[President Andrew Jackson insisted this enactment
of his 'wise and humane' Indian Removal Policy be applied only with the
negotiated agreement of affected tribes. Fulfilling the written document's
mandate, which left the intention of voluntary participation unstated,
culminated tragically eight years later in the forced death-march known
as the Cherokee Trail of Tears. The interim years proved no less tragic.
Broken promises and treaties, fraudulent land purchases, and patronising,
often brutal treatment by the military and government at all levels, combined
with steadfast refusal by many tribes to be relocated, inevitably resulted
in conflict and war. Tribes were 'dispersed or destroyed' and their remnants
forcibly resettled West of the Mississippi.
Finally, in 1835 John Deere invented the "singing plow," which cuts
through sticky prairie soil without clogging. Those lands West of the
Mississippi which had been treatied to the Eastern Indians 'in perpetuity,'
were rendered valuable farmland by Deere's invention. Settlers eventually
flooded the territory. Inevitably, the Indians had nowhere else to go.]
The Indian Removal Act of 1830
CHAP. CXLVIII.--An Act to provide for an exchange of lands with
the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their
removal west of the river Mississippi.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States of America, in Congress assembled, That it shall and may
be lawful for the President of the United States to cause so much of any
territory belonging to the United States, west of the river Mississippi,
not included in any state or organized territory, and to which the Indian
title has been extinguished, as he may judge necessary, to be divided
into a suitable number of districts, for the reception of such tribes
or nations of Indians as may choose to exchange the lands where they now
reside, and remove there; and to cause each of said districts to be so
described by natural or artificial marks, as to be easily distinguished
from every other.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful
for the President to exchange any or all of such districts, so to be laid
off and described, with any tribe or nation within the limits of any of
the states or territories, and with which the United States have existing
treaties, for the whole or any part or portion of the territory claimed
and occupied by such tribe or nation, within the bounds of any one or
more of the states or territories, where the land claimed and occupied
by the Indians, is owned by the United States, or the United States are
bound to the state within which it lies to extinguish the Indian claim
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That in the making of any
such exchange or exchanges, it shall and may be lawful for the President
solemnly to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made,
that the United States will forever secure and guaranty to them, and their
heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer
it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and
executed to them for the same: Provided always, That such lands shall
revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That if, upon any of the lands
now occupied by the Indians, and to be exchanged for, there should be
such improvements as add value to the land claimed by any individual or
individuals of such tribes or nations, it shall and may be lawful for
the President to cause such value to be ascertained by appraisement or
otherwise, and to cause such ascertained value to be paid to the person
or persons rightfully claiming such improvements. And upon the payment
of such valuation, the improvements so valued and paid for, shall pass
to the United States, and possession shall not afterwards be permitted
to any of the same tribe.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That upon the making of any
such exchange as is contemplated by this act, it shall and may be lawful
for the President to cause such aid and assistance to be furnished to
the emigrants as may be necessary and proper to enable them to remove
to, and settle in, the country for which they may have exchanged; and
also, to give them such aid and assistance as may be necessary for their
support and subsistence for the first year after their removal.
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful
for the President to cause such tribe or nation to be protected, at their
new residence, against all interruption or disturbance from any other
tribe or nation of Indians, or from any other person or persons whatever.
SEC. 7. And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful
for the President to have the same superintendence and care over any tribe
or nation in the country to which they may remove, as contemplated by
this act, that he is now authorized to have over them at their present
places of residence.