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Collection Title: Indian Claims in Mississippi. Petition of the Citizens of the State of Mississippi, Remonstrating Against Indian Claims

Collection Number: M225

Dates: February 1, 1836

Volume: 1 Item

Provenance: Unknown

Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical/Historical Sketch:

By signing the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, the Choctaw Indians agreed to move west of the Mississippi River. If they desired to become U.S. citizens they would be eligible to receive a land grant of 640 acres east of the Mississippi River where they already resided. This treaty was an effort to bring all land within the state's boundaries under the state's control. Previously, the Choctaws were not subject to state laws, even though the lands they held were within Mississippi's boundaries. Speculators took advantage of the treaty by producing documents purporting them to be powers of attorney for the Indians. Settlers already on these lands protested the speculator's claims.

Scope and Content:

Speculators, under the cover of Choctaw Indian claims to land in Mississippi by the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830), sold titles to land already inhabited, but without clear titles. The inhabitants had trusted that they would be able to buy their lands at a fair price from the government, and not at the astronomical prices charged by the speculators. This printed petition, containing 91 signatures of persons from Mississippi and other states, asked the U.S. Congress to pass a law setting up a tribunal near the land offices to "scrutinize" claims. The tribunal was to have the power to reject or confirm, and to compel the attendance of witnesses. These provisions were to insure claimants of their rights and expose fraud. The Congress would be spared "the teasing and vexatious applications of false claimants" in the future. The petition also asked for an extension of the privileges of the pre-emption law.

This petition was printed in pamphlet form. It is Document #89, 24th Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives, February 1, 1836.

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