The Removal Act
May 28, 1830
An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 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, as he may judge necessary, to be divided into a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such tribes or nations of Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where they now reside, and remove there; and to cause each of said districts to be so described by natural or artificial marks, as to be easily distinguished from every other.
And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be laid off and described, with any tribe or nation of Indians now residing within the limits of any of the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed and occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or more of the states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied by the Indians, is owned by the United States, or the United States are bound to the state within which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim thereto.
And be it further enacted, That in the making of any such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided always, That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same.
And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the lands now occupied by the Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or otherwise, and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person or persons rightfully claiming such improvements. And upon the payment of such valuation, the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass to the United States, and possession shall not afterwards be permitted to any of the same tribe.
And be it further enacted, That upon the making of any such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.
And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at their new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever.
And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the President to have the same superintendence and care over any tribe or nation in the country to which they may remove, as contemplated by this act, that he is now authorized to have over them at their present places of residence: Provided, That nothing in this act contained shall be construed as authorizing or directing the violation of any existing treaty between the United States and any of the Indian tribes.
And be it further enacted, That for the purpose of giving effect to the Provisions of this act, the sum of five hundred thousand dollars is hereby appropriated, to be paid out of any money in the treasury, not otherwise appropriated
Sunday, January 2, 2011
- Peace...this is BRIEF history of the 'Trail of Tears' yet I wanted to share it. One of my goals this year, is to post history of my people on a monthly basis, and though we did not begin with this period in time, it is a good place to start to show the strength of who we are.
Migration from the original Cherokee Nation began in the early 1800’s as Cherokees, wary of white encroachment, moved west and settled in other areas of the country. White resentment of the Cherokees had been building and reached a pinnacle after gold was discovered in Georgia, and immediately following the passage of the Cherokee Nation constitution, and establishment of a Cherokee Supreme Court. Possessed with ‘gold fever,’ and a thirst for expansion, the white communities turned on their Cherokee neighbors and the U.S. government decided it was time for the Cherokees to leave behind their farms, their land and their homes.
A group known as the Old Settlers had moved in 1817 to lands given them in Arkansas where again they established a government and a peaceful way of life. Later, they too, were forced into Indian Territory.
President Andrew Jackson, whose command and life was saved due to 500 Cherokee allies at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814, unbelievably authorized the Indian Removal Act of 1830. In following the recommendation of President James Monroe in his final address to Congress in 1825, Jackson sanctioned an attitude that had persisted for many years among many white immigrants. Even Thomas Jefferson, who often cited the Great Law of Peace of the Iroquois Confederacy as the model for the U.S. Constitution, supported Indian Removal as early as 1802.
The displacement of Native People was not wanting for eloquent opposition. Senators Daniel Webster and Henry Clay spoke out against removal. Reverend Samuel Worcester, missionary to the Cherokees, challenged Georgia’s attempt to extinguish Indian title to land in the state, winning the case before the Supreme Court.
Worcester vs. Georgia, 1832, and Cherokee Nation vs. Georgia, 1831, are considered the two most influential decisions in Indian law. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled for Georgia in the 1831 case, but in Worcester vs. Georgia, the court affirmed Cherokee sovereignty. President Andrew Jackson defied the decision of the court and ordered the removal, an act of defiance that established the U.S. government’s precedent for the removal of many Native Americans from the ancestral homelands.
The U.S. government used the Treaty of New Echota in 1835 to justify the removal. The treaty, illegally signed by about 100 Cherokees known as the Treaty Party, relinquished all lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in Indian Territory and the promise of money, livestock, various provisions and tools, and other benefits.
When the pro-removal Cherokee leaders signed the Treaty of New Echota, they also signed their own death warrants. The Cherokee Nation Council earlier had passed a law that called for the death penalty for anyone who agreed to give up tribal land. The signing and the removal led to bitter factionalism and the deaths of most of the Treaty Party leaders once in Indian Territory.
Opposition to the removal was led by Chief John Ross, a mixed-blood of Scottish and one-eighth Cherokee descent. The Ross party and most Cherokees opposed the New Echota Treaty, but Georgia and the U.S. government prevailed and used it as justification to force almost all of the 17,000 Cherokees from their southeastern homeland.
Under orders from President Jackson and in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Army began enforcement of the Removal Act. More than 3,000 Cherokees were rounded up in the summer of 1838 and loaded onto boats that traveled the Tennessee, Ohio, Mississippi and Arkansas Rivers into Indian Territory. Many were held in prison camps awaiting their fate.
An estimated 4,000 died from hunger, exposure and disease. The journey became an eternal memory as the "trail where they cried" for the Cherokees and other removed tribes. Today, it is remembered as the "Trail of Tears." The Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association has begun the task of marking the graves of Trail survivors with bronze memorials.
Info provided by the Cherokee Nation Cultural Resource Center.