Theda Perdue Professor Emerita of History University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill National Humanities Center Fellow
About the Seminar
As soon as Europeans arrived in North America, they claimed land that belonged to Indians. By the 1820s Indians had been displaced from millions of acres, but there remained about 120,000 Indians in the territories east of the Mississippi. White Americans saw them as an obstacle to national expansion, profit, and progress. They were “savages” who could not live side-by-side with civilized people. They had to be moved.
How did Native Americans attitudes toward the land contrast with those of white Americans? How did the federal government justify its policy of removal? How did Native Americans respond to it? How did it ultimately affect them? Using resources from the Library of Congress’s American Memory Timeline and the National Humanities Center’s teaching anthologies, this seminar will explore these and other questions.
Suggested Additional Resources
The Library of Congress also offers these primary source materials: Immigration...Native American.
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- John Ridge, Letter to Albert Gallatin, Feb. 27, 1826.
- Nancy Reece, Letter to Rev. Fayette Shepherd, Dec. 25, 1828.
- Georgia State Assembly, Laws Extending Jurisdiction Over the Cherokees, Dec. 19, 1829 and Dec. 22, 1830.
- US Congress, Indian Removal Act, May 28, 1830.
- Cherokee Women, Petition, Oct. 17, 1821 .
- Elias Boudinot, Editorial from the Cherokee Phoenix, Nov. 12, 1831.
- The US Supreme Court, Worcester v. Georgia, March 1832.
- Treaty with the Cherokees, 1835.
- Memorial of Protest of the Cherokee Nation, June 22, 1836.
- Evan Jones, Letter Camp Hetzel, Near Cleveland [Tenn.], June 16, 1838.
- George Hicks, Letter from the Trail of Tears, Jan. 13, 1839.
- Rebecca Neugin, Recollections of Removal, 1932.
- Wilma Mankiller, Reflections on Removal 1993.
Selected Readings from The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents. Edited by Theda Perdue and Michael D. Green. (2nd. ed., Boston and New York, Bedford/St. Martins, 2005).
Each text is preceded by an introduction and discussion questions.
“The Effects of Removal on American Indian Tribes,” Clara Sue Kidwell. Nature Transformed, TeacherServe©. National Humanities Center.