Upon the death of Choctaw Chief Pushmataha, American statesman John Randolph proclaimed in the U.S. Senate, “Pushmataha was a warrior of great distinction, he was in counsel, eloquent in an extraordinary degree, and, on all occasions and under all circumstances, the white man’s friend.”

For centuries, the Choctaw pursued peaceful agricultural endeavors in the southeastern United States. The Choctaw tribe contributed soldiers to the United States in every major war since the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795) and the War of 1812. Choctaw Code Talkers provided crucial intelligence by communicating in the Choctaw language during World Wars I and II, dumbfounding the enemy. Deemed one of the five “Civilized Tribes” because they adopted many colonial practices, including Christianity for a significant number, the Choctaw were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory in 1830 by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. Despite the adversities faced, the Choctaw nation made vast contributions that resulted in a stronger America.

Representing the Choctaw nation, Ryan Spring will discuss the History of the Choctaw up to the Trail of Tears at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, January 21, at the Allen Public Library.

Sponsored by Bach to Books, this program is free.

A Geographic Information System (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) Specialist for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Historic Preservation Department, Ryan received his Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from the University of Arkansas in fall of 2011. He was hired by the tribe to implement GIS and GPS technology to aid in protecting sites important to the Choctaw people, creating cultural maps for education, and conducting Choctaw cultural presentations, research, and advisement. Spring emphasizes, “Being a member of the Choctaw Nation means I have the duty to respect my ancestors, do my best to aid my family and tribe, and to make the future culturally and environmentally sustainable for future generations of Choctaw people.”

Ryan is currently enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University for his Masters in Native American Leadership. He also enjoys playing Choctaw stickball for the Choctaw Nation’s Stickball Team as well as helping coach stickball to youth and adults in his community.

HISTORY OF THE CHOCTAW

When: Thursday, January 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Allen Public Library, 300 N. Allen Dr., Allen, Texas 75013

Cost: Free for all attendees

Call 214.509.4911 for more information.