Native American Timeline of Events

Pre-1795 Trading begins between Native Americans and French and Spanish merchants from St. Louis, Missouri.
1792 On November 6, George Washington, in his fourth annual address to Congress, expressed dissatisfaction that “Indian hostilities” had not stopped in the young country’s frontier, north of the Ohio River.
1795 Treaty of Greenville, Ohio

The Treaty of Greenville – This treaty marked the end of an undeclared and multi-tribal war begun in the late 1770s and led by the Shawnee who fought to resist American expansion into Ohio. In 1795, over a thousand Indian delegates ceded two-thirds of present-day Ohio, part of Indiana, and the sites where the modern cities of Detroit, Toledo, and Chicago are currently situated. The Indians, in return, were promised a permanent boundary between their lands and American territory.

1802 Federal law prohibits the sale of liquor to Indians.
1803 The Louisiana Purchase adds to the United States French territory from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northwest.

The Lewis and Clark expedition begins its exploration of the West.

1804 to 1806 Lewis and Clark expedition with Sacagawea. Under direction of President Jefferson, Lewis and Clark charted the western territory with the help of Sacagawea, a Shoshone Indian.
1804 The Sioux meet the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Trading posts begin to be established in the west.

Fur trading becomes an important part of Oglala life.

Oglala and other Lakota tribes expand their region of influence and control to cover most of the current regions known as North and South Dakota, westward to the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming and south to the Platte River in Nebraska.

On March 26, the U.S. government gave first official notice to Indians to move west of the Mississippi River.

1808 The Osage, a Sioux, sign the Osage Treaty ceding their lands in what is now Missouri and Arkansas to the U. S.
1808 to 1812 Tecumseh, Chief of the Shawnee, and his brother, known as The Prophet, founded Prophetstown for the settlement of other Indian peoples who believed that signing treaties with the US government would culminate in the loss of the Indian way of life. At the same time, Tecumseh organized a defensive confederacy of Indian tribes of the Northwestern frontier who shared a common goal – making the Ohio River the permanent boundary between the United States and Indian land. Meanwhile, William Henry Harrison, governor or Ohio, began enacting treaties with various tribes. At a meeting between Tecumseh and Harrison at Vincennes in 1810 Tecumseh declared that he and the confederacy would never recognize any treaties signed with the US government. When Tecumseh was away from Prophetstown in November 1811, Harrison led troops to the town and after the ferocious Battle of Tippicanoe, destroyed the town as well as the remnants of  Tecumseh’s Indian confederacy.
1809 On February 8, Russians who built a blockhouse on the Hoh River (Olympic Penninsula, Washington) were taken captive by Hoh Indians, and were held as slaves for two years.
1810 This Treaty of Fort Wayne brought the Delaware, Potawatomi, Miami, and Eel River Miami nations together to cede 3 million acres of their land along the Wabash River to the United States.

Nicholas Biddle of the Lewis and Clark expedition noted that among the Minitaree Indians the effeminate boys were raised as females. Upon reaching puberty, the boys were then married to older men. The French called them Birdashes.

1811 On August 31, Fort Okanogan was established at the confluence of the Columbia and Okanogan Rivers; Indians met the Astorians with pledges of friendship and gifts of beaver.

On November 7, Shawnee leader Tecumseh’s dream of a pan-Indian confederation was squashed when his brother Tenskwatawa led an attack against Indiana Territory militia forces in the Battle of Tippecanoe. Tenskwatawa was defeated.

1813 to 1814 Creek Warrior by Frederic Remington, 1906

The Creek War was instigated by General Andrew Jackson who sought to end Creek resistance to ceding their land to the US government. The Creek Nation was defeated and at the Treaty of Fort Jackson, the Creek lost 14 million acres, or two-thirds of their tribal lands. To count the Creek dead, whites cut off their noses, piling 557 of them. They also skinned their bodies to tan as souvenirs. This was the single largest cession of territory ever made in the southeast.

1815 Blacks and Creek Indians captured Fort Blount, Florida from Seminole and used it as a haven for escaped slaves and as a base for attacks on slave owners. An American army detachment eventually recaptured the fort.

On July 27, the Seminole Wars began.

1816 On July 27, Fort Blount, a Seminole fort on Apalachicola Bay, Florida, was attacked by U.S. troops. The fort, held by 300 fugitive slaves and 20 Indians, was taken after a siege of several days. The fort was destroyed, punishing the Seminole for harboring runaway slaves.
1817 Congress passed the Indian Country Crimes Act which provided for federal jurisdiction over crimes between non-Indians and Indians, and maintained exclusive tribal jurisdiction of all Indian crimes.
1818 On April 18, Andrew Jackson defeated a force of Indians and African Americans at the Battle of Suwanee, ending the First Seminole War.
1820 By this year, more than 20,000 Indians lived in virtual slavery in the California missions.
1821 South Carolina settlers and their Cherokee allies attack and defeat the Yamassee.

The U.S. government began moving what it called the “Five Civilized Tribes” of southeast America (Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw) to lands west of the Mississippi River.

1823 Johnson v. McIntosh Supreme Court decision – This case involved the validity of land sold by tribal chiefs to private persons in 1773 and 1775. The Court held that that Indian tribes had no power to grant lands to anyone other than the federal government. The government, in turn, held title to all Indian lands based upon the “doctrine of discovery” – the belief that initial “discovery” of lands gave title to the government responsible for the discovery. Thus, Indian “…rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished, and their power to dispose of the soil, at their own will, to whomsoever they pleased, was denied by the original fundamental principle, that discovery gave exclusive title to those who made it.”
1824 The Indian Office federal agency was established by the Secretary of War and operated under the administration of the War Department. The Office becomes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 1849.
1825 Creek Chief William McIntosh signs treaty ceding Creek lands to the U.S. and agrees to vacate by 1826; other Creek repudiate the treaty and kill him.
1827 Creek Indians sign a second treaty ceding lands in western Georgia
1828 Elias Boudinot and Sequoyah begin publishing the Cherokee Phoenix, the first American newspaper published in a Native American language.
1829 Creek Indians receive orders to relocate across the Mississippi River.
1830 On April 7, President Andrew Jackson submitted a bill to Congress calling for the removal of tribes in the east to lands west of the Mississippi. On May 28th, the Indian Removal Act was passed, and from 1830 to 1840 thousands of Native Americans were forcibly removed.

On September 15, the Choctaw sign a treaty exchanging 8 million acres of land east of the Mississippi for land in Oklahoma.

On December 22, the State of Georgia made it unlawful for Cherokee to meet in council, unless it is for the purpose of giving land to whites.

1831 to 1832 Two U.S. Supreme Court cases change the nature of tribal sovereignty by ruling that Indian tribes were not foreign nations, but rather were “domestic dependent nations.” As such, both cases provided the basis for the federal protection of Indian tribes, or the federal trust relationship or responsibility.
1831 Black Hawk of the Sac and Fox tribes agrees to move west of Mississippi.

Cherokee Nation v. Georgia – The Cherokee Nation sued the State of Georgia for passing laws and enacting policies that not only limited their sovereignty, but which were forbidden in the Constitution. The Court’s decision proclaimed that Indians were neither US citizens, nor independent nations, but rather were “domestic dependent nations” whose relationship to the US “resembles that of a ward to his guardian.” In this case, the federal trust responsibility was discussed for the first time.

On December 6, President Andrew Jackson, in his Third Annual Message to Congress, praised the beneficial results of Indian Removal for the States directly affected and the Union as a whole, as well as being “equally advantageous to the Indians.”

On December 25, a force of Black Seminole Indians defeated U.S. troops at Okeechobee during the Second Seminole War.

1832 Worcester v. Georgia – A missionary from Vermont who was working on Cherokee territory sued the State of Georgia which had arrested him, claiming that the state had no authority over him within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation. The Court, which ruled in Worchester’s favor, held that state laws did not extend to Indian country. Such a ruling clarified that Indian tribes were under protection of the federal government, as in Cherokee v. Georgia.

On July 23, Eastern Cherokee met in Red Clay, Tennessee to discuss President Jackson’s proposals for their removal to Indian Territory in present day Oklahoma. The proposal was rejected and the Cherokee refused to negotiate unless the federal government honored previous treaty promises.

August 2, 1832 – Some 150 Sac and Fox men, women and children, under a flag of truce, were massacred at Bad Axe River by the Illinois militia.

1833 On January 12, a law was passed making it unlawful for any Indian to remain within the boundaries of the state of Florida.

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