Focus on Treaties for Native American Heritage Month
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Treaty of Pontotoc Creek

The Treaty of Pontotoc Creek (October 20, 1832) was an Indian removal treaty that ceded Chickasaw lands east of the Mississippi in exchange for land west of the Mississippi. The treaty was concluded in the Chickasaw Nation and signed by John Coffee for the United States and by 65 Chickasaw representatives.

Chickasaw leaders sought to acquire the best terms possible after the passage of the Indian Removal Act (1830). In the summer of 1830, Chickasaw representatives met with U.S. delegates, including President Jackson, at Franklin, Tennessee, and a treaty was signed on August 31. The Chickasaw agreed to cede their lands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for an equal amount of land in the West, but when a suitable area could not be found, this treaty became void. New negotiations for removal were undertaken in 1832 in Chickasaw territory at Pontotoc Creek.

On October 20, the treaty was signed that ceded Chickasaw lands to the U.S. government; the lands were to be surveyed and sold immediately, and each adult Chickasaw was to receive a temporary allotment, which would also be sold and all monies therefrom placed in a fund to cover the costs of removal. Whites quickly settled on the Chickasaw lands beginning in 1832, despite a provision of the treaty promising that the U.S. government would prevent white intrusion until the Chickasaw had actually left Mississippi.

A suitable new homeland in the West was not found until January 1837, when the Chickasaw and Choctaw met at Doaksville, Choctaw Nation, in Indian Territory, and the Choctaw sold the western part of their new territory to the Chickasaw. Although this agreement between the two tribes was not a treaty with the United States, Jackson submitted the Treaty of Doaksville (1837) to the Senate for approval anyway, which was accomplished in February 1837. Further details about the exact extent of territory and rights granted the Chickasaw were decided in two additional agreements between the two Native American nations in 1854 and 1855.

Dewi I. Ball


Further Reading
Remini, Robert V. The Legacy of Andrew Jackson: Essays on Democracy, Indian Removal and Slavery. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990; Satz, Ronald N. American Indian Policy in the Jacksonian Era. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002; Wallace, Anthony F. C. The Long, Bitter Trail: Andrew Jackson and the Indians. New York: Hill and Wang, 1993.
 

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