What Does It Mean to Remove a People?
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Identify up to five sources below that best support your understanding of what it means to remove a people, then select and drag your choices into the Evidence Kit.
Potawatomi Map
Potawatomi Nation's Trail of Death

The Potawatomi Nation's Trail of Death began when 100 armed soldiers arrived at Chief Menominee's village, called Twin Lakes, to forcibly remove his people to Indian Territory (Kansas). It took the 850 Potawatomi two months to complete the journey, during which 42 people died.

Gene Thorp/Cartographic Concepts, Inc. © Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian

Potawatomi drawing thumbnail
Drawing of Potawatomi Removal in 1836

Drawing and Entry from the journal of George Winter, who witnessed the Potawatomi removal. Winter drew the only known visual documentation of a tribe’s removal in the 1830s.

George Winter (1809–1876). Potawatomi Removal, 1836. Courtesy Tippecanoe County Historical Association. (OV-384)

Trail of Tears thumbnail
The Cherokee Nation removal has become known as The Trail of Tears

The Cherokee Nation removal has become known as The Trail of Tears. In 1838–1839 the Cherokee Nation endured a forced march to Indian Territory. A forced march is when one group of people forces others to go somewhere.

Robert Lindneux (1871–1970). The Trail of Tears, 1942. Woolaroc Museum, Bartlesville, Oklahoma.

Kickapoo Migration thumbnail
Kickapoo Nation forced to migrate between Mexico and the United States

At different times during their removal history, some members of the Kickapoo Nation were forced to migrate between Mexico and the United States. These Kickapoos were on their way to Mexico in 1907.

Kickapoo migrant families, 1907. Borderlands of Texas and Mexico. National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution. (BAE GN 00741A)

Seminole quote thumbnail
Quote from Osceola regarding Seminole Nation removal

Osceola was one of several leaders of the Seminole Nation who passionately led the resistance to removal.

Angie Debo, The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941), page 327.

Cherokee Welcome Sign thumbnail
Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation welcome sign

These are lands of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation had to buy these lands, located near to where their ancestors had always lived.

Entrance to Qualla Boundary, the reservation of the Eastern Band Cherokee Indians, 2006. Cherokee, North Carolina. Photo by Terrill White.

Muscogee Headquarters thumbnail
The Tribal Capitol Complex of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in Okmulgee, Oklahoma

The Tribal Capitol Complex of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation is located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma. It is the seat of a tribal government, with its own courts, laws, and services for its citizens.

Mound Building, Muscogee Creek Tribal Capitol Complex. Okmulgee, Oklahoma. Courtesy Mvskoke Media

Monmouth thumbnail
About 400 Muscogee died when the Monmouth collided with another steamboat on the Mississippi River

About 400 Muscogee died when the Monmouth collided with another steamboat on the Mississippi River. One nineteenth-century newspaper said it was the largest number of people lost in a single steamboat accident up to that time.

Paul Bender, Steamship Monmouth, 1998. Courtesy of the artist.

Indian Removal Act thumbnail
Indian Removal Act

Many in Congress opposed the Indian Removal Act, but it passed by a slim margin.

President Andrew Jackson, “On Indian Removal.” Message to Congress December 6, 1830. National Archives, Washington, D.C. (Record group 46)

Muscogee thumbnail
Muscogee representatives traveled to England to make peace with the colony of Georgia

Muscogee representatives traveled to England in the early 1700s to make peace with the colony of Georgia.

William Verelst (1704–1752), Audience Given by the Trustees of Georgia to a Delegation of Creek Indians, 1734–1735. Courtesy Winterthur Museum (1956.0567)

Muscogee bike riders thumbnail
Muscogee bike riders commemorate the removal of their ancestors

Muscogee bike riders commemorate the removal of their ancestors

William "Raymond" Lowe, Justin Giles, and John Beaver riding near Little Rock, Arkansas, 2012. Photo by Justin Giles. Courtesy Muscogee (Creek) Nation Cultural Center & Archives.

Boarding School thumbnail
Boarding school in Muscogee community of Nuyaka

Boarding schools, such as this one in the Muscogee community of Nuyaka, separated Indian children from their families, and tried to erase the Muscogee language and culture.

Nuyaka Boarding School, 2014. Photo, NMAI.

Cherokee stickball thumbnail
Cherokee stickball

In spite of the hardships of removal, the Cherokee Nation managed to hang on to their language and culture. Stickball, a game like lacrosse, was played by members of the Cherokee Nation before and after removal.

Ball stick, ca. 1951. Oklahoma. (26/5101)

Kickapoo map
Map of Kickapoo Nation migrating to Texas and Mexico

Some groups within the Kickapoo Nation migrated to Texas and Mexico to seek refuge from the threat of removal, anti-Indian violence, and other pressures.

Gene Thorp/Cartographic Concepts, Inc. © Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of the American Indian.

Eastern Cherokee Quote thumbnail
Quote from William Holland Thomas defending his work on behalf of Eastern Band of Cherokee Nations

William Holland Thomas had to defend his work on behalf of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation against criticism by non-Indians.

Richard W. Iobst, "William Holland Thomas and the Cherokee Claims." In The Cherokee Indian Nation: A Troubled History, edited by Duane H. King. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979), page 184.

Native Nations Removal map
Native Nations Removed West, 1817–58

Intrusions of land-hungry settlers, treaties with the U.S., and the Indian Removal Act (1830) resulted in the forced removal and migration of many eastern Indian nations to lands west of the Mississippi.

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