Summary of theWestern/ArkansasCherokee(Old Settlers)
The following is a summary of thetext written by James Mooney,a U.S. Bureau of EthnologyAnthropologist, and publishedin the Nineteenth Annual Reportof the Bureau of AmericanEthnology, 1897-98 (WashingtonD.C. Government Printing Office)
The first official migrationwestward by the Cherokee andthe subsequent negotiationsresulted in the assignment ofa territory in Arkansas to theWestern Cherokee in the formof a Treaty with the UnitedStates in 1817. The voluntaryOld Settlers were consideredas 'conservative,' who desiredto move west and reestablishtheir traditional life, of whichthe major body of the Cherokeewere quickly moving awayfrom. By the Treaty of 1817, theWestern Cherokee acquired titleto a definite territory and officialstanding under Governmentprotection. The Cherokees inthe East were strongly againstany recognition of the WesternCherokee.
The Treaty which assignedthe lands to the WesternCherokees stipulated that acensus should be made of theeastern and western divisions ofthe Cherokee separately, and anapportionment of the nationalannuity forthwith made on thatbasis.
Thomas Nuttall, thefamed naturalist, visited theArkansas Cherokee in 1819and gave the following accountof his findings: "both banksof the river, as we procceeded,were lined with the houses andfarms of the Cherokee, andthough their dress was a mixtureof indigenous and Europeantaste, yet in their houses, whichare decently furnished, and intheir farms, which were wellfenced and stocked with cattle,we perceive a happy approachtoward civilization. Theirnumerous families, also, well fedand clothed, argue a propitiousprogress in their population.Their superior industry eitheras hunters or farmers proves thevalue of property among them,and they are no longer strangersto avarice and the distinctionscreated by wealth. Some of themare possessed of property to theamount of many thousands ofdollars, have houses handsomelyand conveniently furnished,and their tables spread with ourdainties and luxuries."
The Treaty of 1828 betweenthe Western Cherokees and theUnited States, stipulated foran assignment of land furtherWest in Indian Territory, witha 'perpetual outlet west." Theterritory assigned to them calledfor a 'permanent home, andwhich shall, under the mostsolemn guarantee of the UnitedStates, be and remain theirsforever - a home that shall never,in all future time, be embarrassedby having extended around itthe lines orplaced over itthe jurisdictionof a territoryor state, nor bepressed upon by the extension inany way of any of the limits ofany existing territory or state; "
Article 2 defined theboundaries of the new tract andthe western outlet to be awarded.And were further modified andclarified in 1833 at a meeting atFort Gibson, Indian Territory,between the U.S. Government,the Western Cherokee and theCreek Nation, which resultedin another official Treaty.Fort Gibson was a militaryestablishment called for inArticle 9 of the Treaty. It wasnecessary to include the Creeks,as some of their voluntarysettlers had settled along thenorthern bank of the Arkansason the Verdigris river, on landsfound to be within the limitsof the territory assigned to theWestern Cherokee by the Treatyof 1828.
This Treaty of 1833 with theWestern Cherokees set the sevenmillion acre tract boundaries, aswell as a strip two miles widealong the northern border whichwas later annexed to the state ofKansas by the Treaty of 1866.
By tacit agreement, someof the Creeks who had settledwithin the Cherokee bounds werepermitted to remain, and amongthese were several families ofUchee Indians, who had fixedtheir residence at the spot wherethe town of Tahlequah wasestablished after the arrival of thethousands of immigrant EasternCherokees, forcibly removedfrom the eastern homelands in1838-39.