In 1830 President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. It called for relocation of five tribes–Cherokee, Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaw, and Seminole–in the southern states to a new location west of the Mississippi River, an area called “Indian Country,” in the present state of Oklahoma. To make it happen, those five Indian tribes would, if necessary, be forcibly relocated to the West. One result was the “Trail of Tears.”

Prior to 1830 these tribes had the word ‘civilized’ applied to them because, broadly speaking, they had developed extensive economic ties with whites or had assimilated into American settler culture. Some members of these southeastern tribes had adopted European clothing, spoke English, practiced Christianity, and even owned slaves. However, they were sitting on some of the richest farmland in America and whites wanted it; hence the relocation, which in many cases was forced while some involved lawsuits. But not all left. Some, like the Seminole, objected and resisted vehemently.

This three-session mini-course will look at the history of the Five Civilized Tribes.