History of federal relations with the Five Civilized Tribes of Indians since 1865



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The Five Civilized Tribes, as they came to be known, had occupied the Southeastern United States and had become fixed in their locations. De Soto had found them here in 1540, and they remained in the same localities until they were removed to the west of the Mississippi River. The Seminoles, who had earlier composed a part of the Creek tribe, were in Florida. The Creeks, because of their aggressive attitude, occupied a widely expanded territory in Georgia and Alabama. The Cherokees occupied lands in Northern Georgia and Alabama, Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina. The Choctaws and Chickasaws occupied lands between the Tombigbee and Mississippi River, mainly in Mississippi, but extending into Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee. Four of the tribes, the Seminoles, Creeks, Choctaws, and Chickasaws were Muskogean in stock. The Cherokees were an off-shoot of the Iriquoyan Confederacy. A rush of white immigration, directly after 1789, threatened to overwhelm these five tribes. They first resorted to force, but finding this futile, their leaders sought to absorb the civilization of their white neighbors. The invention of the Cherokee alphabet by Sequoyah in 1821 encouraged the civilizing influences. The Indians rapidly adopted improved methods of the cultivation of the soil, schools, churches, and governments modeled after the states. Their adoption of civilization was to cause them to be known, later, as the Five Civilized Tribes. The adoption of representative governments by the tribes caused intense friction between them and the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. The tribes were, consequently, in the period from 1820 to 1836, forced to release their lands in the East and accept others in Indian Territory. In this exchange of lands, they formed treaties with the United States which governed later intercourse between them