The Chickasaw area stretches from present day Virginia to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic Ocean to Louisiana. The Chickasaw are a Native American tribe that originally lived in what is now the Southeastern, United States. The Chickasaw also crossed a land bridge linking Siberia in Asia, to Alaska.
A traditional Chickasaw home usually consisted of three buildings-a summer house, a winter house, and a granary was where they stored corn and other food. In 1540 Spanish explorer Hernando De Soto and his men traveled through Chickasaw territory. It was the Chickasaw's first contact with Europeans. They began their journey in 1837. The Chickasaw spoke a language of the Muskogean family. When the Spanish tried to enslave the tribe, the Chickasaw drove them out of there land.
Men fished and hunted deer, bears, and bison. The Chickasaw built two types of houses one for the summer and one for the winter. Early Chickasaw families had homes for different seasons. The Chickasaw grew corn, beans, and other vegetables. They believed that they lived in close proximity to the spirit world. The most important spirit they believed in was Ababinili. This was the spirit of the sky and the sun.
According to the 1990 U.S. census, there are 20,639 people who are Chickasaw, 12,772 of whom live in Oklahoma. Some Chickasaw now live on tribal lands that are informally called reservations.The U.S. census of 2010 counted more than 52,000 people of Chickasaw descent. Early estimate the tribes population at 3,000-4,000. Today about 35,000 people are counted as Chickasaw. Many of them live in Oklahoma, but the Chickasaw live all over the world. There territory includes all or parts of 13 county's in south central Oklahoma.
According to the Chickasaw story of origin they once lived farther west. Two of their leaders, Chicsa and Chacta, lead the people east until they reached a land that fit them. Some people settled. The people with Chicsa became the Chickasaw tribe. The people with Chacta became the Choctaw. One meaning for Chickasaw is "Rebel."