he Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes lived originally in the area that now encompasses the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. These groups defined their own identity in many ways, but an important one was their relationship with the land that they considered their home.
The Choctaw territory in present-day Mississippi extended from the Mississippi Delta on the west, through rich, black soil prairie lands in the northeast, to piney woods in the southern part of the state. Its eastern boundary was defined by the watershed of the Black Warrior River, and the Pearl, Tombigbee, and Chickasawhay Rivers defined its three major divisions—the Okla Falaya, the Okla Tanap, and the Okla Hannali (Okla being the Choctaw word for "people").
Tribal regions before Removal, ca. 1830 enlarge map
See descriptions of the tribal regions.
The Creeks lived in Alabama and southwestern Georgia— the "upper" Creeks along the Tallapoosa and Coosa Rivers and the "lower" Creeks along the Chattahoochie River.
The Chickasaw homeland was in the upper Mississippi Delta region in northern Mississippi, into western Tennessee and northern Alabama.
The Cherokees occupied the valleys of the southern Appalachian Mountains, establishing villages along the Tennessee River and its tributaries. They included five divisions (as defined by the British