Records Relating to Native American Research in Oklahoma

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Native American Research


This article is part of a series.

Overview of Native American Research
Finding Native American Tribe-specific Information
Finding Individual Native American Information
Records Relating to Native American Research in Oklahoma
The Commission to the Five Tribes
Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940
Muskogee Area Office
Anadarko Area Office
Florida Superintendency
Select List of Native American Tribes
List of Useful Native American Research Resources
Topics

This article originally appeared in "Native American Research" by Curt B. Witcher, MLS, FUGA, FIGS, and George J. Nixon in The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy

Interest in Native American genealogy has increased greatly since the 1980s, and access to records of genealogical and historical importance has become easier through microfilming projects undertaken by various federal, state, and privately funded institutions. Because of the interest in Indian tribes of Oklahoma, this section focuses on records available to the genealogist and historian for those tribes.

The majority of the records cited in this chapter are available from the Oklahoma Historical Society in Oklaho­ma City; the Western History Collection at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma; the National Archives—Southwest Region in Fort Worth, Texas; the National Archives in Wash­ington, D.C.; the Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City; or the Ameri­can Genealogi­cal Lending Library in Bounti­ful, Utah.

Contents

Indian Removal

During the administration of President Andrew Jackson (1829–1837), the removal of Indians in the East to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River became an explicit policy. As early as 1803, with the Louisiana Purchase, such removals were offic­ially encouraged, and some Indians did voluntarily move west.

Under Jackson, however, treaties were negotiated that traded tribal lands in the East for land in the unorganized territory west of the Mississippi River. An act of 28 May 1830 (4 Stat. 411) specifically authorized the president to exchange these lands. The actual removals were conducted between 1830 and 1836 by the Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence and were supervised by the military. Some Indians, however, were allowed to move by them­selves, and individual Indians who wished to remain in the East could accept a “reservation” of land in fee simple and remain as citizens, giving up all rights of tribal membership. The removal process was largely complete by the late 1840s.

The removal was not without problems, most of which concerned reservations granted to Indians in the East and the compensation to Indians for losses. The three most trouble­some treaties were the treaty of 29 December 1835 with the Cherokees, the treaty of 29 September 1830 with the Choctaws, and the treaty of 24 March 1832 with the Creeks.

Numerous treatments of the removal policy are available; among them are Annie H. Abel’s The History of Events Result­ing in Indian Consolidation West of the Mississippi and Grant Foreman’s Indian Removal.[1]

Cherokee Removal Records

Cherokee removal records include a register of Cherokees who wished to remain in the East, 1817–19; applications for reserva­tions, 1819; Eastern Cherokee census rolls, 1835–84; emigration rolls, 1817–36; and miscellaneous Cherokee removal records, 1820–54.

Four commissions were appointed successively in an attempt to settle different kinds of claims arising from the Cherokee Treaty of 1835.

Records of the First Board of Cherokee Commissioners, 1836–1839

Records of the First Board of Cherokee Commissioners include letters sent, 1835–39; property valuations, 1835–39; changes in assignment of property valuations, 1837–38; reserva­tion claims, 1837–39; reservation claim papers, 1837–39; record of judgments against Cherokee Indians, 1837; decisions on claims of attorneys against the Cherokee Nation, 1837–39; certificate stubs, 1838; and a general abstract of valuations and spoliation allowed and of balances due, 1839.

Records of the Second and Third Board of Cherokee Com­mis­sioners, 1842–1845

Records of the Second and Third Board of Cherokee Commis­sioners include letters sent, 1842–45; proceed­ings of the Second Board, 1843; schedule of claims adjudicated by the Second Board, 1843; claim papers of the Second and Third Boards, 1842–45; claims presented in the West, 1845; and regis­ter of payments, 1837–45.

Records of the Fourth Board of Cherokee Commission­ers, 1846–1847

Records of the Fourth Board of Cherokee Commissioners include letters sent, 1846–47; minutes, 1846–47; claim papers, 1846–47; and register of payments, 1847.

Chickasaw Removal Records

Chickasaw removal records include a census roll of 1831; alphabetical list of Choctaw reserves; census roll of 1846; emigration lists, 1831–57; register of claims for reservations, 1834–36; reports concerning claims for reservations, 1836–41; statements concern­ing sales of Choctaw orphan lands, 1838–83; statements and schedules, 1831–1906; and miscellaneous Choctaw removals, 1825–58.

Creek Removal Records

Creek removal records include a census roll of 1833; index to Creek reserves (not dated); land location registers, 1834–86; location registers and certificates of contracts, 1834–36; abstracts of Creek contracts, 1836; abstracts of approved contracts for sales of reservations, 1839–1842; reports concerning land of deceased reservees, 1844; miscellaneous records concern­ing contracts, 1833–57; emigration lists, 1836–38; and miscella­neous Creek removal records, 1827–59.

Apalachicola, Seminole, Kickapoo, Ottawa, Potawatomi, Quapaw, and Wyandot Removal Records

Other removal records include five volumes of miscel­laneous muster rolls of 1832 to 1836 that record removals for Apalachicolas and Seminoles, Kickapoos, Ottawas, Potawatomis, Quapaws, and Wyandots.

References

  1. Annie H. Abel, The History of Events Resulting in Indian Consolidation West of the Mississippi, Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1906 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1908); Grant Foreman, Indian Removal (Norman: University of Oklahoma press, 1932).

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