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Eighth Grade Native American Land Curriculum

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1 Eighth Grade Native American Land Curriculum
Part II – Lesson 3 Policies and Laws – Removal and Reservations

2 Removal Act of 1820 Photos courtesy of In 1820, the citizens of the Creek, Choctaw, Seminole and Chickasaw tribes lived on land that was rich with gold and other resources. Many non-Native people wanted that land, but all five tribes had signed treaties with the federal government guaranteeing their right to be sovereign nations on their ancestral lands, so that land was not available. Until, President Andrew Jackson supported the Removal Act of 1820, which gave him the right to “exchange” the ancestral land for new land.

3 President Jackson’s Perspective
President Jackson rationalized this removal by saying that the tribes were not losing any land, but exchanging their old land for new land. The new land was in a place called “Indian Territory” in what is now Oklahoma Photo courtesy of

4 Removal in the 19th Century
During the 19th century, more than 30 tribes were moved to “Indian Territory.” President Jackson continued to rationalize these removals in his address to Congress of December 1833. Click here to read President Jackson’s Address. Map courtesy of

5 Dissenting Voices of the 19th Century
While many people supported President Jackson’s policy of removal, it is important to note that not everyone supported these ideas. Throughout the nation there were pockets of people who argued against forced removal and relocation. However, there were not enough voices to change public policy.

6 Native Response to Forced Removal
Few Native Americans were willing to give up their ancestral land, so President Jackson sent the U.S. Army in to enforce the law. For the next 60 years, dozens of tribes were forced to leave their ancestral homes and go to new homes assigned to them by the federal government. The picture on the top left depicts a Choctaw forced removal. In all cases, removal involved walks of hundreds of miles under the supervision of the U.S. Army. Photo of Choctaw forced removal courtesy of

7 The Nome Cult Walk Picture of some of the first known residents of the reservation and map courtesy of One of the lesser known forced removals took place in Northern California. The Nome Cult Walk began in 1857 when groups of non-Native people began rounding up Natives in their homelands and marching them to the reservation called Nome Cult, which was established in June of 1856 and later became Round Valley Indian Reservation. Survivors describe these removals as death marches with those who couldn’t make it being left along the route commonly.

8 Round Valley Indian Tribes
Photo courtesy of This is now the Round Valley Indian Tribes and is home to a community that has been formed from the tribes who were forced here: Pomo, Wailacki, Pit River, Nomlacki, Concow, and the Yuki whose ancestral land is within the reservation.

9 The Trail of Tears The Trail of Tears is a more well-known forced march and it took place in the 1830’s with the people of the Cherokee Nation. At this time, Cherokee land was wanted by white settlers who were looking for gold and those who wanted to plant cotton. The Cherokee did not want to leave their ancestral homes and they reminded the government that they had signed a treaty protecting their land. This conflict would lead to the Trail of Tears. Photo courtesy of

10 The Trail of Tears: Geography Activity Route 1
Use an atlas and a blank map of the United States to trace both routes used in the Trail of Tears. Use a red colored pencil for Route 1 and a blue colored pencil for Route 2. Route 1- The Northern Trail. Began in Charleston, North Carolina and headed northwest to Nashville, Tennessee. From there, the Cherokee went past Hopkinsville, Kentucky, through the lower southern region of Illinois, and into Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They continued northwest through Missouri and then southwest to Springfield. They moved slightly southwest and then directly south into Fayettesville, Arkansas. From there, they moved due west to Tahlequah, Oklahoma where they settled. Map courtesy of

11 The Trail of Tears: Geography Activity Route 2
Route 2 - The Water Trail. Began at Fort Payne, Georgia and moved west, moving north and crossing the Tennessee River into Alabama about a quarter of the way into the state of Alabama. The route then extended north through Alabama and into Tennessee and Kentucky. Then, the Cherokee moved west to the Mississippi River and followed the River south until it met the Arkansas River. From there, they traveled the river northwest until they entered Oklahoma and settled at Fort Gibson.

12 The Trail of Tears: Politics
Video Viewing:“The Trail of Tears” from “How the West was Lost” – Discovery Channel, minutes Click here for the Video Assignment to accompany this movie.

13 The Trail of Tears: The Human Dimension
Click on the link below to read the story. "Samuel's Memory“-This is the story of Samuel Cloud who turned 9 years old on the Trail of Tears, as told by his great-great grandson, Michael Rutledge. After reading the document, click here to view questions.

14 Results of Forced Removals
Almost 100,000 Native Americans were forcibly removed and at least one-fourth of them died in the process. Removal still did not solve the “Indian problem” and settlers moving west came into continuous contact with Native American tribes. Many settlers felt uncomfortable settling near “dangerous” Natives, so a new policy was enacted. This time the federal government would confine Native Americans to land that was for exclusively their use – Reservations. Photo of a commonly depicted scene meant to demonize Native Americans Courtesy of

15 Policies and Laws - Reservations
Photos of young Native Americans at a day school on a reservation courtesy of and The men who created the reservation system believed that if Native Americans could be confined, they could become “civilized.” The purpose of reservations was to assimilate the Native Americans into the American way of life. On reservations, Native Americans were converted to Christianity, taught English, sewing and small-scale farming. This was called being Americanized.

16 Reservation Rules Each reservation was assigned an Indian Agent who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. His job was to make decisions about the people on the reservation. Those who had been relocated within the reservation were not allowed to leave without permission or they could be arrested. Picture depicting a Native American man in traditional dress shaking hands with an agent from the Bureau of Indian Affairs Courtesy of Picture of an early reservation Courtesy of

17 Native American Perspective
The vast majority of Native Americans did not adjust well to the reservation, and they certainly did not become more like the white man. Instead, many Native Americans fought to maintain their culture and traditions. The reservation system flourished for almost 20 years before it was clear that becoming Americanized was not an option. The federal government would soon create another new policy – Allotment. Photo of Native students and a non-Native young man in the Alaska region courtesy of

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