of the large one.