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Indian Removal. Kathryn H. Braund Auburn University. Jackson ’ s Message on Indian Removal. Indians able to “ pursue happiness in their own way ” characterized as “ fair exchange ” will “ save ” the Indians to go to a new land to better oneself is a normal event.

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Indian removal

Indian Removal

Kathryn H. Braund

Auburn University

Jackson s message on indian removal
Jackson’s Message on Indian Removal

  • Indians able to “pursue happiness in their own way”

  • characterized as “fair exchange”

  • will “save” the Indians

  • to go to a new land to better oneself is a normal event

Jackson s message on indian removal1
Jackson’s Message on Indian Removal

  • end federal-state conflict

  • open up large tracts of land for “civilized population”

  • national security

  • protect Indians from “power of the states”

Indian removal act 1830
Indian Removal Act,1830

  • Pres. to set aside Indian territory on public lands west of Miss. R.

  • Exchange districts there for land occupied by Indians in the east

  • Grant tribes absolute ownership to new land “forever”

  • treat with tribes for rearrangement of boundaries to effect removal

Indian removal act 18301
Indian Removal Act, 1830

  • Property left behind by emigrating Indians to be appraised and compensation paid

  • grant emigrants “aid and assistance” on journey and first year in new country

  • protect emigrants from hostile western Indians and other intruders

  • continue power exercised over tribes by Trade and Intercourse Acts

Southeastern removal treaties civilized tribes
Southeastern Removal Treaties (Civilized Tribes)

  • 1830: Removal Act

  • 1830: Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (Choctaw)

  • 1832: Treaty of Pontotoc (Chickasaw)

  • 1832: Treaty of Payne’s Landing (Seminole)

  • 1832: Treaty of Washington (Creek)

  • 1835: Treaty of New Echota (Cherokee)

Removal treaties
Removal Treaties

  • U.S. employed questionable methods

    • bribes

    • negotiated w/ non-authorized chiefs

    • Coercion

    • In theory voluntary; reality very different.

Background 1829 1832
Background (1829-1832)

  • states extends jurisdiction over Choctaw

    • destroy tribal sovereignty

    • ban assemblies

    • no right to vote, testify in court

    • squatters on Ind. land not prosecuted

    • Indians can’t mine gold (Georgia)

    • No hunting, fishing, or trapping (Alabama)

Treaty of dancing rabbit creek 1830
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, 1830

  • First “land exchange” treaty under the Removal Act

  • U. S. Commissioners bribe chiefs with money and private reservations

  • Choctaw cede all land e. of Miss. R. (14 million acres) for 15 million in Ind. Terr.

Choctaw emigration
Choctaw Emigration

  • Head west in fall 1830

  • no guides or support--very bad experience

    • freezing rain

    • disease

    • some flee to swamps to avoid removal

    • 25% of tribe dies during process

    • Miss. “reservations” not upheld

  • Fed. gov’t drafts regulations for both military and private contractors

Chickasaw indians
Chickasaw Indians

  • 1832: Removal Treaty

    • sell their land for cash

    • to use proceeds to buy land in Ind. Terr. from Choctaws

    • Choctaws not happy to have to give up some of their territory

    • Purchase not worked out until 1836-37

    • Easier emigration due to regulations

Alabama and the creeks
Alabama and the Creeks

  • Alabama expands jurisdiction over Creek Nation (1832)

  • Intruders pour into Creek lands--not prosecuted

  • 1832: Creeks cede territory east of Miss. R.

Creek treaty of 1832
Creek Treaty of 1832

  • Each Creek free to emigrate or not, as they see fit

  • Allotments

    • Each head of family allowed 320 acres of private reserve

    • Chiefs get 640 acres (1 sq. mile)

    • 6,557 family heads = 2,187,200 acres or half the land owned by the tribe

Allotments under 1832 treaty continued
Allotments under 1832 TreatyContinued…

  • free to sell or stay

  • if stay 5 years, deed to be given

  • gov’t to keep out intruders for 5 years

  • gov’t to pay cost of emigration and support emigrants for 1 year in the west, also give rifle and ammo. and 1 blanket to each family

  • feds. agree to pay Creek Nat’l debt up to $100,000

Treaty of 1832 recap
Treaty of 1832 Recap

  • All Creek land divided into allotments to be divided to heads of families

  • Heads of families can sell or stay

  • If sell and go west: gov’t support in the west

  • overall-one of the most advantageous treaties for an Indian tribe

Allotments problems
Allotments = Problems

  • Fraud and Coercion

  • By 1834: est. 10,000 illegal settlers on Creek lands

  • Feds. do attempt to drive off intruders as required by treaty

  • Result: federal-state conflict

Federal state conflict
Federal - State Conflict

  • Hardiman Owen - assaults Indians

  • Owen attempts to kill marshal sent to arrest him and is killed by soldier

  • Ala. grand jury indicts soldier for murder

  • Francis Scott Key

    • U. S. won’t enforce treaty promises if state drops charges and tries to halt speculation


  • Reserves: 6,557 heads of family

    • to sell: appear before agent w/witness, ID yourself, describe property & receive pmt.

    • speculators: hire imposters to “sell” land and real owners then driven off property

  • Scandal: of national proportions launches federal investigation

  • 1836: 2nd Creek War

Second creek war 1836
Second Creek War (1836)

  • Murders and depredations by Creeks around Columbus and Tuskegee

  • Result: Indians at war

    • federal fraud investigation halted

    • General Thomas S. Jesup ordered to subdue Creeks and remove them by force if necessary

Creek emigration
Creek “emigration”

  • First Group

    • 800 “hostile” warriors put in manacles and chains

    • rest marched to Montgomery and put on boats

    • 3000 left - 2400 reach Fort Gibson

  • Rest shipped out 1836-1837 under military escort via various land and water routes

  • Various disasters: winter travel, disease, explosion of steamboats

Creek loyalty
Creek “Loyalty”

  • Peace chiefs: ask for annuity pmts. to help offset expense of emigration - refused

  • Feds. demand that Creek warriors assist in fight against Seminole to receive annuity and/or be allowed to retain allotments

    • Menawa


  • Btn. 1836 - 1843: approx. 4000 sent west

  • Some Seminoles: captured and some surrender and some fight on and avoid removal

Worcester v georgia
Worcester v. Georgia

  • A victory?

  • Divisions

    • Advocates of removal (Treaty Party) Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot

    • Removal opponents incl. most Cherokees, led by Chief John Ross

Treaty of new echota 1835
Treaty of New Echota (1835)

  • Ceded all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi for $5 million

  • Cherokee have two years to sell improvements and move

  • Pay relocation and one-year’s subsistence expenses

  • Citizenship/land for those adverse

Cherokee opposition
Cherokee Opposition

  • Chief John Ross wages public relations and legal campaign against treaty

  • U.S. Senate ratifies treaty 1836

Forced removal
Forced Removal

  • U.S. Army sent to round up and deport all Cherokee people when treaty deadline arrives

    • Military posts/camps established

    • Most walk

    • Land and water routes

Those who remain
Those Who Remain

  • Some flee to inaccessible places

    • Choctaw - Philadelphia

    • Cherokee - Eastern Band - Smoky Mts.

    • Poarch Creeks

    • Seminole

  • Some become “white people”

    • Weatherford and family

  • Some: “slaves”

Emigration a brutal experience
Emigration: A Brutal Experience

  • Choctaw: unprepared and under funded

  • Creeks (war in 1836)

  • Cherokee: Trail of Tears

  • Seminole: fight

Removal discussion questions
Removal-Discussion Questions

  • Were the assumptions about Indians valid?

  • Was removal “ethnic cleansing”?

  • Was it constitutional?

  • Was it in the best American tradition?

  • What were the other options?

Removal discussion questions1
Removal-Discussion Questions

  • Indians divided over the proper course. Put yourself in their shoes. What do you believe was the best option for Indians in the 1830s?

Removal discussion questions2
Removal-Discussion Questions

  • Wallace: “The U.S. acquired millions of acres of fertile Southern land, which it sold at little or no profit to speculators and settlers, thereby in effect subsidizing the expansion of the cotton industry and the slave system along with it.” Do you agree?

Web resources
Web Resources

  • Choctaw Removal

  • Chickasaw Removal

  • Creek Removal

  • Cherokee Removal

  • Encyclopedia of Alabama

  • New Georgia Encyclopedia

  • Andrew Jackson (PBS/KCET)