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Special commissioner Albert Pike completes treaties with the members of the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, giving the new Confederate States of America several allies in Indian Territory. Some members of the tribes also fought for the Confederacy.
A Boston native, Pike went west in 1831 and traveled with fur trappers and traders. He settled in Arkansas and became a noted poet, author, and teacher. He bought a plantation and operated a newspaper, the Arkansas Advocate. By 1837 he was practicing law and often represented Native Americans in disputes with the federal government.
Pike was opposed to secession but nonetheless sided with his adopted state when it left the Union. As ambassador to the Native Americans, he was a fortunate addition to the Confederacy, which was seeking to form alliances with the tribes of Indian Territory. Besides the agreements with the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, Pike also engineered treaties with the Creek, Seminole, Comanche and Caddos, among others.
Ironically, many of these tribes had been expelled from the Southern states in the 1830s and 1840s but still chose to ally themselves with those states during the war. The grudges they held against the Confederate states were offset by their animosity toward the federal government. Native Americans were also bothered by Republican rhetoric during the 1860 election. Some of Abraham Lincoln’s supporters, such as William Seward, argued that the land of the tribes in Indian Territory should be appropriated for distribution to white settlers. When the war began in 1861, Secretary of War Simon Cameron ordered all posts in Indian Territory abandoned to free up military resources for use against the Confederacy, leaving the area open to invasion by the Confederates.
By signing these treaties, the tribes severed their relationships with the federal government, much in the way the southern states did by seceding from the Union. They were accepted into the Confederates States of America, and they sent representatives to the Confederate Congress. The Confederate government promised to protect the Native American’s land holdings and to fulfill the obligations such as annuity payments made by the federal government.
Some of these tribes even sent troops to serve in the Confederate army, and one Cherokee, Stand Watie, rose to the rank of brigadier general.
READ MORE: Native American History Timeline
Tecumseh's Confederacy was a confederation of indigenous Americans in the Great Lakes region of the United States that began to form in the early 19th century around the teaching of Tenskwatawa (The Prophet).  The confederation grew over several years and came to include several thousand warriors. Shawnee leader Tecumseh, the brother of The Prophet, developed into the leader of the group as early as 1808. Together, they worked to unite the various tribes against the European settlers coming across the Appalachian Mountains and onto their land. In November 1811, a white American military force under the leadership of William Henry Harrison engaged warriors associated with Tenskwatawa in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Under Tecumseh's leadership, the confederation then went to war with the United States during Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812. However, the confederation fell apart in 1813 following his death at the Battle of the Thames.
American Indian Treaties
From 1774 until about 1832, treaties between individual sovereign American Indian nations and the U.S. were negotiated to establish borders and prescribe conditions of behavior between the parties. The form of these agreements was nearly identical to the Treaty of Paris ending the Revolutionary War between the U.S. and Great Britain. The negotiations ended in a mutually signed pact which had to be approved by the U.S.Congress. Non-tribal citizens were required to have a passport to cross sovereign Indian lands.
From 1832 until 1871, American Indian nations were considered to be domestic, dependent tribes. Negotiated treaties between tribes and the U.S. had to be approved by the U.S. Congress.
In 1871, the House of Representatives ceased recognition of individual tribes within the U.S. as independent nations with whom the United States could contract by treaty, ending the nearly 100 year old practice of treaty-making between the U.S. and American Indian tribes.
For more information on American Indian treaties:
- Published Government Sources Relating to Native Americans provides information about treaties, policies, Congressional hearings and debates, and the implementation of federal law.
- U.S. Senate records related to Indian treaties are described in Guide to Records of the United States Senate at the National Archives, 1789-1989 Bicentennial Edition.
- Treaties negotiated between American Indian tribes and the U.S. Government required ratification by the Senate before taking effect. Treaties that were not ratified by the Senate were not put into force, leaving unresolved issues. " The Secret Treaties with California's Indians" by Larisa K. Miller, a Prologue article, explores some of the consequences of unratified Indian treaties.
- Visit our Archives Library Information Center (ALIC) section on Laws and Treaties.
Map Showing Land Ceded by the Chief of the Cherokee Nation of Indians to the United States for the Use of State of Georgia at the Treaty of the 8th of July 1817.
National Archives Identifier 7369122
A visual timeline of the history of American Indian treaties is included in " Rights of Native Americans," an online exhibit.
This page was last reviewed on October 4, 2016.
Contact us with questions or comments.
Broken Promises On Display At Native American Treaties Exhibit
Suzan Shown Harjo points to a signature on Treaty K at the National Archives. The document will be on display in 2016 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian for an exhibit on treaties curated by Harjo. James Clark/NPR hide caption
Suzan Shown Harjo points to a signature on Treaty K at the National Archives. The document will be on display in 2016 at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian for an exhibit on treaties curated by Harjo.
For centuries, treaties have defined the relationship between many Native American nations and the U.S. More than 370 ratified treaties have helped the U.S. expand its territory and led to many broken promises made to American Indians.
A rare exhibit of such treaties at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., looks back at this history. It currently features one of the first compacts between the U.S. and Native American nations – the Treaty of Canandaigua.
The Treaty of Canandaigua is one of the first treaties signed between Native American nations and the U.S. Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration hide caption
The Treaty of Canandaigua is one of the first treaties signed between Native American nations and the U.S.
Courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration
Also known as the Pickering Treaty, the agreement was signed in 1794 between the federal government and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, or the Six Nations, based in New York. The deal secured an ally for the young U.S. government after the Revolutionary War and returned more than a million acres to the Haudenosaunee. But their territory has been cut down over the years. More than two centuries later, the U.S. has kept one promise.
"Article 6 says that they will provide goods in the amount of $4,500, 'which shall be expended yearly forever,' " explains museum director Kevin Gover, a citizen of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.
Every year, those goods from the U.S. government include bolts of cloth to distribute to tribal citizens. Haudenosaunee leaders have said that cloth is more important than money, because it's a way to remind the U.S. of the treaty terms, large and small.
Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, stands inside the "Nation to Nation" exhibit. Paul Morigi/AP hide caption
Kevin Gover, director of the National Museum of the American Indian, stands inside the "Nation to Nation" exhibit.
"The physical treaty, like all things, will eventually fade," Gover says. "But that doesn't mean the commitments that were entered into are completed or are undone."
At least seven other original paper treaties will be featured in rotation at the museum before the exhibit "Nation to Nation" ends in the fall of 2018. For now, the documents not on display are kept at the National Archives, where one almost-forgotten treaty is stored underground.
The light-blue pages of Treaty K are signed without ratifying seals or ribbons — like 17 other unratified treaties signed by representatives of the U.S. government and Native American nations in California during the Gold Rush.
California lawmakers pressured the U.S. Senate not to ratify the treaties, which promised reservation land to the Native American nations. There was one reason the lawmakers didn't want the treaties, according to the exhibit's curator Suzan Shown Harjo of the Cheyenne and Hodulgee Muscogee Indian nations.
"The answer is always gold," she says. "And if it's not gold, it's silver. And if it's not silver, it's copper. And if it's not, go right through the metal chart."
A museum visitor views wampum belts, fans and other diplomatic tools used during the treaty-making process. Paul Morigi/AP hide caption
A museum visitor views wampum belts, fans and other diplomatic tools used during the treaty-making process.
Harjo says many American Indians in California suffered without treaty protection.
"They were not only scattered from their lands, and lots of people murdered during the Gold Rush, but they were erased from history," she explains.
While many treaties resulted in tragedies, Harjo says she hopes museum visitors will take away the full span of this diplomatic history.
"People always think of broken treaties and the bad paper and the bad acts, and that is our reality. But it didn't begin there. It began on an honorable footing," she says.
Anyone who wants a strong grounding in American history, Harjo adds, needs to understand the history of these treaties.
The last Confederate troops to surrender in the Civil War were Native American — here’s how they ended up fighting for the South
Even after Confederate commander Robert E. Lee surrendered in Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865, one Confederate army refused to acknowledge defeat and for months stubbornly fought on.
It was led not by one of the wealthy white southerners who made up much of the Confederacy's officer class — but by a Native American chief called Stand Watie.
So how did a leader of a people facing systematic persecution come to fight for a cause founded on racism and the right to own slaves?
The story illustrates how in the Civil War, the presence of a common enemy caused unexpected alliances to be formed, including an alliance Paul Chaat Smith, a curator at the National Museum of the Native American, has characterised as a "mangy, snarling dog standing between you and a crowd-pleasing narrative."
Watie was himself a plantation holder and slave owner, and had settled in Oklahoma after playing a central role in events that resulted in the eviction of thousands of Native Americans from their land in what is now Georgia.
He was born in 1806 in Cherokee country near what is now Rome, Georgia, and was given the Cherokee name Degataga, meaning "stand firm."
His father — also a slave owner – was baptized, giving his son the Christian name Isaac S Uwatie. Dropping the 'U' and combining it with his Cherokee name, his son took the name Stand Watie.
In 1835, Watie was one of the Cherokee leaders to sign the treaty of New Echota handing over Cherokee ancestral territory to the federal government. In exchange they were granted land to resettle the nation west, in Indian Territory, in what is now Oklahoma.
Some refused to leave and were forcibly removed by the government. It is believed that nearly 4,000 Cherokee died attempting to make the journey to Indian Territory after 1838 in what has become known as the Trail of Tears.
Four years after the treaty, the Cherokee turned against those who had signed away their land, assassinating three of them. Watie survived.
Cherokee chief John Ross, who opposed the treaty, became an adamant enemy of Watie.
In 1861, Georgia ceded from the Union, becoming one of the original seven states that formed the slave-owning Confederacy.
That same year, Watie raised a force of Native Americans to fight for the Confederacy as North and South went to war.
It was the federal government, responsible for robbing Cherokee of their ancestral land, which Watie — in common with many of his people — saw as his main enemy, not the Confederacy.
And shockingly, many Cherokee were themselves slave owners, with some taking their slaves with them to Indian Territory after the forced resettlements west.
He told the Smithsonian Magazine they "established their own racialized black codes, immediately reestablished slavery when they arrived in Indian territory, rebuilt their nations with slave labor, crushed slave rebellions, and enthusiastically sided with the Confederacy in the Civil War."
Watie's force earned a fearsome reputation, performing audacious raids behind enemies lines and attacking Native American settlements loyal to the Union.
Even as the majority of Cherokee repudiated the alliance with the Confederacy in 1862, Watie remained loyal. So successful was he as a military commander that in 1865 Waite was promoted to the rank of brigadier general, one of only two native Americans to achieve the rank in the conflict.
In wasn't until June 23, 1865 — 154 years ago today – that Watie surrendered to Union forces in Doaksville, Oklahoma. In doing so, he became the last Confederate general to lay down his arms in the Civil War.
His force at the time comprised Creek, Seminole, Cherokee, and Osage Indians.
Watie led a delegation of his Cherokee faction in Washington DC in 1866 to negotiate a new treaty with US government. Their loyalty to the Confederacy meant the old treaties had been torn up.
The new treaty signed by Watie granted former slaves tribal citizenship.
After the war, Watie spent the rest of his life as a businessman and plantation owner, and collecting his people's folk tales and legends. He died in 1871.
North Carolina American Indian History Timeline
Pre-Sixteenth-Century American Indian History
ca. 40,000–15,000 B.C.
People migrate to North America from Asia at irregular intervals by way of the Bering Land Bridge.
Paleo-Indian-period American Indians are nomadic and hunt large animals for food. They also eat small game and wild plants. They leave no evidence of permanent dwellings in North Carolina.
Archaic-period American Indians move from big-game hunting to small-game hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants. These people change their patterns of living because of the changing climate in North America.
ca. 8000 B.C.
Possibly this early, American Indians begin to use a site in present-day Wilson County for either permanent or seasonal habitation.
ca. 1200 B.C.
Southeastern Indians begin growing squash gourds.
1000 B.C.–A.D. 1550
Woodland-culture American Indians settle in permanent locations, usually beside streams, and practice a mixed subsistence lifestyle of hunting, gathering, and some agriculture. They create pottery and also develop elaborate funeral procedures, such as building mounds to honor their dead.
ca. 200 B.C.
Southeastern Indians begin growing corn.
Mississippian-culture American Indians create large political units called chiefdoms, uniting people under stronger leadership than the Woodland cultures have. Towns become larger and last longer. People construct flat-topped, pyramidal mounds to serve as foundations for temples, mortuaries, chiefs' houses, and other important buildings. Towns are usually situated beside streams and surrounded by defensive structures.
Many groups of American Indians live in the area now called North Carolina. These include the Chowanoke, Croatoan, Hatteras, Moratoc, Secotan, Weapemeoc, Machapunga, Pamlico, Coree, Neuse River, Tuscarora, Meherrin, Cherokee, Cape Fear, Catawba, Shakori, Sissipahaw, Sugeree, Waccamaw, Waxhaw, Woccon, Cheraw, Eno, Keyauwee, Occaneechi, Saponi, and Tutelo Indians.
Italian explorer Christopher Columbus leads expeditions for Spain to explore new trade routes in the western Atlantic Ocean. This results in European contact with native peoples in the Caribbean and South America, creating a continuing and devastating impact on their cultures.
Sixteenth-Century American Indian History
A Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto explores the western portions of present-day North Carolina, looking for gold. De Soto and his men visit Indian communities and probably introduce smallpox and other deadly European diseases to the native populations.
Spanish explorer Juan Pardo, seeking gold, leads an expedition through what is now western North Carolina. Pardo visits the Catawba, Wateree, and Saxapahaw Indians.
Sir Walter Raleigh sends explorers Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlowe to North America in search of potential colony sites. At Roanoke Island the explorers meet Native American chief Wingina and find the site excellent for settlement. They return to England with two Indians, Manteo and Wanchese, who learn English and are used to create publicity for Raleigh's colony.
The first English settlement is established at Roanoke Island, and Ralph Lane is appointed governor. The Roanoke Indian people, some of whom initially welcome the colonists, begin to see the English as a drain on food and other resources.
Ralph Lane leads an expedition into the interior of North Carolina in search of gold and other precious metals. Roanoke Indians warn inland tribes about the English, but Lane makes an alliance with the Chowanoke, who hope to use the English against their enemies the Tuscarora. Chief Wingina plots to get rid of the English settlers, and Lane has him killed.
Sir Francis Drake arrives at Roanoke Island and takes most of the colonists back to England, leaving an exploring party. Possibly Drake also leaves Africans and South American Indians that he captured from the Spanish. A relief ship arrives at Roanoke Island and, finding none of the colonists, leaves fifteen men to hold the area for England.
Raleigh sends explorer and artist John White to Roanoke Island as leader of a new group of settlers—the second English attempt to settle there. The colonists find bones of the 15 men left behind in 1586. White enlists the help of Manteo to build relationships with the Roanoke and Croatoan Indians. Most of the native peoples decide to let the colonists fend for themselves.
Governor White leaves Roanoke Island for England to acquire supplies for the colonists. With England and Spain at war, White cannot make an immediate return to the colony.
White finally returns to Roanoke Island to find the colony deserted, with little evidence of what happened to the colonists. He attempts to sail to Croatoan Island in hopes of finding some of them, but severe weather prevents him from reaching the island, and he never returns to the area. The Roanoke settlement is known afterward as the Lost Colony.
Seventeenth-Century American Indian History
Jamestown leader John Smith sends expeditions to the Roanoke Island area to seek information about the Lost Colony. His men find nothing conclusive.
Because of Spain's rivalry with England, the Spanish government develops an alliance with the Tuscarora people to monitor the Jamestown colony.
White settlers begin to move into Indian lands along the coastal sounds and rivers of North Carolina.
Virginia legislator Francis Yeardly hires fur trader Nathaniel Batts to explore the Albemarle Sound region as an area of possible settlement. Yeardly agrees to purchase land from the Roanoke Indians but dies before his settlement is established. Batts settles along the Chowan River in a building that serves as both his home and a trading post. He trades with local Native Americans and becomes the area's first permanent white settler.
March 1: King Kilcocanen of the Yeopim Indians grants land to George Durant in the earliest grant on record in the colony.
Chowanoc Indians attack white settlements in Carolina. The uprising is quelled with the "loss of many men."
Cherokee traders establish trade agreements with the English at Charles Towne (present-day Charleston, S.C.)
Eighteenth-Century American Indian History
The Chowanoc and Weapemeoc peoples have gradually abandoned their lands. Some have become slaves or indentured servants, and others have migrated south to join the Tuscarora. Only about 500 Native Americans remain in the Albemarle region.
An escaped slave serves as an architect in the construction of a large Tuscarora Indian fort near the Neuse River.
Surveyor John Lawson, who began a thousand-mile journey through the colony at the end of 1700, publishes A New Voyage to Carolina. It describes the colony's flora and fauna and its various groups of American Indians. Lawson also publishes a map of Carolina.
Settlers begin moving west and south of the Albemarle area.
Baron Christoph von Graffenried, a leader of Swiss and German Protestants, establishes a colony in Bath County. The town, called New Bern, is founded at the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, displacing an Indian town named Chattoka.
June 8: Tuscarora Indians on the Roanoke and Tar-Pamlico Rivers send a petition to the government of Pennsylvania protesting the seizure of their lands and enslavement of their people by Carolina settlers.
Early September: Tuscarora capture surveyor John Lawson, New Bern founder Baron von Graffenried, and two African slaves. Lawson argues with the chief, Cor Tom, and is executed. The Indians spare von Graffenried and the slaves.
September 22: The Tuscarora War opens when Catechna Creek Tuscaroras begin attacking colonial settlements near New Bern and Bath. Tuscarora, Neuse, Bear River, Machapunga, and other Indians kill more than 130 whites.
October: Virginia refuses to send troops to help the settlers but allocates £1,000 for assistance.
In a series of uprisings, the Tuscarora attempt to drive away white settlement. The Tuscarora are upset over the practices of white traders, the capture and enslavement of Indians by whites, and the continuing encroachment of settlers onto Tuscarora hunting grounds.
January: South Carolina sends assistance to her sister colony. John Barnwell, a member of the South Carolina Assembly, leads about 30 whites and some 500 "friendly" Indians, mostly Yamassee, to fight the Tuscarora in North Carolina. A battle takes place at Narhantes, a Tuscarora fort on the Neuse River. Barnwell's troops are victorious but are surprised that many of the Tuscarora's fiercest warriors are women, who do not surrender "until most of them are put to the sword."
April: Barnwell's force, joined by 250 North Carolina militiamen, attacks the Tuscarora at Fort Hancock on Catechna Creek. After 10 days of battle, the Tuscarora sign a truce, agreeing to stop the war.
Summer: The Tuscarora rise again to fight the Yamassee, who, unsatisfied with their plunder during earlier battles, remain in the area looting and pillaging. The Tuscarora also fight against the continued expansion of white settlement.
March 20–23: Another force from South Carolina, consisting of 900 Indians and 33 whites, begins a three-day siege on the Tuscarora stronghold of Fort Neoheroka. Approximately 950 Tuscarora are killed or captured and sold into slavery, effectively defeating the tribe and opening the interior of the colony to white settlement. Although a few renegades fight on until 1715, most surviving Tuscarora migrate north to rejoin the Iroquois League as its sixth and smallest nation.
A treaty with remaining North Carolina Tuscarora is signed. They are placed on a reservation along the Pamlico River. The Coree and Machapunga Indians, Tuscarora allies, settle in Hyde County near Lake Mattamuskeet. The land will be granted to them in 1727, and a reservation will be established.
The General Assembly enacts a law denying blacks and Indians the right to vote. The king will repeal the law in 1737. Some free African Americans will continue to vote until disfranchisement in 1835.
The few Tuscarora remaining in the colony, led by Tom Blount, are granted land on the Roanoke River in Bertie County, near present-day Quitsna. The Tuscarora left their reservation on the Pamlico River because of raids by tribes from the south.
The Cherokee cede land northwest of Charleston to the colony of South Carolina, the first of many land cessions the Cherokee make to Europeans. The treaty also regulates trade and establishes a boundary between the Cherokee and European settlers.
The Cheraw (Saura) Indians incorporate with the Catawba living near present-day Charlotte.
Cherokee leaders visit London and confer with the king. They pledge friendship to the English and agree to return runaway slaves and to trade exclusively with the British.
The North Carolina colony establishes an Indian Trade Commission to regulate trade with native peoples.
A smallpox epidemic decimates the Indian population in North Carolina, especially in the eastern part of the colony. The epidemic decreases the number of Cherokee by 50 percent.
Waxhaw Indians, decimated by smallpox, abandon their lands in present-day Union County and join the Catawba. The vacated lands are taken up by German, English, Scottish, and Welsh immigrants.
Armed conflicts arise between the Cherokee and colonists, who continue to expand areas of settlement further into the western part of the colony.
The French and Indian War is fought between England and France all along the frontier of North America. North Carolina troops serve both in North Carolina and in other colonies.
The Indian population in eastern North Carolina is estimated at around 356. Most of these are Tuscarora who have not moved north.
The colonial governor approves a proposal to establish an Indian academy in present-day Sampson County.
North Carolina militia and Cherokee assist the British military in campaigns against the French and Shawnee Indians. The Cherokee decide to change sides after receiving ill treatment by the English, and they return home, where they eventually attack North Carolina colonists.
The French and Indian War intensifies as the Cherokee raid the western Piedmont. Refugees crowd into the fort at Bethabara. Typhus kills many refugees and Moravians there.
A second smallpox epidemic devastates the Catawba tribe, reducing the population by half.
An act of assembly permits North Carolinians serving against Indian allies of the French to enslave captives.
February: Cherokee attack Fort Dobbs and white settlements near Bethabara and along the Yadkin and Dan Rivers.
June: An army of British regulars and American militia under Colonel Archibald Montgomerie destroys Cherokee villages and saves the Fort Prince George garrison in South Carolina but is defeated by the Cherokee at Echoe.
August: Cherokee capture Fort Loudoun in Tennessee and massacre the garrison.
June: An army of British regulars, American militia, and Catawba and Chickasaw Indians under Colonel James Grant defeats the Cherokee and destroys 15 villages, ending Cherokee resistance.
December: The Cherokee sign a treaty ending their war with the American colonists.
King George III issues a proclamation that demarcates the western edge of settlement. This "proclamation line" through western North Carolina is meant to separate the Native Americans and the colonists.
February: The Treaty of Paris ends the Seven Years' War in Europe and the French and Indian War in North America.
The Treaty of Sycamore Shoals (now Elizabethton, Tenn.), between Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee people, is signed. It opens for settlement the area from the Ohio River south to the Watauga settlement. The Shawnee people, who inhabit the lands, refuse to accept the terms of the treaty.
The Coharie, Catawba, and ancestors of the Lumbee join the Patriot cause.
May–June: Cherokee village councils discuss going to war against the American colonists. The Cherokee decide to fight, knowing that the consequences are enormous. However, the Cherokee are fighting to protect the existence of their society, so they ignore the overwhelming odds against them.
June: White settlements in Watauga and South Carolina are raided by the Cherokee, allies of the British, who have promised to protect the Indians from encroachments by colonial borders.July 29–November: General Griffith Rutherford with 2,400 men invades Cherokee country, destroying 32 towns and villages. Rutherford is joined by Colonel Andrew Williamson with South Carolina troops and Colonel William Christian with Virginians. This expedition breaks the power of the Cherokee and forces them to sue for peace.
July 20: By the Treaty of Long Island of Holston, the Cherokee cede territory east of the Blue Ridge and along the Watauga, Nolichucky, Upper Holston, and New Rivers (the area east of present-day Kingsport and Greenville, Tenn.).
Despite the Indian treaty of 1777 fixing the boundary at the foot of the Blue Ridge, the assembly declares lands open for settlement as far west as the Pigeon River.
July 2: The Cherokee sign the Treaty of Holston, by which they cede a 100-mile tract of land in exchange for goods and an annuity of $1,000.
October 2: By the Treaty of Tellico, the Cherokee cede a triangular area with its points near Indian Gap, east of present-day Brevard, and southeast of Asheville.
Nineteenth-Century American Indian History
The Cherokee establish a law code and the "Light Horse Guards" to maintain law and order.
The Cherokee abolish clan revenge as a mechanism for social control.
March 27: Cherokee Indians aid General Andrew Jackson in defeating the Creek Indians in the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama. After the battle, Jackson tells the Cherokee chief Junaluska: "As long as the sun shines and the grass grows there shall be friendship between us, and the feet of the Cherokee shall be toward the East." As president, Jackson later plays a major role in the effort to move the Cherokee west.
The Cherokee cede land in exchange for land on the Arkansas River, and 2,000 Cherokee move west.
The Cherokee agree to a treaty by which a large amount of their land in present-day Henderson, Transylvania, and Jackson Counties is ceded to the federal government. The Cherokee are allowed to receive land grants as individuals and can resell the land to white settlers to earn money.
The Cherokee establish a judicial administration and eight judicial districts.
Sequoyah completes his work of establishing the Cherokee alphabet, making the Cherokee people the only group of American Indians to have a written language.
The Cherokee National Supreme Court is established.
The Cherokee approve a new tribal constitution.
The first edition of the Cherokee Phoenix, a newspaper printed in Cherokee and English, is released.
President Andrew Jackson signs the Indian Removal Act calling for American Indians to be forced from their homes to lands west of the Mississippi.
The state constitution is extensively revised, with amendments approved by the voters that provide for the direct election of the governor and more democratic representation in the legislature. However, new laws take voting rights away from American Indians and free blacks.
A small, unauthorized group of men signs the Cherokee Removal Treaty. The Cherokee protest the treaty, and Chief John Ross collects more than 15,000 signatures, representing nearly the entire Cherokee population, on a petition requesting the United States Senate to withhold ratification.
The Senate approves the Cherokee Removal Treaty by one vote.
Approximately 17,000 North Carolina Cherokee are forcibly removed from the state to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). This event becomes known as the Trail of Tears.
An estimated 4,000 Cherokee people die during the 1,200-mile trek. A few hundred Cherokee refuse to be rounded up and transported. They hide in the mountains and evade federal soldiers. Eventually, a deal is struck between the army and the remaining Cherokee. Tsali, a leading Cherokee brave, agrees to surrender himself to General Winfield Scott to be shot if the army will allow the rest of his people to stay in North Carolina legally. The federal government eventually establishes a reservation for the Eastern Band of Cherokee.
Yonaguska, chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee, dies at age 80. His adopted white son, William Holland Thomas, becomes chief of the Cherokee and fights to secure reservation land for them.
The General Assembly passes a law prohibiting Indians from owning or carrying weapons without first obtaining a license.
Those Cherokee who avoided forced removal in 1838 and remained in North Carolina are given citizenship. In 1848 Congress grants them a small amount of money to use for the purchase of land.
The Coharie community establishes subscription schools for Indian children.
Approximately 42,000 North Carolinians lose their lives in the Civil War. Native Americans have varying experiences during the war. Many Cherokee in western North Carolina support the Confederacy. Thomas's Legion, a well-known fighting unit, has two companies of Cherokee soldiers. The Lumbee in eastern North Carolina are treated quite differently. They are forced to work on Confederate fortifications near Wilmington. Many flee and form groups to resist impressment by the army. Henry Berry Lowry leads one such group, which continues to resist white domination long after the war's end.
March 3: The killings of Allen and William Lowry, the father and brother of Henry Berry Lowry, spark what becomes known as the Lowry War in Robeson County.
The Lowry band employs guerilla tactics in its war against Robeson County's power structure, robbing prominent citizens and killing law enforcement officers. Indians, blacks, and poor whites unite in support of the outlaw group.
February: Henry Berry Lowry vanishes, leading to years of speculation about his death.
After the death of Steve Lowry at the hand of bounty hunters, the Lowry War ends.
The North Carolina constitution is changed, giving free men of color over the age of 21 the right to vote.
Three schools are established in Halifax and Warren Counties to serve Haliwa-Saponi children.
February 10: The state recognizes the Croatan Indians, now known as the Lumbee, as an official American Indian tribe. With recognition come separate schools for Indian students.
A normal school for Indians opens in Pembroke, Robeson County. This school evolves into the present-day University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Hamilton McMillan publishes Sir Walter's Lost Colony, which claims that Lumbee Indians are descended from the ill-fated Roanoke settlers.
December 4: Fifty-four Croatan Indians in Robeson County petition the federal government, requesting funds for schools.The Indians of Person County construct a school on land donated by Green Martin another school will be constructed within the next few years.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee is incorporated under North Carolina law.
Twentieth-Century American Indian History
Diotrion W. and Mary Epps deed land for a school for Indians in Person County, North Carolina, and southern Virginia. The school will be rebuilt in 1925 by Person County, North Carolina, and Halifax County, Virginia.
Shiloh Indian School is established in Dismal Township, Sampson County, to serve Coharie children.
March 8: A North Carolina law changes the name of the Croatan Indians to the Indians of Robeson County.
The Coharie receive state recognition, but this recognition is rescinded two years later.The State of North Carolina names recognizes a group of Indians descended from the Saponi, Tutelo, and Occaneechi tribes as the Indians of Person County. State recognition will be rescinded in the 1970s.New Bethel Indian School is established in New Bethel Township, Sampson County, to serve Coharie children.
March 11: The Indians of Robeson County change their name to Cherokee Indians of Robeson County.
Eastern Carolina Indian School is established in Herring Township, Sampson County. The school will operate until school desegregation in 1966, eventually serving children in grades 1–12. In 1942 the school begins accepting children from Indian communities in other eastern North Carolina counties, including Harnett, Hoke, Columbus, Cumberland, Bladen, and Person.
Cherokee lands are placed in trust status with the federal government.
Wide Awake Indian School opens in the Waccamaw-Siouan community of Buckhead in Bladen County, with Welton Lowry, a Lumbee, as teacher. The school, serving students in grades 1–8, follows the tradition of Doe Head School, founded in 1885 Long Boy School, founded in 1901 and St. Mark's School, founded in 1920. It will close in 1952.
A federal memorandum allows Indians in Robeson County to organize under the Wheeler-Howard Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. To receive recognition, individuals must be at least one-half Indian.
December 12: Only 22 of 209 Robeson County Indians qualify for recognition under the Wheeler-Howard Act of 1934. Qualification is based on "race" testing to determine an individual's Indian blood.
The Indian Normal School (now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke) in Robeson County grants its first college degree.
East Carolina Indian School is established in Sampson County to serve American Indians in seven surrounding counties. The school will close in 1965.
The first Indian mayor of the town of Pembroke is elected. Previously the governor appointed the mayors, all of whom were non-Indian.
The Cherokee Historical Association receives funding, and the first performance of the outdoor drama Unto These Hills takes place.
Waccamaw Indian School opens in Columbus County. The school will close in 1969 following the desegregation of North Carolina schools.
The State of North Carolina recognizes the Lumbee (formerly called the Cherokee of Robeson County).
The Hickory Hill School in the Waccamaw-Siouan community of St. James, Columbus County, closes after having operated since at least 1927.
Congress passes the "Lumbee Bill," which recognizes the Lumbee as an Indian tribe but denies them services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Haliwa School opens in Warren County, serving children in grades 1–12. The school is tribally controlled and state recognized under the county school system. It will close in 1970 as a result of school desegregation.
January 18: A large group of Lumbee, angered by racist agitation and threats of cross burnings, descend on a Ku Klux Klan rally near Maxton, scattering the Klan. Two Klan members are later indicted on charges of incitement to riot.
June: English E. Jones becomes the first Lumbee president of Pembroke State College (now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke).
The Haliwa receive state recognition as an Indian tribe.
The General Assembly, in removing obsolete laws from the books, inadvertently rescinds state recognition of the Indians of Person County.
The state recognizes the Coharie and Waccamaw-Siouan tribes.
July 2: The General Assembly establishes the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs. Bruce Jones, a Lumbee, serves as director.December 22: The Lumbee Bank is established in Pembroke. It is the first bank in the United States owned and operated by Indians.
August: The new Department of American Indian Studies at Pembroke State University (now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke) begins offering courses.
The Carolina Indian Voice, an Indian-owned newspaper, begins operation.September: Horace Locklear, a Lumbee, becomes the first Indian to practice law in North Carolina.
October: Tuscarora from Robeson County join other Indians from across the nation in occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs building in Washington, D.C., during the Trail of Broken Treaties protest. The Tuscarora steal 7,200 pounds of records from the building and bring them to Robeson County.
March 18: Old Main, the oldest building on the campus of Pembroke State College (now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke), is gutted by fire. The building is reconstructed and will eventually house the Department of American Indian Studies and the Native American Resource Center.
March 19: Henry Ward Oxendine, a Lumbee from Robeson County, becomes the first American Indian to serve in the General Assembly in North Carolina.September 5: The Guilford Native American Association incorporates in Greensboro.
January 5: The Metrolina Native American Association incorporates in Charlotte.
The Waccamaw-Siouan tribe begins governing by tribal council and tribal chief.
The Meherrin Indian tribe receives recognition from the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs.
February 1: Two Tuscarora Indians, Eddie Hatcher and Timothy Jacobs, hold 17 people hostage in the offices of the Robesonian newspaper in Lumberton. The two demand to speak with Governor Jim Martin, hoping to publicize corruption and drug dealing among Robeson County's law enforcement officials. They will be acquitted of federal charges but convicted on state charges.
May: The General Assembly passes a bill restoring state recognition, rescinded in the 1970s, to the Indians of Person County.
November: Harrah's Cherokee Casino opens on Qualla Boundary reservation, with 175,000 square feet of space and 1,800 video gambling machines.
After Confederate statues controversy, Native American lawmakers ask, ‘What about Jackson?’
The Andrew Jackson statue in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
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Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, died in 1845. Tennessee gave a statue of him to the U.S. Capitol in 1928. But the conflict over his legacy continues today for Native Americans.
With cities and states reconsidering the symbolism of local statues to Confederate figures, as well as a move by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to rid the U.S. Capitol of Confederate statues that were sent by the states, two House lawmakers wonder if it’s time to look at Jackson.
Jackson’s exploits in driving Native Americans from the Southeast helped win him the presidency in 1828 but make him almost universally reviled by tribal members today. The statue from Tennessee sits in a place of honor, under the dome of the U.S. Capitol in the Rotunda, seen by thousands of tourists each year in pre-coronavirus days.
“There’s no question Andrew Jackson was the worst president ever for Native Americans — cruel, horrible,” said Rep. Deb Haaland, a New Mexico Democrat. Haaland is one of only four Native Americans and one of two Native women in Congress.
Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna in New Mexico, said Jackson’s statue doesn’t deserve its place in the Rotunda.
“I mean, who are our heroes? I know Speaker Pelosi took the portraits down in the Speaker’s gallery. This is along those same lines,” she said, referring to Pelosi’s removal from an area just off the House floor of four portraits of past House Speakers who joined the Confederacy.
Rep. Sharice Davids, a Kansas Democrat and a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, echoed Haaland.
“I think it’s a good conversation for us to be having,” she said. “I think that a lot of people don’t probably know a ton about the relationship between Andrew Jackson and the Native people here on this continent, during that time frame,” she said.
“If it were up to me, I would remove the statue,” said Davids.
Jackson is one of several presidents whose statues or busts line the 96-foot diameter Rotunda. As part of a collection of statues sent by home states for display on the Capitol grounds, his caped figure stands with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. Other statues in the Rotunda honor Martin Luther King, Alexander Hamilton and early women suffragists.
While he’s known for being the hero of the battle for New Orleans during the War of 1812 and, in his presidential term, killing the Second Bank of the United States, Jackson’s legacy in Indian Country is much darker.
As the nation expanded into what are now the Southeast states in the early part of the 19th century, several tribes put up a fight. Jackson led soldiers against the Muscogee (Creek) Nation as well as the Seminole Tribe of Florida and negotiated treaties with several other tribes to get them to cede land for settlement.
He also signed into law the Indian Removal Act in 1830, which authorized the president to give lands west of the Mississippi River to tribes removed from the Southeast. The removal of the Cherokee Tribe, in particular, became known as the Trail of Tears, though several tribes also faced similar hardships on the trip westward.
When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Removal Act after the Cherokees sued, Jackson is reputed to have said, “Justice Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” While historians doubt the accuracy of that account, it remains lore for many Native Americans and the ruling was widely disregarded.
A descendant of one of those removed tribes, Chickasaw tribal member Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said he’s no fan of Jackson, but he’s not on board with moving or removing his statue.
“My great, great, grandfather was forcibly removed from Mississippi when he was 14 years old and sent to Indian Territory 800 miles away and we lost everything. So, I consider what Andrew Jackson did essentially ethnic cleansing,” Cole, a Republican, said.
“Having said that, I don’t favor removal of his statue. He was a consequential American president. He won important victories over the British in what was effectively the second war for independence. So, I think he’s certainly worthy of respect and discussion, but it’s a mixed legacy in history, no doubt about it,” said Cole.
Cole said Jackson’s willingness to stand up for federal sovereignty in the Nullification Crisis over tariffs probably kept he the Civil War from happening 30 years earlier.
Cole said he wasn’t taught when he was a kid about other blots on American history, such as the 1921 Tulsa race massacre or even the history of many Native Americans being “basically looted of their land and property” when Oklahoma was settled.
“That doesn’t mean this isn’t a great and a good country. It’s just made great mistakes. And its progress has been largely in the right direction,” Cole said.
For now, Jackson’s statue appears safe in its present location. A spokesman for Pelosi said she’s currently focused on the 12 statues of Confederate figures.
Sen. Roy Blunt, the Missouri Republican who sits on the congressional committee that deals with the state statue collection, indicated some openness to moving Jackson. The idea has precedent: Pelosi successfully pushed to move a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from the Rotunda to the lower-profile crypt one floor below.
“I think we have to be careful how far down this list we can go and continue to appreciate the good things about people that made the country. I think the Confederate statues frankly are a little easier to talk about,” Blunt said.
But a statue of his home state’s Harry Truman, also a president, is set to arrive within the next year. “I have been thinking that the Rotunda would be a great place for Harry Truman when his statue gets here to replace Thomas Hart Benton,” he said.
Cole, who holds a doctorate in history, said it’s “extraordinarily helpful” to have the current discussions about statues and historical figures.
“History is a hard subject. Anybody that thinks it’s all sunshine and roses, it’s only heroes and villains — human beings are a lot more complex than that, a lot more mixed than that,” he said.
Deb Haaland: 'Unfortunate' That Rick Santorum Doesn't Know Native American History
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said Tuesday that it is “unfortunate” former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) recently claimed that “nothing” was in America before white colonizers arrived and that Native Americans haven’t done much for American culture anyway.
“Of course it’s unfortunate,” Haaland, the nation’s first-ever Indigenous Cabinet secretary, told HuffPost in a Zoom interview, which you can watch above.
“It’s unfortunate that, first of all, that perhaps we haven’t done a good job of educating Americans about Indian history, because Native American history truly is American history,” she said. “When we think about the influence that Native Americans have had on the forming of the United States, right? The U.S. Constitution is based on the Iroquois Confederacy. Native Americans from some tribes here in this country have some of the oldest democracies in the world.”
Haaland was responding to a question about offensive comments made late last month by Santorum, currently a CNN senior political commentator.
“We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here,” he said during remarks at an event with young conservatives. “I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture.”
Haaland offered to give Santorum some book recommendations to help him understand the actual history of Native Americans, who had been living in America thousands of years before European explorers showed up in the late 1400s and 1500s. Indigenous people already had their own rich cultures and traditions, and as Haaland referenced, the very foundation of the United States and its system of representative democracy stems from a political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy of Nations, founded in 1142.
The Senate even paid tribute to the Iroquois with a 1988 resolution stating: “The confederation of the original 13 colonies into one republic was influenced by the political system developed by the Iroquois Confederacy, as were many of the democratic principles which were incorporated into the constitution itself.”
European colonizers tried to eradicate Indigenous people by forcibly removing them from their lands, slaughtering them, infecting them with new diseases, rounding them up and putting them on reservations, breaking treaties with them and taking their children from them and putting them into boarding schools to assimilate them into white culture.
“I mean, I could probably suggest a few pieces of reading for the senator that would, you know, help him to branch out on his knowledge of American history,” Haaland said of Santorum. “Hopefully, he’ll take a second look.”
Asked for specific books to suggest to Santorum, Haaland said there were too many to pick from and that she would get back to HuffPost.
Indigenous-led groups have been demanding that CNN fire Santorum over his remarks. The president of the National Congress of American Indians, Fawn Johnson, issued a particularly fiery statement , saying Santorum is an “unhinged and embarrassing racist who disgraces CNN” and calling on the media outlet to fire him.
“Make your choice. Do you stand with White Supremacists justifying Native American genocide, or do you stand with Native Americans?” asked Johnson.
CNN has not responded to multiple requests for comment about whether it plans to keep Santorum on contract.
But Santorum was back on the network on Monday night as a guest on Chris Cuomo’s show. Asked about his comments about Native American people, he did not apologize. He said his comments were “out of context.”
18e. Native American Resilience and Violence in the West
Blue Jacket, a Shawnee warrior, helped lead the Native American forces against Major General Arthur St. Clair in 1791. The clash left nearly 700 of St. Clair's people dead, compared with the approximately 40 Indians who lost their lives.
The early 1790s witnessed major crises on a number of different fronts from the perspective of the federal government. It faced domestic unrest from the backcountry. On the international front there was trouble with France and England. And Native Americans in the west regrouped to pose a significant threat to U.S. plans for expansion.
Frontier conditions were always sensitive and complicated cultural borderlands, but never more so than in the wake of the American Revolution. Almost all native groups had allied with the British and served as Loyalists during the war, but when British negotiators agreed upon the terms of the 1783 peace treaty, they offered no protection to their former Indian allies.
Most in the new American republic saw no reason to treat Native Americans well after the war. White settlers claimed ownership of all Indian lands west of the Appalachians by right of military conquest as well as by the terms of the 1783 peace treaty . But Native Americans quite rightly rejected these claims. Indians had not suffered any permanent military defeat during the Revolution, nor did a single Native American representative attend or sign the peace treaty.
This painting shows the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1795, a year following the defeat of several Ohio Indian tribes at the Battle of Fallen Timbers. Chief Little Turtle presents a wampum belt to General Anthony Wayne.
Given these fundamental differences of opinion, the Confederation government, as well as various state governments, negotiated with Indian groups to try and secure access for white settlement in the west. Numerous treaties from the mid and late 1780s created favorable terms for new settlement , but they were usually achieved through liquor, bribes, or physical threats.
Although the Iroquois and Cherokee still reeled from the consequences of their strong alliance with the British in the Revolutionary War, other more westerly groups spurred a collective native opposition to the increasing threat from the American republic. For example, Chief Alexander McGillivray , a mixed blood Creek in the southeast, called for expelling all whites from tribal lands and looked to the Spanish in Florida as a powerful ally against the Americans. Native groups north of the Ohio River had an even stronger ally from British Canada.
Although King George III's Proclamation of 1763 set the boundaries between the English colonies and Indian territory, the new United States looked to expand well beyond these lines.
Geographical scope of off-reservation hunting rights
The treaties do not expressly specify the geographical extent of the hunting right. In State v. Buchanan (1999), the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that this right extends to 1) the lands formally ceded by the tribes to the United States as those lands are described in the Treaties and 2) other areas where it can be shown that those areas were “actually used for hunting and occupied [by the tribe] over an extended period of time.” The court did not provide a formal mechanism to evaluate and determine traditional hunting areas.
For game management and enforcement purposes, WDFW produced a map showing the areas formally ceded in the treaties.
Why were some Native Americans sympathetic to the South's cause during the Civil war?
So, I'm taking a Native American history class, and in the text book (First Peoples by Colin G. Calloway) it briefly discusses how Native Americans fought on both sides of the Civil war for a couple of reasons. Calloway then goes on to say that the Confederate side made overtures and signed treaties with various tribes. He then specifies that the part of the Cherokee tribe that fought for the south (some fought for the north too) sympathized with the southern cause. Calloway just leaves it at this. Did they sympathize with the south because of the benefits they were getting, or their cause in general?
Some natives had deals with the North, which were 1) not great deals and 2) not always respected by the North. In some cases, the North was obliged to defend reservations they forced Native Americans onto (because they demanded the natives be unarmed). But when Confederate troops approached, Union troops vanished because they weren't going to die for the natives.
So then then the natives have got no weapons, a useless Union treaty, and a Confederate army unit on their doorstep offering weapons, a better deal, and an opportunity to fight for their freedom. "How much worse could The Confederacy be?" would be a reasonable question to ask.
Native soldiers fought for so long (IIRC the last Confederate general to surrender was a Native American) because a loss would mean that the US would have a pretext to renegotiate everything, but worse. Which we did once the war was over.