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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html


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Chapter V. — Plan of Colonization West of the Mississippi.

Two diverse states of society, it is observed, cannot prosperously exist together; the stronger type must inevitably absorb or destroy the weaker. As the States increased in population, and emigration progressed westward, it became evident that the Indians could not sustain themselves amid a society whose every custom, maxim, and opinion, directly controverted their preconceived ideas. The Indians, in their tribal character, did not respect the principles of labor, temperance, or thrift, far less the teachings of Christianity; on the contrary, they not only contemned them, but they also regarded them as being adverse to their best interests. They believed, and maintained with great pertinacity, at all times and in all ages of their history, that the Great Spirit had created them a peculiar people, and bestowed upon them means of sustenance, manners, and customs, peculiarly adapted to their condition. They believed themselves to be the especial objects of his care; and they regarded their jossakeeds and prophets as a class of persons who were favored by divine revelations, and, as such, the medium through which the Deity announced his unalterable decrees. Where, as in this instance, there was no admission of error, or acknowledgment of ignorance, in arts, customs, pursuits, or opinions, secular or divine, there could be no progress in society, no aspiration after knowledge. Individual instances had occurred of Indians adopting the customs of civilized society, and embracing the truths of revelation, subsequent to the era of Manteo and Pocahontas; but the mass of the aborigines continued to live on, through centuries, without deriving any profit from contact with their civilized neighbors. Whatever may have been the sentiments and views of humanitarians, who sought to impress upon their minds the great truths set forth in the Bible, which constitutes the moral panacea for all classes and races of men, wherever dispersed over the surface of the globe, no practicable prospect of their reclamation and restoration to society was presented, after the lapse of centuries, except in their total separation from the evils surrounding them, and a concentration of the tribes, and fragments of tribes, as colonial communities, on territory specially appropriated for

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their use, where, under the operation of their own laws and institutions, their better qualities might develop themselves.

This plan was first suggested by Mr. Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, who, in a message communicated by him to Congress, on the 27th of January, 1825, thus invites the attention of that body to the topic:

"Being deeply impressed with the opinion, that the removal of the Indian tribes from the lands which they now occupy within the limits of the several States and Territories, to the country lying westward and northward thereof, within our acknowledged boundaries, is of very high importance to our Union, and may be accomplished, on conditions, and in a manner, to promote the interest and happiness of those tribes, the attention of the Government has been long drawn, with great solicitude, to the object. For the removal of the tribes within the limits of the State of Georgia, the motive has been peculiarly strong, arising from the compact with that State, whereby the United States are bound to extinguish the Indian title to the lands within it, whenever it may be done peaceably and on reasonable conditions. In the fulfilment of this compact I have thought that the United States should act with a generous spirit, that they should omit nothing which should comport with a liberal construction of the instrument, and likewise be in accordance with the just rights of those tribes. From the view which I have taken of the subject, I am satisfied, that, in the discharge of those important duties, in regard to both the parties alluded to, the United States will have to encounter no conflicting interests with either: on the contrary, that the removal of the tribes, from the territory which they now inhabit, to that which was designated in the message at the commencement of the session, which would accomplish the object for Georgia, under a well digested plan for their government and civilization, which should be agreeable to themselves, would not only shield them from impending ruin, but promote their welfare and happiness. Experience has clearly demonstrated, that, in their present state, it is impossible to incorporate them, in such masses, in any form whatever, into our system. It has also demonstrated, with equal certainty, that, without a timely anticipation of, and provision against, the dangers to which they are exposed, under causes which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to control, their degradation and extermination will be inevitable.

"The great object to be accomplished is, the removal of those tribes to the Territory designated, on conditions which shall be satisfactory to themselves, and honorable to the United States. This can be done only by conveying to each tribe a good title to an adequate portion of land, to which it may consent to remove, and by providing for it there a system of internal government, which shall protect their property from invasion, and, by the regular progress of improvement and civilization, prevent that degeneracy which has generally marked the transition from the one to the other state.

"I transmit, herewith, a report from the Secretary of War, which presents the best estimate which can be formed from the documents in that Department, of the number

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of Indians within our States and Territories, and of the amount of lands held by the several tribes within each; of the state of the country lying northward and westward thereof, within our acknowledged boundaries; of the parts to which the Indian title has already been extinguished; and of the conditions on which other parts, in an amount which may be adequate to the object contemplated, may be obtained. By this report, it appears that the Indian title has already been extinguished to extensive tracts in that quarter, and that other portions may be acquired, to the extent desired, on very moderate conditions. Satisfied, I also am, that the removal proposed is not only practicable, but that the advantages attending it, to the Indians, may be made so apparent to them, that all the tribes, even those most opposed, may be induced to accede to it at no very distant day.

"The digest of such a government, with the consent of the Indians, which should be endowed with sufficient power to meet all the objects contemplated, to connect the several tribes together in a bond of amity, and preserve order in each; to prevent intrusions on their property; to teach them, by regular instructions, the arts of civilized life, and make them a civilized people, is an object of very high importance. It is the powerful consideration which we have to offer to these tribes, as an inducement to relinquish the lands on which they now reside, and to remove to those which are designated. It is not doubted that this arrangement will present considerations of sufficient force to surmount all their prejudices in favor of the soil of their nativity, however strong they may be. Their elders have sufficient intelligence to discern the certain progress of events, in the present train, and sufficient virtue, by yielding to momentary sacrifices, to protect their families and posterity from inevitable destruction. They will also perceive that they may thus attain an elevation, to which, as communities, they could not otherwise aspire.

"To the United States, the proposed arrangement offers many important advantages in addition to those which have been already enumerated. By the establishment of such a government over these tribes, with their consent, we become, in reality, their benefactors. The relation of conflicting interests, which has heretofore existed between them and our frontier settlements, will cease. There will be no more wars between them and the United States. Adopting such a government, their movement will be in harmony with us, and its good effect be felt throughout the whole extent of our Territory, to the Pacific. It may fairly be presumed, that, through the agency of such a government, the condition of all the tribes inhabiting that vast region may be essentially improved; that permanent peace may be preserved with them, and our commerce be much extended.

"With a view to this important object, I recommend it to Congress to adopt, by solemn declaration, certain fundamental principles, in accord with those above suggested, as the basis of such arrangements as may be entered into with the several tribes, to the strict observance of which the faith of the nation shall be pledged. I recommend

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it, also, to Congress, to provide, by law, for the appointment of a suitable number of Commissioners, who shall, under the direction of the President, be authorized to visit, and explain to the several tribes, the objects of the Government, and to make with them, according to their instructions, such arrangements as shall be best calculated to carry these objects into effect.

"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. It is presumed, however, that the result will not be known during the present session of Congress. To give effect to this negotiation, and to the negotiations which it is proposed to hold with all the other tribes within the limits of the several states and territories, on the principles and for the purposes stated, it is recommended that an adequate appropriation be now made by Congress." 567

One of the first measures necessary in carrying this plan into effect, was to ascertain the names, positions, and numbers of the Indian tribes to be removed. Mr. Calhoun, Secretary of War, in communicating the subjoined information from the newly-organized Bureau of Indian Affairs, thus expresses his views of the entire feasibility of the plan:

"It appears, by the report enclosed, that there are, in the several States and Territories, not including a portion of Michigan Territory, west of Lake Michigan, and north of the State of Illinois, about 7000 Indians, and that they occupy about 77,000,000 acres of land.

"The arrangement for the removal, it is presumed, is not intended to comprehend the small remnants of tribes in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Virginia, and South Carolina, amounting to 3023. To these, also, may be added the remnants of tribes remaining in Louisiana, amounting to 1313, as they are each of them so few in number, that, it is believed, very little expense or difficulty will be found in their removal, making, together, 4336, which, subtracted from the 97,000, the entire number in the States and Territories, will leave 92,664 to be removed. Of these, there are residing in the northern part of the States of Indiana, Illinois, in the peninsula of Michigan, and New York, including the Ottowas in Ohio, about 13,150; which, I would respectfully suggest, might be removed, with advantage, to the country west of Lake Michigan, and north of the State of Illinois. The climate and nature of the country are much more favorable to their habits than that west of the Mississippi; to which may be added, that the Indians in New York have already commenced a settlement at Green Bay, and exhibit some disposition to make it a permanent one; and that the Indians referred to in Indiana, Illinois, and in the peninsula of Michigan, will find, in the country designated, kindred tribes, with whom they may be readily associated. These considerations, with the greater facility with which they could be collected in that portion of the country, compared with that of collecting them

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west of the Mississippi, form a strong inducement to give it the preference. Should the proposition be adopted, the Indians in question might be gradually collected, as it became necessary, from time to time, to extinguish the Indian title in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan, without incurring any additional expense other than what is usually incidental to such extinguishment. Deducting, then, the Indians residing in the northwestern parts of Indiana, Illinois, in Michigan, and New York, with the Ottawas in Ohio, amounting to 13,150, from 92,664, will leave but 79,514. It is proper to add that a late treaty with the Quapaws stipulates and provides for their removal, and that they may also be deducted from the number for whose removal provision ought to be made. They are estimated at 700; which, deducted from 79,514, will leave 78,814 to be removed west of the State of Missouri and Territory of Arkansas, should the views of the Department be adopted.

"Of these, there are estimated to reside in the States of Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, 53,625, consisting of Cherokees, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws; and claiming about 33,573,176 acres, including the claim of the Cherokees, in North Carolina; 3082 in Ohio, and in the southern and middle parts of Indiana and Illinois, consisting of Wyandots, Shawnees, Senecas, Delawares, Kaskaskias, and Miami and Eel Rivers; 5000 in Florida, consisting of Seminoles and remnants of other tribes; and the remainder in Missouri and Arkansas, consisting of Delawares, Kickapoos, Shawnees, Weas, Iowas, Piankashaws, Cherokees, Quapaws, and Osages.

"The next subject of consideration will be, to acquire a sufficient tract of country west of the State of Missouri and Territory of Arkansas, in order to establish permanent settlements in that quarter, of the tribes which are proposed to be removed. The country between the Red River and the Arkansas has already been allotted to the Choctaws, under the treaty of the 18th October, 1820. The country north of the river Arkansas, and immediately west of the State of Missouri, is held almost entirely by the Osages and the Kanzas; the principal settlement of the former being on the Osage river, not far west of the western boundary of Missouri, and the latter, on the Missouri river, near Cow Island. There is a band of the Osages situated on the Verdigris, a branch of the Arkansas. Governor Clark has been already instructed to take measures to remove them from the Verdigris, to join the other bands on the Osage river. To carry this object into effect, and to extinguish the title of the Osages upon the Arkansas, and in the State of Missouri; and also to extinguish the title of the Kanzas to whatever tract of country may be necessary to effect the views of the Government, will be the first object of expenditure; and would require an appropriation, it is believed, of not less than $30,000. After this is effected, the next will be, to allot a portion of the country to each of the tribes, and to commence the work of removal. The former could be effected by vesting in the President discretionary power to make the location; and the latter, by commencing with the removal of the Cherokees,

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Piankashaws, Weas, Shawnees, Kickapoos, and Delawares, who now occupy different tracts of country, lying in the north-western portion of the Arkansas Territory, and the south-western portion of the State of Missouri. It is believed that the Cherokees, to whom has been allotted a country lying between the Arkansas and White rivers, will very readily agree to removing their eastern boundary farther west, on the consideration that, for the lands thereby ceded, they may have assigned to them an equal quantity farther west, as they have evinced a strong disposition to prevent the settlement of the whites to the west of them. It is probable that this arrangement could be effected by an appropriation of a few thousand dollars, say five thousand, for the expense of holding the treaty. Nor is it believed that there will be any difficulty in inducing the Piankashaws, Weas, Shawnees, Kickapoos, and Delawares, to occupy a position that may be assigned to them west of the State of Missouri; or that the operation will be attended with any great expense. The kindred tribes in the States of Ohio and Indiana, including the Wyandots, the Senecas, and the Miamies and Eel rivers, in those States; and the Kaskaskias, in Illinois, it is believed, might be induced, without much difficulty, to join them, after those now residing in Missouri are fixed in their new position, west of that State. Of the sum that will be necessary for this purpose, it is difficult to form an estimate. These tribes amount to 3,082. The expense of extinguishing their title to the lands occupied by them, will probably be high in comparison with the price which has been usually given for lands in that quarter, as they, particularly the Indians in Ohio, have made some advances in civilization, and considerable improvements on their lands. The better course would be, to remove them gradually, commencing with those tribes which are most disposed to leave their present settlements, and, if this arrangement should be adopted, an appropriation of $20,000 would be sufficient to commence with.

"It may, however, be proper to remark, that these tribes, together with those in New York, have indicated a disposition to join the Cherokees on the Arkansas, and that a deputation from the former, with a deputation from those Cherokees, are now on their way to the seat of government, in order to make some arrangements to carry the proposed union into effect. Should it be accomplished, it would vary the arrangement which has been suggested in relation to them, but will not, probably, materially vary the expense.

"It only remains now to consider the removal of the Indians in Florida, and the four southern tribes residing in North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi.

"It is believed that immediate measures need not be taken with regard to the Indians in Florida. By the treaty of the 18th September, 1823, they ceded the whole of the northern portion of Florida, with the exception of a few small reservations, and have had allotted to them the southern part of the peninsula; and it is probable that no

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inconvenience will be felt for many years, either by the inhabitants of Florida, or the Indians, under the present arrangement.

"Of the four southern tribes, two of them, the Cherokees and Choctaws, have already allotted to them a tract of country west of the Mississippi. That which has been allotted to the latter is believed to be sufficiently ample for the whole nation, should they emigrate; and if an arrangement, which is believed not to be impracticable, could be made between them and the Chickasaws, who are their neighbors, and of similar habits and dispositions, it would be sufficient for the accommodation of both. A sufficient country should be reserved to the west of the Cherokees, on the Arkansas, as a means of exchange with those who remain on the east. To the Creeks might be allotted a country between the Arkansas and Canadian river, which limits the northern boundary of the Choctaw possessions in that quarter. There is now pending with the Creeks a negotiation, under the appropriation of the last session, with a prospect, that the portion of that nation which resides within the limits of Georgia may be induced, with the consent of the nation, to cede the country which they occupy for a portion of the one which it is proposed to allot for the Creek nation, on the west of the Mississippi. Should the treaty prove successful, its stipulations will provide for the means of carrying it into effect, which will render any additional provision at present unnecessary. It will be proper to open new communications with the Cherokees, Choctaws, and Chickasaws, for the purpose of explaining to them the views of the government, and inducing them to remove beyond the Mississippi, on the principles and conditions which may be proposed to the other tribes. It is known that there are many individuals of each of the tribes who are desirous of settling west of the Mississippi; and, should it be thought advisable, there can be no doubt, that if, by an adequate appropriation, the means were afforded the Government of bearing their expense, they would emigrate. Should it be thought that the encouragement of such emigration is desirable, the sum of $40,000, at least, would be required to be appropriated for this object, to be applied under the discretion of the President of the United States. The several sums which have been recommended to be appropriated, if the proposed arrangements should be adopted, amount to $95,000. The appropriation may be made either general or specific, as may be deemed most advisable.

"I cannot, however, conclude without remarking, that no arrangement ought to be made which does not regard the interest of the Indians, as well as our own; and that, to protect the interest of the former, decisive measures ought to be adopted, to prevent the hostility which must, almost necessarily, take place if left to themselves, among tribes hastily brought together, of discordant character; and many of which are actuated by feelings far from being friendly towards each other. But the preservation of peace between them will not alone be sufficient to render their condition as eligible in their new situation as it is in their present. Almost all of the tribes proposed to be affected by the arrangement are more or less advanced in the arts of civilized life, and

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there is scarcely one of them which have not benefited by the establishment of schools in the nation, affording at once the means of moral, religious, and intellectual improvement. These schools have been established, for the most part, by religious societies, with the countenance and aid of the Government; and, on every principle of humanity, the continuance of similar advantages of education ought to be extended to them in their new residence. There is another point which appears to be indispensable to be guarded, in order to render the condition of this race less afflicting. One of the greatest evils to which they are subject, is that incessant pressure of our population, which forces them from seat to seat, without allowing time for that moral and intellectual improvement for which they appear to be naturally eminently susceptible. To guard against this evil, so fatal to the race, there ought to be the strongest and the most solemn assurance that the country given them should be theirs, as a permanent home for themselves and their posterity, without being disturbed by the encroachments of our citizens. To such assurance, if there should be added a system by which the Government, without destroying their independence, would gradually unite the several tribes under a simple but enlightened system of government and laws, formed on the principles of our own, and for which, as their own people would partake in it, they would, under the influence of the contemplated improvement, at no distant day become prepared, the arrangements which have been proposed would prove, to the Indians and their posterity, a permanent blessing. It is believed that, if they could be assured that peace and friendship would be maintained among the several tribes; that the advantages of education which they now enjoy would be extended to them; that they should have a permanent and solemn guarantee for their possessions, and receive the countenance and aid of the Government for the gradual extension of its privileges to them; there would be among all the tribes a disposition to accord with the views of the Government. There are now, in most of the tribes, well educated, sober, and reflecting individuals, who are afflicted at the present condition of the Indians, and despondent at their future prospects. Under the operation of existing causes, they behold the certain degradation, misery, and even the final annihilation of their race, and, no doubt, would gladly embrace any arrangement which would promise to elevate them in the scale of civilization, and arrest the destruction which now awaits them. It is conceived that one of the most cheap, certain, and desirable modes of effecting the object in view would be, for Congress to establish fixed principles, such as have been suggested as the basis of the proposed arrangement, and to authorize the President to convene, at some suitable point, all of the well-informed, intelligent, and influential individuals of the tribes to be affected by it, in order to explain to them the views of the Government, and to pledge the faith of the nation to the arrangements that might be adopted. Should such principles be established by Congress, and the President be vested with suitable authority to convene the individuals, as proposed, and suitable provision be made to meet the expense, great confidence is felt that a basis of a system might be laid, which,

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in a few years, would entirely effect the object in view, to the mutual benefit of the Government and the Indians, and which, in its operations, would effectually arrest the calamitous course of events to which they must be subject, without a radical change in the present system. Should it be thought advisable to call such a convention, as one of the means of effecting the object in view, an additional appropriation of $30,000 will be required; making, in the whole, $125,000 to be appropriated."

The following additional details were presented by the newly-created Bureau of Indian Affairs. 568

"There is no land assigned, as will be seen on reference to the table, to the Indians in Louisiana; yet, it is believed, the Caddoes have a claim, but to what extent is not known. So, also, have the Cherokees (whose numbers are not known), to a tract in the north-west corner of the State of North Carolina; which, it is believed, does not exceed 200,000 acres. In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and perhaps in Maryland, a few Indians are remaining; but how many, or what quantity of land is owned by them, if any, there are no means of ascertaining.

"There are now remaining, within the limits of the different States and Territories, as is shown by the table, sixty-four tribes and remnants of tribes of Indians, whose "names" and "numbers" are given; who number, in the aggregate, 129,266 souls; and who claim 77,402,318 acres of land.

"It will be seen, by adverting to the table, that the Indians residing north of the State of Illinois, east of the Mississippi, and west of the Lakes, are comprehended in the estimate of the number in Michigan Territory; although, in estimating the quantity of land held by Indians in that territory, the portion only so held in the Peninsula of Michigan, is estimated. It was found impossible, from any documents in possession of this office, to distinguish the number of Chippewas and Ottawas residing in the peninsula of Michigan from those residing on the west side of Lake Michigan. It is, however, believed, that the whole number residing in the peninsula does not exceed 3500; and these, as has been stated, are principally of the Chippewa and Ottawa tribes.

"It may be proper also to remark that, of the 6400 Sacs and Foxes, who are included in the estimate as part of the 129,266, and who occupy lands on both sides the Mississippi, not more than one-third of that number are supposed to reside on the east side; and, of the 5200 Osages, who, by the table, are assigned to Missouri and Arkansas, it is believed not more than one-third of that number reside within the State of Missouri and Territory of Arkansas. If, therefore, the number assumed for the peninsula of Michigan be correct, and two-thirds of the Sacs and Foxes, as is believed to be the fact, reside on the west of the Mississippi, and two-thirds of the Osages west of Missouri, and north of Arkansas, there will remain "within the limits of the different States and Territories," — confining the Michigan Territory to the peninsula — 97,384 Indians,

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possessing (if the 200,000 acres, which are believed to be claimed by the Cherokees in North Carolina, be added), 77,602,318 acres of land.

"In obtaining this information, resort has been had, for the "names" and "numbers" of the Indian tribes, to the reports to this office, and to other sources of information, which are deemed to be the most accurate; and, for the quantity of land claimed by them, to the files of this office; to the General Land Office; and to computations carefully made from the best maps, by Colonel Roberdeau, of the Topographical Bureau.

"The 4,000,000 of acres assumed as the quantity claimed by the Cherokees in Arkansas, although but an estimate, is believed to be nearly correct. The precise quantity, however, cannot be ascertained until it is known how much they ceded on this side the Mississippi, for which, by the treaty of 1817, they are to receive an equal number of acres on the other.

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Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe.. History of the Indian Tribes of the United States: Their Present Condition and Prospects, and a Sketch of Their Ancient Status. Volume 6. . Philadelphia: Lippincott, Grambo and Co, 1857. [format: book; image], [genre: government document; report]. Permission: Northern Illinois University
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=schoolcraft6.html
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