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American Indian and Alaska Native Newspapers and Periodicals, 1826-1924 - Vol. 1

By Daniel F. Littlefield Jr.; James W. Parins | Go to book overview

Called the "Official Paper of the Choctaw Nation," the Indian Champion was established at the request of the Choctaw Council, which in the fall of 1883 had appropriated $1500 for that purpose. According to the editor, the Choctaws had long felt the need for a paper that took an interest in their affairs and, noting the success of The Indian Journal at Muskogee, had called on the proprietors of the Journal to edit their paper as well. As The Branding Iron, the paper had as its motto "Devoted to Indian and Stock News," and nearly one fourth of its space was devoted to the publication of the brands of territorial cattlemen. Some of the prominent Choctaws did not like the name; it was changed, and the emphasis on livestock was dropped.

More material in Choctaw print began to appear. The front page became the "Choctaw Department," with the Reverend Allen Wright ( 1826-1885), former principal chief of the Choctaws, as editor and translator. Highly respected, Wright was born in Mississippi, the son of fullblood parents. He emigrated to the West in 1834 and was educated in Choctaw schools before being sent at his nation's expense to Delaware College at Newark in 1848. He then attended Union College at Schenectady, New York, and Union Theological Seminary in New York City, graduating in 1855. An ordained Presbyterian minister, he taught school and held political offices in the Choctaw Nation, including the office of chief, 1866- 1870. He also translated the Choctaw laws and parts of the Bible and compiled a dictionary for use in the Choctaw schools. 1 By early 1885, however, Wright's name did not appear at the head of the "Choctaw Department," and before the newspaper ceased publication, that column had been dropped altogether. The paper devoted several columns in each issue to local and Choctaw national news and several as well to advertisements.

Throughout its publication, the weekly contained eight pages of six columns each. The Indian Champion was suspended after the issue of December 28, 1885.


Note
1.
Wright died on December 2, 1885. John Bartlett Meserve, "Chief Allen Wright," Chronicles of Oklahoma, 19 ( December, 1941), 314-321.

Information Sources

Bibliography: Carolyn Thomas Foreman, Oklahoma Imprints, 1835-1907 ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1936); Frederick Webb Hodge, (ed.), Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico ( Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1910), 2: 233; James Constantine Pilling, Bibliography of the Muskhogean Languages ( Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1889); Grace Ernestine Ray , Early Oklahoma Newspapers ( Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1928)

Index Sources: None

Location Sources: Danky and Hady; Gregory; NL; ULS

-172-

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