On the eve of the American Civil War in 1861, a significant number of Indigenous peoples of the Americas had been relocated from the Southeastern United States to Indian Territory, west of the Mississippi. The inhabitants of the eastern part of the Indian Territory, the Five Civilized Tribes, were suzerain nations with established tribal governments, well established cultures, and legal systems that allowed for slavery. Before European Contact these tribes were generally matriarchial societies, with agriculture being the primary economic pursuit. The bulk of the tribes lived in towns (some covering hundreds of acres and containing thousands of people) with planned streets, residential and public areas. The people were ruled by complex hereditary chiefdoms of varying size and complexity with high levels of military organization.
By the middle of the 19th century, the United States Government had started leasing land from the Five Civilized Tribes (ex. Choctaw and Chickasaw) in the western, more arid, part of Indian Territory. These leased lands were used to resettle several Plains Indian tribes that tended to be nomadic in nature, embracing the Horse culture. At the extreme, the Comanche society was based on patrilinear and patrilocal extended family sharing a common language; they did not developed the political idea of forming a nation or tribe until their relocation to Indian Territory.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Union Army was withdrawn from Indian Territory exposing the Five Civilized Tribes to aggression from the Plains Indians. The Confederacy filled the vacuum. All of the Five Civilized Tribes as well as other surrounding tribes signed treaties with the Confederacy. As a part of reconstruction, the Southern Treaty Commission was created by Congress to write new treaties with the Tribes that sided with the Confederacy.Black Church Leaders Challenge Hillary Clinton on Religious Freedom, Race and Poverty,Call for Meeting
The Choctaw Nation and Chickasaw Nation in Indian Territory strongly support the Confederacy which signed the Treaty with Choctaws and Chickasaws. The Cherokee Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and Seminole Nation had troops fighting on both sides. Other tribes such as Osage, Seneca, Seneca and Shawnee of the Neosho Agency, and Quapaw Tribes also signed treaties with the Confederacy.
During the Civil War, the Union Congress passed a statute that gave the President the authority to suspend the appropriations of any tribe if the tribe is “in a state of actual hostility to the government of the United States… and, by proclamation, to declare all treaties with such tribe to be abrogated by such tribe”(25 U.S.C. Sec. 72).
- 1Civil War
- 2Reconstruction Era
- 3Tribes making treaties with the Confederacy
- 4Southern Treaty Commission Delegations
- 5Treaties of Washington
- 6 Land Concessions
- 7See also
- 9External links These decisions were implemented over subsequent years through numerous “reconstruction treaties” and subsequent laws, including the Indian Appropriations Act, Homestead Act (which provided a framework for land runs), Dawes Act, Dawes Commission, Curtis Act of 1898 (which extended the allotment process to the tribes of Indian Territory and limited the scope of tribal courts and governments), Oklahoma organic act in 1890, and the Five Civilized Tribe Act of April 26, 1906 which “Provide for the Final Disposition of the Affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma.
Treaties of Washington
Many of the Reconstruction Treaties were titled with the phrase “Treaty of Washington.” These treaties replaced the treaties that were voided when the tribes signed treaties with the Confederacy. Some Indian tribes signed treaties at the Ft. Smith conference. The Five Civilized Tribes agreed to draft treaties, but final treaties were signed in Washington, D.C. during the year of 1866.
- Five Civilized Tribes
- Tribes occupying Leased Land of Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes
- Other Tribes
- Osage Jan 21 1867
- Sac and Fox 1867
All the treaties contained:
- amnesty for all crimes committed against the United States prior to the treaties
- included specific provisions of peace and friendship toward the United States
- notice that previous treaties were null and void
- the Tribes acknowledgement of the supremacy of the United States Government, its Constitution, and its laws: past, present and future
- clause stating that no federal legislation could interfere with their tribal organization
- tribes would provide Land grants in their various domains for rights-of-way for railroad (and sometimes telegraph) construction through Indian Territory
- BLACKS WERE EXCLUDED
Choctaw and Chickasaw
The Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations had a single Reconstruction Treaty, the Choctaw and Chickasaw Treaty of Washington (1866).in which they sold land west of the 98 longitude to the United States for $300,000. Much of this land was previously “leased” to the Federal Government and was the home of other Indian tribes.
Cherokee gave up their “Neutral Lands” in southeastern Kansas and the Cherokee Strip, to be sold to the highest bidder for not less than $1.25 an acre. They also agreed sell land to the Osage Nation and to allow the federal government to settle other tribes in the Cherokee Outlet in exchange for payment made by the government to the Cherokee Nation.
Muskogee (Creek) “TREATY WITH THE CHOCTAW AND CHICKASAW, June 22, 1855. / 11 Stats., 611. / Ratified Feb. 21, 1856. / Proclaimed Mar. 4, 1856”. Retrieved 2012-05-27.
- WERE THE BLACK FEET AFRICAN SLAVES https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLDDjSXSwQ4 United States v. Blackfeet Tribe of Blackfeet Indian Reservation, 364 F.Supp. 192, 194 (D.Mont. 1973) (“[A]n Indian tribe is sovereign to the extent that the United States permits it to be sovereign – neither more nor less.”) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLDDjSXSwQ4
Published on Jan 29, 2016
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This clip is provided courtesy of the Rock Newman Show. Dr. Claud Anderson discusses the 1866 Indian Treaties and what it means for Black people.
In November 2006, The Harvest Institute joined with the Black Indians United Legal Defense and Education Fund to form The Harvest Institute Freedman Federation (HIFF). The new organization filed a ground-breaking legal complaint in the United States Federal Court in Washington, D.C. against the United States Department of Interior and its Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). This is one of the most important economic justice actions the Harvest Institute has taken on behalf of Black America and we are Playing to Win.