History of Oklahoma

By Edward Everett Dale; Morris L. Wardell | Go to book overview

VI
The Removal of the Cherokees

SINCE SEVERAL ENTIRE BOOKS as large as this volume have been written on the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes to Oklahoma, it is obvious that the subject can be treated only very briefly in two chapters. The story is a long and complex one. It covers a period of some twenty years, during which a number of removal treaties were made between the government of the United States and these Indians. No tribe, moreover, was removed all at one time or by the terms of a single treaty. In most cases, a treaty would be signed providing for the removal of one part of a tribe and years later a second treaty would be negotiated removing the remainder or a part of them. In the meantime, treaties had been signed with other tribes by which all or a portion of their members had agreed to migrate to Oklahoma, and in many cases such migration had taken place. It is clear therefore that no chronological narrative of these removals is possible.

In order to conserve space it has seemed best to deal in one chapter with the removal of a single tribe, treating it with some detail as typical of the other removals, and to give in a second chapter a briefer account of the migration of the other tribes. The Cherokees have been chosen for the fuller discussion not only because they were the first Indians of the Five Civilized Tribes to sign a treaty providing for removal beyond the Mississippi, but for other reasons as well. Their tribe has perhaps played a greater part in Oklahoma history than has any other.

-92-

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