Pushmataha (c. 1760s–December 24, 1824; also spelled Pooshawattaha, Pooshamallaha, or Poosha Matthaw), the “Indian General”, was one of the three regional chiefs of the major divisions of the Choctaw in the 19th century. Rejecting the offers of alliance and reconquest proffered by Tecumseh, Pushmataha led the Choctaw to fight on the side of the United States in the War of 1812.
When the neighbouring Creek Indians, then located in present-day Alabama, killed more than 500 Americans at Fort Mims on 30 August 1813, Pushmataha assumed his position as war leader. He quickly organized a Choctaw military force to assist General Andrew Jackson in fighting against the Creeks.
For that assistance, Jackson was forever grateful, but when the American general returned to Choctaw country in 1820 to negotiate the Treaty of Doak’s Stand, which called for Choctaw removal to lands west of the Mississippi River, Pushmataha resisted. He told Jackson that the lands in the west (present-day Arkansas) were too poor to support agriculture and hunting. In addition, Pushmataha pointed out that white settlers already lived on those lands. He knew that they would not leave voluntarily simply because the U.S. government had decided that those lands now belonged to the Choctaws.
Pushmataha tried to get a promise from Jackson to evict the white settlers, but this issue was never settled and it brought Pushmataha and other chiefs to Washington D.C. in 1824. They sought compensation for those Arkansas lands that they could never settle because of the large numbers of whites already living there. During the 1824 negotiations, his portrait was painted by Charles Bird King. Pushmataha also became sick and died. He was buried with full military honours in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Many historians considered him the “greatest of all Choctaw chiefs”. Pushmataha was highly regarded among Native Americans, Europeans, and white Americans, for his skill and cunning in both war and diplomacy.
NOTE: The Memoirs in my novel “Seeking A Knife” are received by a Choctaw journalist, whose ancestors might have fought alongside Pushmataha.
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A is for Anishinaabe ~ B is for Brock ~ C is for Coloured Corps ~ D is for Detroit ~ E is for Erie ~ F is for First Nations ~ G is for Ghent ~ H is for Harrison ~ I is for Impressment ~ J is for Jackson ~ K is for Key ~ L is for Lundy’s ~ M is for Madison ~ N is for New Orleans ~ O is for Ontario
The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, we blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.
My theme is ‘The War of 1812’, a military conflict, lasting for two-and-a-half years, fought by the United States of America against the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, its North American colonies, and its American Indian allies. The Memoirs of a British naval officer from the war is central to my novel “Seeking A Knife” – part of the Snowdon Shadows series.
Further reading on The War of 1812: