Eufaula Memorial Library Genealogical Society





Mrs. Simpson stated that the U.S. gained control of the land west of the Mississippi River, with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, and later gave the area we now call Eastern Oklahoma to the Five Civilized Tribes ; if they would re-locate from the southeastern states. Treaties were made with each tribe but the tribes were not in a good negotiating position because Congress had passed the Removal Act of 1830 which mandated that they move. The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was made with Choctaw Tribe and the Treaty of New Echota was made with the Cherokees. These treaties conveyed a certain land area west of the Mississippi to each tribe and stated that they would be allowed to exist as a nation and that the land granted them would never be included in any territory or state.

In 1907 when Oklahoma became a state, the land was divided up by the Dawes Commission to individual Indians.  After years of wrangling over interpretations of the treaties, land sales, leases, etc. lawsuits were filed which culminated in a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1970. It gave ownership of the Arkansas River Bed of the old Indian Territory to the Indians as follows: From the confluence of the Arkansas, Grand and Verdigris Rivers known as The Three Forks to the junction of the Canadian River belongs to the Cherokee Nation. The river bed from the Canadian River to the Arkansas State Line is shared with the Cherokees owning the north half and the Choctaws and Chickasaws owning the south half, with full rights to the commerce of same. In 2002, after 32 years of additional negotiations the tribes reached a settlement with the government and surveys of the river bed will one day designate the exact property of each tribe.

This was just one more saga in the long history of the United States vs the Indian Nations.


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