The term Five Civilized Tribes was applied by European Americans in the colonial and early federal period in the history of the United States to the five major Native American nations in the Southeast—the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee (formerly called "Creek"), and Seminoles. Americans of European descent classified them as "civilized" because they had adopted attributes of the Anglo-American culture. Examples of such colonial attributes adopted by these five tribes included Christianity, centralized governments, literacy, market participation, written constitutions, intermarriage with white Americans, and chattel slavery practices, including purchase of enslaved African Americans. For a period, the Five Civilized Tribes tended to maintain stable political relations with the European Americans, before the United States promoted Indian removal of these tribes from the Southeast.
In the 21st century, this term has been criticized by some scholars for its ethnocentric assumpti