The American Indian: 1609 to 1865
The Effects of the Removal on American Indian Tribes:
Resistance and Removal
“The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians, their lands and property shall never be taken from them without their consent, and in their property, rights, liberty, they shall never be invaded or disturbed, unless in just and lawful wars authorized by Congress.” Northwest Ordinance, 13 July 1787 From the time, the first colonies were settled in America, relations between the Native American Indians and white settlers ranged from respectful friends to hated enemies. In the 1800’s, Americans admired the Indians and valued their contributions to American history and culture. These people hoped that with time the Indians could be peaceably assimilated to American society. Even the Revolution, churches and religious organizations sent missionaries among the Indians to try to convert them to Christianity. In 1787, the Society for Propagating the Gospel among Indians was founded for that purpose. The federal government joined the effort to “civilize" native Americans that had first been undertaken by the colonies and the churches. In 1793, Congress designated $20,000, a substantial sum for the time, to provide literacy, farming, and vocational assistance to the Native Americans. The Native American or American Indians once occupied the entire entire region of the United States. They were composed of many different groups, who spoke hundreds of languages and dialects. The Indians from the Southwest used to live in large built terraced communities and their way of sustain was from the agriculture where they planted squash, pumpkins, beans and corn crops. Trades between neighboring tribes were common, this brought in additional goods and some raw materials such as gems, cooper, seashells and soapstone. The United States recognized Indiana tribes as separate nations of people entitled to their own lands that could only be obtained from them through treaties. Due to inexorable pressures of expansion, settlement, and commerce, however, treaties and frequently reacted with violence when land promised to them forever was taken away. For the most part, however, they directed their energies toward maintaining their tribal identity while living in the new order. By 1830, most of the territories east of the Mississippi River had become states. The Democratic Party, led by President Andrew Jackson, was committed to economic progress in the states and to settlement and development of the western frontier. These goals put the government in conflict with the more than 125,000 Native Americans who still lived east of the Mississippi. By this time, many Indians had given up nomadic hunting and had adopted a more settled way of life. In particular, the Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, and Seminoles tried to live in harmony with their white neighbors who called them the Five Civilized Tribes. The real conflict between the government and the Indians was the land held by the Indians through legal treaties. White pioneers, frustrated by the lack of opportunity in the settled areas, pushed hard for new lands to purchase and farm, while states containing Indian territories resented the existence of lands within their borders over which they had no authority and from which they collected no revenue. The Treaty of 1791 recognized the Cherokees’ right to a substantial portion of northeastern Georgia. The Cherokees were very successful at adapting to a new way of life, farming the land, raising cattle, growing cotton, and even owning slaves to work their plantations. Missionaries established schools and helped the Cherokees in their new lives. One Cherokee, Sequoyah, devised the Cherokee syllabic alphabet of 85 characters so that his people could write down and preserve their thoughts. With a written language, the Cherokee were able to publish their own newspaper, The Cherokee Phoenix. The Cherokees established their...
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