“Halito means hello in Choctaw, but I didn’t find that out for a long, long time.” from Halito Gianna: The Journey Continues.
In my journey as a family genealogist, I have found out many astonishing things about my ancestors. I began my research with my grandparents and continued on from there enjoying the amazing journey that continues to this day. However, when I found documentation on my great-grandfather and his family, I was captivated by the notion of possibly being Choctaw and a small part of the Five Civilized Tribes.
The term “Five Civilized Tribes” refers to five Native American nations Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole. However, as you can see by this map, they are far from being the only Native Americans who exist.
© 2016 Tribal Nations Maps – Aaron Carapella
I was able to find out about my Native American heritage through the Dawes Records that can be found at the National Archives in the Native American Heritage website:https://www.archives.gov/research/native-americans/dawes/background.html. There is also information available through the U.S. Department of the Interior website:https://www.doi.gov/tribes/trace-ancestry. For additional information, I checked the following website: Choctaw Nation:https://www.choctawnation.com/
Through this research, I was able to learn the language through Chahta Anumpa Aiikhvna the School of Choctaw Language:http://choctawschool.com/ and be introduced to fry bread that is very similar to the buñuelos that Hispanic people make for special occasions.
It was the generosity of the Choctaw people that amazed me the most. In 1847, not many years after they had been removed from their homes, they raised $170 for the Irish Famine relief. At the time this was an enormous amount of money, close to tens of thousands of dollars today. They did this despite the history of deprivation they had experienced themselves. Forced off their lands in 1831, they were marched 500-miles to Oklahoma on what is called “The Trail of Tears,” where thousands died.
I feel very honored and blessed to have a small part of this heritage in my ancestral background.
Yakoka, thank you, dear friends, and have a joyful holiday season. November 23