Cajuns? No, Choctaws.

Long time ago wasn’t no folks on them sand flats.… Them Cajans sprung up right out’n the ground. Some say they come from animals—coons and foxes and suchlike—but that ain’t right. Just sprung up out’n the ground.
— Carl Carmer, Stars Fell on Alabama (1934)

Detail from an 1850 painting by Phillip Romer of a Choctaw woman in Mobile, Alabama.

I just discovered that Jackie Matte’s article on the Choctaw Indians of southwest Alabama has been published online, with her permission, by the Access Genealogy website.

The article is “Extinction by Reclassification: The MOWA Choctaws of South Alabama and Their Struggle for Federal Recognition.” The site presents the article attractively and in a paginated style reminiscent of the original printed article.* All of the footnotes are reproduced faithfully.

Matte was president of the Alabama Historical Association in 2006. At the annual meeting in Fairhope she gave a memorable address on the subject of the MOWA Choctaws and their fruitless quest for federal recognition as an authentic Indian tribe. (In 1979 the Alabama Choctaws coined the name “MOWA” from the names of the two counties they inhabit, Mobile and Washington.)

Because their identity as Indians was politically and commercially inconvenient, they were long ago labeled “Cajans” (sic). Continue reading “Cajuns? No, Choctaws.”