The Choctaw – Part 1
The Mississippi Legislature passed a resolution that went into effect in January 1830 extending its jurisdiction over Choctaw and Chickasaw territories within the state. Many Indians opposed this move and appealed to the United States government for assistance. Others accepted this new state of affairs and sought the best terms possible.
With the passage by the U.S. Congress of the Indian Removal Act that same year, the legal mechanisms were put in place for President Andrew Jackson to negotiate with Indian groups for their deportation.
The Choctaws, Mississippi’s largest Indian group, were the first southeastern Indians to accept removal with the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in September 1830. The treaty provided that the Choctaws would receive land west of the Mississippi River in exchange for the remaining Choctaw lands in Mississippi. The Choctaws were given three years to leave Mississippi.
Trail of Tears
In the winter of 1830, Choctaws began migrating to Indian Territory (later Oklahoma) along the “trail of tears.” The westward migrations continued over the following decades, and Indians remaining in Mississippi were forced to relinquish their communal land-holdings in return for small individually owned allotments.
Non-Indians rushed into the former Choctaw lands in Mississippi after 1830, producing the era often referred to in Mississippi history as the “flush times.” Removal was a complicated process that found Indians and Euro-Americans on both sides of the fence: some people of both groups opposed removal, while others supported it.