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Indian removals in Indiana

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Title: Indian removals in Indiana  
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Subject: Indiana, Indian Removal Act, List of counties in Indiana, Native American genocide, Aboriginal title in the United States
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Indian removals in Indiana

Land that was transferred under the various treaties.

Indian removals in Indiana began in the early 1830s and was mostly completed by 1846. The removals were preceded by several treaties, beginning in 1795, that gradually purchased most of the state from various tribes. The removals were part of a larger nationwide Indian Removal Act passed by the United States Congress and being carried out by the administration of United States President Andrew Jackson. By the time the removals began to occur, most of the tribes, like the Shawnee and the Wea, had left the state voluntarily, migrating into Canada and Missouri. The only significant tribes remaining were the Miami and the Potawatomi, both of which were already confined to reservation from previously signed treaties.

The largest tribe in the state, the Miami Tribe, was the last to be removed, although many in the tribe were permitted to remain on lands they owned privately, and guaranteed to them under the Treaty of St. Mary's. The terms of the treaties were considered generous at the time, and all Indians except the village of 859 Potawatomi, led by Chief Menominee, voluntarily left the state. The tribe of Chief Menominee were forcibly removed in the 1838 Potawatomi Trail of Death, where at least forty members of the tribe died. The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians were the only other Indians left in the state after the end of the removals.

Early treaties


The Algonquian Tribes that had previously lived in Indiana returned to the area near the close of the Beaver Wars, after their confederacy gained the upper hand in the war with the Iroquois. By 1701, when the Great Peace of Montreal was established, most of the tribes had returned. The Miami were dominant in the region, but the Potawatomi and Shawnee both had a significant presence in northern and western Indiana, respectively.

When the Indiana Territory was established in 1800, there were two American settlements in what would become modern Indiana—Vincennes and Clark's Grant—both on the southern periphery of the state near the Ohio River. Early settlement was confined to those areas; most of the state was still occupied by native tribes, except for a small section taken by the Treaty of Greenville at the conclusion of the Northwest Indian War.

The Miami Tribe was the largest tribe in Indiana and claimed ownership of the entire state, but they were mostly settled in the central and northern part of Indiana, and also held a large part of north-west Ohio. The Potawatomi were centered in modern Michigan, but had several settlements in northern Indiana. At the end of the French and Indian Wars (Seven Years' War), the Miami allowed the Shawnee to settle in west-central Indiana after they were driven out of Ohio by the Iroquois. Other minor tribes, mostly Algonquian speaking, including the Wea, Lenape, Piankeshaw, Wyandott, and the Kickapoo, were scattered across the state. Prior to the Beaver Wars, the Miami had been the dominant residents of Indiana, and afterward they permitted other smaller, displaced tribes to settle within their borders. European-American colonists named the area Indiana Territory because it had so many Native Americans.

Treaties with Harrison

When Treaty of Vincennes, was to get the Wea and the Miami to recognize American ownership of the tract.[2]

At Vincennes in 1810, Tecumseh threatens William Henry Harrison when he refuses to rescind the Treaty of Fort Wayne.

The first significant treaty to expand the area open for settlement, was negotiated in 1805 at Harrison's home in Vincennes. The Treaty of Grouseland purchased all the land in southern Indiana south of the Grouseland Line. The line started at the north-eastern corner of the Vincennes Tract and passed east north-east to Greenville Treaty Line.[2] Settlers, like Squire Boone, moved quickly into the new land, establishing new towns like Corydon—the future capitol—in 1808, and Madison in 1809.

The next major treaty was the 1809 Treaty of Fort Wayne, in which Harrison purchased 3 million acres (12,000 km²) of land from the Miami.[3] The Shawnee were not included in the negotiations, and the western tract of land which the Miami sold was inhabited by the Shawnee.[4] The Shawnee were angered by the treaty, and because Harrison refused to rescind it, the treaty contributed directly to Tecumseh's War. Harrison's victory in the conflict led to the enforcement of the terms of the treaty. In total, Harrison concluded thirteen treaties purchasing land across the Northwest, for a total of more than 2.5 million acres (10,000 km²) of land in Indiana.[5][6] With a third of Indiana open to European-American settlement, the United States did not have to expand its area of control until after Indiana gained statehood.

Following Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812, the United States began to change its policy from coexistence with the Indians to a removal of tribes to the west beyond the Mississippi River. This was largely resulting from hostile activities of the northwestern Indians during the war.

On August 30, 1815, after the War of 1812, Thomas Posey negotiated a treaty with the ten chiefs of the Kickapoo. The tribe had become unhappy with settlers who were squatting on their land, and Posey hoped to avoid any escalation. He purchased all their land in Indiana, which was most of present-day Vermillion County, for blankets, weapons, hatchets, and trinkets totaling $3,000 in value, and an annual annuity of $2,000 in silver for ten years. The treaty was not recognized by the Miami, who claimed the Kickapoos' land, but European-American pioneers continued to settle in the area.[7]

Treaties after statehood

Area of the northern boundary of land cession, west of Delphi, Indiana
In 1818 Jonathan Jennings, the first Governor of Indiana, negotiated the Treaty of St. Mary's with the tribes of central Indiana. The treaty was negotiated successfully, purchasing all the land south of the Wabash River except for a reservation for the Miami between the Eel River and the Salamonie River. The method by which the lands were assigned privately to members of the tribe would later protect the Miami in that reservation from Indian removals. The Miami were in good standing with the state because they had remained loyal during the War of 1812, and had opposed Tecumseh. The Wea, who inhabited the area around modern Lafayette, were given compensation for their land and the tribe left Indiana for the west.[8] The treaty also purchased a narrow tract of land through the Potawatomi lands for the construction of the Michigan Road.[9] In the Treaty the Miami also recognized the validity of an earlier treaty with the Kickapoo, leading to the Kickapoo tribe also leaving the state for the west.[10]
map of the land cession
A second agreement was reached in 1819 when all the tribes were invited to attend a meeting to create a trading agreement between the state and the tribes. The trade with the natives was one of the most lucrative enterprises in the state and the government sought to set up a monopoly on the trade and create trading houses to tax the transfer of goods. In exchange for agreeing to such a system, the tribes were granted annual payments from the state. The Weas were granted $3,000 annually, $2,500 to the Potawatomi, $4,000 to the Delaware, and $15,000 to the Miami, with smaller amounts going to other lesser groups. These annuities were accompanied by additional gifts to leaders of the tribes which usually was near the same value of the payments. The tribes agreed to an annual meetings at a trading grounds near Fort Wayne, where the annuities would be paid out and tribes could sell their goods to traders. The annual event was the most important trading enterprise in the state from 1820 until 1840. Traders would gather and offer goods to the tribes, often at high prices. The tribes would sign off on the bills and the traders would taken them back to the Indian agent who would pay the bill out of tribes annuity. Many of the leading politicians in the state, including Jonathan Jennings and John W. Davis, took active part in the trade making significant profits in the enterprise. The treaty was renegotiated in October 1832 and the tribes were granted larger annuities totaling $365,729.87.[11]

The Lenape lived in the central part of Indiana around modern Indianapolis. Besides opening up central Indiana, the Lenape tribe agreed to leave Indiana as part of the Treaty of St. Mary's, and settle on lands provided for them in the Kansas. In exchange for leaving the state, the tribe was granted gifts and an annuity totaling $15,500.[12] Most of the tribe left during August and September 1820.[13]

Following the 1818 treaty, and the years of peace following the War of 1812, the state took a more conciliatory approach to relations with the tribes and embarked on a plan to "civilize" their members rather than remove them from the state. Using federal grants, several mission schools were opened to educate the tribes and promote Christianity. The missions however were largely ineffective in meeting their goals.[14] The trade agreement was abolished in 1822 leading to a return to the abusive trade practices of earlier decades. The traders frequently used liquor to drunken their customers and take advantage of them.[15]

The Treaty of Chicago was negotiated between the Michigan Potawatomi tribe and the US government opened up a narrow tract of land north of the southern tip of Lake Michigan, and as far west as South Bend.[16] The 1826 Treaty of Mississinwas with the Miami and Pottawatomie included most of what remained of the Miami reservation in north-eastern Indiana and north-western Ohio, and confined the Miami to their reservation along the Wabash River they obtained through the Treaty of St. Mary's, and opening up land in Kansas and Missouri for the tribe to move to.


In 1830 the [15] Although, in theory, the removals were supposed to voluntary, considerable pressure was put on tribal leaders to accept relocation agreements. Congress empowered President Andrew Jackson to offer any native tribes in existing states land on the west side of the Mississippi River in exchange for their territory.[17]


The rising tensions following the Black Hawk War had also caused alarm among the tribes. The tribes were now far outnumbered by the settlers, and most of the tribal leaders thought resistance would be futile. They instead encouraged their people to take the best deal for their land that could be obtained while they were still in a position to negotiate. In 1833 Indian agents began going through the communities of Potawatomi in the north and offering lucrative deals and land in the west in exchange for their land in Indiana. Many accepted the terms and the government paid for the transport of their households to their new homes. The same type of negotiations was begun with other tribes in the states with similar success.[18] The 1832 Treaty of Tippecanoe purchased north-eastern Indiana, causing most of the minor tribes still remaining in Indiana to leave the state. More land was opened to them in Kansas and Missouri, but some of the tribes went even further north and west. The treaty also cut Potawatomi holdings to a tract of land along the Yellow River. Most of the tribes had already left the state by 1835.

In 1836 the Treaty of Yellow River was negotiated with the Potawatomi, with the goal of purchasing all their remaining lands in Indiana. The tribe was offered $1 per acre for their land and a 320-acre (1.3 km2) parcel of land for each member of the tribe in Kansas, in addition to other guarantees. The treaty was overwhelming approved and most of the tribe moved to Kansas, where they remained until modern times. The village near Twin Lakes, led by Chief Menominee, refused to take part in the negotiations and did not recognize the treaty's authority over his band. The whole tribe was required to vacate their land by 1838, but Menominee refused. In September 1838, Governor David Wallace authorized General John Tipton to remove the tribe in what became known as the Potawatomi Trail of Death. The group of 859 Potawatomi were force marched to Kansas, leading to the death of at least 40 people.[19]


During the mid-1830s, many of the Miami villages were also persuaded to leave the state under lucrative terms. Later treaties led to a large portion of the remaining Miami leaving the state, all in exchange for compensation and tracts of land in the west. In the 1840 Treaty of the Wabash, two thirds of the Miami Reservation was sold, but much of the tribe was permitted to remain on the land as private landholders under the terms of the Treaty of St. Mary's. The remaining part of the reservation was sold in 1846 under a similar agreement.[20] In all, about half of the Miami left Indiana in exchange for compensation and land in the west.

See also


  1. ^ "William Henry Harrison Biography". Retrieved 2008-06-19. 
  2. ^ a b "Greenville and Grouseland Treaty Lines". Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  3. ^ Including land in Illinois and Indiana.
  4. ^ The Miami claimed most of Indiana as their ancestral territory and said that the other tribes lived there only by their permission.
  5. ^ Owen, pp 65, 66, 79, 80, 92
  6. ^ Funk, p. 167
  7. ^ McCormick, Mike (2005). Terre Haute. Arcadia Publishing. p. 20.  
  8. ^ Treaty of St Mary's Article 3
  9. ^ Dunn, p. 387
  10. ^ St Mary's Treaty, Article 5
  11. ^ Esarey, p. 342
  12. ^ Esarey p. 324
  13. ^ Gray, p. 113
  14. ^ a b Esaray, p. 332
  15. ^ a b Esaray, p. 333
  16. ^ "Text of 1821 Treaty". Kansas Retrieved 2008-09-08. 
  17. ^ "Indian Removal Act".  
  18. ^ Eserary, p. 333
  19. ^ Funk, pp. 45–46
  20. ^ Funk, pp. 15–16


External links

"Maps showing where the tribes were relocated to". Library of Congress. Retrieved 2008-09-08. 

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