Removal>Indian Removal Timeline
Indian Removal Timeline
U.S. officials urge the
Cherokees to abandon hunting and their traditional
ways of life and to instead learn how to live, worship,
farm like Christian Americans. Many Cherokees embrace
this "civilization program."
Hopewell Treaty with the Cherokee
Georgia officials initiate agreements with the Cherokee
Indians that began the ultimate disposession of the
Iindian's claims to the land. The treaty was named
beacuse of the
site - Hopewell, Georgia. The treaty
established boundaries for Cherokee hunting
grounds, erected limitations on culturally significant
If any citizen of the United States, or other person
not being an Indian, shall attempt to settle
on any of the lands westward or southward of the
which are hereby allotted to the Indians for
their hunting grounds, or having already settled
will not remove from the same within six months after
ratification of this treaty, such person shall
forfeit the protection of the United States, and
may punish him or not as they please...
In the treaty's
conclusion, “the hatchet,” is said to be “forever
buried” and peace and friendship
Read this Treaty
Holston Treaty with the Cherokee
further designates boundaries and began the progressive
of Cherokee land rights on non-hunting grounds. This
treaty is remarkable for its aggressive
language, the Cherokees “agreed”
to “relinquish and cede” all lands residing outside
established demarcation line and permitted citizens
of the United States access to a road running through
lands, as well as navigation of the Tennessee River.
It is agreed on the part of the Cherokees, that the
United States shall have the sole and exclusive right
of regulating their trade.
The United States solemnly guarantee to the Cherokee
nation, all their lands not hereby ceded.
If any citizen of the United States, or other person
not being an Indian, shall settle on any of the Cherokees'
lands, such person shall forfeit the protection of
the United States, and the Cherokees may punish him
or not, as they please.
No citizen or inhabitant of the United States, shall
attempt to hunt or destroy the game on the lands
of the Cherokees; nor shall any citizen or inhabitant
go into the Cherokee country, without a passport
first obtained from the Governor of some one of the
United States, or territorial districts, or such
other person as the President of the United States
may from time to time authorize to grant the same.
Read this treaty:
||As the 19th century began, land-hungry Americans poured
into the backcountry of the coastal South and began moving
toward and into what would later become the states of
Alabama and Mississippi. Indian tribes living there
are the main obstacle to westward expansion.
||Compact of 1802
Federal government agrees to extinguish the Indian land
title and remove the Cherokees from the state. In return,
Georgia gives up claims on western lands.
||The purchase of the Louisiana Territory from France
in 1803 gave U.S. president Thomas Jefferson an opportunity
to implement an idea he had contemplated for many years—the
relocation of the eastern tribes beyond the Mississippi
River. There, Jefferson suggested, Native Americans could
acculturate at their own pace, retain their autonomy,
and live free from the trespasses of American settlers.
Although most Cherokees rejected Jefferson's entreaties,
small groups moved west to the Arkansas River area in
1810 and 1817-19.
|The state of Georgia holds a total of eight lotteries
to distribute land seized from the Cherokees and Creeks.
Major General Andrew Jackson led an expedition
against the Creek Indians climaxing in the Battle
of Horse Shoe Bend (in present day Alabama near the Georgia border),
where Jackson’s force soundly defeated the Creeks and
destroyed their military power. He then forced upon the
Indians a treaty whereby they surrendered to the United
States over twenty-million acres of their traditional
land—about one-half of present day Alabama and one-fifth
Read more about the Creek indians:
||Treaty of Cherokee Agency
This treaty marked the beginnings of a new campaign designed
to divide the Cherokee nation with an ever-present eye
on the ultimate goal of mass removal. Although extensive
land seizure was included as part of the treaty, the
nature of the government’s grand strategy could be seen
||The Cherokees effectively resisted ceding their full
territory by creating a new form of tribal government
based on the United States government. Rather than being
governed by a traditional tribal council, the Cherokees
wrote a constitution and created a two-house
In addition to this government, Cherokees learned to speak
English and created a written language and adopted
becoming one of the "civilized" tribes that
adopted features of white culture in place of their own.
|Mar. 3, 1819
An Act Making Provision for the Civilization
of the Indian Tribes Adjoining the Frontier Settlements
Congress passes an Act Regarding
the Civilization of the Indian Tribes
to prevent any further decline in the Indian population.
However, the provisions outlined in this Act had the
opposite effect. The President was given authority and
funds to take any actions that he saw fit to make the
Indians more civilized.
the President of the United States shall be,
and he is hereby authorized, in every case where
judge improvement in the habits and condition of
such Indians practicable, and that the means of
can be introduced with their own consent, to employ
capable persons of good moral character, to instruct
them in the mode of agriculture suited to their situation;
and for teaching their children in reading, writing,
and arithmetic and performing such other duties as
may be enjoined...
Congress authorizes an annual
sum of $10,000.00 as a "civilization fund" to
teach agriculture, reading, writing, and arithmetic
to American Indian
people, in hopes that they will adopt the ways
of white society.
An Act to Abolish the United States Trading Establishment
with the Indian Tribes
This act, passed by Congress, allowed all excess materials
collected through the termination of trade with the
Indians to be
at the President's disposal. He was given the authority
to sell them as he saw fit, and to use the profits
to carry out this act.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
of the United States of America, in Congress assembled,
That the President of the United States shall be, and
hereby is, authorized and required to cause the business
of the United States’ trading-houses among the Indian
tribes to be closed, and the accounts of the superintendent
of Indian trade, and of the factors and sub-factors,
to be settled...
|Feb. 28, 1823
Supreme Court Case: Johnson v. McIntosh
The Supreme Court held that private citizens could not purchase
lands directly from Native Americans. The Court determined that the United
States government had acquired fee title to the land based on the longstanding
practices of European colonization, and therefore Native Americans could sell
their land only to the U.S. government.
For more information:
President Monroe announced to Congress that he thought
all Indians should be relocated west of the Mississippi.
Monroe was pressured by the state of Georgia to make his
statement because gold had been discovered on Cherokee
land in Northwest Georgia and the state of Georgia wanted
to claim it.
Read more about the gold rush:
||The Cherokees adopt a written
an act that further antagonized removal proponents in
Cherokee nation elects John Ross as their Chief
Read more about John Ross:
Treaty of Washington
addressed members of the Cherokee nation west of the
Mississippi, guaranteeing them seven million
acres of land and a “perpetual outlet” west as far “as
the sovereignty of the United States,” extends. Such
agreements set the stage for the justification of mass
...it is further agreed, on the part of the United
States, that to each Head of a Cherokee family now
within the chartered limits of Georgia, or of either
of the States, East of the Mississippi, who may desire
to remove West, shall be given, on enrolling himself
for emigration, a good Rifle, a Blanket, and Kettle,
and five pounds of Tobacco: (and to each member of
his family one Blanket,) also, a just compensation
for the property he may abandon, to be assessed by
persons to be appointed by the President of the United
States. The cost of the emigration of all such shall
also be borne by the United States, and good and suitable
ways opened, and provisions procured for their comfort,
accommodation, and support, by the way, and provisions
for twelve months after their arrival...
|Dec. 20, 1828
||The state of Georgia, fearful
that the United States would not affect (as a matter
of Federal policy) the removal of the Cherokee Nation
tribal band from their historic lands in Georgia; enacted
a series of laws which stripped the Cherokee of their
rights under the laws of the state, with the intention
to force the Cherokee to leave the state. The Georgia
legislature annulled the Cherokee constitution and ordered
seizure of their lands.
||John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation tribal
band, led a delegation to Washington in
to resolve disputes over the non-payment of annuities
to the Cherokee, and to seek Federal sustainment of the
boundary between the territory of the state of Georgia
and the Cherokee Nation's historic tribal lands within
that state. Rather than lead the delegation into futile
negotiations with President Jackson, Ross wrote an immediate
memorial to Congress, completely forgoing the customary
correspondence and petitions with the President.
||John H. Eaton, secretary of war, informed John Ross
that President Jackson would support the right of Georgia
to extend her laws over the Cherokee Nation
North Georgia is flooded by thousands of
prospectors lusting for gold. Niles' Register reported
in the spring
of 1830 that there were four thousand miners working
along Yahoola Creek alone. A writer in the Cherokee newspaper,
the Cherokee Phoenix, said,
Our neighbors who
regard no law, or pay no respect to the laws of humanity,
now reaping a plentiful
harvest by the law of Georgia, which declares that
no Indian shall be a party in any court created by
the laws or constitution of that state. These neighbors
come over the line, and take the cattle belonging
to the Cherokees. The Cherokees go in pursuit of their
property, but all that they can effect is, to see
cattle snugly kept in the lots of these robbers.
We are an abused people. If we can receive no redress,
we can feel deeply the injustice done to our rights.
Cherokee Phoenix and Indians' Advocate,
Wednesday, May 27, 1829
|Jan. 1, 1830
||With a force of some 30 Cherokee and the permission
of federal government, Major Ridge evicts whites who
have illegally settled Cherokee land along the Georgia-Alabama
border about 30 miles southwest of present-day Rome,
Georgia. The act infuriates Georgia politicians.
|May 28, 1830
||Indian Removal Act
Authorized the federal government to negotiate treaties with eastern tribes exchanging
their lands for land in the West. All costs of migration and financial aid
to assist resettlement are provided by the government.
|Mar. 18, 1831
||Supreme Court Case: Cherokee
Nation v. State of Georgia
Chief Justice John Marshall declared that “the Indian territory is admitted to
compose a part of the United States,” and affirmed that the tribes were “domestic
dependent nations” and “their relation to the United States resembles that of
a ward to his guardian.” Marshall denies Indians the right to court protection
because they are not subject to the laws of the Constitution. He says that each
Indian tribe is "a distinct political entity...capable of managing its own
Alexis De Tocqueville was visiting Memphis when the
Choctaw arrived on their way west. He wrote:
" The wounded, the sick, newborn babies, and
the old men on the point of death...I saw them embark
to cross the great river and the sight will never
fade from my memory. Neither sob nor complaint rose
from that silent assembly. Their afflictions were
of long standing, and they felt them to be irremediable."
Read more about the Choctaw removal:
Supreme Court Case: Worcester v. Georgia
Supreme Court ruled that the federal government, not
the states, has jurisdiction over Indian territories.
case concerned a missionary living among the Cherokees,
Samuel A. Worcester, who was jailed for refusing to
with a Georgia law requiring all whites residing on Indian
land to swear an oath of allegiance to the state.
against Georgia's actions, Chief Justice John Marshall
writes that Indian tribes must be treated "as
by the national government and that state laws "can
have no force" on their territories. Marshall ruled
that the Cherokee Nation was entitled to federal protection
over those of the state laws of Georgia.
The Court ruled
“the Indian nation was a “distinct community in which
the laws of Georgia can have no force” and into which
Georgians could not enter without the permission of
Cherokees themselves or in conformity with treaties.
Defying the court, Georgia kept Worcester in jail,
Andrew Jackson, when asked to correct the situation,
says, "The Chief Justice has made his ruling; now let
him enforce it."
An outraged President Andrew Jackson
refused to enforce the ruling. Instead, Jackson used
the funding from his
newly created Indian Removal Act of 1830 to forcibly
remove the recalcitrant tribes.
||Removal of Chickasaws & Creeks
||The Choctaw complete their forced removal to the West
under army guard.
||Congress restructures the Bureau of Indian
the Department of Indian Affairs, expanding the agency's
responsibilities to include both regulating trade with
the tribes, as before, and administering the Indian lands
of the West.
The Seminoles signed treaties
but refused to let them be carried out. They fled
to the swamps of Florida where, aided by run-away slaves,
carried out a guerilla warfare against the U.S. government
until the 1840's. After the death of resistance leader
Osceola, who was captured under a flag of truce and
died in jail in 1838, most of his followers then surrendered
& moved west. A remnant remained in Florida.
The Treaty of New Echota was made
by a small contingent of Cherokees led by Major
Ridge against the wishes of the majority of the tribe
and its leader, Chief John Ross. They give up their
lands in Georgia for territory in present-day Oklahoma.
Read more about Major Ridge:
||Texas wins independence from Mexico.
Texans assert that Indians have no right to
possession of Texan land.
|May 17, 1838
||General Scott addresses his troops
regarding the removal of remaining Cherokee Indians residing
in the Southeast.
||Trail of Tears begins
U.S. president Martin Van Buren orders the U.S. Army
into the Cherokee Nation. The
army rounded up as many Cherokees as they could into
temporary stockades and subsequently marched the captives,
led by John Ross, to the Indian Territory. Under the
guns of federal troops and Georgia state militia, the
Cherokee tribe made their
the dry plains across the Mississippi - over 800 miles
Oklahoma Territory. Scholars
estimate that 4,000-5,000 Cherokees, including Ross's
died on this "trail where they cried," commonly
known as the Trail of Tears.
||Cherokee Act of Union
In response to their unfavorable treaties with the United
states, along with the forced removal form their land,
the Cherokee nations of the East and West united.
||Indian Appropriations Act consolidates western tribes
on agricultural reservations to enable westward migration
of non-Indians and to facilitate the transcontinental