Native American Leaders

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Boudinot, Elias Cornelius

Elias Cornelius Boudinot was a mixed-lineage Cherokee lawyer, newspaper editor, and lobbyist. He was active in civic life and Democratic Party politics in Arkansas during the Civil War era, serving in the Confederate Cherokee forces and the Confederate Congress during the conflict. In the following years, he maintained close connections with leading Democratic politicians in Arkansas while engaging in legal, economic, and political activities. Elias Cornelius Boudinot was born on August 1, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia, to Elias Boudinot, who was Cherokee, and his white wife, Harriet Gold. He was one of six siblings. After the assassination of his father in 1839 in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), the Gold family raised the Boudinot children in the East. Boudinot returned …


Casqui was a Native American chief who ruled over a province in northeastern Arkansas in the 1500s. He was the first Indian leader in Arkansas whose 1541 dealings with the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto are recorded in detail in the accounts of the expedition. Casqui was thus the earliest Arkansan about whom we have written historical information. In the Spanish writings, his name was variously recorded as Casqui, Casquin, or Icasqui. The explorers used his name to refer to him, the town in which he resided, and the area over which he ruled. Knowledge of Casqui himself is limited, but the narratives provide interesting details about his people and the territory under his control, as well as some of …


Dehahuit, hereditary chief of the Kadohadacho Caddo community of Native Americans at the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, is remembered as an effective, respected leader of the Caddo during turbulent times. The Kadohadacho (kado-ha-dach’-o) were the most prominent of several Caddo groups that lived in villages along the Great Bend of the Red River in southwest Arkansas. These Caddo are believed to have lived on the Great Bend for more than 500 years before the Europeans arrived. They remained in this homeland until just before 1800, when disease and Osage raids forced them downstream into northwest Louisiana. Other Caddo viewed the Kadohadacho as descendants of the tribe’s most ancient and prominent ancestral community. Dehahuit was recognized as the …


aka: Bowl
aka: Bowles
Duwali, also known as The Bowl or Bowles due to the Quapaw meaning of his name, was leader of a group of Cherokee who lived briefly in Arkansas early in the territorial period, from about 1812 to 1818. His life story illustrates the fate of thousands of Native Americans from tribes and nations east of the Mississippi River who moved west to get away from economic and political turmoil long before the official Indian Removal events of the 1830s. These early groups had a significant impact on early territorial residents and on the Caddo, the Osage, and the Quapaw who lived, hunted, and claimed territorial rights in Arkansas when Euro-American settlers first arrived. Duwali was born about 1756 in the …


aka: Guedelonguay
aka: Quedetongue
Guedetonguay was a Quapaw Indian leader in the mid-eighteenth century who was the most important contact between the Quapaw and French colonial officials in Louisiana. In 1752, the Quapaw lived along the lower Arkansas River near the Mississippi River. Their population had been greatly reduced, mainly through disease, since the arrival of French settlers in Louisiana. They were still considered important allies of French colonial authorities in New Orleans, however, even though they were able to muster only about 150 men to serve in military engagements and war parties. Guedetonguay was made medal chief of the Quapaw in 1752 by Paul Augustin Le Pelletier de La Houssaye, who was then commander of Arkansas Post (Arkansas County). He became the principal …


Heckaton was the hereditary chief of the Quapaw during their long and painful removal from their homelands in Arkansas during the 1830s. At the time of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, fewer than 600 Quapaw remained of the thousands who had lived in the region in the late seventeenth century. Most of these lived in three traditional villages near Arkansas Post (Arkansas County). Each village had its own leader, and one leader was overall tribal chief by family inheritance. A few Quapaw lived in homesteads along the Arkansas River as far north as the site of Little Rock (Pulaski County). For a decade, there were no official relations between the Quapaw and the American government. After the War of 1812, …

Jolly, John

aka: Ah ludi ski
aka: Ooluntuskee
John Jolly, president of the Arkansas Cherokee, was a key figure in Cherokee affairs during and after their residence along the Arkansas River in west-central Arkansas. Born in Tennessee into an influential mixed-race family, he had a successful trading post on Hiwassee Island in eastern Tennessee, at the confluence of the Hiwassee River and the Tennessee River. Jolly’s brother Tahlonteskee was one of several Cherokee chiefs who voluntarily moved a group of Cherokee from their lands into the area that would become Arkansas shortly after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Following an 1817 treaty that promised an exchange of their lands east of the Mississippi River for an equivalent area in Arkansas, Tolontuskee and his followers moved gradually from northeast …


Pacaha was a Native American chief who lived in northeastern Arkansas during the 1500s. He is known solely from the four written accounts of the Hernando de Soto expedition, which passed through the region in the summer of 1541. One of the accounts refers to him as Capaha, but this is probably an author’s or editor’s mistake. Pacaha lived in a fortified village near the Mississippi River. The town was surrounded by a water-filled moat and a log palisade wall, with guard towers along the wall. Archaeologists speculate that the town may have been in what is now Crittenden County. When Hernando de Soto arrived, Pacaha was at war with a nearby chief named Casqui. Both chiefs ruled over several …


aka: Saracen
aka: Sarrasin
aka: Sarasen
Sarasin was a Quapaw leader who became a legend among Arkansas settlers for rescuing white children captured by Indians raiding in the territory. Many versions of this story in Arkansas folklore indicate the high regard in which Sarasin was held by his white neighbors. Not remembered as well were Sarasin’s struggles to help his people, the Quapaw, who lived in three villages along the Arkansas River below Pine Bluff (Jefferson County). During the era of Indian removal in the early nineteenth century, Sarasin and other Quapaw leaders attempted to prevent removal. The basic legend about Sarasin concerns the late eighteenth-century capture of two children, taken from their home by a Chickasaw raiding party. Sarasin went to the children’s mother and …


aka: George Guess
aka: George Gist
Sequoyah, also known as George Guess and George Gist, is best known for his development of the Cherokee syllabary, a notational system that transcribed the sounds of spoken Cherokee into a written form. But during his long life, Sequoyah played many roles in Cherokee society. Sequoyah was born circa 1770 to a Cherokee mother and an Anglo-European father. There is no record of his having a formal education. He made a living at various periods as a blacksmith and a silversmith, trades that developed as a result of Cherokee contact with European culture, although he was a traditionalist in supporting Cherokee cultural and territorial integrity. When the first large group of Cherokee prepared to move from the Cherokee heartland of …


aka: Tolluntuskee
Tahlonteskee, whose name is roughly translated as “Common Disturber” or “Upsetter,” was the principal civil chief of the Arkansas Cherokee when they coalesced in the Arkansas River Valley about 1812. As the Arkansas Cherokee’s most respected member until his death in 1819, he represented them in their struggle to acquire legal control over lands in Arkansas and to secure relief from threats from both Osage and American settler incursions. Son of a mixed-race couple, Tahlonteskee was Lower Town Cherokee (a group located primarily in what is now western South Carolina) and a supporter of efforts to stop American advances into Cherokee country after the Revolutionary War. In Cherokee opinion, Americans failed to keep previous agreements and treaty provisions and relentlessly …


aka: Ticketoke
aka: Ta-Ka-To-Kuh
aka: De'gata'ga
aka: Degadoga
Takatoka (whose name is spelled various ways in records of the time and in later histories) was one of the leaders of the Cherokee nation in Arkansas during the early years of the nineteenth century. He led warriors in battle against the Osage living in Arkansas, and he also represented the Cherokee in meetings and in negotiations with the U.S. government. Details of Takatoka’s early life are not available, but he was estimated to be around sixty-five years old when he met with Christian missionary Cephas Washburn in 1820. Takatoka was evidently a member of the group led by Tahlonteskee that crossed the Mississippi River to settle in the Missouri Territory, as encouraged by the U.S. government. The New Madrid …


There were actually two men with the name of Tinhiouen, a father and son, who were hereditary chiefs, or caddi, of the Kadohadacho Caddo in the late eighteenth century. After Spain took control of Louisiana, these two chiefs became increasingly important figures in diplomatic and economic affairs among colonial authorities, Creole inhabitants, and the many Native American tribes who lived in and around Spanish Louisiana and Texas. The two men shaped relationships between Spanish colonists and Indian tribes, and they gave the Caddo a favored political position in troubled times. The Kadohadacho were viewed by all other Caddo tribes, and by non-Caddo Indian neighbors, as direct descendants of the mythical or semi-mythical ancient ancestors of all Caddo people. The home …