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Indian Territory

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Territory

Indian Territory later came to refer to an unorganized territory whose general borders were initially set by the Indian Intercourse Act of 1834, and was the successor to Missouri Territory after Missouri received statehood. The borders of Indian Territory were reduced in size as various Organic Acts were passed by Congress to create incorporated territories of the United States. The 1907 Oklahoma Enabling Act created the single state of Oklahoma by combining Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, ending the existence of an Indian Territory.

While Congress passed several Organic Acts that provided a path for statehood for much of the original Indian Country, Congress never passed an Organic Act for the Indian Territory. Indian Territory was never an organized incorporated territory of the United States. In general, tribes could not sell land to non-Indians (Johnson v. M'Intosh). Treaties with the tribes restricted entry of non-Indians into tribal areas; Indian tribes were largely self-governing, were suzerain nations, with established tribal governments and well established cultures. The region never had a formal government until after the American Civil War. Therefore, the geographical location commonly called "Indian Territory" was not a traditional territory.[1]

After the Civil War the Southern Treaty Commission re-wrote treaties with tribes that sided with the Confederacy, reducing the territory of the Five Civilized Tribes and providing land to resettle Plains Indians and tribes of the Midwest.[2] These re-written treaties included provisions for a territorial legislature with proportional representation from various tribes.

In time, the Indian Territory was reduced to what is now Oklahoma. The Organic Act of 1890 reduced Indian Territory to the lands occupied by the Five Civilized Tribes and the Tribes of the Quapaw Indian Agency (at the borders of Kansas and Missouri). The remaining western portion of the former Indian Territory became the Oklahoma Territory.


The Oklahoma organic act applied the laws of Nebraska to the incorporated territory of Oklahoma Territory, and the laws of Arkansas to the still unincorporated Indian Territory (for years the federal court in Ft. Smith, Arkansas had jurisdiction).

History

When Louisiana became a state in 1812, the remaining territory was renamed Missouri Territory to avoid confusion. Arkansas Territory, which included the present State of Arkansas plus most of the state of Oklahoma, was created out of the southern part of Missouri Territory in 1819. Originally the western border of Missouri was intended to go due south to the Red River. However, during negotiations with the Choctaw in 1820, Andrew Jackson ceded more of Arkansas Territory to the Choctaw than he realized, resulting in a bend in the border between Arkansas and Oklahoma at Ft. Smith, Arkansas. The General Survey Act of 1824, allowed a survey that established the western border of Arkansas Territory well inside the present state of Oklahoma, where the Choctaw and Cherokee tribes had previously begun to settle. The two nations objected strongly, and in 1828 a new survey redefined the western Arkansas border. Thus, the "Indian zone" would cover the present states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and part of Iowa. [5]

Relocation and treaties

Main articles: Indian Removal, American Indian Wars and Treaty of St. Louis


Before the 1871 Indian Appropriations Act, much of what was called Indian Territory was a large area in the central part of the United States whose boundaries were set by treaties between the US Government and various indigenous tribes. After 1871, the Federal Government dealt with Indian Tribes through statute; the 1871 Indian Appropriations Act also stated that. “[n]o Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation ...”.[6][7][8]

The Indian Appropriations Act also made it a federal crime to commit murder, manslaughter, rape, assault with intent to kill, arson, burglary, and larceny within any Territory of the United States. The Supreme Court affirmed the action in 1886 in United States v. Kagama, which affirmed that the US Government has Plenary power over Native American tribes within its borders using the rationalization that “The power of the general government over these remnants of a race once powerful... is necessary to their protection as well as to the safety of those among whom they dwell”[9] While the federal government of the United States had previously recognized the Indian Tribes as semi-independent, “it has the right and authority, instead of controlling them by treaties, to govern them by acts of Congress, they being within the geographical limit of the United States... The Indians owe no allegiance to a State within which their reservation may be established, and the State gives them no protection.” [10]

Kansas became a state in 1861, and Nebraska became a state in 1867. In 1890 the Oklahoma Organic Act created Oklahoma Territory out of the western part of Indian Territory, in anticipation of admitting both Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory as a single State of Oklahoma.

Oklahoma Territory, end of territories upon statehood

Main articles: Oklahoma Territory, Oklahoma organic act, Oklahoma Enabling Act and State of Sequoyah

The Oklahoma organic act of 1890 created an organized incorporated territory of the United States of Oklahoma Territory, with the intent of combining the Oklahoma and Indian territories into a single State of Oklahoma. The citizens of Indian Territory tried, in 1905, to gain admission to the union as the State of Sequoyah, but were rebuffed by Congress and an Administration which did not want two new Western states, Sequoyah and Oklahoma. Theodore Roosevelt then proposed a compromise that would join Indian Territory with Oklahoma Territory to form a single state. This resulted in passage of the Oklahoma Enabling Act, which President Roosevelt signed June 16, 1906.[19] empowered the people residing in Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory to elect delegates to a state constitutional convention and subsequently to be admitted to the union as a single state. Citizens then joined to seek admission of a single state to the Union. With Oklahoma statehood in November 1907, Indian Territory was extinguished.

References