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Creek land ceded by the Treaty of Cusseta is shaded in blue.

The Treaty of Cusseta was a treaty between the government of the United States and the Creek Nation signed March 24, 1832. The treaty ceded all Creek claims east of the Mississippi River to the United States.

Contents

Origins

The Treaty of Cusseta was one of several with the "Five Civilized Tribes", facilitated by the Indian Removal Act, that led to the deportation of native peoples in the South to the west. Between 1814 and 1830, Creek lands had been gradually ceded to the United States through treaties such as the Treaty of Fort Jackson and the Treaty of Washington (1826) until Creek territory was constrained to a strip in east central Alabama along the Georgia border.

Although treaty stipulations prohibited settlement of Creek lands, squatters moving into the territory were common and caused significant friction with tribe members. Tensions eventually resulted in a party of Creek warriors attacking and burning the town of Roanoke, Georgia. In response, federal officials met with Creek leaders in the Creek village of Cusseta (Kasihta) on the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. (Cusseta was sited on the current location of Lawson Army Airfield in Fort Benning.) The Creeks were compelled to agree to federal terms as outlined in the Treaty of Cusseta. The treaty was later signed in Washington, D.C..

Terms

The Treaty of Cusseta required that the Creek nation relinquish all claims to land east of the Mississippi River, including the territory in Alabama. In return, individual Creeks were to be granted land claims in the former Creek territory. Each of the ninety Creek chiefs was to receive one section (1 mi², 2.6 km²) of land and each Creek family was to receive one half-section (0.5 mi², 1.3 km²) of land of their choosing. Despite the grant of land, the treaty made clear the desire of the United States to remove as many Creeks as possible to the west in the least amount of time, and the United States agreed to pay expenses for Creek emigrants for the first year after being deported. The treaty also called for the United States to make payments to the Creek nation of approximately $350,000 and provide 20 square miles (51 km²) of land to be sold to support Creek orphans.

Aftermath

Once the treaty went into effect, many of the new Creek landowners, not being aware of the value of land, were quickly taken advantage of by settlers who often purchased the treaty-promised land for a pittance. Those Creeks who managed to keep legal title to their lands were soon overwhelmed by squatters, who state and federal officials generally refused to evict. When individual Creeks attempted to enforce their property rights against squatters themselves, they were often retaliated against by the local militia. By 1835, the situation became intractable and open conflict broke out once again between Creeks and settlers. The United States government responded by deporting most of the remaining Creeks to the Indian Territory.

See also

References

  • Martin, Joel W. (1991). Sacred Revolt: The Muskogees' Struggle for a New World. Boston, Beacon Press. ISBN 0-8070-5403-8
  • Nunn, Alexander (Ed.) (1983). Lee County and Her Forebears. Montgomery, Ala., Herff Jones. LCCCN 83-081693
  • Treaty with the Creeks, 1832. Retrieved September 29, 2005.
  • Wright, John Peavy (1969). Glimpses into the past from my Grandfather's Trunk. Alexander City, Ala., Outlook Publishing Company, Inc. LCCCN 74-101331
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