Commemorative issue Arrival in Indian Territory of Five Civilized Tribes
Map of Indian Territory and seals of tribes
Formed in 1859, the Five Civilized Tribes was a loose confederation of North American Indians in what was then Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Included were Cherokee, 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 River and forced to settle in Indian Territory. Each tribe organized an autonomous state modeled after the U.S. federal government, established courts and a formalized code of laws. They constructed schools and churches and developed a writing system patterned on the one earlier developed by the Cherokee.