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Choctaw Confederates

Historic preservation workers install the headstone of Tecumseh King at the King Cemetery near Kinta, OK.


Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

DURANT, Okla. – Choctaw Nation Historic Preservation employees worked for two months to prepare for the May 24 ceremony honoring two full-blood Choctaw Civil War confederate soldiers at their discovered gravesites in King Cemetery near Kinta.

“I was doing family research and discovered the cemetery,” Karrie Shannon, Choctaw Nation employee in McAlester, said. “In November, I made a trip to Kinta, Oklahoma to locate the King Cemetery. I found the cemetery unmaintained and abandoned. No one might have entered there for 121 years, it was so thick you had a hard time making your way through the area.”

Private Henry Cooper and 2nd Lieutenant Jerry Riddle received military government issued headstones and were honored during the cemetery dedication in May. Both were descendents of Chief Mosholatubbee, who had seven sons with the surname King and one daughter surnamed Cooper.

Skyler Robinson, Cemetery Restoration Coordinator with Historic Preservation, said his crew works to preserve and protect abandoned Choctaw cemeteries like King Cemetery. “It was in really bad shape, thick with briars and bushes,” Robinson said. “We went in and cleaned it up, put a new fence around it with a gate, and then placed a couple of headstones.”

District 5 Tribal Council Member Ron Perry was in attendance and spoke to dedicate King Cemetery during the event. Gene Arpelar said the prayer and blessing. The Choctaw Nation Color Guard sent members, led by Herbert Jessie, to give the 21-gun salute and play Taps. The Color Guard, while honoring the veterans, also showed gratitude to their relatives. “We were there to do the honors,” Harlan Wright, Color Guard member, said. “They folded a flag and presented it to the next of kin.”

Karrie Shannon and Cheryl Stone-Pitchford, King descendants, were there to receive the flag. Stone-Pitchford, who had also researched Choctaw genealogy, aided Shannon in uncovering King Cemetery. She said it was a very sacred moment; everyone was there to remember and honor the cemetery and its buried that were too long forgotten.

“When it became apparent who was buried there, it became a real significance in our family. I also believe it is significant to the Choctaw Nation and history overall,” Stone-Pitchford said.

Dena Cantrell, also a King descendant in attendance at the ceremony, said she appreciated the genealogical research that had been done and how it was bringing the family history together. “Learning and knowing we are descendents of ancestors who played a great part in the history of the Choctaw Nation and the United States… is very gratifying,” she said.

There are approximately 50 gravesites at King Cemetery. Some were identified by grave depressions, bases of headstones or bases of footstones. There are a handful of existing headstones still standing. Approximately 15 out of 50 buried individuals have been identified. Two of Chief Mosholatubbee’s children are buried in the cemetery, and five military veterans.

Shannon is working to obtain military monuments for all five veterans within the cemetery. She received the monument for the grave of Tecumseh King, youngest son of Chief Mosholatubbee, on July 21. “There’s a lot of Choctaws in that cemetery,” Shannon said. “We’ve got to remember our Choctaw soldiers and what they have done for us. And if we can do anything to give back to them, that’s what this is all about. It’s for them.”

Robinson, with Historic Preservation, said his department gets calls informing them of abandoned Choctaw cemeteries periodically, occasionally multiple within one week. He said if anyone knows of an abandoned Choctaw cemetery, it would be appreciated if the individual calls (580) 924-8280 ext. 2236. Additionally, Shannon offered to aid anyone researching family genealogy and can be contacted at [email protected]


Little Bighorn Memorial

53acbed3b34eb.imageSicangue Lakotah member Eric LaPointe finds his grandfather Black Bear’s name on the Zuya Wicasa panel of the Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn National Monument in Garryowen. Six of LaPointe’s ancestors are listed on the panel. A ceremony Wednesday marked the completion of the memorial to Indian warriors 138 years after their defeat of the 7th Cavalry. (AP Photo)

By SUSAN OLP/The Billings Gazette

GARRYOWEN — Etched in granite on the Indian Memorial at the Little Bighorn Battlefield are words spoken by Cheyenne warrior Young Two Moons.

“It was a hot, clear day and no wind,” he said of the June 25, 1876, battle. “There was a great dust from fighting, but no storm after the battle.”

On Wednesday, at the battlefield where Indian warriors celebrated victory over the 7th Cavalry 138 years ago, it wasn’t hard to imagine a day like the one Young Two Moons described. With mostly clear skies and temperatures in the low 80s, the weather mirrored the day of the battle.

Wednesday was a victory of another sort for the Indian tribes that took part in the historic battle. Eleven years after the Indian Memorial was initially dedicated at the battlefield, a ceremony marked its final completion.

Granite panels that are 10 inches thick, 44 inches high and 78 to 91 inches wide have replaced the temporary aluminum plates initially put in place. They commemorate the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors who allied in 1876 to form the largest Native army ever recorded on the Northern Plains.

Panels in the circular memorial also honored the Crow and Arikara scouts who served with the U.S. Army against their traditional, more powerful enemy tribes.

Read the full article at the Daily Inter Lake.

Swearing in Native American soldiers

During the Civil War, there was no distinction made when a Native American joined the U.S. Colored Troops.

Well into the twentieth century, the word “colored” included not only African Americans, but Native Americans as well. Individual accounts revealed that many Pequot from New England served in the 31st U.S. Colored Infantry of the Army of the Potomac, as well as other U.S.C.T. regiments.

Source: W. David Baird et al. 2009. ""We are all Americans", Native Americans in the Civil War

From The Civil War Parlor

Joe Tasson

The National Museum of the American Indian has a postcard of a black-and-white portrait of Joe Tasson, a war veteran and interpreter for the Meskwaki tribe. Like many accounts of American Indians’ service in the Civil War, his story has been lost. “Reliable estimates of Native participation in the Civil War are hard to come by,” says Mark Hirsch, a historian at the museum.

Sources believe anywhere from 6,000 to 20,000 men fought in the war, on both sides. The majority, however, fought for the Confederacy. In Indian Territory alone (modern-day Oklahoma and Arkansas), says Hirsch, about 3,500 Native people fought for the North, while most, including Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Creeks, were sympathetic to the South. In fact, some prosperous Indians owned plantations and African-American slaves and were therefore pro-slavery.

“The Confederacy viewed them as a buffer against the Union Army as well as a source of horses, mules and lead for musket balls and bullets,” says Hirsch. However, the war recharged old antagonisms within tribes over the policy of Indian removal. “The Civil War was a disaster for Indian people,” says Hirsch. “It was kind of like a civil war within the Civil War.”

by Megan Gambino

National Museum of the American Indian-

From: Civil War Parlor on Tumblr