1948 3¢ Indian Centennial
Issue Date: October 15, 1948
City: Muskogee, Oklahoma
Printed By: Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Printing Method: Rotary Press
Perforations: 11 x 10 ½
Color: Dark brown
U.S. #972 arose from the request of Senator Elmer Thomas of Oklahoma, who asked Postmaster General Robert E. Hannegan in 1947 for a stamp to commemorate the arrival of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma. The stamp was issued in Muskogee, which served as the location of the Union Agency, a two-story stone building where the heads of the Five Civilized Tribes met.
The “Five Civilized Tribes” Are Forced to Settle in Indian Territory
Five Civilized Tribes was the name given to the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole Indian tribes. These tribes had farmed and hunted in the southeastern United States. By the 1800s, they had adopted much of the European way of life, so European settlers considered them more civilized than other Native Americans.
This did not stop the white settlers from taking land from the Five Civilized Tribes. The U.S. government forced most of the members of these tribes to move to Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma, between 1830 and 1842. Thousands of Indians died making the journey, which became known as the Trail of Tears.
The U.S. pledged to preserve the Indian Territory forever. However, American Indians living in Indian Territory aided the South during the Civil War. As punishment, the government took away the western portion of Indian Territory. In 1898, the U.S. began to dissolve the tribal governments. All Indians in the territory were granted U.S. citizenship in 1901. Today, many descendants of the Five Civilized Tribes still live in Oklahoma.