that came into use during the mid-nineteenth
century to refer to the Cherokee, Choctaw,
Chicasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations
Although the Cherokee, Choctaw,
Chicasaw. Creek, and Seminole originally had
quite different political, religious, and
economic systems, they came to be collectively
called "Civilized" because they seemed
to adopt "civilized ways" much more
readily than other tribes. The term indicated the
adoption of horticulture and animal husbandry,
European-style houses, Christianity,
American-style government complete with written
constitution, intermarriage with
"whites," literacy, participation in a
market economy, and even the owning of slaves.
Although no single tribe embraced all of those
"civilized" traits, the term served to
distinguish those five nations from other tribes
that still relied on hunting for survival.
Despite being considered
civilized by "whites," all five of
these tribes were forced to leave their native
lands in the southeastern United States because
they inhabited lands coveted by "white"
settlers. Although some of the members of these
tribes voluntarily exchanged their native lands
for land in what is now Oklahoma, the majority were forcibly removed in
the 1830's, leading to an era known as the "Trail of Tears."
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