Indian removal

Indian removal was the United States government policy of forced displacement of self-governing tribes of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands in the eastern United States to lands west of the Mississippi River  specifically, to a designated Indian Territory (roughly, present-day Oklahoma).[1][2][3] The Indian Removal Act, the key law which authorized the removal of Native tribes, was signed by Andrew Jackson in 1830. Although Jackson took a hard line on Indian removal, the law was enforced primarily during the Martin Van Buren administration. After the passage of the Indian Removal Act in 1831, approximately 60,000 members of the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw nations (including thousands of their black slaves) were forcibly removed from their ancestral homelands, with thousands dying during the Trail of Tears.[4][5][6][7]

Indian removal
Routes of southern removals
LocationUnited States
TargetNative Americans in the eastern United States
Attack type
Population transfer, ethnic cleansing, genocide
Deaths8,000+ (lowest estimate)
PerpetratorsUnited States

Indian removal, a popular policy among white settlers, was a consequence of actions by European settlers in North America during the colonial period and then by the United States government (and its citizens) until the mid-20th century.[8][9] The policy traced its origins to the administration of James Monroe, although it addressed conflicts between European and Native Americans which had occurred since the 17th century and were escalating into the early 19th century (as white settlers pushed westward in the cultural belief of manifest destiny). Historical views of Indian removal have been reevaluated since that time. Widespread contemporary acceptance of the policy, due in part to the popular embrace of the concept of manifest destiny, has given way to a more somber perspective. Historians have often described the removal of Native Americans as paternalism,[10][11] ethnic cleansing,[12] or genocide.[13][14]

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