The Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory

The Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory are the Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws, Creeks, and Seminoles.

The Five Tribes are entirely self-supporting, living on patented lands, with a large surplus each year from payments by the tinted States government and the results from an almost primitive system of agriculture. They have large herds of cattle, horses, and some sheep. They have several large towns and villages. No liquor is allowed in the territory or nations. There is a United States court, but its jurisdiction is limited. Capital offenses and felonies committed by others than Indians are tried in the United States district court either at Paris, Texas, or at Fort Smith, Arkansas.

There is an Indian agent at Muskogee in charge of what is known as “Union agency “, which comprises The Five Civilized Tribes. His relations to the several tribes are regulated by the different treaties and by orders from the Secretary of the Interior.

The citizens of The Five Tribes are usually well housed in brick, frame, or log houses. Their horses, cattle, sheep, and swine, as well as tools and agricultural implements, are about the same as those of the average white people of Arkansas and Missouri. The land is largely used for grazing, and large hay crops are cut along river and creek bottoms. Enormous areas of the best lands are used by individuals for grazing and other purposes by merely running a plow farrow through or around the tract or using the same. One tract so used contains more than 50,000 acres. The owners of large herds who occupy these lands with their stock are opposed to allotting the lands in severalty.

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The number of church communicants in. The Five Civilized Tribes is large. They are given in detail on a subsequent page. Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians predominate. There are some pagan Indians remaining.

The laws and conditions governing The Five Civilized Tribes are peculiar, and the people are reluctant to furnish information regarding them.

Official Directory Of Indian Territory, 1890

Judge United States court, J. W. Shackelford, Muscogee
United States marshal, T. B. Needles, Muscogee
United States district attorney, L. F. Waldron, Muscogee
Leo E. Bennett, United States Indian agent, Union agency, Five Tribes, Muscogee
R. D. Martin, clerk, Muscogee
T. J. Moore, United States Indian agent, Quapaw agency

Cherokee Nation, Capital Tahlequah.
Joel B. Mayes, principal chief, Tahlequah
Samuel Smith, second chief, Tahlequah
Robert Ross, treasurer, Tahlequah

Chickasaw Nation, Capital, Tishomingo
William M. Guy, principal chief, Mill Creek
Alexander Bennie, treasurer, Mill Creek
J. W. Harris, auditor, Mill Creek

Choctaw Nation, Capital, Tuskahoma.
B. F. Smallwood, chief, Atoka
Allinton Telle, national secretary, Atoka
N. B. Ainsworth, national auditor, McAlester
Wilson Jones, treasurer, Caddo

CREEK NATION, Capital, Okinulgee.
L. C. Perryman, principal chief, Tulsa;
Hotrilka Emarthla, second chief, Wetuinka;
N. B. Moore, treasurer, Muscogee ;
W. A. Palmer, auditor, Eufaula.

SEMINOLE NATION, Capital, Wewoka
John F. Brown, principal chief, Sasakwa
Hulputter, second chief, Wewoka
Jackson Brown, treasurer, Wewoka
T. S. McGeisey. superintendent schools, Wewoka.

Description And History Of The Territory

The present Indian Territory lies between latitude 33° 35′ and 37° north and longitude 94. 20′ and 98° west. The temperature varies from 12° to 99°. The mean temperature is 58°. Indian Territory embraces a region larger than the state of South Carolina. There is a great diversity of soil, but the major portion is an alluvial of great fertility. There are fertile and well-watered rolling prairies, with much timber and numerous rich river bottoms. About all of the best lands in the Indian Territory, as created by the act of June 30, 1834, are now in The Five Civilized Tribes and Quapaw agency, as embraced in the area called Indian Territory by the Oklahoma act of May 2, 1890. The oak forests, known as the cross timbers, some 30 or more miles in width, run from Texas through Indian Territory to Kansas, with magnificent groves of enormous trees. The water supply is unsurpassed. It includes the North and South Canadian, Cimarron, Little Arkansas, Neosho, or Grand, and the Verdigris, tributaries of the Arkansas River in the north and central portions, while the Red River and its tributaries water the southern portions. The Arkansas is navigable in certain stages of water above the junction of the Grand with the Arkansas, while steamboats are in daily use on the Red River along the entire southern boundary. In climate, resources, and possibilities Indian Territory is one of the most favored portions of the United States. The climate is similar to that of northern Georgia, and its products are about the same. Extremes of heat and cold are not found. The winters are mild, and in summer, while the days are hot, the nights are cool.

The Indian Territory was virtually settled by the Creek Indians first, at Old Agency, in. 1827. It was set aside for the use of certain Indians in 1829. Formed from a portion of the territory embraced in the Louisiana purchase of 1803, the area 3o utilized, now embraced in the Indian Territory, the present state of Kansas, and the territory of Oklahoma, was of the public lands which President Thomas Jefferson suggested should be used “to give establishments to the Indians of the eastern side of the Mississippi in exchange for their present country”. From 1803 to 1824 there was incessant war or conflict between the Indians of the South Atlantic states and the whites. The vast areas of arable land in that region held by the Indians for centuries teemed with a white population, energetic and progressive, which was constantly forcing the Indians to the wall. In addition many legal questions were arising from this Indian occupancy, the chief of which were between the states and the national government. In 1824 President Monroe made a recommendation to Congress that these tribes should be removed west of the Mississippi. In 1830, under President Jackson, their removal was ordered. Accordingly, in 1832, the Indian Territory was selected and set apart for The Five Tribes, now denominated civilized, and, beginning with 1833, the Cherokees, Choctaws, Creeks, and Chickasaws were removed thither, the Seminoles in 1846, and from time to time since remnants and parts of other tribes have been added. Specific areas of land west of the Mississippi were allotted to many tribes. The United States guaranteed these removed tribes to “forever secure to them or their heirs the country so exchanged with them”. These new tracts of land were in exchange for lands held by the Indians east of the Mississippi. The nation paid the Indians, in some cases, large sums of money for areas sold and in excess of the western lands, and thus some of the present trust funds of tribes in the Indian Territory originated. Most of the Indians removed to Kansas have long since left that state, and they can be found either in the Indian Territory or in Oklahoma. The removal of most of these tribes was forced by the demands of immigration. The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek tribes or nations have occupied about the same areas that they now occupy in Indian Territory since their first settlement west of the Mississippi. The Seminoles have removed once.

It was contemplated up to 1878 to make the Indian Territory the home of all the wild Indians west of the Mississippi River and to the Sierra Nevada or coast range of mountains. Prior to May 2, 1890, it contained 44,154,240 acres, or 68,991 square miles.

In 1878 President R. B. Hayes refused to send any more wild Indians to the Indian Territory. He found that the arable lands were in the possession of The Five Tribes, Osages, Sacs, and Foxes, the Pottawatomies, and the few adjacent tribes, and that the remaining great area, on a portion of which the Arapahoes and Cheyennes have recently been allotted, and which the Kiowas, Comanches, Wichitas, and Oklahomas now occupy in part, was virtually a desert and unfit for the support of those whom it was proposed to place there.

Under treaty stipulations made in 1866 a general council of delegates, legally elected from the tribes resident in the Indian Territory, was to meet at Okmulgee, Creek Nation, in May of each year. The first session was held in 1869. The council continued its organization for several years, but came to nothing, and is now in disuse. In December 1870, delegates to one of these councils made a constitution for the Indian Territory, which was submitted to the various tribes, but was not adopted. All of this was with a view to the formation of a state government in the Indian Territory, and in pursuance of the 12 articles of the treaty of 1866 between the United States and The Five Tribes. Tribal jealousies killed this movement. In addition, the land question of The Five Tribes was different from that of the wild or reservation tribes.

Indian Territory,

Department of the Interior. Report on Indians Taxed and Indians not Taxed in the United States, Except Alaska at the Eleventh Census: 1890. Washington DC: Government Printing Office. 1894.

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