MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
Mount Vernon History Trail
The MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians consists of over 3,600 tribal members who live in Mobile and Washington Counties, Alabama, where the Tribal Reservation encompasses 300 acres of land. Several pow-wows, open to the public, are held here each year. The Tribe provides numerous services for its members, and is governed by a Chief and an eleven-member Tribal Council. Our leaders and members have the vision, the knowledge, the ability, and the experience to help us make a better future. Tribal members are truly our greatest asset today and tomorrow.
Here are a few terms highly important to our Choctaw culture:
Alito - Hello (in Alabama Choctaw)
Halito - Hello (in standard Choctaw dialect)
Iksa Alhiha - Community
Alhichi - Honesty
Shilombish immi - Spirituality
Ittikana - Kindness
Itti kashkoa - Sharing
Na-mihiksho - Patience
Achonachi - Effort
Iyikowa - Generosity
Momit holitobli - Love
Ayoppachih - Respect
Alhtampa - Balance
Aiahli - True, the truth
Noktala - Peace
According to tribal legend, “The Great Spirit" created the Choctaw people on a high hill, Nana Chafa. The Yowanni Choctaws lived in this area for many centuries, defending their homeland and way of life from intrusions by Spanish, French, and British colonists. With the arrival of thousands of American settlers in the early 19th century, conflicts arose over land. With the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the Choctaws ceded almost all their lands east of the Mississippi River to the United States. Some Choctaws who had neither the heart nor the desire to leave their beloved Alabama moved to remote communities in north Mobile and south Washington Counties (from which their name MOWA derives).
After the United States forcibly removed most Indian peoples from their eastern homelands, the Alabama Choctaws became more and more isolated from their relatives in Oklahoma and Mississippi. Between 1830 and 1890, our ancestors lived close knit lives with little intrusion by outsiders. To improve social and economic
From 1888 to 1910, a second Indian removal profoundly affected the Choctaws. The Dawes Act in 1887 attempted to do away with Indian reservations by dividing tribal lands into individual family allotments. Many Choctaws living in the east relocated to Oklahoma, but some filtered back to Alabama and Mississippi. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Choctaws in Alabama lost most of their land to unscrupulous white businessmen. Logging then became the primary occupation for many Indians. Poverty existed among the small communities in north Mobile and south Washington Counties.
From the 1930s to 1950s, educational opportunities were very limited for the MOWA Choctaws, but some managed to receive a higher education. Among the first college graduates were some who became teachers and returned to help educate more of their own people. The passage of civil rights laws in the 1960s represented a turning point for the MOWA Choctaws of Alabama. With the disappearance of societal barriers based on color, expressions of Indian identity among the Choctaws intensified. The members of the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians
The MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center has displays on our history and present-day culture. Tours are available upon request by calling 251-829-5500.
[Top center:] In 1922 William Weaver donated a deed for one acre and this building, thereafter known as the Indian Schoolhouse, to the Mobile County School Board. At that time Indian children could not hope for more than a seventh-grade education, since no high school was available to them. (Courtesy of the Historic American Building Survey)
[Top right] The MOWA Choctaw Cultural Center is located in the Becker-Heard House, a Creole-style structure built between 1855 and 1860 by Christian Becker, a native of Germany and one of Mount Vernon's earliest settlers. Originally standing in Mount Vernon until the early 1990s, it was donated to the MOWA Choctaws by Mr. Cecil Jordan and moved to this spot, which is historically known as The Old Stomping Grounds.
Erected by Town of Mount Vernon. (Marker Number 8.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Native Americans. A significant historical year for this entry is 1830.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Mount Vernon Arsenal (approx. 4.2 miles away); Mt. Vernon Arsenal and Barracks/Searcy Hospital (approx. 4.2 miles away); Fort Stoddert (approx. 4.6 miles away); Mt. Vernon Federal Highway (approx. 4.6 miles away); Mount Vernon Historical Museum and Train Depot (approx. 4.7 miles away); Old Military Road and Old Federal Road (approx. 5.4 miles away); Ephraim Kirby's Grave (approx. 5.8 miles away); a different marker also named Fort Stoddert (approx. 5.8 miles away).
Also see . . . The Encyclopedia of Alabama article on the MOWA Band of Choctaw Indians. (Submitted on May 3, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 3, 2020. It was originally submitted on May 3, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 173 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 3, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.