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One of the so-called Five Civilised Tribes, the Choctaw traditionally occupied much of the middle and south of today's U.S. state of Mississippi. First encountered by Spanish explorers in the 16th century, they became long-time French allies before siding with the Confederate States during the American Civil War. The majority of Choctaw today live in Oklahoma following forced removal from their homeland under president Andrew Jackson in 1831, but there is also a vibrant band in Mississippi made up of Choctaw who managed to escape removal and stay behind. The word "Oklahoma" itself is derived from a Choctaw language term meaning "red people".