For centuries, the Choctaw pursued peaceful agricultural endeavors in the southeastern United States.
The Choctaw tribe contributed soldiers to the U.S. 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 War I and World War II, dumbfounding the enemy.
Deemed one of the five “Civilized Tribes” because they adopted many colonial practices, including many converting to Christianity, the Choctaw were forcibly relocated to Indian Territory in 1830 by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek.
Representing the Choctaw nation, Ryan Spring discusses the History of the Choctaw up to the Trail of Tears at the Allen Public Library.
A GIS/GPS specialist for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Historic Preservation Department, Spring received his bachelor’s in anthropology from the University of Arkansas in 2011. He was hired by the tribe to implement GIS (Geographic Information System) and GPS (Global Positioning System) technology to aid in protecting sites important to the Choctaw people, creating cultural maps for education, and conducting Choctaw cultural presentations, research and advisement.
“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,” Spring said.
Spring is enrolled at Southeastern Oklahoma State University to earn his master’s in Native American Leadership. He enjoys playing Choctaw stickball for the Choctaw Nation’s stickball team as well as helping coach stickball to youth and adults in his community.