Council House

First Council House (1855 - 1858)

Council_House.jpgWhen the Chickasaws were forcibly removed from their homelands, including parts of present-day Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee,  beginning in 1837, they journeyed to Indian Territory, where they settled among the Choctaw people. Preferring to reside on their own land, in 1855 a treaty between the Choctaw and Chickasaw formally established the Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory and set the physical boundaries between the two nations.

Later that year, Chickasaw leaders and citizens met on Pennington Creek at Good Spring (present-day Tishomingo) to begin shaping the government of the new nation. A log building and brush arbors served as a meeting place. Within the log Council House, a committee drafted a constitution, ratified in 1856, which formally developed and defined an independent Chickasaw government. The log Council House served the Chickasaw Nation until a large, brick building was built in 1858.

councilhouse.jpgSometime prior to 1900, the original log structure was moved to the farm of Chickasaw Governor R. M. Harris, where it was used as a playhouse and smokehouse. In the 1930s, the building was relocated to the Capitol Square in Tishomingo. Today, the Council House, which played such an important role in early Chickasaw government, is now protected and preserved within the walls of the Chickasaw Council House Museum.

Chickasaw Capitol (1858-1897)
In 1858, a two-story brick building was built on what is now the Capitol Square in Tishomingo, Oklahoma. The Chickasaw Capitol provided a larger, permanent building to house the offices of the Chickasaw governor and judicial and legislative offices. By 1894, the brick capitol was deemed unsafe and scheduled to be torn down. Demolition began in 1897.

Chickasaw National Capitol (1898-present)

_055_M2G5958_Capitol_Building_Textures_.jpgConstruction of the granite Romanesque style Capitol began in 1898 under Governor Robert M. Harris. The red granite used on the outside of the Capitol was quarried on the allotment land owned by Governor Harris.

In November of 1898, after seven months of construction, the new Capitol was completed. Although Governor Harris was responsible for the construction, Governor Douglas H. Johnston was the first Chickasaw Governor to hold office in the Capitol. The granite Capitol served the Chickasaw Nation until Oklahoma statehood in 1907. At that time, the Chickasaw Nation was forced to leave their building, which was to be used by Johnston County as their Court House.

The Chickasaw Nation, under the leadership of Bill Anoatubby, repurchased the Capitol from Johnston County in 1992.

Notes:

  • The Capitol was put on the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1971.
  • Restoration of the historic Capitol was completed in 2004.
  • The main exhibit area in the Capitol focuses on Chickasaw history from 1856 through 1907 and is located on the first floor.
  • There is also information and old photographs illustrating the construction and dedication of the Capitol.

A re-creation of Governor Douglas Johnston's office and the National Vault are part of the Capitol's new exhibit areas.

Last Updated: 07/20/2017