Tag Archives: Creek nation

Alice Mary Robertson

Alice Mary Robertson, courtesy Library of Congress

Alice Mary Robertson was born on January 2, 1854, in the Tullahassee Mission in the Creek Nation Indian Territory, now in Oklahoma. Her parents were missionary school teachers committed to assisting displaced Cherokee. Robertson attended college (1873-1874) and became the first female clerk within the Indian Office at the Department of the Interior. She worked briefly at the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, but later returned to Indian Territory and established Nuyaka Mission. Though she considered herself a friend of Indians and was concerned about their welfare, she took a traditional route toward helping them. She was instrumental in the success of the Minerva Home in 1885; it was a boarding school to train Native American girls in domestic skills. The school later developed into Henry Kendall College and is now the University of Tulsa. In 1900 Robertson became the government supervisor of Creek Indian schools.

Robertson eventually owned and operated a dairy farm, and ran for Congress in 1920 on the premise that “there are already more lawyers and bankers in Congress than are needed . . . The farmers need a farmer, I am a farmer.” She defeated three-term incumbent William Wirt Hastings. After her election she announced that she would concentrate on bettering the lives of Indians, women, farmers, soldiers, and working people. Robertson was the second woman to serve in Congress, though the only one in office at the time of her service. Congress recognized her interest and work on behalf of Indians by giving her a seat on the Committee on Indian Affairs. She was continually frustrated, though, and could push little of value through the committee.

Alice Robertson (lower step) at U.S. Capitol With Two Women Elected to the Next Session of Congress

Jeannette Rankin, First Woman Elected to Congress

______________________________________________________________________________________

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Indians and Slaves

The Five Civilized Tribes

Indian Territory may have seemed a world away from the slave-holding South, but slavery was introduced there in 1830. Some of the slaves who ran away from southern slave states were received as free people by tribes in the Territory. However, all tribes except the Seminole eventually began to buy slaves. In the 1830s, about 3,000 African-Americans lived in Indian Territory. Most of them were slaves.

Indian farmers used slaves to help them cultivate their crops. Some masters had large tracts of land, but most Indians were subsistence farmers who worked as hard as their slaves. In the 1830s and 1840s, slaves came with Indians who were removed from the their eastern lands. The Cherokee held about 1,500 slaves, the Chickasaw Nation about 1,200, and the Creek Nation about 300. There were about 8,000 slaves held by Indians by the time of the Civil War. After the war, tribes abolished slavery.

Slaves of Indians, 1893, courtesy Library of Congress

John Taylor (African-American) and Dick Charlie (Ute), 1880-1910?, courtesy Library of Congress

________________________________________________________________________

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr

Vanishing Land

Daguerrotype of Andrew Jackson

Daguerrotype of Andrew Jackson

The U.S. government never hesitated to relocate Native Americans when it decided white people needed their land. In 1814, U.S. military commander Andrew Jackson (later, 7th president of the U.S.) divested the Creek nation of 22 million acres of land in Georgia and Alabama after its defeat at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.

Jackson’s troops  later invaded Spanish Florida and took land from the Seminoles in 1818. He was ruthless in battle and was known as Sharp Knife by the Seminoles.

From 1814 through 1824, Jackson helped negotiate nine treaties that gave the government substantial Native American land holdings in the eastern United States. In exchange, tribes were given land in the west. Many of the treaties were little more than sanctioned arm-twisting. Tribes agreed to their terms because they wanted to appease the U.S. government and protect what little land they had left.

Battle of Horseshoe Bend

Battle of Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend, courtesy National Park Service

Horseshoe Bend, courtesy National Park Service

________________________________________________________

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedintumblr