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date: 22 September 2017

Indian Removals

Summary and Keywords

Indian removals as a topic primarily encompasses the relocation of Native American tribes from American-claimed states and territories east of the Mississippi River to lands west of the Mississippi River in the first half of the 19th century. The bill passed by Congress in May 1830 referred to as the Indian Removal Act is the legislative expression of the ideology upon which federal and state governments acted to accomplish the dispossession and relocation of tens of thousands of Native American peoples during that time. Through both treaty negotiations and coercion, federal officials used the authority of removal policies to obtain land cessions and resettle eastern Indians in what is known in the early 21st century as Kansas and Oklahoma. These actions, in conjunction with non-Indian population growth and western migration, made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for any tribes to remain on their eastern lands. The Cherokee Trail of Tears, which entailed the forced removal of approximately fourteen thousand men, women, and children from Georgia starting in the summer of 1838 until the spring of 1839, remains the most well-known illustration of this policy and its impact. Yet the comprehensive histories of removals encompass the forced relocations of tens of thousands of indigenous men, women, and children from throughout the Southeast as well as the Old Northwest from the 1810s into the 1850s.

Keywords: Indian Removal Act, Trail of Tears, Black Hawk War, Andrew Jackson, John Ross, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Indian Territory

Indian removal, as a historical topic, tends to be associated with a specific triumvirate of entities—the state of Georgia, the Cherokee Nation, and President Andrew Jackson. There are good reasons for this connection, and most of those can be tied to the legislation the United States Congress passed in May 1830 that is commonly known as the Indian Removal Act. Yet the dispossession and relocation of tens of thousands of Native American men, women, and children from the eastern half of the United States over the course of the 19th century is not best represented by an exclusive emphasis on the Cherokee Trail of Tears. Instead, the displacement of Indian peoples through military force, federal policy, and other means is better understood as a fundamental characteristic of colonialism and American nation-building that occurred over the span of centuries. It is not isolated to a particular moment or place in time. Instead, from the Declaration of Independence to the mid-19th century, the growth of the United States of America depended on the government’s ability and willingness to extinguish both the Indians’ land title and physical presence from more than just the territories between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River.

A simple narrative arc cannot adequately capture this experience and the maps that often accompany these histories can mislead with arrows intended to indicate the movement of a tribe from one spot to another on the continent. There was nothing neat, clean, or simple about any removal that occurred. As some scholars have pointed out, even the word removal may have become too sterile and no longer holds the power to describe the brutality of the experience involved. “Removal is to migration what rape is to sex,” literary scholar Scott Richard Lyons writes, forcing his reader to confront the ugly reality of what forced relocation actually means and meant. More recently, Gary Anderson has asserted that while the treatment of American Indians by the United States government does not meet the legal definition of genocide, another contemporary and more familiar label does fit the history. “Even though the term ‘ethnic cleansing’ has been applied mainly to the history of nations other than the United States,” Anderson explains, “no term better fits the policy of United States ‘Indian Removal’.”1

In all of its complexity and power, however, removal also cannot be viewed as an imposed policy that left little room for Native peoples to respond or shape its enactment. In ways large and small, influential and negligible, individuals, families, and tribes sought to blunt or redirect the forces arrayed against them. Native peoples seldom, if ever, had the advantage over those who desired their removal, but neither were they powerless. Their stories are found not in the sweeping histories of the American nation, but in the analyses that account not only for the chronological, geographical, economic, and political contexts that affected each tribe’s specific circumstances, but also for a non-Eurocentric perspective of events.

The article that follows does not intend to, nor does it pretend that it can, comprehensively address all of the above issues in adequate detail. Instead, this essay relies on some of the more common organizational categories for Indian removal to suggest new perspectives on a history whose narrative has not dramatically shifted in the past several decades. At every point, then, this discussion proposes that we broaden our analytical focus to better explore and understand the specific stories of dispossession and relocation that comprise the less familiar histories of American Indian peoples from the 18th century to the present.

The Development of Indian Removal as a Policy

Federal removal policy had diverse origins. The desire for land claimed by American Indian tribes throughout the eastern half of the continent was among the most obvious. Yet while geography always stood at the heart of the policy, the justifications for dispossession and removal grew from assertions made by 19th-century Americans that depended on a complex web of historical precedent, cultural perspective, racial ideology, and legal reasoning. One window into the fully developed argument crafted by those who supported removal is the report written and published in February 1830 by the Committee of Indian Affairs in the House of Representatives. The report itself was drafted in response to the annual address of President Andrew Jackson in December 1829 in which he suggested “the propriety of setting apart an ample district West of the Mississippi and without the limits of any State or Territory, now formed, to be guaranteed to the Indian tribes, as long as they shall occupy it.” A fate of extinction surely awaited the Indian tribes, Jackson argued, unless the United States government took action to distance them from the ever-increasing population of Anglo-Americans. The Indians must be given a choice, however, “for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers, and seek a home in a distant land.” Therefore, they should have the option to either move west or stay and live under the jurisdiction of the states in which they resided.2

The conclusions presented by the congressional committee in its final report incorporated all of the points that comprised the president’s argument and supported his proposed policy. In the process they also built upon a deeper foundation that dated back to Thomas Jefferson’s tenure as president. It had been Jefferson who first saw in the Louisiana Purchase a repository for the Indians whose land claims had the potential to stymie the progress of yeoman farmers and other non-Indians east of the Mississippi River. Now following Jackson’s lead in 1830, the congressmen framed their assessment about the direction of federal policy in the terms of compassion. The “emigration of the Indians” to a new permanent home west of the Mississippi River “promised to increase their happiness, and to afford the best prospect of perpetuating their race.” This, then, was the façade behind which Jackson and his supporters would hide the harshness of removal and the ideas and ideologies that supported it.3

A keystone of their report was historical precedent regarding land and the treatment of Indian land ownership, and here the congressmen sought to avoid notions of blame in the interests of what they deemed a factual narrative. It was not their responsibility, they wrote, to judge past actions as right or wrong. Instead their intention was to relay historical events as they had happened. In the process of colonization, Europeans had taken possession of the land and distributed it based on the doctrines of discovery and conquest. From the founding of colonies to the formation of states at the beginning of the American Revolution, “the fundamental principle, that the Indians had no rights, by virtue of their ancient possession, either of soil or sovereignty, has never been abandoned, either expressly or by implication.” Indians still occupied lands, but that occupation was not based on any legal claims to ownership. “No respectable jurist,” the report explained, “has ever gravely contended, that the right of the Indians to hold their reserved lands, could be supported in the courts of the country, upon any other ground than the grant or permission of the sovereignty or State in which the lands lie.” The emphasis on such precedent took specific aim at the actions of the Cherokee Nation that had asserted its sovereignty through the adoption of a constitution only a few years earlier.4

The rhetoric of this discussion about discovery and conquest hewed closely to the legal framework constructed in the previous decades, particularly in the 1823 Supreme Court ruling in Johnson v. McIntosh. In an opinion that one legal scholar has described as, “essential to Indian removal,” Chief Justice John Marshall answered a specific question about land sales made by Illinois and Piankeshaw Indians in the early 1770s with an extensive history lesson on colonial power structures. The Indians “were admitted to be the rightful occupants of the soil, with a legal as well as just claim to retain possession of it, and to use it according to their own discretion,” Marshall asserted, “but their rights to complete sovereignty as independent nations were necessarily diminished, and their power to dispose of the soil at their own will to whomsoever they pleased was denied by the original fundamental principle that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it.” Through the simple act of “discovering” the Americas, Europeans obtained clear rights to the land. Through that same simple act, the Supreme Court concluded, Indians lost all property rights saving that of occupancy.5

Also strewn throughout the congressional report of February 1830 was language and phrasing testifying to the committee’s belief in the failure of prior policies aimed at assimilating and civilizing Indians through instruction in agriculture, reading, and Christianity. In doing so they took aim at the Christian missionaries and others who had established schools and other operations to educate Indians, most recently under the auspices of the Civilization Fund Act of 1819. “The experiments which have been made, do not furnish any very flattering evidence of the practicability of civilizing Indians, in large masses, under any circumstances,” the congressmen wrote. To be more specific, “upon the whole, the mass of the population of the Southern Indian tribes are a less respectable order of human beings now, than they were ten years ago.” And when it came to the Cherokees, who were held up by removal opponents as the best example of the success of civilization efforts, the committee emphasized that such success was restricted to that portion of the population who were not full blood Indians. The rising influence of men of mixed descent signaled “the deterioration of the mass of the tribe,” in the eyes of the American government.6

In the end of their examination the committee returned full circle to the twin pillars of historical precedent and humanity. “If they remain where they are,” the report stated, “the experience of two centuries has shown, that they eventually must perish.” As supporting evidence for its position, the committee included excerpts from nine different letters testifying to the condition and desires of the southern Indians. The inclusion of those particular letters was a critical factor for, like the debates that occurred in and outside the halls of Congress in the spring of 1830, the report had focused almost exclusively on the Cherokees and their southern neighbors.7

The Cherokee Nation and the Context of Southern Removal

Even as the Cherokee Nation’s political and legal battle with Georgia shaped the national debate over removal, the history of the Cherokee Trail of Tears continues to frame most understandings of removal in general and southern removal in particular. Yet the Cherokees were only one of several tribal nations who suffered because of the policies instituted by the American government. More than the story of one tribe’s experience, the history of removal in the southern states is part of a broader framework of call and response. Each village, confederacy, and nation adapted and responded to the problems created by an increasingly powerful Euroamerican presence, and each Indian action sparked a counter from the American people and their government. And by the late 1810s, the pressure for Indian lands in the southern states was primarily fueled by those men intending to grow cotton and by the domestic and international markets they supplied. In this manner southern Indian removal cannot be disentangled from crucial economic, racial, and political developments of the early American republic.

All that happened in the 1820s and 1830s was therefore the culmination of decades, not just years, of change and efforts that greatly influenced the final shapes taken by each removal that occurred. Yet in the intertwined examples of the Creek and Cherokee struggles against Georgia, Alabama, and the United States are also seen the powerful forces arrayed against the Indians in the Southeast. Despite unprecedented diplomatic and legal victories that showcased the assertion and recognition of tribal sovereignty, neither Indian nation avoided a forced relocation to lands west of the Mississippi River in the late 1830s.

When President James Monroe explained to Congress his support for a federal removal policy in January 1825, he noted that a “negotiation is now depending with the Creek nation for the cession of lands held by it within the limits of Georgia, and with a reasonable prospect of success.” The resulting Treaty of Indian Springs arranged for the cession of all Creek lands in Georgia and Alabama and the removal of both the Lower and Upper Creeks to an equally sized parcel of land on the Arkansas River. In the process it fulfilled part of the federal government’s obligations under the Compact of 1802 that President Thomas Jefferson had signed with Georgia, in which his administration committed to extinguishing all Indian land title within the state’s boundaries. Yet the terms of the 1825 treaty had been crafted in secret and signed by those without the authority to make such a crucial decision. Therefore, though the Senate ratified the treaty, the Creek National Council authorized the execution of William McIntosh, the first signatory on the accord and the individual largely responsible for the negotiations that violated Creek laws prohibiting land cessions. 8

The Creek National Council emerged in the early 18thh century and included representatives from the Upper and Lower Creeks. By the late 1700s, however, the Council’s rhetoric indicated a “nascent nationalism” and reflected the ongoing centralization of governance over what had once been a confederacy of dozens of towns. In 1825 this increasingly influential central authority successfully fought to invalidate the Treaty of Indian Springs. President John Quincy Adams and his administration, recognizing that Creek defiance meant that only war might enforce the 1825 accord, viewed that document and its terms as null and void. Indeed, the subsequent 1826 Treaty of Washington stated that fact explicitly in its first article. And while the new accord ceded Creek territory in Georgia, it retained land in Alabama and arranged for the removal of only those Creeks who were family or followers of the late William McIntosh. More noteworthy, however, is the unprecedented nature of the nullification of the Treaty of Indian Springs. The Creek delegates in Washington, led by Opothle Yoholo, had asserted Creek sovereignty and won.9

Six years later Opothle Yoholo’s x-mark appeared first on another treaty, and this time the Creek Nation ceded all of its lands east of the Mississippi River. That 1832 Treaty of Washington allotted sections of land to the chiefs and heads of family, and although the government wanted them to move west, the twelfth article stated that the Creeks “shall be free to go, or stay, as they please.” Yet it was also a treaty, as Michael Green writes, “that required no imagination on the part of the Creeks to realize that it would never work.” Between the apparent victory of 1826 and the accord of 1832 the Creeks had been under constant pressure by state and federal authorities. From 1827 to 1829 the Alabama assembly passed laws extending its jurisdiction over Creek lands, and upon his election President Andrew Jackson made it clear that he had no plans to contest the state’s intrusion. For the Creeks, then, the 1832 Treaty of Washington represented a final effort to appease the powers arrayed against them while maintaining not only a physical presence in Alabama, but also their cultural and political integrity.10

Only months before the Creeks signed this treaty, at the completion of the January term of the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Marshall issued the landmark decision in Worcester v. Georgia that delivered a crucial legal victory for the Cherokee Nation. The ruling marked both a lofty peak for Cherokee resistance and a pragmatic indication of their powerful and stubborn opponents. The Cherokees had asserted their sovereignty through a written constitution adopted in 1827 and modeled after the founding document of the United States. This 1827 document was not the first of its kind written by the Cherokees, but it represented the culmination of a sustained period of transformation of Cherokee governance that had begun nearly four decades earlier. “The sovereignty & jurisdiction of this Government shall extend,” Article I, section 2 read, over the land delineated by the boundaries described in the first section of the same article, and those lands had been “guaranteed and reserved forever to the Cherokee Nation by the treaties concluded with the United States.” The Cherokee Nation saw a need to assert its status as a sovereign nation and it planned to stay on lands secured to its people forever. From the perspective of Georgia, that constitution also made more glaring the federal government’s failure to follow through on the obligations created by the Compact of 1802. The Cherokee constitution sparked Georgia to act like its western neighbor Alabama, and in December 1828 its General Assembly passed legislation extending the state’s jurisdiction over Indian lands and rendering “all laws, usages, and customs” made and enforced by the Cherokees “null and void” as of June 1830.11

The next phases of the struggle occurred in both the city of Washington and the state of Georgia. Rather than confront Georgia at the state level, the Cherokee Nation and its principal chief, John Ross, chose to utilize a national platform. The Cherokees first lobbied against the proposed Indian Removal Act to no avail, and then turned to the legal system for redress from Georgia’s legislative maneuvers. The initial attempt to overturn the Georgia laws ended in the 1831 Cherokee Nation v. Georgia ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, which stated that the Cherokees comprised a “domestic, dependent nation” and not a foreign nation. According to that decision the Cherokee Nation did not have standing in the court. Worcester v. Georgia therefore was their second attempt to obtain a ruling on jurisdiction, and this time the court decided that the Cherokee Nation was “a distinct community occupying its own territory … in which the laws of Georgia have no force.” The legal victory subsequently died at the hands of an active state government and an inactive federal one. Georgia never sent legal representation to present a defense in either Supreme Court case, and instead proceeded with plans to survey and distribute lands within the Cherokee boundaries via lottery. President Andrew Jackson made an executive decision not to prevent Georgia from taking such action, and federal officials urged the Cherokees to submit to the inevitable. The Cherokee Nation and its citizens were left at the mercy of an unrestrained citizenry.12

Following the decisive events of 1832 the Creeks in Alabama and the Cherokees in Georgia suffered similar assaults by the southern states and their citizens. In Alabama, non-Indian squatters moved into the territory ceded by the Treaty of Washington but not yet legally open to settlement. Yet federal officials became increasingly unwilling to enforce the provision of the 1832 treaty that made such trespassing illegal. In addition, hostility between Creek Indians and American citizens intent on pushing the Creeks west led to bloodshed as well as to the brief explosion known as the Creek War of 1836. Under orders from Secretary of War Lewis Cass in May 1836, federal soldiers moved into Alabama and Georgia to bring about “the unconditional submission of the Indians.” The time had come for more than just a cessation of violence however, and as soon as possible, the Creeks “must be disarmed and sent immediately west of the Mississippi.” Although only a small portion of the Creek Nation had engaged in the violence, federal officials determined that all would have to be removed to ensure peace and stability in the region. By year’s end, five parties totaling more than 14,609 Creek men, women, and children marched west under the watchful eyes and guns of American soldiers.13

The Cherokee Nation’s battle lasted a few years longer. The demise through negligence of Worcester v. Georgia and the intense pressure from Georgia officials and citizens created an environment in which even Principal Chief John Ross returned from a trip to Washington to find Georgian winners of the land lottery living in his house. These developments led Elias Boudinot, Stand Watie, Major Ridge, John Ridge, and other Cherokees to conclude that it was best to cede their lands and move west. These men were four of the twenty who in December 1835 negotiated and signed the Treaty of New Echota that ceded all Cherokee lands east of the Mississippi River. None of the signatories had the legal authority to agree to such terms. Despite protests from Principal Chief Ross and the knowledge that the treaty was fraudulent, the U.S. Senate ratified the accord in May 1836 by a single vote, thus mandating a complete Cherokee removal from Georgia within two years. The federal government refused to yield to the Cherokee Nation’s protests or attempts to negotiate different terms, and the Trail of Tears thus began with the roundup of Cherokee men, women, and children by American soldiers in the spring of 1838. John Ross and the Cherokee leadership hoped they might mitigate the horror when they successfully petitioned the government to control the relocation of their people in thirteen different removal parties. The last of those parties arrived in Indian Territory in March 1839. In less than a year thousands of Cherokees died in the internment camps prior to removal and during the course of the journey.14

As the Cherokee men, women, and children journeyed west they followed the paths traveled not only by earlier Cherokee parties but also by both Chickasaws and Creeks who had been removed over the previous two years. Similarly, the Creeks and Chickasaws had crossed the trails made by thousands of Choctaws who had relocated west of the Mississippi River at the beginning of the decade following the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek signed in 1830. Parties of Seminole Indians would join these four nations in the western territories following their capture during the course of the Seminole War that spanned the late 1830s and early 1840s. Each experience was different, however, and no single narrative could capture what each individual, village, and nation suffered in the course of their respective journeys.15

The Distinct Histories of Northern Removal

The removal of Indian tribes from the Old Northwest Territory spans a similarly diverse historical narrative that resists easy summation. Rather than recite a chronological list of tribes and their removals, then, it is best to examine the ways in which Shawnees, Potawatomis, Delawares, and others responded to and handled the forces of war, trade, and regional development that drove the calls for removal in the region that became the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Within that broad swath of territory, tens of thousands of Indians faced the relentless waves of hundreds of thousands of non-Indians moving west from the eastern seaboard from the late 18th to the mid-19th century. This was the context for northern removal; enduring imperial trends tied to regional development and not causes centered on the debates over sovereignty and constitutions occurring in the southern states.16

Violence may have been the most enduring trend that laid the groundwork for Indian removal in the Old Northwest, especially when it comes to the relocations that occurred prior to 1830. The trail can be marked as far back as the Seven Years’ War, if not earlier, but for the residents of the Ohio country the violence that radiated into the interior during the American Revolution provided the first spark. That war, like most that followed, did not leave space for Indian neutrality, and in its aftermath bands of Shawnees and Delawares chose to leave the waterways of the Ohio River valley rather than remain in a region now targeted by Americans basking in their newly won independence. Those who stayed in villages along the Maumee and Sandusky rivers alongside their Wyandot and Miami relatives spent more than a decade after the end of the Revolution fighting to maintain the Ohio River as a boundary between Indian country and the United States. Their ultimate failure to hold back the rising tide of American migration, based in part on the betrayal of their fickle British allies at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, led to the 1795 Treaty of Greenville that marked the first sizeable cession of territory in Ohio as well as the compression of Indian lands into the northwestern corner of the soon to be state.17

The second wave of violence swelled during the height of the nativist movement built by the Shawnee Prophet and his brother Tecumseh, but also boiled over into the more transformative episode known as the War of 1812. More than ten years after the Treaty of Greenville, Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison grew anxious about the spiritual teachings of Tenskwatawa that had brought thousands of Indians to settle at Prophetstown along the banks of the Tippecanoe River in northern Indiana Territory. His concern over the perceived militancy and pan-Indian calls for resistance to American expansion appearing in the messages of Tecumseh led to Harrison’s pre-emptive strike against the Indians in November 1811. That Battle of Tippecanoe served as a western precursor to the declaration of war against England that came seven months later from the United States Congress. The short-lived conflict between the two countries is often marginalized because it did not alter political boundaries and because the most decisive American battlefield victory at New Orleans occurred weeks after a peace treaty had been signed. Yet where the war might be dismissed for negligible effects on the named powers, the Treaty of Ghent that brought about its conclusion proved devastating for the indigenous peoples of the Old Northwest. British diplomats initially expressed a desire to create a distinct Indian territory that would stand between the United States and British Canada. Yet that stance dissipated quickly when the Americans made clear they would never agree to it. Instead, then, the final treaty only included a statement that the Indians “shall enjoy all the rights and privileges they enjoyed before the war.” The very ambiguity of the phrasing made it unlikely that the Indian residents of the Great Lakes region would be protected from the postwar land hunger of American citizens.18

The War of 1812 transformed the landscape of the Old Northwest because its conclusion sparked a demographic explosion, and the rush of non-Indians into the region forever altered the local economies and the relationships that had supported them. In the immediate aftermath of the war’s end the U.S. government signed numerous treaties reaffirming peaceful relations with Indian tribes in the Old Northwest. Those accords were quickly followed by negotiations to open up more land for American settlement. In 1817, following a council at the Rapids of the Miami River, Wyandot, Delaware, Shawnee, Potawatomi, Odawa, and Ojibwe delegates signed off on sizeable cessions in northwest Ohio. The following year the Delawares on the White River in Indiana not only ceded their Indiana claims but also agreed to relocate west of the Mississippi River within three years of ratification. The growth of the non-Indian population marched in lockstep with the treaties, as illustrated by a few examples from the 1820 and 1830 censuses. In ten years, Indiana’s numbers more than doubled to 343,031 in 1830, and the population of Illinois went from 55,211 in 1820 to 157,455 in 1830.19

The transition occurred at different rates and in different ways depending on the location, but from Detroit to the St. Joseph River Valley to the southern shores of Lake Michigan and beyond, the fur trading economy built on a complex network of kinship ties became consumed in the early 19th century by an Anglo-American economy that marginalized the social elements of that preexisting world. For the better part of the previous century French and English traders had built economic and political relationships through intermarriage and cultural (mis)understandings, and those relationships grounded a network that collectively spanned thousands of miles along the waterways of the Great Lakes region. These economic and social sinews were ultimately dependent not only on the inability of either side to impose its will on the other, but also on the willingness and desire of each party to work through problems and misunderstandings to meet their respective goals. The increasing presence and influence of Americans in the early 19th century, however, heralded a different posture in which the Indians were viewed as an obstacle to, as opposed to a partner in, economic progress. For the brothers George and William Ewing and other American traders operating out of Fort Wayne in northern Indiana, for instance, the Indian trade did not offer a long-range economic model. Instead, a financial structure that offered profit through annuity payments mandated by treaties provided a much needed prop for regional development until the Anglo population was large and prosperous enough to support the local business community. In short, American traders in the 1820s and 1830s saw the Indian presence as financially beneficial in the short-term, but an obstacle to regional improvement in the long-term. Personal relationships did not factor into that equation.20

The response of northern Indian communities to these changing dynamics in the 1820s and early 1830s is popularly but incorrectly represented by the actions of the Sauk warrior Black Hawk and his followers. The violence that broke out in the summer of 1832 in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin, known familiarly as the Black Hawk War, is not only misunderstood overall, but also fails to reflect the diverse strategies adopted by Native peoples to counter the demographic and economic forces that combined to drive the push for Indian removal north of the Ohio River. On April 6, 1832, when Black Hawk and approximately eight hundred Sauk and Mesquakie men, women, and children crossed the Mississippi River heading east they intended either to return to their former home of Saukenuk on the Rock River or to settle at the Ho-Chunk village then led by White Cloud or Wabokieshiek, the Winnebago Prophet. The Sauks had long protested the Treaty of 1804 that had fraudulently arranged for the cession of their eastern lands, but they did not cross the river intending to make war. Illinois state officials, however, saw nothing but hostility and responded by calling for volunteers to repel the invaders. In mid-May, a confrontation between that militia and the Sauks ignited the conflict that ended August 2 in more bloodshed on the banks of the Bad Axe River with the Sauks and Mesquakies caught between a gunboat and the pursuing force of federal soldiers.21

When the Sauks and Mesquakies crossed the Mississippi River in April 1832 they did so within the context of their particular history that included the Treaty of 1804 and the subsequent divisions among headmen who advocated different responses to American expansion in the 19th century. Thus, Black Hawk’s actions do not represent the mindset of all Sauks at the time, much less those of all Indian communities in the lower Great Lakes region. In northwest Ohio, smaller communities of Delawares and Senecas along the Sandusky River requested removal to the West in the late 1820s when the encroaching Anglo settlements and subsequent property loss made their own subsistence untenable. Yet their Wyandot neighbors made a more concerted effort to coexist with the growing non-Indian population of the region and sought to appease their neighbors with partial land cessions in 1832 and 1836. By 1842, however, this Wyandot approach collapsed under the combined weight of the state government and private business, as well as individual harassment and murder. They signed a treaty that year and moved west of the Mississippi River in 1843.22

Northern Indian communities suffered the devastation and death that characterized forced removals as well, most notably in the Potawatomi Trail of Death that occurred in the fall of 1838. Hoping to remain in the Twin Lakes region of northern Indiana through the means of treaty secured land grants, Menominee’s band of Potawatomis lost those reserves in a fraudulent 1836 accord and were rounded up at gunpoint two years later when they refused to abandon their homes. Their northern Indiana neighbors, the Miamis, also relied on individual land grants provided by treaties to secure a land base in the region. Yet those grants could not protect them all, and in October 1846 over three hundred Miami men, women, and children boarded three different canal boats in Peru, Indiana, as armed federal soldiers sought to ensure that the Indians did not remain behind.23

The Span, Scope, and Legacy of Indian Removal

The Miami removal of 1846 provides three different entry points into the final section of this discussion. First, those Miamis forcibly removed from Indiana in October 1846 were only part of a larger community, and the divide created by that removal created ripples still evident in the 21st century. Second, those Miamis who endured the removal to eastern Kansas did not move to a permanent home. Like many eastern Indians, the removal to the western territories was not the end of their journey. Third and finally, those subsequent relocations highlighted the fact that the journey did not end once the Mississippi River had been crossed, and therefore the removal era encompassed a much larger time period and Indian population.

As illustrated by the events of 1846 in northern Indiana, removal did more than separate Indian tribes from their homes east of the Mississippi River. The process also created or highlighted divisions within communities that echoed into the present day. In some instances, like that of the Pokagon band of Potawatomis, small communities managed to resist removal. Based on the flexible relationships among the Potawatomi bands spread across the southern shores of Lakes Michigan and the river valleys of southern Michigan and northern Indiana, the Pokagon band’s actions did not represent a fracture within the larger Potawatomi confederacy. For the Cherokee Nation, however, the years before and after the Trail of Tears saw incredible divisiveness that spanned the Mississippi River. The violent struggles among Cherokees in Indian Territory in the 1840s were only one piece of a much larger divide. Indeed, when representatives of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma sat in a formal council with representatives of the Eastern Band of Cherokees at Red Clay, Tennessee, in 1984, it was the first time since 1838 that those connected to the Trail of Tears sat down with those who had avoided removal.24

Meanwhile, for all of those who had been relocated to lands in present-day Kansas, the promises made in treaties of a permanent home in the West were lost in the invasion that followed passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. North and south of the Kansas River, Delawares, Shawnees, Potawatomis, Wyandots, Miamis, received numerous visits from treaty commissioners from 1853 to 1867. The commissioners took advantage of the violence of Bleeding Kansas, the unrestrained trespassing on Indian lands, the pressure of railroad companies, and the overall disruption of the Civil War to push for land cessions, allotment, and one more removal to the Indian Territory now known as Oklahoma. By the end of the 1860s, then, most Indian tribes who had been removed to Kansas in the 1830s and 1840s had been forced to endure one more round of dispossession and relocation. Yet because little land remained available in the region, the federal government arranged to have certain bands of Delawares and Shawnees settle on Cherokee lands under the condition that they agree to become citizens of the Cherokee Nation. For those communities of Delawares and Shawnees in particular, the legacy of that removal has endured into the 21st century with struggles to gain federal recognition as distinct tribes and to obtain land they can call their own.25

Indian Territory in the 1870s and beyond became a home for more than just the Indians from the southeast who had been forcibly relocated in the 1830s. Yet it was not only other eastern Indians that the government removed to the region. During the course and in the aftermath of military campaigns across the western landscape, the map of Indian Territory was redrawn multiple times to accommodate the forced relocation of Modocs from California, Cheyennes from the northern plains, Nez Perces from the Pacific Northwest, and many other communities that had suffered defeat at the hands of the U.S. Army. Each cartographic manipulation testified to the ongoing efforts of the federal government to remove Indians from the entirety of the landscape it now claimed and demonstrated that Indian removal as a historical event cannot be confined to an east to west narrative, or any narrow chronology.26

Dispossession and relocation did not begin in the 1830s and did not end in the 1850s. Similarly, the forced removal of Indian tribes from the landscape claimed by the United States occurred in nearly every corner of the country and was not limited to one geographic trajectory. Nor can the impact of removal be confined to the past. For the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and their neighbors, removal is not history; it remains a part of their lived experience. The fact that three different Shawnee federally recognized tribes have their headquarters in Oklahoma, and not in any of a number of previous homes east of the Mississippi River, is a testament to survival, but also a daily reminder of the dispossession and displacement that pervades their historical experience. And a 21st century map of Indian tribes in Oklahoma provides one small but powerful illustration of the complex histories that connect those sovereign nations and their ongoing relationship with the United States.

Discussion of the Literature

Scholarship in American Indian history has expanded dramatically over the past several decades, and recent overviews of the field illustrate the impact of this work on the fields of colonial America, the American West, and the 20th-century United States especially. But even as award-winning studies like The Middle Ground, The Comanche Empire, and One Vast Winter Count shape the manner in which historians in other fields look at the national narrative of American history, the same has not occurred for Indian removal. Most of the transformative work has occurred on either side of the so-called removal era, and the period of 1815 to 1848 is largely left to President Andrew Jackson and Indian tribes of the Southeast. Within that narrow framework the Cherokee experience most often takes center stage. That fact is very much evident in even a cursory glance at the monographs and articles produced before and after the recent advances in the historiography. It becomes even more apparent when examining any U.S. History textbook that includes a discussion of Indian removal. The Cherokee court cases and the Trail of Tears dominate the public understanding of Indian removal largely because that particular experience has been one of the most studied and is held up as most representative of the experience. Slowly but surely, however, that focus is shifting in at least two distinct ways.27

The first significant trend is the gradual but effective expansion of the removal history beyond the Cherokee experience. Other southeastern tribes have not been ignored, but their histories are being explored in much more detail, especially as it relates to the connections between the colonial era and the early 1800s. A similar development is necessary for northern tribes. While not an area of complete neglect, northern Indian removal is a subject that has received little attention beyond its inclusion in individual tribal histories. Where the Black Hawk War has received the attention of at least four different monographs in the past ten years, only two books in the past eighty years have addressed the broader scope of northern Indian removal. In the case of tribal histories, certain tribes like the Potawatomis, Shawnees, and Delawares have received the bulk of the attention, leaving the history of the Wyandots and others more on the margins. There are signs that this is beginning to change, but there remains work to be done.28

The second prominent shift encompasses the analysis of post-removal histories of eastern tribes. William McLoughlin, Andrew Denson, and Clara Sue Kidwell are among those who have closely examined the lives of the Cherokees, Choctaws, and others in the western territories in the mid to late 19th century. At one intersection of American Indian and African American studies, the topic of slavery has been an especially valuable avenue of examination to craft a more inclusive and continuous narrative that incorporates experiences before, during, and after removal. In line with the larger body of scholarship these works are heavily slanted toward the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes,” yet the studies produced by scholars like Tiya Miles and Celia Naylor have done a great deal to advance our understanding of the complex post-removal histories in Indian Territory. A growing body of scholarship has also begun to examine more thoroughly the post-removal histories of eastern Indians relocated to the territory that became Kansas.29

The above developments represent only the two most prominent trends, and room remains for more substantial developments in the historiography as a whole. As the recent removal history published by the Miami Nation of Oklahoma illustrates, another crucial avenue for improving our understanding of all the removal experience encompassed will be the work of Native communities shaping the narrative with their contributions to the overall discussion. The same can be said in reference to further scholarship on the enduring legacies of removal as well the experiences of those who avoided removal and stayed east of the Mississippi River as individuals, families, or sovereign tribes. Overall, the historiography of American Indian removal is substantial, but there are multiple ways in which it can grow so as to provide a more complex and inclusive narrative.30

Primary Sources

Government Records

The records maintained by the federal government during the 19th century remain some of the most important tools for researching the history of American Indian Removal and federal Indian policy. The list below encompasses a tremendous amount of material that includes letters, treaty council journals, memorials, disbursement records, and other written materials. In many cases the sources have been digitized and the links to those are noted below the respective materials.

Walter Lowrie and Matthew St. Clair Clarke, eds., American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (1789–1815), Class II, Indian Affairs (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1832)

. Available online at the Library of Congress.

Walter Lowrie and Matthew St. Clair Clarke, eds., American State Papers, Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (1815–1827), Class II, Indian Affairs (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton, 1834)

. Available online at the Library of Congress.

“Correspondence on the Subject of the Emigration of Indians,” Senate Document No. 512, 23d Cong, Serial Set Numbers 244–248. Available online at the Library of Congress.

Documents Relating to the Negotiation of Ratified and Unratified Treaties with Various Indian Tribes, 1801–1869. University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. Available online.

Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, Office of Indian Affairs. University of Wisconsin Digital Collections. Available online.

Record Group 75, M234. Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824–1881. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC. Collection includes 962 reels of microfilmed correspondence from Indian agencies and superintendencies covering most of the 1800s. It is not digitized but they are easily accessible via interlibrary loan.

Carter, Clarence Edward, and John Porter Bloom, eds., The Territorial Papers of the United States (28 vols., Washington DC, Government Printing Office, 1934–1975)


Beyond Government Records

The federal government records noted above provide an impressive overview of the events and people involved, but they do not provide the entire story. For the particular histories of each tribe, local and state historical societies will hold valuable information, as may the archives maintained by different tribes. There are, however, a few particularly impressive collections that encompass a vast amount of information that will help in researching the removal experience within a broad framework. The following three illustrate the range of possibilities and are by no means a representation of all that is available.

For any scholar interested in the removals that occurred north of the Ohio River, the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection hosted at the Glenn A. Black Archaeology Laboratory on the campus of Indiana University is an important repository to visit. This collection contains materials gathered primarily by Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin in her work on cases before the Indian Claims Commission in the mid-20th century. There are a number of places in which those materials will overlap with government records, but the Tribal Documents Collection is organized chronologically by tribe and includes typed transcripts of handwritten letters.

For the southern tribes, the collection titled Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842, hosted by the Digital Library of Georgia is one good place to turn for information from a multitude of historical and archaeological sources. The site also includes a wide range of additional links to tribal webpages and additional archives with collections that complement that found on the Digital Library of Georgia page. Available online.

Another important collection for gathering information about the post-removal experience in Indian Territory is the Indian Pioneer Papers Collection, which encompasses thousands of interviews conducted with men and women living in Oklahoma in the 1930s. This means that the collection contains interviews with a wide range of Oklahoma residents, including a large number of Indian men and women. The interviews were conducted under the auspices of the Works Project Administration, and while they were completed in the 1930s the information in the records relates to life and culture dating back to the mid-19th century. Available online.

In addition to the above collections, scholars and students interested in the particular elements of the Cherokee struggles have a number of unique opportunities to gain the indigenous perspective through two different publications. The two-volume Papers of Chief John Ross, edited by Gary E. Moulton (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1985); and the Cherokee Phoenix, a Cherokee-published newspaper, the first three volumes of which can be found online, courtesy of the Hunter Library at Western Carolina University.

Links to Digital Materials

Map and accompanying chart detailing Cherokee land cessions east of the Mississippi River from 1721 to 1835.

Map of Indian removal, which is particularly useful for showing how northern removal is most often encapsulated by the Black Hawk War of 1832.

Map of Southeastern Indian Removal.

Map Showing the lands assigned to Emigrant Indians west of Arkansas and Missouri, 1836.

Eastman’s Map of Kansas and Nebraska Territories, Showing the Location of the Indian Reserves According to the Treaties of 1854.

Map of Indian Territory, 1885.

Further Reading

Anderson, Gary Clayton. Ethnic Cleansing and the American Indian: The Crime that Should Haunt America. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Bowes, John P. Exiles and Pioneers: Eastern Indians in the Trans-Mississippi West. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Foreman, Grant. Indian Removal: The Emigration of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1932.Find this resource:

Garrison, Tim Alan. The Legal Ideology of Removal: The Southern Judiciary and the Sovereignty of Native American Nations. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009.Find this resource:

Green, Michael. The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982.Find this resource:

Hershberger, Mary. “Mobilizing Women, Anticipating Abolition: The Struggle against Indian Removal in the 1830s.” The Journal of American History 86 (June 1999): 15–40.Find this resource:

McLoughlin, William G. Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.Find this resource:

Norgren, Jill. The Cherokee Cases: Two Landmark Federal Decisions in the Fight for Sovereignty. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Perdue, Theda. “The Legacy of Indian Removal.” The Journal of Southern History 78 (February 2012): 3–36.Find this resource:

Perdue, Theda, and Michael D. Green. The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears. New York: Penguin, 2007.Find this resource:

Satz, Ronald N. American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1975.Find this resource:

Sleeper-Smith, Susan. Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter on the Western Great Lakes. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001.Find this resource:

Warren, Stephen. The Shawnees and Their Neighbors, 1795–1870. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2005.Find this resource:


(1.) “Removal” in Richard Scott Lyons, X-Marks: Native Signatures of Assent (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2010), 8; “Even” in Gary Clayton Anderson, Ethnic Cleansing and the Indian, 7.

(2.) Message from the President of the United States, December 8, 1829, in Journal of the Senate, 21 Cong., 1st Sess., 5–22.

(3.) Anthony F. C. Wallace, Jefferson and the Indians: The Tragic Fate of the First Americans (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999), 224–225; “Removal of Indians,” Report No. 227, House of Representatives, 21st Cong., 1st Sess., 2.

(4.) Ibid., 4–5.

(5.) “essential” in Lindsay G. Robertson, Conquest by Law: How the Discovery of America Dispossessed Indigenous Peoples of Their Lands (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), xiii; “admitted” in Johnson v. McIntosh, 21 U.S. 543 (1823).

(6.) “experiments” in “Removal of Indians,” 25; “upon” in ibid., 21; “deterioration” in ibid., 23; An overview of the government Civilization policy can be found in Francis Paul Prucha, The Great Father: The United States Government and the American Indians (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1984), 135–158.

(7.) “remain” in “Removal of Indians,” 25; The excerpts from the letters are found in ibid., 26–31.

(8.) “negotiation” in Register of Debates, 18 Cong., 2d Sess., 372; Treaty of 1825, in Charles J. Kappler, comp. and ed., Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, 7 vols. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1907), 2: 214–217; Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green, The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears, 55; For a more detailed description of the context of the Treaty of Indian Springs, see Michael Green, The Politics of Indian Removal, 69–97.

(9.) “nascent” in Angela Pulley Hudson, Creek Paths and Federal Roads: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves and the Making of the American South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010), 17; Kappler, Indian Affairs, 2: 264–268; Green, Politics of Indian Removal, 98–125;

(10.) “shall” in Kappler, Indian Affairs, 2: 341–343; “required” in Green, Politics of Indian Removal, 186.

(11.) Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515; Perdue and Green, The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears, 36–40; “sovereignty” in Laws of the Cherokee Nation: Adopted by the Council at Various Periods (Tahlequah, CN: Cherokee Advocate Office, 1852), 119; “guaranteed” in ibid., 118; “laws” in “An Act to add the Territory lying within the limits of this State, and occupied by the Cherokee Indians…,” Acts Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Georgia (Milledgeville, GA: Camak and Ragland, 1829), 88–89.

(12.) Perdue and Green, Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears, 77–98; “domestic” and “distinct” in Worcester v. Georgia, 31 U.S. 515.

(13.) “unconditional” and “must” in Lewis Cass to Thomas S. Jesup, May 19, 1836, American State Papers: Military Affairs 6: 622–623.

(14.) Perdue and Green, Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears, 104–113, 123–140; Kappler, Indian Affairs, 2: 439–449.

(15.) Amanda L. Paige, Fuller L. Bumpers, and Daniel F. Littlefield Jr., Chickasaw Removal (Ada, OK: Chickasaw, 2010); James Taylor Carson, Searching for the Bright Path: The Mississippi Choctaws from Prehistory to Removal (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999); Arthur H. DeRosier Jr., The Removal of the Choctaw Indians (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1971); John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War, 1835–1842 (Tallahassee: University Press of Florida, 2010).

(16.) John P. Bowes, “American Indian Removal Beyond the Removal Act,” Native American and Indigenous Studies 1 (Spring 2014): 65–87.

(17.) Colin G. Calloway, The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995); Eric Hinderaker and Peter C. Mancall, At the Edge of Empire: The Backcountry in British North America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2003); Gregory Evans Dowd, A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745–1815 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).

(18.) Dowd, A Spirited Resistance; R. David Edmunds, The Shawnee Prophet (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983); “shall” in Hunter Miller, ed., Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1931), 2; Colin G. Calloway, “The End of an Era: British-Indian Relations in the Great Lakes Region after the War of 1812,” Michigan Historical Review 12 (Fall 1986), 1–20.

(19.) Kappler, Indian Affairs, 2: 145–155, 170–171; Census information from Historical Census Browser, University of Virginia Libraries.

(20.) Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great lakes Region, 1650–1815 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Robert A. Trennert Jr., Indian Traders on the Middle Border: The House of Ewing, 1827–1854 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1981); Susan Sleeper-Smith, Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter in the Western Great Lakes (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001). A great example of this overall transformation in one particular location can be seen in Ann Durbin Keating, Rising Up from Indian Country: The Battle of Fort Dearborn and the Birth of Chicago (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012).

(21.) John W. Hall, Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); Patrick J. Jung, The Black Hawk War of 1832 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007); John P. Bowes, Black Hawk and the War of 1832: Removal in the North (New York: Chelsea House, 2007).

(22.) Thomas J. Lappas, “‘A Perfect Apollo’: Keokuk and Sac Leadership during the Removal Era,” in Daniel P. Barr, ed., The Boundaries between Us: Natives and Newcomers along the Frontiers of the Old Northwest Territory, 1750–1850 (Kent, OH: Kent State University Press, 2006), 219–235; Seneca Chiefs of Ohio to President of the United States, October 15, 1829, in Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1829, 185 at Documents Relating to Indian Affairs, University of Wisconsin Digital Collections; Capt. Pipe, et al., to the President of the United States, September 3, 1828, roll 669, Record Group 75, M234, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824–1881, National Archives and Records Administration; Dwight L. Smith, ed., “An Unsuccessful Negotiation for Removal of the Wyandot Indians From Ohio, 1834,” Ohio Archaeological and Historical Quarterly 58 (July 1949), 305–331; Carl G. Klopfenstein, “The Removal of the Wyandots from Ohio,” The Ohio Historical Quarterly 66 (April 1957), 119–136.

(23.) Bowes, Exiles and Pioneers, 72–82; Shirley Willard and Susan Campbell, writers and eds., Potawatomi Trail of Death: 1838 Removal from Indiana to Kansas (Rochester, IN: Fulton County Historical Society, 2003); George Strack, George Ironstrack, Daryl Baldwin, Kristina Fox, Julie Olds, Robbyn Abbitt, and Melissa Rinehart, myaamiaki aancihsaaciki: A Cultural Exploration of the Myaamia Removal Route (Miami, OK: Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, 2011).

(24.) James A. Clifton, The Pokagons, 1683–1983: Catholic Potawatomi Indians of the St. Joseph River Valley (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1984); W. Ben Secunda, “To Cede or Seed?: Risk and Identity Among the Woodland Potawatomi during the Removal Period,” Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 31 (Spring 2006): 57–88; William G. McCloughlin, After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees’ Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839–1880 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994); Wilma Mankiller and Michael Wallis, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People (New York: St. Martin’s, 1993).

(25.) Bowes, Exiles and Pioneers; William Unrau and Craig Miner, The End of Indian Kansas: A Study in Cultural Revolution, 1854–1871 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1977); Joseph Herring, The Enduring Indians of Kansas: A Century and a Half of Acculturation (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1990); David LaVere, Contrary Neighbors: Southern Plains and Removed Indians in Indian Territory (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000); Treaties that arranged for settlement of the Delawares on Cherokee lands in Kappler, Indian Affairs, 2: 937–950; Brice Obermeyer, Delaware Tribe in a Cherokee Nation (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009).

(26.) Clifford E. Trafzer, The Northwest Tribes in Exile: The Modoc, Nez Perce, and Palouse Removal to Indian Territory (Newcastle, CA: Sierra Oaks, 1987); James N. Leiker and Ramon Powers, The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2013); Elliott West, The Last Indian War: The Nez Perce Story (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011).

(27.) Ned Blackhawk, “Look How Far We’ve Come: How American Indian History Changed the Study of American History in the 1990s,” Organization of American Historians Magazine of History 19 (November 2005), 13–17; Nicolas G. Rosenthal, “Beyond the New Indian History: Recent Trends in the Historiography on the Native Peoples of North America,” History Compass 4 (2006), 962–974; John Wunder, “Native American History, Ethnohistory, and Context,” Ethnohistory 54 (Fall 2007), 591–604; R. David Edmunds, “Blazing New Trails or Burning Bridges: Native American History Comes of Age,” Western Historical Quarterly 39 (Spring 2008), 4–15; Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650–1815 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991); Pekka Hämäläinen, The Comanche Empire (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009); Colin G. Calloway, One Vast Winter Count: The Native American West Before Lewis and Clark (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003); William L. Anderson, ed., Cherokee Removal: Before and After (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1991); John Ehle, Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation (New York: Anchor Books Doubleday, 1997); Theda Perdue and Michael Green, eds., The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 1995); Jill Norgren, The Cherokee Cases: Two Landmark Federal Decisions in the Fight for Sovereignty (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2004); Mary Young, “The Exercise of Sovereignty in Cherokee Georgia,” Journal of the Early Republic 10 (Spring 1990), 43–63; John Andrew III, From Revivals to Removal: Jeremiah Evarts, the Cherokee Nation, and the Search for the Soul of America (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2007).

(28.) Examples of removal histories beyond the Cherokees include Amanda L. Paige, Fuller L. Bumpers, and Daniel F. Littlefield Jr., Chickasaw Removal (Ada, OK: Chickasaw, 2010); James Taylor Carson, Searching for the Bright Path: The Mississippi Choctaws from Prehistory to Removal (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999); Michael Green, The Politics of Indian Removal: Creek Government and Society in Crisis (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1982); The two comprehensive examinations of northern Indian removal are Grant Foreman, The Last Trek of the Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1946), and Gloria Jahoda, The Trail of Tears: The Story of American Indian Removals, 1813–1855 (New York, 1975). Examples of tribal histories that incorporate northern removal include, Stephen Warren, The Shawnees and Their Neighbors; C. A. Weslager, The Delaware Indian Westward Migration: With the Texts of Two Manuscripts (1821–1822) Responding to General Lewis Cass’s Inquiries About Lenape Culture and Language (Wallingford, PA: Middle Atlantic Press, 1978); James A. Clifton, The Prairie People: Continuity and Change in Potawatomi Indian Culture 1665–1965 (Lawrence: Regents Press of Kansas, 1977); R. David Edmunds, The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1978); Kerry A. Trask, Black Hawk and the Battle for the Heart of America (New York: Henry Holt, 2006); Patrick J. Jung, The Black Hawk War of 1832 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007); John W. Hall, Uncommon Defense: Indian Allies in the Black Hawk War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009); John P. Bowes, “American Indian Removal Beyond the Removal Act,” Native American and Indigenous Studies 1 (Spring 2014), 65–87.

(29.) William McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees’ Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839–1880 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994); Andrew Denson, Demanding the Cherokee Nation: Indian Autonomy and American Culture, 1830–1900 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004); Clara Sue Kidwell, The Choctaws in Oklahoma: From Tribe to Nation, 1855–1970 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2008); Wendy St. Jean, Remaining Chickasaw in Indian Territory, 1830s-1907 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011); Tiya Miles, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006); Tiya Miles and Sharon Patricia Holland, eds., Crossing Waters, Crossing Worlds: The African Diaspora in Indian Country (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006); Celia E. Naylor, African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008); Kevin Mulroy, The Seminole Freedmen: A History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2007); David LaVere, Contrary Neighbors: Southern Plains and Removed Indians in Indian Territory (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2000); Craig Miner and William Unrau, The End of Indian Kansas: A Study in Cultural Revolution, 1854–1871 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1990); Joseph Herring, The Enduring Indians of Kansas: A Century and a Half of Acculturation (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1990); William E. Unrau, The Rise and Fall of Indian Country, 1825–1855 (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007); John P. Bowes, Exiles and Pioneers: Eastern Indians in the Trans-Mississippi West (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007).

(30.) George Strack et al., myaamiaki aancihsaaciki; Theda Perdue, “The Legacy of Indian Removal,” 3–36; Susan Sleeper-Smith, Indian Women and French Men: Rethinking Cultural Encounter on the Western Great Lakes (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2001).