- Category: History 16 Week 2
- Published on Thursday, 27 December 2012 22:20
- Written by Dr. Eric Mayer
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Indian History 1800-1828
As we have seen, the American Indian was a tragic casualty of imperial expansion, First by the European nations and, after 1776, increasingly by the United States.
The rise of the American nation on the Atlantic seaboard and its rapid expansion into the trans-Appalachian interior produced drastic change in attitude toward the indian. American pioneers entered the wilderness as families.
Their society was agrarian-based; the father, mother, and many children of each family provided the labor required to open a frontier farm.
Thus, American pioneers did not need the indians.
However, because of their rapidly expanding population and changes in agricultural technology and markets, they needed the Indians’ land.
In the evolution of public processes and techniclues, or policy, for Native Americans two men exercised the greatest influence:
Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson.
Jeffersonian influences were strongest in the period 1800-1828.
The Jeffersonian Philosophy
President Jefferson did not subscribe to the popular view that Indians were inferior; Be believed that "in body and mind" they were "equal" to whites.
The essence of Jeffersonian Indian policy was coexistence and gradunlism, that is, the steady if slow accommodation of Indians to Angle-American lifestyle through the transforming process of civilization, culminating in their actually intermarrying into the dominant Anglo-American society.
Jefferson believed that "civilization would bring peace" between Indians and settlers. Thus under his leadership the national government placed its "greatest hope in its policy of bringing civilization to the Indians."
Jefferson constantly urged tribal leaders to change their life-style in order to require less land for their people.
He directed governors of the Northwest Territory, Michigan Territory, and Indiana Territory to "promote energetically" the national government’s plan for civilizing Indians, and he authorized the assignment of blacksmiths and other artisans to cooperative Indian tribes to maintain plows and other implements for Indian apprentices.
He encouraged missionaries to take part in the Indian civilization process.
In 1803 he directed the Cherokee agent to erect a schoolhouse for Gideon Blackburn, a Presbyterian missionary, to enable him to instruct Cherokee children.
The number of tribal schools increased until in 1824, twenty-one with nearly 1,000 Indian sudents, were functioning.
Jeffersonian Indian policy fitted well with the growing land needs of Anglo-American pioneers.
It accepted the inevitability of their advance across the frontier with the national government maintaining firm though regularly changing boundaries through an orderly, managed progression of settlements, made possible by periodic land openings.
New settlement zones would be created from new cessions by Native American proprietors.
Despite Jefferson’s strong commitment to Indian civilization, the program was never successful.
At no time was it ever sufficiently supported, fiscally or politically, by Congress and offcials in the government.
Cynical politicians regarded the nation’s "Indian problem" as soluable through the steady advance of hardy American pioneers; in due time extermination rather than assimilation would rid the nation of this vexing complication to its expansion, growth, and development.
Je6fersonian Policy and Remooal
The lack of evidence of noticeable progress in Indian civilization during his tenure as the nation’s chief executive led Jefferson to consider alternatives for protecting Indian interests and making tribal land available for settlement by Angle-American pioneers.
Jefferson preferred that the eastern Indians remain on their progressively diminished tribal territories and support them- selves by agriculture.
However, after the United States acquired the Louisiana territory, he considered colonizing certain east Indians there.
In each Indian nation Jefferson found that there were factions who seemingly could not cope with the settler tide relentlessly advancing across established boundaries onto tribal territories which national government had pledged to protect from trespass.
Jefferson urged tribes to consider exchanging eastern lands for wildness tracts.
Thus for eastern Indians removal appeared as alternative to life on a compressed tribal estate, attempting to coexist with Anglo-American neighbors.
Portions of Jefferson’s Indian policy persisted after he left the presidency.
The policy of his immediate successors—fames Madison, James Monroe, and Quincy Adams—continued in varying degrees the Jeffersonian style and for managing the Indian tribes.
Gradually, however, removal and segregation by exile into the trans-Mississippi wilderness eclipsed coexistence and assimilation as cornerstones of federal management of the eastern tribes.
War of 1812 was a major precipitant of the public demand that the Native Americans in the trans-Appalachian region be exiled to the western wilderness lands
NATIVE AMERICANS AND THE WAR OF 1812
Before the war both the Old Northwest and the Old Southwest federal commissioners had seen spectacular successes in reducing the domains of certain tribes to the escalating demands of an ever-growing pioneer population for more on which to establish settlements and open farms.
In the Old Southwest treaties with the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws had allowed for cessions for roads, several of them strips of land several miles wide across Indian nations as well as permitting sites for military and trading, and transportation rights on navigable rivers in the Indian nations.
By the Treaty of Holston in 1791 Cherokee leaders ceded land on the Tennessee-North rolina border, right-of-way for a road to the Cumberland settlements, and lion rights on the Tennessee River.
Then during 1798 by the Treaty of Tellico,concluded at Tellico Blockhouse in eastern Tennessee, the Cherokees were allowed three tracts, one in the Cumberland Mountains and two south of the Holston River.
By the Tellico pact the United States pledged on its Sacred national honor" to guarantee and protect the remainder of the Cherokee country "forever."
The Creeks, too, felt continuing pressure for additional land cessions from both the national government and the state of Georgia.
Boundaries for their nation had been set by the Treaty of New York in 1790.
Four years later Georgia offcials seized huge blocks of Creek territory as compensation for state troops on active duty guarding the frontier to prevent Creek retaliation against Georgians squatting on tribal lands.
Creek leaders protested to national officials, and in 1796 they concluded with federal commissioners the Treaty of Colerain which confirmed the boundaries set by the Treaty of New York.
This in effect restored the lands seized by Georgia officials, and it represented one of the very few occasions on which federal officials interceded on behalf of Indians, forcing a state to rescind action taken against tribes.
The more westerly situated Choctaw and Chickasaw nations also suffered some territorial compression during this prelude to the War of 1812.
However, at this time, most of the pressure on the tribes for land cessions occurred in the territory north of the Ohio River.
There William Henry Harrisen, governor of Indiana Territory, continued to press the tribes to cede more and more land to accommodate the onrushing tide of settlers.
A shrewd negotiator, by 1809 he had completed fifteen treaties calling for substantial cessions of territory by the Piankeshaws, Weas, Delawares, Potawatomis, Miamis, Kickapoos, Ottawas, and other tribes.
Following each cession, the signatory tribes simply retreated to diminished tribal territories until by 1809 they had virtually no land remaining and some tribes, following surrender of the last fragment of their homeland, were required to move onto the surviving domains of neighboring tribes.
At Fort Wayne in 1809 Harrison coneluded a treaty with Delaware and Potawatomi leaders which ceded 3 million acres of tribal land in Indiana to the United States in exchange for $7,000 and an annuity of $1,750.
The Fort Wayne Treaty marked the high point of Harrison’s treaty-making success and became the principal cause of bloody prelude to the War of 1812 on the trans-Appalachian frontier.
Tecumseh and the Prophet
Harrison’s treaties and the advancing tide of settlers had scattered, confused, and intimidated the Indians of the Northwest tribes.
However, their deliverance seemed imminent when two Indian nationalists-Tecumseh and Elskwatawa the Prophet—appeared.
These brothers, of mixed Shawllee-Greek parentage, provided the leadership which transformed destitute, rum-soaked, desolated Indians into proud, hardy warriors, committed to destroy the Anglo-American intruders.
Tecumseh and the Prophet lived in a small Shawnee settlement near Greenville, Ohio.
In 1805 they began to preach their ideas of Indian renaissance through nativism, restoration, and pan-Indianism (an antecedent of Red Power), which committed their followers to expulsion of Anglo-Americans hom tribal territories.
Tecumseh and the Prophet focused upon Indian renewal and territorial recovery and their doctrine that no individual or tribe could alienate title to land held in common by all Indians of a region.
Their Indian restoration teachings rejected Jeffersonian civilization and assimilation; their pan-Indianism became a program of confrontation with the expanding Anglo-Americans.
In 1808 Tecumseh and the Prophet moved to the ruins of Kithtippecanoe, an old Indian toull on Tippecanoe Creek in Indiana Territory.
The settlement came to be called Prophetstown and was a center for the various tribes of the Northwest Territoly.
Beginning with 140 followers, the Prophet and Tecumseh began an evangelistic crusade that inspired the periodic migration of thousands of Indian families to the council grounds on the edge of Prophetstown.
There the listeners were entranced with the oratorical brilliance of Tecumseh and the mysticism of the Prophet, each focusing his special talents on the theme of Indian nationalism.
They described and interpreted the woes of the Indian; both pointed to rampant internal divisions and the abandonment of certain old customs that had been sources of Indian strength.
The debauchery and poverty of the tribes, in fact every torment of the moment, were attributed to the American advance in the Northwest.
The Prophet was more zealous than Tecumseh, sometimes using mystical seizures to render messages from the Great Holy Force Above.
Through him the Great Holy Force Above promised that soon Indians would have the means to destroy every American.
The Prophet assured his attentive audiences that he had been endowed with the power to cure diseases, confound enemies, and stay the arm of death in sickness or on the battlefield.
The Great Holy Force Above, he claimed, had ordained a new way of life for Indians, and all must purify themselves and adopt it.
No follower was to have any dealings with the Americans.
The British were to be considered the friends of Indians, the Americans their enemies.
Tecumseh’s stability complemented his brother’s volatility.
Avoiding the emotional, dramatic technique of the Prophet, Tecumseh maintained a rational approach to the Indians’ problems.
His legalism was persuasive. He claimed no special access to the Great Holy Force Above, but taught with directness;
drunkenness and vice were condemned, the white customs were to be shunned, and each warrior must return to certain old customs.
As a symbol of rejection of white culture, Native Americans should cast out textile clothing and wear skins as of old.
Each warrior was to reform his personal conduct in order to recover his physical, moral, and spiritual strength.
Since most of the Indian-American friction grew out of the issue of land tenure, Tecumseh directed his attention first to retaining what was left of Indian lands, and second to recovering lands in American possession.
The basis for Tecumseh’s argument was that in the beginning the Great Holy Force Above had provided the land for the use of all Native Americans.
No single tribe was intended to be the sole proprietor of a given area; all land was ordained to be held in common.
Therefore, no tribe or fraction of a tribe could presume to transfer title of land to the United States without the common consent of all Indians.
Most of the Indian attenders returned to their home villages to ponder the teachings of Tecumseh and the Prophet and to relate them to their fellow Indians.
They returned from time to time to receive an interpretation of the most recent revelation by the mystical Elskwatawa or an exposition from the eloquent Tecumseh.
Many, however, accepted Indian nationalism so completely that they separated from their tribes, built lodges for their families at Prophetstown, and settled there permanently.
By 1811 nearly 1,000 warriors from the Northwest tribes lived at Prophetstown.
After the Fort Wayne Treaty negotiations Tecumseh personally confronted Governor Harrison and repudiated the treaty "on the ground that all the land belonged to all the Indians, and that not even the whole membership of a single tribe could alienate the property of the race."
He warned Harrison to keep surveyors and settlers out of the tract ceded by the Treaty of Fort Wayne. There ensued a two-year impasse.
Harrison realized that if Tecumseh’s uill prevailed, Indians in northwestern Indiana would permanently "exclude the United States from further expansion."
For the remainder of the war, fighting men from the Northwest tribes, continued their resistance shuggle against the Anglo-Americans through guerriua-type strikes against outlying settlements north of the Ohio River.
The Southwest Tribes in the War of 1812
As indicated, the only Indians south of the Ohio River who seriously considered the anti-American teachings of Tecumseh were members of the Red Stick faction of the Creek nation.
Led by William Weatherford, a worthy successor of the earlier Creek leader Alexander McGillivray, the Red Sticks ravaged the frontier settlements of western Georgia and Alabama during 1813-1814.
Red Stick power reached its climax with the conquest of Fort hlims, a post on the lower Alabama River.
Over 500 persons died in the attack. General Andrew Jackson, commander of military forces south of the Ohio River, mustered an army of 5,000 militia from Tennessee and Kentucky-augmented with regiments of loyal Creeks, Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws—
and campaigned through the Creek country to avenge the Fort Mims massacre.
The Red Stick Creeks concentrated at Tohopeka, a fortified town on the Horseshoe Bend of Tallapoosa River in central Alabama.
On March 27, 1814, Jackson’s army surrounded the town.
While cannon fire swept the battlements, loyal Creek, Choctaw, Cherokee, and Chickasaw fighters attacked the defenders downriver.
over 800 Creeks were slain at the Rattle of Horseshoe Bend.
General Jackson convened the leaders of the Creek nation at Fort Jackson on August 9, 1814.
He made clear that he held the entire Creek nation responsible for the Red Stick insurgency and took from the Creeks by the Treaty of Fort Jackson—as a sort of reparations of war--22 million acres of land in southern Georgia and central Alabama.
Cherokee, Choctaw, loyal Creek, and Chickasaw companies served in General Jackson’s army in the defense of New Orleans which concluded hostilities for the War of 1812 south of the Ohio River.
To their dismay, the leaders of these tribes soon learned that their reward for loyal service to the United States was a growing expectation that they surrender their lands and exile themselves into the trans-Mississippi wilderness.
The War of 1812, concluded by the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814, in a real sense ended, from a military standpoint, the Indian problem in the eastern United States.
BEGINNINGS OF TRIBAL EXILE
Following the War of 1812 there occurred a phenomenal burst of Anglo· American settlement and development in the Old Northwest, Old Southwest, and Mississippi Valley.
The region’s ultimate destiny, however, according to local politicians was retarded by the continuing presence of Indian nations who occupied choice lands.
Moreover, with admission of more and more stales to the Union, the power of the West in national political affairs was growing.
The region’s ever-larger delegation of congressmen and senators was unanimously committed to exiling resident tribes into the transMississippi wilderness.
They were supported by citizen delegations from the frontier communities who regularly visited Washington to present petitions and memorials to this effect to the President and other officials.
They stressed that a proper punishment for the treasonable conduct of the tribes for supporting Great Britain in the recent war would be total surrender of their lands as reparations, and emigration.
The ideology of Dispossession
Thus national leaders increasingly were pressured to compromise the Jeffersonian policy of coexistence, civilization, and assimilation with escalating demands for expropriation and removal.
Various solutions to this vexing dilemma were offered.
One was to continue the policy of coexistence and ad hoc compression of tribal estates through cessions to satisfy settler demand, the tribesmen retreating to ever-reduced territories.
Slate governments, and territorial governments aching to become states, objected, claiming that this arrangement permitted the unconstitutional practice of states existing within states.
Another suggested solution was allotment in severalty, dividing communally owned tribal lands into 80- to 180-acre homesteads and placing each Indian family on an allotment;
the national government would then absorb the surplus lands into the public domain for settlement by its citizens.
And assimilation advocates believed that adoption of this plan by Native Americans would be a major step along the road to civilization.
Puritans in New England had used allotment in their attempts to convert Native Americans from common (tribal) to private indi~idual ownership of property.
Former Secretary of War Henry Knox had urged its application as a civilizing device.
Secretary of War William N. Crawford continued this advocacy.
In 1816, when removal increasingly was considered as the most desirable solution to the Indian problem, he proposed that allotment in severalty be offered to Indians as an alternative to removal.
This he believed would overcome ohjections of those who had expressed a determination not to emigrate.
By treaties concluded with the Cherokees in 1817 and 1819 and with the Choctaws in 1820, provision was made for voluntary allotment in severalty to heads of Indian families; 311 Cherokees and 8 Choctaws applied for allotments under these provisions.
Allotment was rejected by settlers and their spokesmen in Congress;
nothing short of removal would satisfy them.
Several well-intentioned public officials including Thomas McKenney, head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and William Clark, superintendent of Indian affairs at St. Louis, came to regard Indian removal as a humane alternative to extremination.
BEGINNINGS OF REMOVAL
Finally national leaders reached the decision to remove the eastern tribes to the trans-hlississippi West.
Under present conditions fulfillment of the three part Jeffersonian policy of coexistence, civilization, and assimilation was impossible.
Rapid extension of Anglo-American settlement across the frontier had created disorders and distractions and posed such a serious threat to Native Americans,
even to that of extermination, that idealistic Jeffersonian coexistence was absolutely impossible;
civilization and assimilation were thus foolish dreams.
The Jeffersonians concluded that it would be best for Native Americans to cede their eastern territories (which would quiet the noisy demands of senlers) to the United States and relocate in the u·estern wilderness.
And with a fresh start, isolated from the destructive influences of pioneers, they could resume the federally sponsored civilization program.
Therefore, removal, tribal exile, and aboriginal segregation became the focus of national indian policy. Jefferson had been the first chief executive to advocate removal to certain factions of the eastern tribes,
and between 1804 and 1825, limited relocations of several tribes under federal auspices had heen carried out.
However, President James Monroe was the first to propose to move all eastern Indians west of the ;Mississippi River.
He presented his Indian colonization plan to Congress in January 1825.
It included tribal relocation at government expense and assignment to the emigrating Indians of western territory at least equal in extent and quality to the lands they were vacating in the East.
Above all else Monroe insisted that the tribes had to consent "voluntarily" to cede their eastern lands and emigrate.
Removal of the Northwest Tribes
The relocation of Indian communities from the Northwest Territories did not occur in a single year.
As late as the 1840s tribal remnants from this region were still being relocated to the trans-Mississippi West.
Moreover, some Northwest Indian tribes withdrew to lands so unattractive to settlers that they completely escaped removal to the West;
The first step in the process of liquidating tribal estates in this region and removing resident tribes to the trans-Mississippi territory occurred during 1815.
This was, in a sense, a resumption of the work of former Governor Harrison of the Indiana Territory, whose progress in erasing title to tribal lands had been arrested by Tecumseh’s powerful protest of the Treaty of Fort Wayne in 1809.
American victories during the War of 1812 had settled the issues raised by Tecumseh’s confrontation with Governor Harrison.
During the summer of 1815, leaders of the Northwest tribes met with federal commissioners.
The treaties that resulted from this council provided officially for resumption of American dominion over the tribes.
All parties agreed that every injury or act of hostility by either party towards the other was "forgiven and forgotten," and each party pledged’perpetual peace and friendship."
The next step was for American commissioners to negotiate cession treaties.
Federal otficials were particularly anxious to secure a strategic tract of over 2 million acres between the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.
During the War of 1812 Congress had reserved this land for veterans and bounty and holders of land warrants were demanding an opportunity for redemption.
Between 1816 and 1818, government commissioners obtained cessions to portions of this tract from the Peorias, Kaskaskias, and several smaller tribes.
A considerable portion of the bounty lands, however, was held by the Kickapoos.
After much delay by tribal leaders and a good deal of pressure by the commissioners, in 1819 the Kickapoos finally agreed to exchange their Illinois and Wabash lands for a domain in the trans-Mississippi territory.
Nearly 2,000 Kickapoos moved west of the Mississippi River during 1819; but two renegade bands repudiated the cession treaties, refused to consider removal. and remained in Illinois.
One band, numbering 250 and led by Mecina, was particularly incensed by the Treaty of Edwardsville. Mecina adamantly refused to acltnowledge that the Kickapoo homeland had been surrendered to the United States.
With the vigor of a fanatic, he regularly recited to Superintendent Clark the doctrine of Tecumseh, denying that his tribe or any other could unilaterally sign away tribal lands and "the resting places of the bones of their ancestors."
Mecina’s Kickapoo band preyed on the edge of the advancing line of American settlement in Illinois, looting isolated farmhouses, stealing horses, and shooting cattle and hogs.
In 1824, a settlers’ association in Fulton County, Illinois, complained in a petition to Congress that the continuing Kickapoo presence was a serious threat to life and property.
Federal troops and Illinois militia units responded to the settler appeals, and close and constant military surveillance caused Mecina to lead his Kickapoo followers reluctantly across the Mississippi.
Another recalcitrant Kickapoo band of about 250 members lived along the Vermilion River. Their leader was Kennekuk, a self-styled prophet.
He taught his followers to lead a simple, peaceful life of meditation and to disregard the swirling pressure of the American settlements.
Each of Kennekuk’s disciples was required to undertake a strict regimen of fasting and general rejection of materialism and to return to the ancient life-style in which the individual lived close to nature.
Kennekuk promised his followers that by seeking "simple virtue" each would have as his reward eternal life in a holy place free of torment and American settlers.
By means of passive resistance, Kenne~Nk defied the removal requirements of the 1819 treaties.
His quiet determination and captivating oratory caused Clark and other officials charged with the duty of clearing Indians from the Northwest to indulge the Kickapoo prophet and his people.
Endowed with abundant native ability, Kennekuk was exceedingly skilled in the art of delay;
each time Clark pressed him to take his followers west of the Mississippi, Kennekuk assured Clark that it was his wish to comply with the demands but because the corn "was yet in the milk" or because of illness in his band, the prophet remained in Illinois.
Not until the spring of 1834 did Kennekuk lead his Kickapoo band from their Vermilion River homeland toward the West.
The Kickapoo cessions, accomplished by the treaties of 1819, cleared the lands most directly in the path of expanding American settlements.
The next tribes to feel the pressure for surrender of Northwest lands were the Sac and Fox, who occupied western Illinois and Wisconsin,
the Chippewas, who held the territory along the south shore of Lake Superior,
certain Sioux communities west of the Great Lakes, Potawatomi bands in the area south of Lake Michigan, and Winnebagos on the Wisconsin River.
Superintendent Clark and Lewis Cass, governor of Michigan Territory, met in council with leaders of these tribes at Wisconsin, in 1825.
The resulting treaties provided for continuing peace between the tribes and the United States, a confirmation of tribal territories in the Northwest, and a commitment to future reduction of these territories.
The Prairie du Chien treaties were timely from the viewpoint of American expansion.
The completion of the Erie Canal and the extension of mining and agricultural settlements in western Illinois and Wisconsin in 1825 accelerated the Americanization of the vast tracts in the Old Northwest.
Within ten years after the signing of the Prairie du Chien treaties virtually all Indians had been cleared from this portion of the Northwest.
The Sac and Fox, Winne bago, Sioux, and most Potawatomi bands had been colonized west of the Mississippi River. The Chippewas had retreated far into northern Wisconsin and the Menominees had been pushed beyond the Green Bay area.
Two incidents marred the evacuation of Indian tribes from the Northwest.
Discovery of rich lead deposits on the western border of Illinois and Wisconsin during the 1820s caused a rush of miners and farmers into the territory of the new bonanza.
Before long mining camps and farms were appearing on lands claimed by the Winnebago and Sac and Fox Indians.
Red Bird, a patriot leader of the Winnebagos, prepared his people to resist this minersettler intrusion.
During 1827 he led several raids on the mining settlements, but was thwarted on each occasion by spirited local defense.
Regular army units joined militia forces to destroy this threat to the Illinois-Wisconsin mining settlements.
Red Bird and Winnebago warriors fell back into the interior and finally were trapped between two American columns on the upper Wisconsin River. Red Bird’s capitulation ended the Winnebago threat for the time.
The second incident centered on a massacre of Sac and Fox Indians known as the Black Hawk War. Under pressure from miners and farmers a band of Sac and Fox Indians led by Black Hawk ranged the country between the Illinois and Wisconsin rivers.
During the summer of 1831 the line of American settlements extended into their territory, and Black Hawk collected his people, numbering about 1,000 men, women, and children, and settled them near the old tribal grounds at Rock Island.
Federal officials urged Black Hawk to move across the Mississippi River into Iowa;
when the Sac and Fox leader refused, troops marched into the village and forced the Indians to cross the river.
But during the spring of 1832, Black Hawk and his band returned to their land in Illinois, bringing not only warriors but women and chadren as well.
Settlers regarded the move as an invasion and in great panic demanded that state and federal officials protect them.
Illinois militia units marched against Black Hawk’s band and engaged the Indians in several minor battles but were unable to turn them back.
Finally, federal troops moved in.
Black Hawk led his people north into the wilds of Wisconsin, hotly pursued by regular army units and militia.
Cornered on the Bad Axe River and exhausted and hungry from their long march, the Indians made a last stand.
The carnage that followed, precipitated largely by the militia components of the converging host, left over 300 Indians dead. Black Hawk was taken prisoner of war.
On August 7, 1832, General Winfield Scott met with Sac and Fox leaders at Fort Crawford.
Their deliberations produced a treaty providing for the cession by the Sac and Fox of a strip of territory fifty miles wide on the west bank of the Mississippi River along the future eastern border of Iowa;
this strip, the Black Hawk purchase, was to serve as a buffer to restrain the Sac and Fox from returning to Illinois.
Federal officials continued to collect scattered bands of Old Northwest tribes and relocate them beyond the Mississippi River until mid-century.
However, most of the Indian sur~ivors of the War of 1812 had been exiled to the western wildemess by 1830.
Removal of the Southwest Tribes
Citizens in the Old Southwest demanded no less strongly than those in the Old Northwest that the national government remove the Indian tribes from their regions.
By 1821 the Cherokee nation numbered somewhat over 20,000, the Choctaw nation about 22,000, the Seminole nation 4,000, the Creek nation over 22,000, and the Chickasaw nation approximately 5,000.
These Native Americans occupied valrlnble lands and, according to business and political leaders, held up settlement and development in the states where they lived.
Each of the Indian nations also maintained a tribal government that had jurisdiction over members and, by treaty with the United States, the tribal citizens and tribal governments were exempt from state laws.
To state leaders these tribal governments challenged state sovereignty and comprised, in a sense, st:ltes within a state;
in some cases there was more than one nation within the borders of a single state, and each one exercised complete sovereignty within its own area.
By the 1820s successive land cessions negotiated by federal commissioners and tribal leaders had substlntially reduced the tribal domains in the Old Southwest,
The Cherokees were the first of the southern tribes to succumb to pressure from national officials and accept a western domain.
Georgia officials had consistently urged federal officials to fulfill that portion of the Georgia Compact, concluded in 1802, whereby in return for ceding its western lands to the United States, the federal government was to extinguish tribal title to Indian lands in the state.
In 1817 at the Cherokee Agency in Tennessee, Cherokee leaders George Lowry, Charles Hicks, and Going Snake met with federal commissioners.
they negotiated a treaty providing for cession of one third of the remaining eastern lands of the Cherokee nation in exchange for a tract of equal size in northwestern Arkansas between the White and Arkansas rivers.
Emigration was voluntary; by 1835 about 6,000 Cherokees had moved west.
The Choctaws were the next to commit themselves to vacating their eastern lands and migrating to the West.
Chief Pushmataha and other Choctaw leaders met with an American commission headed by General Jackson at Doak’s Stand on the Natchez Trace, a national road running diagonally across Chickasaw and Choctaw lands, connecting Nashville with settlements near the mouth of the Mississippi River.
The agreement issuing from the council provided that, in return for surrendering to the United States about a third of their eastern domain, the Choctaws were to receive a vast tract of territory west of the Mississippi.
The treaty pledged the United States government to supply to each emigrating Choctaw warrior a rifle, bullet mold, camp kettle, blanket, ammunition sufficient for hunting and defense for one year, and payment for any improvements he left in his ancestral home.
Pushmataha insisted on the inclusion of a clause providing for 54 sections of Choctaw land to be surveyed and sold at auction, the proceeds to go into a special fund to support schools for Choctaw youth in the new country.
While federal officials were hopeful that the Choctaws would remove at once and tribal leaders knew full well that total removal was inevitable, the treaty had made removal voluntary.
Therefore, less than one fourth of the tribe moved west under its terms.
Most members remained in Mississippi since the Choctaws had surrendered only about a third of their eastern lands and stillpossessed a sizable domain in Mississippi.
By 1828 Indian colonization had stalled.
Most of the tribes of the Old Northwest had been relocated west of the Mississippi, and those factions of the populous Southern tribes willing to emigrate had done so.
However, large numbers of Native Americans in Georgia, Alabama, and ;Mississippi refused to join the exodus;
they were determined to remain on their compressed eastern domains. Their lives were profoundly influenced by the election of 1828 which brought Andrew Jackson to the presidency.