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Native Americans and the Civil War Previous Next
Digital History ID 3070


In 1861, many Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles decided to join the Confederacy, in part because some of the tribes' members owned slaves. In return, the Confederate states agreed to pay all annuities that the U.S. government had provided and let the tribes send delegates to the Confederate Congress. A Cherokee Chief, Stand Watie (1806-1871), served as a brigadier general for the Confederacy and did not surrender until a month after the war was over.

After the war, these nations were severely punished for supporting the Confederacy. The Seminoles were required to sell their reservation at 15 cents an acre and buy new land from the Creeks at 50 cents an acre. The other tribes were required to give up half their territory in Oklahoma. This land would become reservations for the Arapahos, Caddos, Cheyennes, Commanches, Iowas, Kaws, Kickapoos, Pawnees, Potawatomis, Sauk and Foxes, and Shawnees. In addition, all these nations had to allow railroads to cut across their land.

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