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Unformatted text preview: Native American Removal Policy Native and the 'Trail of Tears' and 1 Early American Views of Native Early American Land Rights American From the beginning of European settlement on the East Coast From of what would become the United States, American colonists looked for justification to displace Native American populations. This piece written by John Cotton, a Puritan leader, who helped This establish the groundwork for colonization and property rights as the measure for “possession” of the land. The placing of a people in this or that country is from the The appointment of the Lord. . . Quest. Wherein doth this work of God stand in appointing a Wherein place for a people? Answ. First, when God espies or discovers a land for a First, people, as in Ezek. 20:6: "He brought them into a land that He had espied for them." And, that is, when either He gives them to discover it themselves, or hears of it discovered by others, and fitting them. “ others, 2 This is an excerpt of a letter written in Boston This four years after its founding, with future Connecticut governor John Winthrop explaining the difficulties of establishing a self-sustaining, self-governing settlement. Most notably, Winthrop described the colonists' Most mounting conflict with the Indians and the death of many Native Americans from smallpox as a sign of providence and good fortune. “Our Churches are governed by Pastors, Teachers Our ruling Elders and Deacons, yet the power lies in the whole Congregation and not in the Presbytery [not in a larger council of churches] further than for order and precedence. For the natives, they are near all dead of the smallpox, so the Lord hath cleared our title to what we possess.” what 3 Hopewell Treaty with the Hopewell Cherokee (1785) Cherokee Beginning shortly after the founding of the United Beginning States, Georgia officials initiated agreements with the Cherokee Indians of the area that eventually eroded the Cherokees' claims to the land. The opening act in the dispossession of Cherokee The lands was concluded at Hopewell, Georgia in 1785. Specifically, the treaty established boundaries for Specifically, Cherokee hunting grounds, erecting limitations on culturally significant land. Although, in the treaty's conclusion, “the hatchet,” is Although, said to be “forever buried” and peace and friendship re-established, the post-Hopewell realities proved far different. 4 Holston Treaty with the Cherokee Cherokee Holston (1791) (1791) Six years after the Hopewell Treaty, another Six landmark US/Cherokee treaty was concluded at Holston manufacturing further boundaries and “extinguishing forever all claims of the Cherokee nation" to land in the stipulated areas. Expanding upon the dispossession guaranteed at Expanding Hopewell, the Holston treaty began the progressive erosion of Cherokee land rights on non-hunting grounds. Marked by its aggressive rhetoric, the Cherokees Marked “agreed” to “relinquish and cede” all lands residing outside the established demarcation line and permitted citizens of the United States access to a road running through Cherokee lands, as well as 5 navigation of the Tennessee River. Treaty of Cherokee Agency Treaty (1817) (1817) This treaty marked the beginnings of a new campaign This designed to divide the Cherokee nation with an everdesigned present eye on the ultimate goal of mass removal. present Although extensive land seizure was included as part of Although the treaty, the nature of the government’s grand strategy could be seen by 1817. could "The United States, my children, are the friends of both parties, "The and, as far as can be reasonably asked, they are willing to satisfy the wishes of both. Those who remain may be assured of our patronage, our aid, and good neighborhood. Those who wish to remove, are permitted to send an exploring party to reconnoitre the country on the waters of the Arkansas and White rivers, and the higher up the better, as they will be the longer unapproached by our settlements, which will begin at the mouths of those rivers.” 6 Treaty of Washington (1828) This treaty addressed members of the Cherokee nation This 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 Such mass removal. ART. 7. The Chiefs and Head Men of the Cherokee Nation, ART. aforesaid, for and in consideration of the foregoing stipulations and provisions, do hereby agree, in the name and behalf of their Nation, to give up, and they do hereby surrender, to the United States, and agree to leave the same within fourteen months, as herein before stipulated, all the lands to which they are entitled in Arkansas, 7 Andrew Jackson’s First Annual Andrew Message to Congress (1829) While denying the While sovereign right to Native American tribes within state limits, threatening extinction as a consequence for remaining east of the Mississippi, and combining the language of paternalism, Jackson lays out his policy of voluntary removal to areas west of the Mississippi. 8 The Indian Removal Act The (1830) (1830) Passed during Andrew Jackson’s second year in office, the Passed Indian Removal Act set the stage for his administration’s handling of Native American affairs during the remainder of Jackson’s presidency. Removal of eastern tribes to lands west of the Mississippi Removal became the hallmark of Jacksonian Indian policy including, most notably, the 'Trail of Tears,' (which actually transpired shortly after Jackson had left office.) Jackson “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Be United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it shall and may be lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any territory belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi, not included in any state or organized territory, and to which the Indian title has been extinguished,” 9 Worcester v. Georgia (1832) In this landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled the State of In Georgia had no power to pass any law affecting the Cherokee Nation, maintaining the exclusivity of federal jurisdiction. As a distinct political community bound by territorial boundaries As and established rights, Worcester, in principle, guaranteed the sovereign claims of the Cherokee nation and the lands within their boundaries. Although a potential watershed moment, the decision sparked Although intense disagreement between the three branches and crumbled under the weight of Jackson’s objection. Responding to Chief Justice John Marshall’s written decision it Responding was rumored Jackson remarked, “The Chief Justice has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” Unfortunately for the Cherokee Nation the social principles outlined Unfortunately in Worcester never became a political reality because of later developments. 10 Treaty of New Echota (1835) After a winding trail of treaties designed to dispossess After the Cherokee Nation of various parts of their land, the Treaty of New Echota represented the final blow to traditional Cherokee land rights. Dripping with paternalism, New Echota ceded all land Dripping possessed by the Cherokee Nation east of the Mississippi to the United States and reaffirmed the seven million acre and perpetual outlet commitments. “The United States shall always have the right to make and establish The such post and military roads and forts in any part of the Cherokee country, as they may deem proper for the interest and protection of the same and the free use of as much land, timber, fuel and materials of all kinds for the construction and support of the same as may be necessary…” necessary…” 11 In an impassioned letter to In Congress, Chief John Ross exposed the illegitimacy of the Treaty of New Echota and described its consequences on the people of the Cherokee Nation. His words echo through the His history of treaty negotiations between Native Americans and the government of the United States. United “We are overwhelmed! Our hearts We are sickened, our utterance is paralyzed, when we reflect on the condition in which we are placed, by the audacious practices of unprincipled men, who have managed their stratagems with so much dexterity as to impose on the Government of the United States, in the face of our earnest, solemn, and reiterated protestations. The instrument in question is not the act of our Nation; we are not parties to its covenants; it has not received the sanction of our people. “ people. 12 The 'Trail of Tears' In 1838, General Winfield Scott arrived in Georgia with In approximately 7,000 men to enforce the provisions of the Treaty of New Echota, which prescribed the relocation of the Cherokees in Georgia to what is now Oklahoma. Somewhere between 3,000-5,000 Cherokees died en Somewhere route in what became known as the 'Trail of Tears.' 13 ...
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