Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Rivers of Sand: Creek Indian Emigration, Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in the American South

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

Rivers of Sand: Creek Indian Emigration, Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in the American South

Article excerpt

Rivers of Sand: Creek Indian Emigration, Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in the American South. By Christopher D. Haveman. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016. Pp. xvi, 414. Series preface by Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green, acknowledgments, notes on terminology, introduction, list of abbreviations, illustrations, notes, bibliography, index. $65.00.)

Christopher Haveman states that his purpose in writing this book was twofold. First is to present an account of the "disintegration of the eastern Creek Nation, relocation of its people, and reestablishment of the new nation in Indian territory" (p. 3). Second is to "show the ways in which the Creek people challenged the government's emigration program and fought to preserve their way of life on their ancestral homeland" (p. 6). The result is the second scholarly study of a southern tribe's removal to grow out of the interest generated by the establishment of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.

Haveman first deals with the events that led to forced Creek removal in 1836. He begins with the disastrous results of the Treaty of Indian Springs of 1825 that forced Creeks within Georgia to move onto lands of Alabama Creeks. Then the Treaty of Washington in 1826 provided for Creek allotments. Both created population pressures and hardships that disrupted Creek life. Voluntary emigration of the McIntosh faction to the West resulted in a rival government there, opening the door to other removals by McIntosh followers and intimidation and violence among the remaining Creeks as the headmen sought to prevent further removals. The headmen redoubled these efforts as others, not allied with William McIntosh, departed for the West, and life in Alabama became increasingly difficult as a result of white intrusion, disease, and debts. The Creeks finally agreed to the Treaty of 1832, ceding their remaining lands and agreeing to take individual reserves. The result was an orgy of fraud perpetrated by whites upon impoverished and uninformed Creeks in order to take their lands. As the Creeks descended into a state of despair, some Lower Creeks responded with violence in what became known as the Creek War of 1836. …

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