Union Indian Agency

Privacy Level: Public (Green)
Date: 1874 to 1948
Location: Muskogee, Oklahomamap
This page has been accessed 341 times.

A part of the Native Americans Project. Items related to the Union Agency, Bureau of Indian Affairs, office to the Five Civilized Tribes.


Union Agency

"The Creek, Choctaw (including the Chickasaw), and Seminole Agencies were consolidated with the Cherokee Agency on 30 June 1874. On the 22nd of December of that year, the name of the agency was changed to Union Agency, with headquarters in Muskogee, Oklahoma. It was temporarily abolished on 30 June 1878, but re-established in August of 1879[1]. It was consolidated with the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes (also known as the Dawes Commission) on 1 September 1914 to form the Five Civilized Tribes Agency, which was absorbed by the Muskogee Area Office in 1948[2]." - FamilySearch.org Wiki
"Originally constructed on “Agency Hill,” by contractors Proctor and Maxwell of Kansas City, this two story structure was to serve as a consolidated seat of government for the Five Civilized Tribes. The vantage point of this structure provided views of 25 miles across the Arkansas River Valley. The Five Civilized Tribes were the Native American nations of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole." Berggren Architects

Five Civilized Tribes

A fact which is scarcely known is that the term “Five Civilized Tribes” does not officially appear in history until one year after (circa 1875) the opening of this consolidated Indian Union Agency. - Five Civilized Tribes Museum

"The term "Five Civilized Tribes" came into use during the mid-nineteenth century to refer to the Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole nations. Although these Indian tribes had various cultural, political, and economic connections before removal in the 1820s and 1830s, the phrase was most widely used in Indian Territory and Oklahoma."
"Americans, and sometimes American Indians, called the five Southeastern nations "civilized" because they appeared to be assimilating to Anglo-American norms. The term indicated the adoption of horticulture and other European cultural patterns and institutions, including widespread Christianity, written constitutions, centralized governments, intermarriage with white Americans, market participation, literacy, animal husbandry, patrilineal descent, and even slaveholding. None of these attributes characterized all of the nations or all of the citizens that they encompassed. The term was also used to distinguish these five nations from other so-called "wild" Indians who continued to rely on hunting for survival."
"Elements of "civilization" within Southeastern Indian society predated removal. The Cherokee, for example, established a written language in 1821, a national supreme court in 1822, and a written constitution in 1827. The other four nations had similar, if less noted, developments."[3] - Oklahoma Historical Society


  • Bill Corbett and Rachel Whitaker, "Union Agency," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture.
  • Five Civilized Tribes Museum
    • The Five Civilized Tribes Museum is a museum in Muskogee, Oklahoma that houses the art, history and culture of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), and Seminole tribes. Housed in the historic Union Indian Agency building, the museum was opened in 1966.


  1. Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974, pp. 181-182.
  2. Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981, pp. 168-170.
  3. Andrew K. Frank, "Five Civilized Tribes," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=FI011.


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