Chickasaw chĭk´əsô [key], Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Muskogean branch of the Hokan-Siouan linguistic stock (see Native American languages). They occupied N Mississippi and were closely related in language and culture to the Choctaw. The Chickasaw warred constantly with the Choctaw, the Creek, the Cherokee, and the Shawnee. The decline of the Chickasaw can be traced to the conflict for control of interior North America between France and Great Britain. Probably because British traders were established in their country before the settlement of Louisiana, the Chickasaw fought on the side of Great Britain, and French attempts to make peace with them were unsuccessful. After 1834 they moved, according to treaty arrangements, to Oklahoma, where they constituted one of the Five Civilized Tribes. In 1990 there were 21,500 Chickasaw in the United States.
See A. M. Gibson, The Chickasaws (1971).
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