The Life and Customs of the People

p>After the enforced migration and settlement in a new land, there followed a period of peace and prosperity among the Indians of the tribes that had immigrated from the southern states to Oklahoma. The younger Indians became reconciled to the change though many of the older people never did.

Their land was not thick with people. Wild game was abundant and they had cattle, horses, swine and some sheep. They tilled small fields of corn and cotton.

Some of the Indians were slave owners. Many white men had intermarried in some of the tribes and a great many families were of mixed Indian and white descent. Some of the people, were well to do and their children were sent East to complete their education.

Most of the people lived in log houses or cabins. In nearly every case there was a large stone fireplace and chimney. Some of the wealthier mixed-blood families lived in larger houses. People lived simply and much of what they had to eat and wear was produced at home. They killed and cured their own pork, dried their own beef and venison, ground their own corn. Cotton was raised for home use.

People were hospitable by nature and delighted in entertaining their friends. Fishing, parties, picnics, dances, ball play, horse races, fox hunts and house raising "bees" also figured in social affairs and popular sports.

At first there were three tribal governments, Cherokee, Creek-Seminole and Choctaw-Chickasaw. After 1856, when the Chickasaw and Seminole tribes set up their own governments there were five. Each of these tribal governments was a miniature republic, with its executive, legislative and judicial departments. Their people took great interest in their political affairs.

The number of missions and schools increased and among the preachers and teachers and other mission workers were included a number of Indians whose education had begun in the mission schools and had been continued or completed in eastern colleges and seminaries.

The Cherokees had a Bible Society and a Temperance Society as early as 1845. The Choctaws raised money to send to the Irish famine sufferers, in 1847. It became evident that the people of these tribes were not only "civilized" themselves, but also that the rest of the world should be benefited by their civilization.

Source: The Life and Customs of the People

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