Five Civilized Tribes
What are today know as the Five Civilized Tribes originated in the Southeast part of the United States, and were probably descendents of the Mississippian culture, an agrarian culture that grew crops of corn and beans, with urban centers and regional chiefdoms, of which the greatest was the settlement known as Cahokia, in present-day Illinois. Stratified societies developed, with hereditary religious and political elites, and flourished in what is now the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southeastern United States from 800 to 1500 CE.
Between 1814 and 1840, the Five Civilized Tribes had gradually ceded most of their lands in the Southeast section of the US through a series of treaties. The southern part of Indian Country (what eventually became the State of Oklahoma) served as the destination for the policy of Indian Removal, a policy pursued intermittently by American presidents early in the 19th century, but aggressively pursued by President Andrew Jackson after the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Five Civilized Tribes in the South were the most prominent tribes displaced by the policy, a relocation that came to be known as the Trail of Tears during the Choctaw removals starting in 1831. The trail ended in what is now Arkansas and Oklahoma, where there were already many Indians living in the territory, as well as whites and escaped slaves. Other tribes, such as the Delaware, Cheyenne, and Apache were also forced to relocate to the Indian territory.
The Five Civilized Tribes established tribal capitals in the following towns:
- Cherokee Nation - Tahlequah
- Chickasaw Nation - Tishomingo
- Choctaw Nation - Tuskahoma (later moved to Durant)
- Muscogee (Creek) Nation - Okmulgee
- Seminole Nation - Wewoka
The Five Civilized Tribes set up towns such as Tulsa, Ardmore, Muskogee, which became some of the larger towns in the state. They also brought their African slaves to Oklahoma, which added to the black American population in the state.
- Beginning in 1783 the Choctaw signed a series of treaties with first the British and then the Americans. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act, ceding land in the future state of Mississippi in exchange for land in the future state of Oklahoma, resulting in the Choctaw Trail of Tears.
- The Creek nation began the process of moving to Indian Territory with the 1814 Treaty of Fort Jackson and the Treaty of Washington (1826). In the 1832 Treaty of Cusseta, ceded all Creek claims east of the Mississippi River to the United States.
- The 1835 the Treaty of New Echota established terms under which the entire Cherokee Nation was expected to cede its territory in the Southeast and move to Indian Territory. Although the treaty was not approved by the Cherokee National Council, it was ratified by the U.S. Senate and resulted in the Cherokee Trail of Tears.
- The Chickasaw, rather than receiving land grants in exchange for ceding Aboriginal land rights, received financial compensation. The tribe negotiated a $3 million payment for their native lands (which was not fully funded by the US for 30 years). In 1836, the Chickasaw agreed to purchase land from the previously removed Choctaws for $530,000.
- Seminole People, originally from the present-day state of Florida, signed the Treaty of Payne's Landing in 1832, in response to the 1830 Indian Removal Act, that forced the tribes to move to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. In October 1832 a delegation arrived in Indian Territory and conferred with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation tribe that had already been removed to the area. In 1833 an agreement was signed at Fort Gibson (on the Arkansas River just east of Muskogee, Oklahoma), accepting the area in the western part of the Creek Nation. However, the chiefs in Florida did not agree to the agreement. In spite of the disagreement, the treaty was ratified by the Senate in April 1934.
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