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Timeline of American Indian Removals

Tribes Native to Oklahoma

Caddo (in Oklahoma for trade and hunting purposes)

Tribes removed to Oklahoma

  • 1802 What was called the Georgia Compact is the beginning salvo towards Indian removal.
  • 1803 Louisiana Purchase
  • 1812 Approximately one-fourth of the Cherokee Nation from southeastern US voluntarily migrate to Arkansas Territory (attached to Missouri) settling between the White and Arkansas Rivers in northwest Arkansas.

    On December 7 the Territory of Missouri is organized by Congress.
  • 1817 July 8 a treaty was concluded between the Cherokees and representatives of the United States. Though sixty-seven chiefs signed the document, a majority of the tribe opposed it. Those removed to Arkansas Territory are called "Old Settlers."
  • 1818 The Quapaws native to Arkansas sign a treaty accepting land or reservation of one million acres between the Arkansas and Ouachita Rivers.

    Delaware aka Lenape Indians cede lands in Indiana under the Treaty of St. Mary's. This is not the first treaty leading to removal. The Lenape people lived along the Delaware River along the east coast of America. Their people at one time lived on Manhattan Island in New York State. During the eighteenth century they were disposed of lands in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and by 1818, Indiana.

    Miami Indians living in Indiana cede land under provisions of the Treaty of St. Mary's.
  • 1819 The Kickapoo Indians originally from Wisconsin sign a treaty removing them from Illinois to Missouri; however, a remnant band remained in Illinois harassing white settlements.
  • 1820 The Treaty of Doak's Stand is the first of removal treaties involving the Choctaws of Mississippi. A portion of the tribe removes to southwest Arkansas Territory.

    The Delaware remove from Indiana.
  • 1821 Missouri becomes a state.
  • 1824 Quapaws cede all their lands in Arkansas Territory, moving to northwest Louisiana and  residing with the Caddo Indians.
    Forts Gibson and Towson are established in Indian Territory to provide protection for tribes moving from the East.
  • 1828Andrew Jackson elected president.

    The Western or Old Settler Cherokees remove from Arkansas Territory to Indian Territory. This removal will begin a protracted war with the Osage Indians as the Cherokee are encroaching on Osage lands.
  • 1830 The Indian Removal Act fostered by President Jackson passes Congress.

    The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek stipulates the removal of Choctaw Indians from Mississippi.
  • 1831 The Choctaw Nation begins removal from Mississippi to Indian Territory thus becoming the first of the Five Tribes to be forcibly removed and beginning a decade of trail of tears.

    Several tribes in Ohio sign treaties requiring removal from the state. They include the Senecas, Shawnees, and Ottawas.
  • 1832 The Treaty of Payne's Landing begins the process for removal of the Seminoles of Florida. It would take almost twenty years and 15 million dollars to force the tribe from their lands.

    The Treaty of Pontotoc in Mississippi requires the removal of the Chickasaw Tribe from their lands.

    Andrew Jackson is reelected President.

    The Wyandots (Hurons) of Ohio cedes lands through the Treaty of McCutchensville.

    The following tribes conclude various treaties with the United States all forced to give up lands:
    The Sauk and Fox cede lands east of the Mississippi River for land in Kansas.
    The Prairie Band of Potawatomis cede lands in Indiana for land in Kansas.
    The Shawnees and Delawares cede lands in Missouri for land in Kansas.
    The Kaskaskias and Peorias cede lands in Illinois and Missouri.
    The small tribes of Stockbridge, Munsees, Brothertons, and New York Oneidas) cede lands. These tribes in particular will relocate in the northeast corner of Indian Territory.
    The Piankeshaws and Weas in Illinois and Missouri cede lands.
  • 1833 The Quapaws of Arkansas conclude a treaty that removes the tribe to Indian Territory located in the extreme northeast corner bordering Kansas and Missouri.

    The Illinois Kickapoos remove to Kansas.
    The Ottawas of Ohio conclude treaty that cedes land and requires removal.

  • 1834 A treaty requires the Caddos of Louisiana to remove beyond the limits of the United States. They are virtually left landless ultimately migrating into the Republic of Texas.

    The Apalachicola of Florida (part of the Muscogee-Creek Confederacy) begins removal.

    The Indian Intercourse Acts designates territories west of Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana as "Indian Territory." Indian Territory at this time will be from the Red River of Texas north to the Canadian border.

    The Muscogee-Creek Tribe begins removal.
  • 1835 The Treaty of New Echota provides for the removal of all Cherokees east of the Mississippi River.
  • 1836 Arkansas becomes a state.
    The Seminoles of Florida begins removal.

    The forced removal of Muscogees and Creeks begins.

    The Republic of Texas is established.
  • 1837 The Chickasaws voluntarily remove, settling on the western fringe of the Choctaw Nation in Indian Territory.
  • 1838 Forced removal of 16,000 Cherokees begins.

    Potawatomis of Indiana begin forced removal on their Trail of Death.
  • 1839 Cherokee Trail of Tears continues incurring approximately 4,000 deaths along the way.

    The Kickapoos in Kansas remove to Indian Territory (Oklahoma).
  • 1842 Fort Washita established in Indian Territory.

    The Treaty of Buffalo Creek provides the removal of the Seneca Indians.
  • 1843 The Wyandot tribe removes from Ohio.

    The Sauk and Fox of Iowa cede land and prepare for removal within Kansas.
  • 1845 Florida becomes a state.

    Texas enters the Union.
  • 1846 Miami Indians remove from Indiana.

    Iowa enters the Union.
  • 1848 Wisconsin becomes a state.
  • 1851 Potawatomis remove from Wisconsin.
  • 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act organizes Kansas Territory.

    Upper and Lower Brazos Reserve is created in northern Texas for Caddos, Keechis, Wacos, Delawares, Tonkawas and Penateka Comanches.
  • 1859 The Seminoles of Florida removal era ends.

    The Texas Indians located at the Brazos Reserve are removed to the Leased District in western Indian Territory near the Wichita Indians.
  • 1860 Abraham Lincoln elected President.
  • 1861 Civil War erupts.
    Kansas enters the Union.
  • 1865 Treaty of Little Arkansas River assigns reservation to Cheyenne, Arapahos, Kiowas, and Comanches in western Indian Territory.

    Civil War ends.
  • 1866 Repressive treaties concluded with the Five Tribes reducing land base in Indian Territory.
  • 1867 Sauk and Fox remove from Kansas to Indian Territory.

    Citizen Potawatomi remove from Kansas to Indian Territory.

    Treaty of Medicine Lodge is concluded reassigning Cheyenne and Arapahos reservation in Indian Territory.

    Iowa tribe removes from Kansas to Indian Territory.
  • 1869 Fort Sill established is southwestern Indian Territory.
  • 1871 Osage Tribe in Kansas purchase land from Cherokee Nation creating the Osage reservation.
  • 1874 Pawnee tribe is removed from Nebraska to Indian Territory.

    Red River or Buffalo War between the United States military, the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Comanche, and Kiowa Indians are finally subdued and confined to their reservations.
  • 1877 Ponca Tribe is removed from Nebraska to Indian Territory.
  • 1878 Iowa Indians remove from Nebraska and Kansas to Indian Territory.
  • 1880 Boomer Movement begins under David L. Payne to open the Unassigned Lands in central Indian Territory as public domain for settlement purposes. This generates considerable discussion among the Cherokee and Creeks how to thwart Payne's efforts.
  • 1884 David Payne dies in Wellington, Kansas. Second in command William Couch takes over.
  • 1887 General Allotment Act authored by US Senator Henry L. Dawes passes Congress.
  • 1889 The Unassigned Lands opened to settlement.
  • 1890 Oklahoma Territory organized.

    The Jerome Commission begins work to induce tribes other than Five Tribes and Osage Nation to cede lands and take allotments in severalty.
  • 1891 Sac & Fox-Shawnee lands opened for settlement.
  • 1892 Cheyenne & Arapaho lands opened for settlement.
  • 1893 Dawes Commission created.
    The Cherokee Outlet is opened with 100,000 persons making the run for homesteads.
  • 1894 Geronimo's band of Chiricahua Apaches after being subdued by the military in 1886, removed as prisoners to Florida then later to Alabama are finally relocated to Fort Sill.
  • 1898 Curtis Act passes Congress forcing the Five Tribes to treat with the Dawes Commission.
  • 1899 Muscogee-Creek, Seminoles, Choctaws and Chickasaws are enrolled by the Dawes Commission.
  • 1900 The Cherokee Nation is enrolled by the Dawes Commission.
  • 1901 Kiowa, Comanche, Wichita & Affiliated Bands lands opened for settlement by lottery.
  • 1906 The Osage Nation takes allotments in severalty. The Osage Nation is the only tribe that retains mineral after allotment which members continue to benefit to the present.

    The Dawes Commission Final Rolls for the Five Tribes closes.
  • 1907 Oklahoma becomes a state.

Sources Consulted

Encyclopedia of American Indian Removal, Volume 1, A-Z, by Daniel F. Littlefield and James W. Parins, Editors, Greenwood Press, 2011.
The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, Volume 1, A-L, Dianna Everett, Ph.D. Editor Linda Wilson, Larry O'Dell and Jon D. May Associate Editors, Oklahoma Historical Society, 2009.
The Handbook of Texas, Volume 1, Edited by Walter Prescott Webb, Texas State Historical Association, Austin, 1952
Indian Treaties 1778-1883, Compiled & Edited by Charles J. Kappler, Interland Publishing Inc., New York, 1972.

William D. Welge, CA
Director, Office of American Indian Culture & Preservation