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The World’s Famous Orations.
America: I. (1761–1837). 1906.

The Choctaw Chief Pushmataha

Pushmataha to John C. Calhoun

FATHER, I have been here at the council-house for some time, but I have not talked. I have not been strong enough to talk. You shall hear me talk to-day. I belong to another district. You have, no doubt, heard of me. I am Pushmataha.

Father, when in my own country, I often looked toward this council-house, and wanted to come here. I am in trouble. I will tell my distresses. I feel like a small child, not half as high as its father, who comes up to look in his father’s face, hanging in the bend of his arm, to tell him his troubles. So, father, I hang in the bond of your arm, and look in your face; and now hear me speak.

Father, when I was in my own country, I heard there were men appointed to talk to us. I would not speak there; I chose to come here, and speak in this beloved house; for Pushmataha can boast and say, and tell the truth, that none of his fathers, or grandfathers, or any Choctaw, ever drew bow against the United States. They have always been friendly. We have held the hands of the United States so long that our nails are long like birds’ claws; and there is no danger of their slipping out.

Father, I have come to speak. My nation has always listened to the applications of the white people. They have given of their country till it is very small. I came here, when a young man, to see my Father Jefferson. He told me, if ever we got in trouble, we must run and tell him. I am come. This is a friendly talk; it is like that of a man who meets another, and says: “How do you do?” Another of my tribe shall talk further. He shall say what Pushmataha would say, were he stronger.