In the late eighteenth century white settlers began migrating from the original thirteen colonies over the Appalachian Mountains and into the "West." Around the turn of the nineteenth century they slowly
began to move into the eastern parts of the Northwest Territory, which had been established in 1787, and into parts of the
Old Southwest, or Alabama,
Mississippi, and western Kentucky and Tennessee. They viewed the Native peoples who resided there as an obstacle to be conquered
or pushed further westward.
|Original Territory: Native American Indian Tribes
|(Click to Enlarge Map)
The United States negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Although the boundaries remained undefined until the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty, after 1803 the Mississippi River no longer served as nation's western boundary. Explorers
of this enormous American portion of the trans-Mississippi West revealed the eastern part to be fertile and habitable. The
middle-western part, viewed by some as the "Great American Desert," was thought uninhabitable.
Pres. Thomas Jefferson and those who followed him envisioned an "Indian
colonization zone" or permanent Indian frontier, in a north-south tier on the west bank of the Mississippi. Many people advocated this approach to "the Indian problem." They believed
that removal of Indians (Indian Removal and Trail of Tears) to that area would permanently resolve the conflict between the original Native inhabitants and the Euroamericans who
were clamoring to "civilize" the continent (Five Civilized Tribes). Whites would live east
of the river, Indians west of it. One vocal advocate of a trans-Mississippi Indian zone was Baptist missionary Isaac McCoy,
who believed that eventually the region should become a formal territory, with government and laws, for all Indians. The concept
of an Indian zone solidified during the administration of Pres. John Quincy Adams and Sec. of War John C. Calhoun and later
developed fully under the direction of Pres. Andrew Jackson. A region conceived as "the Indian country" was specified in 1825 as all the land lying west of the Mississippi. Eventually, the Indian country or the Indian Territory would encompass the present states of Oklahoma, Kansas,
Nebraska, and part of Iowa.
|Map of American Indian Territory Losses
|(Native American Map)
In actuality, the Indian Removal process had begun by treaties soon after 1800. In addition, many tribes simply fled westward as the line
of white settlement advanced toward and then across the Mississippi River. Some of the Cherokee, for example, had begun moving west in the 1810s, with large migrations into west-central Arkansas in 1817 into a region they had exchanged for land in the Southeast. Shortly before
the 1817 Cherokee treaty came "Lovely's Purchase" in 1816, and an 1818 Osage treaty
theoretically cleared northeastern Oklahoma and added the
land to the public domain. In 1820 the Choctaw agreed to accept land between the Arkansas
and Canadian rivers and the Red River, in present Oklahoma.
(See Cherokee Treaties.)
Meanwhile, whites also crossed the Mississippi
and began to occupy a wide strip running north-south along its west side. Soon thickly populated, Missouri
became a state in 1821 and Arkansas a territory in 1819.
In 1824 a western boundary was surveyed for Arkansas, and it included all or part of the
present Oklahoma counties of Craig, Mayes, Delaware,
Adair, Cherokee, Sequoyah, Muskogee, Wagoner, Haskell, LeFlore,
Latimer, Choctaw, Pushmataha, and McCurtain. It also incorporated the 1816 Osage cession of Lovely's Purchase as well as a
huge chunk of land promised to the Choctaw in the 1820 treaty. As early as 1816, whites had begun to settle in this strip
of land, which in 1820 was incorporated by Arkansas Territory
into Crawford County, on the north, and
Miller County, on the south, even extending
down into present northeastern Texas. In 1827, Lovely County was created from Crawford
County, taking in nearly all of present northeastern Oklahoma,
and its seat established at Lovely Court House (Nicksville), later the location of Dwight Mission in Sequoyah County.
|Map of Southeastern Native American Indians
|(American Indian Tribes Map)
Land occupied by Southeastern Tribes, 1820s.
(Adapted from Sam Bowers Hilliard, "Indian Land Cessions" [detail], Map
Supplement 16, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 62, no. 2 [June 1972].)
8. Illinois Confederation
|Indian Territory and Native American Settlement
|(Click to Enlarge Map)
The Western Cherokee objected to being surrounded by whites and by organized
counties. The Choctaw objected to Miller County
and its white residents, as well. In 1825 a new treaty adjusted the Choctaw eastern boundary, and Miller County was reduced. Many whites who
had settled in that region now moved east of the new line. In 1828 the federal government used the situation to engineer another
treaty with the Western Cherokees in which they agreed to move west of the new line. Lovely
County was abolished, and the border between Arkansas
and the Indian Territory actually the Choctaw and Cherokee nations was resurveyed in 1828 generally along the present Oklahoma-Arkansas
During the 1820s and 1830s dozens of northeastern,
midwestern, and southeastern tribes were removed by treaty and under the 1830 Indian Removal Act, which authorized the president to force tribes to cede their lands east
of the Mississippi. Those who did were to be placed west
of the new white settlements, that is, west of the 95th Meridian.
An 1834 Trade Act further defined "the Indian country" as all that part of the United States
west of the Mississippi and not within the states of Missouri,
Louisiana, or Arkansas Territory, or any other organized territory. Whites were carefully excluded from the
region, for most purposes, and trade by them with Indians was regulated. For judicial purposes, the northern region (mostly
present Kansas) was attached to Missouri and the southern
part (mostly present Oklahoma) to Arkansas Territory (after 1836, Arkansas
state). In 1835, Isaac McCoy apparently used the words "the Indian Territory" for the first
time in print.
|Indian Territory Map
|Oklahoma and Indian Territories, 1890s
The Creek, Seminole, and Chickasaw also succumbed to forced migration.
All of these southeastern tribes thereafter inhabited the southern part of "the Indian Territory." Similarly, numerous tribes of the Northeast and the Northwest Territory,
including the Kickapoo, Miami, Delaware, and Shawnee,
were removed into the northern part, present Kansas. Thus
by 1840 the Indian Territory had been populated, sparsely, by Native groups but was not a formal or organized territory.
However, because its fertile land proved
desirable to whites, with the Kansas Nebraska Act of 1854 (which repealed the Missouri Compromise of 1820), Congress formally organized those parts of northern Indian
Territory into official territories that afterward became states. (Kansas entered the Union in 1861 and
Nebraska in 1867.) After the Civil War ended, Indians were moved further south into the part of the Indian Territory that
is present Oklahoma (Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory). Plains tribes, including the Cheyenne,
Arapaho, Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache, were concentrated on reservations in the western half of the territory. By 1889 more
than three dozen tribes resided here.
In order to understand the full meaning of the term "the Indian Territory," one must also understand the process by which a region became a territory. As established
by United States law, beginning with the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, when
a specifically defined part of the unorganized federal domain was sufficiently populated, its residents (United States citizens) could petition Congress for territorial
status. Congress would subsequently pass an organic act, with a bill of rights for territory residents, and set up a three-part
government, with appointed executive and judicial branches. Residents elected a legislative branch. The federal government
had ultimate authority over territorial affairs, and an elected territorial representative was seated in Congress. Congress
never passed an organic act for the Indian Territory, although a few measures were proposed,
and one bill was written, for that purpose. The region never had a formal government, and it remained unorganized. Therefore,
the geographical location commonly called "Indian Territory" was not a territory.
|Oklahoma Land Openings
|(Indian Territory Map)
In the late nineteenth century the federal government began to assume
more control over events transpiring in Indian country. A March 1889 law established a federal court system based at Muskogee,
assuming judicial authority and jurisdiction that had been exercised since the 1834 Trade Act by the Western District of Arkansas.
The 1889 measure for the first time specified enclosed boundaries for the Indian Territory, now officially reduced to an area
bounded by Texas, on the south, Arkansas and Missouri on the east, Kansas on the north, and New Mexico Territory on the west.
Shortly, this area was reduced again when Oklahoma Territory was created out of it by the Organic Act in May 1890. A governor was appointed, and a two-house territorial assembly
and a judicial system were set up. A bona fide territory of the United States,
would be eligible for statehood if its population grew large enough and if its leaders followed the process prescribed by
federal law. The Oklahoma Territory Organic Act even more closely defined Indian Territory,
reducing it to slightly more than the eastern half of the present state. In the 1905 Sequoyah Convention, Indian leaders sought
to bypass the territorial process and bring about separate statehood for Indian Territory.
However, with the 1907 union of the Indian nations and Oklahoma Territory
as the State of Oklahoma, a separate, Indian-dominated territory
or state was no longer viable. During the twentieth century the generic term "Indian Territory" came to be used by historians,
genealogists, and the public to represent the entire Oklahoma
region during the pre-statehood period.
Formed from the Indian Territory on November 16, 1907, Oklahoma (Oklahoma Settlement History) was the 46th state to enter the union. Its citizens are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city
is Oklahoma City. The "Indian Territory" had officially vanished...
|Oklahoma Map : "Indian Territory Vanquished"
|(Click to Enlarge)
(Sources listed at bottom of page.)
NEW! Recommended Viewing: We Shall Remain (PBS) (DVDs) (420 minutes).
Midwest Book Review: We Shall Remain is a three-DVD thinpack set collecting five documentaries from the acclaimed PBS history
series "American Experience", about Native American leaders including Massasoit, Tecumseh, Tenskwatawa, Major Ridge, Geronimo,
and Fools Crow, all who did everything they could to resist being forcibly removed from their land and preserve their culture.
Their strategies ranged from military action to diplomacy, spirituality,
or even legal and political means. The stories of these individual leaders span four hundred years; collectively, they give
a portrait of an oft-overlooked yet crucial side of American history, and carry the highest recommendation for public library
as well as home DVD collections. Special features include behind-the-scenes footage, a thirty-minute preview film, materials
for educators and librarians, four ReelNative films of Native Americans sharing their personal stories, and three Native Now
films about modern-day issues facing Native Americans. 7 hours. "Viewers will be amazed." "If you're keeping score, this program
ranks among the best TV documentaries ever made." and "Reminds us that true glory lies in the honest histories of people,
not the manipulated histories of governments. This is the stuff they kept from us." --Clif Garboden, The Boston Phoenix.
Viewing: 500 Nations
(372 minutes). Description: 500 Nations is an eight-part documentary (more than 6 hours and that's not including its interactive CD-ROM
filled with extra features) that explores the history of the indigenous peoples of North and Central America, from pre-Colombian
times through the period of European contact and colonization, to the end of the 19th century and the subjugation of the Plains
Indians of North America. 500 Nations utilizes historical texts, eyewitness
accounts, pictorial sources and computer graphic reconstructions to explore the magnificent civilizations which flourished
prior to contact with Western civilization, and to tell the dramatic and tragic story of the Native American nations' desperate
attempts to retain their way of life against overwhelming odds. Continued below...
word "Indian," and most will conjure up images inspired by myths and movies: teepees, headdresses, and war paint; Sitting
Bull, Geronimo, Crazy Horse, and their battles (like Little Big Horn) with the U.S. Cavalry. Those stories of the so-called
"horse nations" of the Great
Plains are all here, but so is a great deal more. Using impressive computer imaging, photos, location film footage
and breathtaking cinematography, interviews with present-day Indians, books and manuscripts, museum artifacts, and more, Leustig
and his crew go back more than a millennium to present an fascinating account of Indians, including those (like the Maya and
Aztecs in Mexico and the Anasazi in the Southwest) who were here long before white men ever reached these shores.
the arrival of Europeans like Columbus, Cortez, and DeSoto that marked the beginning of the end for the Indians. Considering
the participation of host Kevin Costner, whose film Dances with Wolves was highly sympathetic to the Indians, it's no bulletin
that 500 Nations also takes a compassionate view of the multitude of calamities--from alcohol and disease to the corruption
of their culture and the depletion of their vast natural resources--visited on them by the white man in his quest for land
and money, eventually leading to such horrific events as the Trail of Tears "forced march," the massacre at Wounded Knee,
and other consequences of the effort to "relocate" Indians to the reservations where many of them still live. Along the way,
we learn about the Indians' participation in such events as the American Revolution and the War of 1812, as well as popular
legends like the first Thanksgiving (it really happened) and the rescue of Captain John Smith by Pocahontas (it probably didn't).
Reading: Atlas of the North American Indian.
Description: This unique resource covers the entire history, culture, tribal locations, languages,
and lifeways of Native American groups across the United States, Canada, Central America, Mexico,
and the Caribbean. Thoroughly updated, Atlas of the North American Indian combines clear
and informative text with newly drawn maps to provide the most up-to-date political and cultural developments in Indian affairs,
as well as the latest archaeological research findings on prehistoric peoples. The new edition features several revised and
updated sections, such as "Self-Determination," "The Federal and Indian Trust Relationship and the Reservation System," "Urban
Indians," "Indian Social Conditions," and "Indian Cultural Renewal." Continued below...
information includes: a revised section on Canada, including Nunavut, the first new Canadian territory created since 1949,
with a population that is 85% Inuit; the latest statistics and new federal laws on tribal enterprises, including a new section
on "Indian Gaming"; and current information on preferred names now in use by certain tribes and groups, such as the use of
"Inuit" rather than "Eskimo."
Reading: Trail of Tears: The
Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Description: One of the many ironies
of U.S. government policy toward Indians
in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values.
As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing
plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. Continued below...
As he and other
Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislators, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded
in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of Tears." ...A
treasured addition for the individual remotely interested in American Indian history as well as general American
Reading: Civil War in the Indian Territory, by Steve Cottrell (Author), Andy Thomas (Illustrator). Review:
From its beginning with the bloody Battle of Wilson's Creek on August 10, 1861, to its end in surrender on June 23, 1865,
the Civil War in the Indian Territory proved to be a test of valor and endurance for both
sides. Author Steve Cottrell outlines the events that led up to the involvement of the Indian Territory
in the war, the role of the Native Americans who took part in the war, and the effect this participation had on the war and
this region in particular. As in the rest of the country, neighbor was pitted against neighbor, with members of the same tribes
often fighting against each other. Cottrell describes in detail the guerrilla warfare, the surprise attacks, the all-out battles
that spilled blood on the now peaceful state of Oklahoma.
In addition, he introduces the reader to the interesting and often colorful leaders of the military North and South, including
the only American Indian to attain a general's rank in the war, Gen. Stand Watie (member of the Cherokee Nation). With outstanding
illustrations by Andy Thomas, this story is a tribute to those who fought and a revealing portrait of the important role they
played in this era of our country's history. Continued
The Author: A resident of Carthage, Missouri,
Steve Cottrell is a descendant of a Sixth Kansas Cavalry member who served in the Indian Territory
during the Civil War. A graduate of Missouri Southern State College in Joplin,
Cottrell has participated in several battle reenactments including the Academy Award winning motion picture, "Glory". Active
in Civil War battlefield preservation and historical monument projects and contributor of a number of Civil War relics to
regional museums, Cottrell recently co-authored Civil War in the Ozarks, also by Pelican. It is now in its second printing.
Blue, the Gray, and the Red: Indian Campaigns of the Civil War (Hardcover: 288 pages). Description: Inexperienced Union and Confederate soldiers in the West waged numerous bloody campaigns
against the Indians during the Civil War. Fighting with a distinct geographical advantage, many tribes terrorized the territory
from the Plains to the Pacific, as American pioneers moved west in greater numbers. These noteworthy--and notorious--Indian
campaigns featured a fascinating cast of colorful characters, and were set against the wild, desolate, and untamed territories
of the western United States. This is
the first book to explore Indian conflicts that took place during the Civil War and documents both Union
and Confederate encounters with hostile Indians blocking western expansion. Continued below...
Publishers Weekly: Beginning with the flight
of the Creeks into Union territory pursued by Confederate forces (including many of Stand Watie's Cherokees), this popular
history recounts grim, bloody, lesser-known events of the Civil War. Hatch (Clashes
of the Cavalry) also describes the most incredible incidents.... Kit Carson, who fought Apaches and
Navajos under the iron-fisted Colonel Carleton, arranged the Long Walk of the Navajos that made him infamous in Navajo history
to this day. The North's "Captain" Woolsey, a volunteer soldier, became a brutal raider of the Apaches. General Sibley, a
northerner and first Governor of Minnesota, oversaw the response to the Sioux Uprising of 1862 that
left several hundred dead. The slaughter of Black Kettle's Cheyennes at Sand Creek in
1864 by Colorado volunteers under Colonel Chivington,
a militant abolitionist whose views on Indians were a great deal less charitable, “forms a devastating chapter.”
Hatch, a veteran of several books on the Indian Wars that focus on George Armstrong Custer, has added to this clear and even-handed
account a scholarly apparatus that adds considerably to its value.
Reading: Encyclopedia of American Indian Contributions to the World:
15,000 Years of Inventions and Innovations (Facts on File Library of American History) (Hardcover). Editorial Review from Booklist: More than 450 inventions and innovations that can be traced to indigenous peoples
of North, Middle, and South America are described in this wonderful encyclopedia. Criteria
for selection are that the item or concept must have originated in the Americas,
it must have been used by the indigenous people, and it must have been adopted in some way by other cultures. Continued below...
Some of the
innovations may have been independently developed in other parts of the world (geometry, for example, was developed in ancient
Greece, and the Middle East as well as in the Americas) but still fit all three criteria. The period of time covered is 25,000
B.C. to the twentieth century. Among the entries are Adobe, Agriculture, Appaloosa horse breed, Chocolate, Cigars, Diabetes
medication, Freeze-drying, Hydraulics, Trousers, Urban planning, and Zoned biodiversity. Readers will find much of the content
revealing. The authors note that the Moche "invented the electrochemical production of electricity" although they used it
only for electroplating, a process they developed "more than a thousand years" before the Europeans, who generally get the
credit. The Aztec medical system was far more comprehensive than anything available in Europe
at the time of contact.
of American Indian Contributions to the World
is an "Eyeopener to the innumerable contributions of the American Indian to our nation and to world civilizations...."
it has won and some of the print reviews this book has received are listed below.
Winner 11th Annual Colorado
Book Award, Collections and Anthologies
Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Writer of the Year, Creative Reference Work, 2002
Selected by Booklist as Editors Choice Reference Source,
"This is a well-written book with fascinating information
and wonderful pictures. It should be in every public, school, and academic library for its depth of research and amazing wealth
of knowledge. We've starred this title because it is eye-opening and thought-provoking, and there is nothing else quite like
it." Booklist Starred Review
"[An] interesting, informative, and inspiring book." Native
"I would strongly urge anyone with a kernel of intellectual
curiosity: teacher, administrator, researcher, lawyer, politician, writer, to buy this book. I guarantee it will enlighten,
stimulate and entertain...Native students and indigenous instructors must obtain their own copies of the Encyclopedia. Whether
Cree, Mayan or Penobscot they will find a deep source of pride on each and every page. I can well imagine the excitement of
Native teachers when they obtain the book followed by an eagerness to share its contents with everyone within reach."
"I hope the Encyclopedia will serve as the basis for an
entirely new approach to Native history, one in which the scholar is liberated from the anti-Indian texts of the recent past.
Ideally, a copy of the Encyclopedia should be in every class in every school across the hemisphere." Akwesasne Notes-Indian
Time–Doug George-Kanentiio, Akwesasne Mohawk, co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association and the Akwesasne
"Highly recommended for academic libraries keeping collections
about American Indians." Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
"Native accomplishments finally get their due in this award-winning
book." American Indian Report
"A treasure trove of information about the large range
of technologies and productions of Indian peoples. This is indeed the most comprehensive compilation of American Indian inventions
and contributions to date. It is most worthwhile and should be on the bookshelves of every library and home in America." Indian Country Today
"This large, well-illustrated volume is an excellent reference.
One of the important strengths of the encyclopedia is that the information provided is balanced and rooted in facts, not speculation.
Highly recommended." Multicultural Review
"Far from the stereotypical idea that Native Americans
were uncultured and simple, possessing only uncomplicated inventions such as bows and arrows or canoes, these varied cultures
donated a rich assortment of ideas and items to the world. This book can be recommended to libraries that support an interdisciplinary
approach to student learning, such as units that integrate biology and culture studies projects." VOYA: Voice of Youth Advocates
"...a comprehensive, unique A to Z reference to the vast
offerings made by the American Indians throughout history." Winds of Change (American Indian Science and Engineering Society)
one for each center. It is a GREAT resource." Ann Rutherford, Director Learning Resources Center,
Oglala Lakota College
"As I travel
to conferences and host presentations, I take your book as a reference and to show individuals. It allows science, engineering
and math students to gain insight into the traditional knowledge held about these and related subjects. I believe it empowers
them to know this knowledge is already within. To balance contemporary knowledge within that context creates a student who
can experience a topic from a number of perspectives." Jacqueline Bolman, Director, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
Scientific Knowledge for Indian Learning and Leadership (SKILL)/NASA Honors Program
three page introduction alone makes this book a valuable resource as it sets forth the circumstances which led the invaders
to change their initial writings of wonder at the advanced native societies…I hope a way can be found to put this book
in the hands of our youth and all who touch them." Carter Camp, American Indian rights activist, Ponca tribal leader and founder
of Kansas/Oklahoma AIM
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ray Allen Billington and Martin Ridge, Westward Expansion:
A History of the American Frontier (1949; rev. ed., Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001). Brian C. Hosmer, "Rescued
from Extinction? The Civilizing Program in Indian Territory," The Chronicles of Oklahoma 48 (Summer 1990). William Miles,
"'Enamoured With Colonization': Isaac McCoy's Plan of Indian Reform," Kansas Historical Quarterly 38 (Autumn 1972). George
A. Schultz, An Indian Canaan: Isaac McCoy and the Vision of an Indian State (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972).
© Oklahoma Historical Society