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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 VI. — Subdivision of the Indian Territory into Tribal Proprietorships. Congressional Sanction of the Plan.

THE settlement of a people ignorant of letters and figures, or of any mode of estimating quantities, in a new country, where all struggled to obtain the best locations, revealed another source of official care. The proper adjustment of boundaries between the tribes in the new territories became a subject of infinite perplexity. As the Indians acquired a better knowledge of arithmetical measures and quantities, they became astute, and strenuously demanded public action in the matter. It sometimes happened that boundaries conflicted, and, whenever an interest or right was surrendered to accommodate another tribe, the United States Government was ready to grant an equivalent in land, money, or right of occupancy. The volumes of treaties contain an amount of interesting matter on this subject, which is alike creditable to the Republic and to the activity of the Indian mind. An acre, an improvement, a salt-spring, or a stream of pure water was held at its just value.

On the 14th of February, 1833, the United States engaged to secure to the Cherokees, forever, 7,000,000 acres of land in the Indian Territory, including the smaller tract previously granted them by the Barbour treaty, signed May 6, 1828. 610 By a separate article, the Cherokees released the United States from providing "a plain set of laws, suited to their condition."

On the same day, a treaty was concluded, specifying the boundaries between the United States, the Creeks, and the Cherokees, which also provided that collisions between the tribes should be avoided, and compensation made to them by the United States for the improvements they surrendered, in order to enable the Government to furnish the Cherokees with their full quota of lands. 611 By a treaty concluded the 28th of March, 1833, a definite location was assigned to the Seminoles, who had migrated to the West, and settled down among the Creeks. 612 On the 13th of May, the Quapaws relinquished their territory to the Caddoes, a cognate tribe on Red River, in consideration

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of a tract of 150 sections of land granted them by the United States, on the Neosho, with liberal donations of cattle, oxen, hogs, sheep, agricultural implements, arms, ammunition, clothing, the services of a blacksmith and farmer, and other advantages. 613

On the 18th of June, 1833, the Appalachicolas, of Florida, ceded certain lands, with the exception of some reservations, and were admitted, on the principle of a reunion, to share with the Seminoles the benefits of the treaty concluded at Payne's Landing. It was stipulated that they should sell their reservations, before leaving Florida and removing west, in which case they engaged to defray the expenses of their removal. 614

On the 21st of September, the Otoes and Missourias surrendered their lands to the United States, for valuable considerations, agreeing to accept another tract in lieu thereof, and to engage in agricultural pursuits. 615

Under the provisions of the act passed July 14, 1832, three commissioners were appointed to proceed to the Indian territory, west of the States of Missouri and Arkansas, to make an examination of its character and resources, and divide it into suitable districts for the expatriated tribes. These commissioners, after an elaborate examination and survey, occupying nearly two years, made a report on the 10th of February, 1834, accompanying it with the map herewith submitted. They had set apart, and recommended to be allotted to the tribes, the entire district west of the States of Missouri and Arkansas, comprised between the latitude of Red River and that of the Platte, or Nebraska River, extending west to the line of Texas, thence north along the 100th degree of longitude to the banks of the Arkansas, and up the latter river to the Rocky Mountains.

Congress having now the requisite data, and being prepared to act definitely on the subject, the Hon. Horace Everett, Chairman of Indian Affairs in the House of Representatives, made an elaborate report, reviewing the policy and action of the Government from the beginning, and submitting for consideration and approval, separate acts, for the organization of the Indian Department; for the revision of the original act of 1802, regulating trade and intercourse with the Indian tribes; and for the organization of the Indian territory. The former of these acts received the sanction of Congress; the plan of a mixed civil and Indian government, which was prepared, having been omitted, because it was regarded as in some respects incongruous, and, on the whole, rather in advance of their actual necessities. The act of March 28th, 1830 (p. 431), laying the legal foundation of the colonization plan, was the organic law; but these acts followed out the general features of that law, to which we may ascribe the completion of the colonization plan originally recommended to Congress by Mr. Monroe, nine years previously.

The passage of these acts forms a definite period in the administrative policy of the

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Government toward the Indians, and marks the absorption of the Executive power by Congress, which had been previously illimitably exercised over the affairs of the aboriginal tribes. By the organization act, no agent, superintendent, sub-agent, or other official, can be appointed for the Indian country, without a special act authorizing it, and fixing the amount of his salary. These appointments are also limited, by this act, to the presidential term of four years. All artisans or agriculturalists employed by the agents, under treaty stipulations, must be nominated by the respective agents under whom they are to be employed, and their nomination be confirmed by the Chief of the Indian Bureau. The accountability of the different officials is carefully provided for; the forms of issue of presents and provisions, prescribed; and additional safeguards imposed. Under the provisions of this act no person can hold two offices, or draw pay in two capacities; and any duties properly belonging to the department may be assigned to officers thereof, on the frontiers. These definitions had the direct tendency to impart the benefits of system to the Bureau.

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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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