History Is Lunch: “The Last Choctaw Removal of 1903”

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Join the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at noon on Wednesday, November 18, for another streaming-only #HistoryIsLunch when Ryan Spring and Deanna Byrd will present “The Last Choctaw Removal of 1903.”
The Choctaw people date back over 600 generations in what is now the states of Mississippi and Alabama. Choctaws today are related to Poverty Point, Moundville, and Bottle Creek sites with a rich culture that has persevered through western colonization. The Choctaw Nation was forced to move west by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek of 1830, which ceded the remaining Choctaw homelands in Mississippi and led to the expulsion of more than 25,000 Choctaw people to Indian Territory through a series of removals from 1830 to 1855.
“The last federal removal was organized in 1903,” said Spring, a historian with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “Land speculators were eager to exploit Choctaw families in order to take a portion of allotted lands.”
“The Choctaw people have a deep connection to our homeland,” said Byrd, an archaeologist with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “I want to show how the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) helps to heal the past by forging a path forward for the return of ancestors removed from Mississippi, western Alabama and Louisiana.”
Ryan Spring is a tribal member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and has worked in the tribe’s Historic Preservation Department since 2010, where he serves as an archaeological technician aiding in protecting and preserving Choctaw sacred and historic sites and assisting the community in its efforts to revitalize Choctaw traditional culture and history. He holds a Masters of Science degree in Native American Leadership from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Spring is a member of the Choctaw Nation’s Tvshka Homma stickball team.
Deanna Byrd earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma and her Master of Arts in Archaeology from Illinois State University. She serves as NAGPRA liaison for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, in which position she leads a search for Choctaw ancestors in archaeological collections across the United States and works toward their repatriation. Byrd is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps and assists her community with disaster relief efforts during storm season. Byrd is an author of numerous Choctaw history articles for the monthly Choctaw publication Biskinik.
History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The weekly lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History explores different aspects of our State’s past. The hour-long programs are live-streamed at noon on Wednesdays from the MDAH Facebook page, and the videos are posted on the MDAH’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/MDAHVideo.