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United States. Office of Indian Affairs / Annual report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, for the year 1856
([1856])

Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs,   pp. [3]-24 PDF (10.1 MB)


Page 13

13 
COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. 
during the year. The Chickasaws have adopted a constitution, by 
which they have provided for the election of a governor and other 
officers, and in other respects the instrument is not dissimilar to the 
constitutions of the neighboring States.  Upon some points of grave 
moment, it is represented that these tribes differ as to the meaning of 
the treaty, and by a provision in their new constitution, the Choctaws 
who reside in the Chickasaw country are excluded from the elective 
franchise and from holding office.  Both tribes are making steady 
advancement in their educational and religious interests, and deserve 
commendation for their increased industry and sobriety. Their schools 
and places of worship have been well attended. Unfortunately ano- 
ther drought has cut short their corn crop. 
During the past summer agent Cooper visited the States of Missis- 
sippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, to ascertain the number of Choctaws 
east, and to pay them the balance of awards due them. He reports 
that there are about two thousand of them scattered over a large ex- 
tent of country, and that although some of them are nominally citi- 
zens, they are all in a very hopeless and degraded condition. He 
represents them as enveloped in ignorance and superstition, and thinks 
it would be an act of humanity to send native Choctaw missionaries 
from the west among them. 
On the Ith of August last an important treaty was entered into with 
the Creek and Seminole Indians west of the Mississippi river, one of 
the leading objects of which was to enable the department to overcome 
the chief obstacle to the removal of the Indians of the latter tribe yet
remaining in Florida. The Seminoles of the west have been dena- 
tionalized, and in a manner degraded, by being placed among the 
Creeks, and made subject to their laws. They felt the humiliation of 
their position, which not only discouraged them from all efforts at 
improvement, but engendered a recklessness of disposition and conduct 
which was constantly complained of by the Creeks, and which would, 
in the end, have produced serious difficulties between the two tribes. 
In this situation, which was well known to their brethren in Florida, 
the latter were totally averse to removing and joining them; hence 
the necessity of endeavoring to give them a separate country, with the 
right of self-government, and the necessary means for the comfortable 
support and improvement of themselves and those in Florida, should 
they be induced to emigrate. They were unwilling to go beyond the 
confines of the Creek country, nor could a suitable location have well 
been found for them elsewhere.   The Creeks were much averse to 
giving up any of their country for the separate accommodation of the 
Seminoles, but, in consideration of the advantageous terms offered 
them, finally consented thereto. 
The chief objection on the part of the Seminoles in Florida to join- 
ing their brethren in the west having thus been removed, and the 
most liberal and tempting '.Lrovision having been made in the treaty 
for their advantageous settlement and comfortable support there, it is 
confidently anticipated that their removal may now be effected in a 
peaceful manner; thus rendering unnecessary the very heavy expendi- 
tures attendant upon the military operations which have been for many 
years fruitlessly carried on, for the purpose of trying to coerce them to


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