The Five Civilized Tribes was a confederation, formed in 1859, of North American Indians in what was then WESTERN INDIAN TERRITORY (in present-day Oklahoma). The group comprised the Iroquoian- speaking CHEROKEE and the Muskogean-speaking CHICKASAW, CHOCTAW, CREEK, and SEMINOLE. They were described as “civilized” because of their early adoption of many of the white man’s ways.
Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Five Tribes were deported from their traditional homelands east of the Mississippi and forced to settle in Indian Territory. Each organized an autonomous state modeled after the U.S. federal government, established courts and a formalized code of laws, constructed schools and Christian churches, and developed a writing system patterned on the one earlier devised by the CHEROKEE.