The Effects of Removal of American Indian Tribes
Pearl, Tombstone, and Chickasaws Rivers defined its three major divisions-?the Kola Flay, the Kola Tanat, and the Kola Hangnail (Kola being the Choctaw word for “people”). Tribal regions before Removal, ca. 1830 enlarge map See descriptions of the tribal regions. The Creeks lived in Alabama and southwestern Georgia the “upper” Creeks along the Tallapoosa and Cocoas Rivers and the “lower” Creeks along the Chattahoochee River. The Chickasaws homeland was in the upper Mississippi Delta region in northern Mississippi, into western Tennessee and northern Alabama.The Cherokees occupied the valleys of the southern Appalachian Mountains, establishing villages along the Tennessee River and its tributaries.
They included five divisions (as defined by the British colonial government in the asses): the Lower Towns in north Georgia, the Over-the-Hill (or Overfill) Towns in eastern Tennessee, and Middle Towns, Valley Towns, and Out Towns in western North Carolina. The Seminole, originally of Lower Creek identity, emerged as a distinctive tribal group in the early to mid 1 sass as a result of conflict between European colonists and tribal villages.A major uprising by tribes along the east coast of Georgia, the Yamahas Rebellion of 1 71 5, led to military action on the part of he British that destroyed native villages and dispossessed their populations. Homeless groups moved south into Spanish Territory below the 31st parallel (which became Florida), as the Spanish were reputed to have a liberal policy toward Indians and to leave them in peace. The Indian groups that settled in what is now Florida and the southern portions of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, came to be called Seminole, a corruption of the Spanish term “commoners” or wanderers.Each of these tribal groups had its own origin tradition. Winston County Mania Way Indian mound, Mississippi The Choctaws and Chickasaws shared a common origin tradition, that they had lived west of the Mississippi River and had migrated to the east.
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The migration was the result of the dream of a holy man that the sacred pole that stood in the center of his village would lean in the direction of the march. It was led by two brothers, Chat and Chicks. During the long journey and after the people crossed the Mississippi, the brothers and their followers were separated-by disagreement, in a thunderstorm, the accounts vary.Chat and his people followed the pole until it finally stood upright near a hill. The site today is at Mania Way, a flat-topped mound about twenty miles north of Philadelphia, Mississippi, the tribal headquarters of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. GA DIET North Georgia mountains The Cherokee origin tradition explains the formation of their homeland-?the hills and valleys Of the southern Appalachian Mountains, along the Tennessee River and its tributaries. When the earth was created and the land was very soft, birds were sent down from the sky to find a dry place for the animals to live.
When they were unsuccessful, a giant buzzard was sent to continue the search. As he grew tired he flew lower and lower, and his wingtips began to hit the soft new land, pushing down the valleys and raising the hills. F. Duncan Thaw River, near the Cocoas River, Alabama The Creeks occupied villages along the Chattahoochee, Tallapoosa, and Cocoas Rivers in Alabama. Their origins began under a mountain in the west, which opened up and the people emerged and settled nearby. But the earth opened up and ate their children, and they began a long march to the east, crossing several rivers.They encountered three other peoples, from whom they learned the use of certain herbs.
They also found a pole on a mountain, which became their guide. They finally encountered a white path, which they followed to Calaboose Creek. They found the people who had made the white path and settled near them. The story explains not only how the Creeks came to the southeast but how they came to dominate most of what is now the state of Alabama by making alliances with tribal groups whose hunting territories they wanted. The Creeks were a confederacy of peoples held together by similarity of language.Howard Norma Howard (Choctaw artist), enlarge image “Choctaw Village, ” ca. 1998 One rationale for these treaties was that Indians were migratory hunters who only followed the game and had no attachment to any particular lands.
This rationale ignored the fact that tribes in the southeast raised significant crops Of corn and lived in settled villages. Americans were already swayed by arguments based on stereotypes of Indians as hostile, savage, wandering people. For students, the question is to what extent these stereotypes still persist in their thinking. GA Lib.Orders for removal of Cherokee from North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama, 1 838 full text Orders for removal of Cherokee from Georgia, 1838 lull text Teen. SSL&A Notice to the Cherokee that steam boats will be available for their transportation to territory west of the Mississippi, 1 838 full text The final removal came under the Indian Removal Act. Missionary societies who had invested their time and money teaching Indians to live with their white neighbors and accept Christianity lobbied Congress to oppose the act.
It finally passed, but only by a one-vote margin, in September of 1830.The Choctaw, Cherokee, Chickasaws, Creeks, and Seminole signed treaties agreeing to leave their homes in the southeast and move west. Their travels ere marked by outbreaks Of cholera, inadequate supplies, bitter cold, and death from starvation and exhaustion. The Cherokees’ march was a forced one under the direction of the United States army, and it came to be known as the “Trail of Tears” or, in their own term, “The Place Where They Cried. ” Removal was a tragedy as thousands of people were forced to leave behind their homes, livestock, crops, and places that had spiritual significance for them.McClure Museum Depiction of Cherokee farmstead of the mid asses, based on historic descriptions and archaeological excavations from the Lower Little Tennessee River Valley, eastern Tennessee, 1967-1982 enlarge image Archaeological evidence, native oral traditions, and written sources help us reconstruct the past and understand the way in which landscape shaped the culture and the history of these people in their original homelands and how they had to adapt to a new environment west of the Mississippi River These five tribes of the southeast were village dwellers.They clustered around streams and rivers, which generally defined territorial hunting ranges.
They raised numerous varieties of corn, beans, and squashes, but their primary supply of meat came from hunting. Deer, bear, and woodland buffalo ere their prey. Their environments shaped their senses of identity. The tribes of the southeast maintained a delicate balance with the forces of the environment around them. The woods were full of spiritual forces who could harm someone who wandered alone into their domain. Violent storms, sudden floods in the river valleys, lightning-set fires in the woods, all were reminders of the power of the world.The Green Corn ceremony, variations of which occurred in the Cherokee, Creek, and Chickasaws communities, renewed the world in the spring for the upcoming year.
During the late eighteenth century, major changes began to affect the epistyles of the southeastern native people. The introduction of domesticated livestock among the Choctaws in the asses provided a new source of food that began to replace deer meat in the diet. Hunting deer for skins to trade with French and English agents had depleted deer populations throughout the southeast. Although domesticated cattle roamed free in the forests and prairies, they could be easily captured.Other introductions to the Choctaw diet included domesticated pigs and potatoes, and some families cultivated fields of cotton. By the early asses a missionary could report that Choctaw omen had spinning wheels, cards, and were weaving yards of cloth. Voluntary removal, late asses-early 1 sass Although Indian removal is generally associated with the 1 830 act of Congress, the process was already beginning by the late asses.
Pressure of white settlement led small parties Of Choctaws, Cherokees, and Chickasaws to move west of the Mississippi, and by 1 807 they were settling in Arkansas, Indian Territory, and east Texas.There they could hunt and raise their crops. This voluntary removal to escape conflict with white settlers and government agents thus preceded forced removals. Federal policy toward Indians was ambivalent. Thomas Jefferson acquired the Louisiana Territory in part to find a place for Indian communities who would not assimilate into white society and who wished to pursue their traditional hunting ways of life, but he also promoted government-run trading posts in Indian country so that Indians would build up such great debts that they would be willing to give up some of their land in payment.Indians might choose to move, but Jefferson also found ways to force them to make the choice. C.
Fireman Warrant issued to a Revolutionary War soldier for 1 00 acres Of western land s payment for his service, 1784 enlarge image Despite the integration of domesticated cattle and the technology of weaving into their lifestyles, Americans still considered the southeastern tribes savages. The increasing American population led to pressure to develop new western lands.The War of 1 812, a definitive victory over the English, gave Americans a sense of national identity, but it also created a need for Indian land. The United States paid its soldiers from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1 812 not with money but with warrants that they could exchange for western land. In going up the stream there were houses and farms on both banks of the River. The houses were decently furnished, and their farms were well fenced and stocked with cattle. They had everything they needed: food, clothes, water and good land.
Neutral, Journal, 181 9, on a Cherokee band in the Arkansas Territory The pressure for the development of western lands required the removal of Indians from those lands. Even while government agents were holding out promises Of western lands that would be theirs forever, Americans were exploring those lands. In 181 9, Thomas Neutral, an English botanist, traveled o the Arkansas territory. His account painted a picture of a fertile and productive environment for agriculture, a description seemingly designed to inspire interest in the minds of land speculators.The Choctaw leader Pushchair, however, when pressed to sign a treaty ceding his tribe’s land in central Mississippi in exchange for others in the west, protested: “We wish to remain here, where we have grown up as the herbs of the woods; and do not wish to be transplanted into another soil. ” “Indeed most of the streams on this side of the Arkansas are said to afford springs of salt water which might be wrought with profit. Thomas Neutral, A Journal of Travels into the Arkansas Territory during the year 1819 In the period between 1817 and 1825, however, the tribes signed treaties agreeing to exchange eastern lands for western ones.
These early treaties did not require the tribes to move west, and most remained in their homes, but small vanguards crossed the Mississippi to take up residence in the new territory, some joining relatives already settled there. Some Choctaw families moved after the Treaty of Docks Stand, signed in 1820. Some Creek and Cherokee groups moved west after treaties they signed in 1818. The pressures on the tribes culminated in 1829 and 1 830 when the legislatures of Mississippi and Georgia passed laws to extend their jurisdiction over the Choctaw, Chickasaws, and Cherokee Nations.The actions brought into sharp relief the dilemma that faced the tribes. Were they to submit to the laws of a foreign government to remain in the lands that they considered their homeland, or were they to move to the west to retain their autonomy? FLAT AS Sorrows of the Seminole, Banished from Florida, c. 1 835 Song about the Seminole’ departure sung in the Muskeg language.
Library of Congress Congress followed the actions of the states with the 1 830 Indian Removal Act that directed the federal government to negotiate with Indian tribes to exchange their lands east Of the Mississippi River for lands to the west.Under the provisions of the act, the Choctaws, the Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and ultimately the Seminole, who had fled to Florida in the early nineteenth century, moved to Indian Territory (what is now the state of Oklahoma) in the period from 1831 through the asses. Thus the five tribes moved under duress to the Indian Territory of eastern Oklahoma. The story of their hardships on the journey is well known. Here we consider another aspect of their experience-?the new environments to which they had to adapt, and adapt quickly.I recommend that you study the maps of Indian Territory below before continuing your reading. Visualize the areas they left-?their homelands east of the Mississippi-?and the new lands west of the Mississippi to which they were forcibly removed.
Compare the physical aspects of the regions they left and of the regions they settled. (For more detailed ecological comparisons, see the Physical Environment links in the online resources. ) Library of Congress 1892 enlarge map Sterner/JellOklahoma (shaded relief) Tribal regions in Indian Territory after Removal See descriptions of the regions. The Cherokees settled in the northeast of the new territory. Their homes in the Appalachians had been dominated by mountain ranges, rivers, and forests. In the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and the valleys of the Illinois, Arkansas, Grand, and Verdigris rivers they found lands similar to what they had known before, but foreign because they were brought there under duress.Of the five tribes, the Cherokee suffered probably the harshest conditions during their removal.
In the southeast, they had lived in villages long river valleys where they planted their crops on river terraces and hunted over large areas. In their first year in the west, they planted along the Arkansas River, which flooded, as it did regularly, and the first crops were washed out. The Creek people settled in the central part of the Indian Territory. The northern and southern branches of the Canadian River bounded their territory, and numerous creeks fed into those rivers.The low hills and a narrow band of dense forest known as the Cross Timbers distinguished the area. The Choctaws moved into the area of the San Bois and Chaotic mountains ND the Chimera river in the southeast region of the territory. The piney woods, mountains, and rivers of the region were similar to those of the southeastern area in Mississippi.
Although the topography was familiar, the Choctaws had had to leave behind their homes, fields, crops, and whatever livestock they possessed.The Chickasaws moved into Choctaw territory in 1 837 with the promise that they would occupy its western portion, the land between the Cross Timbers and the open space of the Plains. Because the land in what was known as the Indian Territory had been assigned to the Creeks, Cherokees, and Choctaws, here was no place for the Chickasaws. They had sold their eastern lands to the United States government for approximately $500,000, with which they could buy a new homeland. With this money, they leased land from the Choctaws.The money also created a trust fund that yielded an income for the tribe of between $60,000 and $75,000 a year. They could live on annuity payments without having to establish farms.
For the Chickasaws, removal led them into a cash economy and a political situation that stifled their dependency upon the natural environment. The Seminole resisted removal in a series of hard-fought and costly wars room the asses to the asses. In 1835, about 4,000 Seminole were captured and sent to the Indian Territory, where they were located in the western section of the Creek territory.Another small group was sent from Florida in the late asses, when the government campaign to remove the southeastern Indians came to an end. M. L. Van Horn Northeast Alabama C.
S. Allen Southeast Oklahoma “the hilly, wooded southeastern part of the Territory that resembled their homelands in the southeast [U. S. ]” As the tribes entered their new lands, the one thing they would not do was move beyond the hilly, wooded southeastern part of the Territory that assembled their homelands in the southeast.Further west, the dramatic opening of the Great Plains with its Vast, treeless, arid expanses of territory, was foreign to their experience. In addition, it was dominated by Kiowa, Comanche, Wichita, and Apaches-?buffalo-hunting, highly mobile societies whose raids were a threat to the settled villages of the Southeastern tribes. Although their treaties guaranteed their rights to lands all the way to the headwaters of the Arkansas, Red, and Canadian Rivers, the environment in the west created a natural boundary beyond which the southeastern tribes loud not move.
Although the terrain was different, one element of native knowledge that persisted and adapted from the southeast to the Indian Territory was the use Of herbal medicines. In the west Choctaws in the early asses century used a tea made from boiled Blackfoot as a laxative, blood weed for purifying blood, black root and fall willow for measles and smallpox (European-introduced diseases), and broom weed for colds and coughs. It could also prevent pneumonia if taken in time. Other medicines described by Choctaws in Oklahoma include Sycamore bark, which was boiled into a tea for coughs,