Friday, April 06, 2018

Indian Removal and the Treaty of Doaksville

The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. The legislation authorized the U.S. president to provide American Indians with lands west of the Mississippi River in exchange for the ancestral homelands the tribes were forced to abandon.[1]

As a result of the new law, in the early 1830s Chickasaw leaders traveled west and began their search for a new homeland. But several expeditions failed to identify a suitable place. The site selection was delayed. As historian Arrell M. Gibson notes, one group of Chickasaw leaders spent most of 1835 searching. Another group continued the task until late 1836.
Finally on January 17, 1837, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw leaders concluded an agreement with Choctaw spokesmen. By the Treaty of Doaksville the Chickasaws agreed to pay the Choctaws $530,000 for the central and western portion of the tribe's vast grant. At last the Chickasaws had a western home.[2]

[1] For a narrative description of this episode, see A. J. Langguth, Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 138-67. See also N. Bruce Duthu, American Indians and the Law (New York: Viking Penguin, 2008), 8-10.

[2] Gibson, The Chickasaws, 178.

No comments: