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The Alabama and the Quassarte entered documentary history in the colonial period as two closely related tribes living on the Alabama River north of present Mobile, Alabama. Both the river and the state are named after the Alabama Indians. The Quassarte have also lent their name to history, either in the form "Quassarte" or as Koasati, Coosauda, Coushatta, and many other spellings. The languages are closely related within the Muskogean family. In historical times the Alabama and Quassarte have been highly intermarried.

After a brief confrontation with the French in the early eighteenth century, the Alabama and Quassarte became their allies and trading partners. They also were intermittent allies of the Creek Indians, to their north and east, and became firm members of the Creek Confederacy after the French withdrew from North America in 1763. At that time the Alabama and Quassarte constituted six to eight towns. With further encroachments by the Americans and the threat of removal in the early nineteenth century, the two tribes began to migrate west, town by town. One group, predominantly Alabama, ended up with a reservation near Livingston, Texas, while other bands and families settled in central Louisiana. Those remaining with the Creeks were removed to Indian Territory in 1835, where they came to live in the area between Weleetka and Wetumka, Oklahoma, near the juncture of the Canadian and North Canadian rivers.

Like other members of the Creek Confederacy, the Alabama-Quassarte were allotted individual parcels of land under the Dawes Act, beginning in 1899, and they were offered separate federal recognition under the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act in 1936. The forty or so towns of the Creek Confederacy were sovereign under traditional Creek law, and they were ethnically and linguistically different, but only three of them chose to accept a separate federal charter in 1936. Among other things, this made them eligible for special loans from the federal government.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century Alabama-Quassarte membership stood at approximately two hundred persons. They maintained a tribal headquarters in Wetumka, consisting of an administration building and a housing office, and a smoke shop at Henryetta.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: John R. Swanton, Early History of the Creek Indians and Their Neighbors, Bulletin 73, Bureau of American Ethnology (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1922). Muriel H. Wright, A Guide to the Indian Tribes of Oklahoma (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1951).

John H. Moore

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