Omitted and Forgotten Stories of U.S. History: Crazy Snake/Chitto Harjo

The usual narratives of U.S. history tend to systematically omit, or undervalue, a great deal of the basic history and contributions of non-dominant people. This is one of the stories you may not have learned in school.


The history we are exploring in this post is directly relevant to the landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court issued on 9 July 2020. On the day the Supreme Court decision came down, one of the American Indian commentators I follow on social media said, "It feels like a good day for people to read up on Chitto Harjo."
In 1887, the United States Congress passed the Dawes Act, euphemistically known as the “General Allotment Act,” which broke up the vast communal tribal lands and allotted small portions (about 160 acres) to individual Indian families to farm. This privatized land-ownership on what had been tribal land, greatly reducing the amount of land “owned” by Indians. The “surplus” lands were then opened up to settlers. Crazy Snake/Chitto Harjo led organized resistance against the dissolution of Muscogee National government and other changes which the US government and local white leaders wanted to impose.
Indian Land For Sale: The Dawes Act - more information on the impact of the Dawes Act.
Here's a basic profile of Crazy Snake/Chitto Harjo, including his eloquent speech protesting US government polices against American Indian Nations.
Here's an overview of the Crazy Snake Rebellion, of which Chitto Harjo was the leader.
The Mvskoke/Muskogee Creek Nation has produced a series of videos relating their history. I recommend viewing all of them if you'd like to better understand U.S. history from the perspective of an American Indian Nation. The background for Crazy Snake/Chitto Harjo's role is provided in Video 3: Removal to Allotment, and he is discussed at length in the first part of Video 4: Allotment to 1979 Constitution.