Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

U.S. Treaties Treaty between the US and Cherokee Nation

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC01233.05 Author/Creator: U.S. Treaties Place Written: Washington Type: Manuscript signed Date: 1846/08/06 Pagination: 15 p. 32 x 20 cm

Signed by John Ross and Stand Watie, both great Cherokee chiefs.

Articles of a treaty made and concluded at Washington in the District of Columbia, between the United States of America, by their Commissioners, Edmund Burke, William Armstrong and Albion K. Parris, and John Ross principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, David Vann, William S. Coody, Richard Taylor, T. H. Walker, Clement V. McNair, Stephen Foreman, John Drew, & Richard Field, delegates duly appointed by the regularly constituted authorities of the Cherokee Nation, George W. Adair, John A. Bell, Stand Watie, Joseph M. Lynch, John Huss, and Brice Martin, a delegation appointed by and representing that portion of the Cherokee Tribe of Indians known and recognized as the "Treaty Party," John Brown, Captain Dutch, John L. McCoy, Richard Drew, and Ellis Phillips, Delegates appointed by and representing that portion of the Cherokee Tribe of Indians, known and recognized as "Western Cherokees" or Old Settlers.
Whereas serious difficulties have for a considerable time past existed between the different portions of the people constituting and recognized as the Cherokee Nation of Indians, which, it is desirable, should be speedily settled, so that peace and harmony may be restored among them. And whereas certain claims exist on the part of the Cherokee Nation, and portions of the Cherokee people against the United States. Therefore, with a view to the final and amicable settlement of the difficulties and claims before mentioned, it is mutually agreed by the several parties to this Convention as follows: viz: [2]
Article 1st. That the lands now occupied by the Cherokee Nation, shall be secured to the whole Cherokee people for their common use and benefit; and a patent shall be issued for the same, including the eight hundred thousand acres purchased together with the outlet West promised by the United States, in conformity with the provisions relating thereto contained in the Third Article of the Treaty of 1835, and in the Third Section of the Act of Congress approved May 28th, 1830, which authorizes the President of the United States, in making exchanges of lands with the Indian tribes, "To assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guarantee to them, and their heirs or successors the Country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided Always, That such lands shall revert to the United States, if the Indians become extinct, or abandon the same."
Art. 2d. All the difficulties and differences heretofore existing between the several parties of the Cherokee Nation are hereby settled and adjusted, and shall as far as possible be forgotten and forever buried in oblivion. All party distinctions shall cease except so far as they may be necessary to carry out this Convention or Treaty. A general amnesty is hereby declared. All offences and crimes committed by (over) [3] a citizen or citizens of the Cherokee Nation, against the Nation or against an individual or individuals, are hereby pardoned. All Cherokees who are now out of the Nation are invited and earnestly requested to return to their homes, where they may live in peace, assured that they shall not be prosecuted for any offence heretofore committed against the Cherokee Nation-or any individual thereof-and this pardon and amnesty shall extend to all, who may [struck: remove] now be out of the Nation and who shall return thereto on or before the first day of December next. The several parties agree to unite in enforcing the laws against [4] all future offenders. Laws shall be passed for equal protection, and for the security of life, liberty and property, and full authority shall be given by law, to all or any portion of the Cherokee people peacefully to assemble and petition their own Government or the Government of the United States, for the redress of Grievances and to discuss their rights. All armed Police, Light Horse and other Military organizations shall be abolished and the laws enforced by the Civil Authority alone. No one shall be punished for any crime or misdemeanor except on conviction by a jury of his country, and the sentence of a court, duly authorized by law to take cognizance of the offence. And it is further agreed all fugitives from justice (except those included in the general amnesty herein stipulated ) seeking refuge in the Territory of the United States, shall be delivered up by the Authorities of the United States, to the Cherokee Nation for trial and punishment.
Art. 3d. Whereas, certain claims have been allowed by the several Boards of Commissioners heretofore appointed under the Treaty of 1835 for rents under the name of improvements and spoliations, and for property of which the Indians were dispossessed, provided for under the Sixteenth Article of the Treaty of 1835. And whereas the said claims have been paid out of the Five million fund--and whereas said claims were not justly chargeable to that fund, but were to be paid by the United States, the said [5] United States agree to reimburse the said fund the amount thus charged to the said fund, and the same shall form a part of the aggregate amount to be distributed to the Cherokee people, as provided in the Ninth Article of this Treaty. And whereas a further amount has been allowed for reservations under the provisions of the Thirteenth Article of the Treaty of 1835 by said Commissioners and has been paid out of the said fund and which said sums were properly chargeable to and should have been paid by the United States, the said United States further agree to reimburse the amounts thus paid for reservations to said fund. And whereas the expenses of making the Treaty of New Echota were also paid out of said fund, when they should have been borne by the United States, the United States agrees to reimburse the same and also to reimburse all other sums paid to any Agent of the Government and improperly charged to said fund. And the same also shall form a part of the aggregate amount to be distributed to the Cherokee people as provided in the Ninth Article of this Treaty.
Art. 4th. And whereas it has been decided by the Board of Commissioners recently appointed by the President of the United States to examine and adjust the claims and difficulties existing against and between the Cherokee people and the United States, as well as between the Cherokees themselves. [6] That under the provisions of the Treaty of [1828 written over 1835], as well as in conformity with the general policy of the United States in relation to the Indian tribes and the Cherokee Nation in particular that, that portion of the Cherokee people known as the "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees" had no exclusive title to the territory ceded in that Treaty, but that the same was intended for the use of and to be the home for, the whole Nation, including as well that portion then East as that portion then West of the Mississippi; and whereas the said board of Commissioners further decided that, inasmuch as the Territory before mentioned became the common property of the whole Cherokee Nation by the operation of the Treaty of [1835 written over 1828], the Cherokees then West of the Mississippi by the equitable operation of the same Treaty acquired a common interest in the lands occupied by the Cherokees East of the Mississippi river as well as in those occupied by themselves West of that river, which interest should have been provided for in the Treaty of 1835, but which was not, except in so far as they, as a constituent portion of the Nation, retained in proportion to their numbers, a common interest in the country West of the Mississippi and in the general funds of the Nation, and therefore they have an equitable claim upon the United States for the value of that interest whatever it may be.
Now in order to ascertain the value of that interest it is agreed that the following principle shall be adopted, viz: All the investments and expenditures [7] which are properly chargeable upon the sums granted in the Treaty of 1835, amounting in the whole to five millions six hundred thousand dollars (which investments and expenditures are particularly enumerated in the 15th Article of the Treaty of 1835) to be first deducted from said aggregate sums thus ascertaining the residuum or amount which would under such marshalling of accounts be left for per capita distribution among the Cherokees emigrating under the Treaty of 1835, excluding all improper and extravagant expenditures; and allow to the "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees" a sum equal to one third part of said residuum to be distributed per capita to each individual of said party of "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees. " It is further agreed that so far as the "Western Cherokees" are concerned in estimating the expense of removal and subsistence of an Eastern Cherokee to be charged to the aggregate fund of five million six hundred thousand dollars above mentioned, the sums for removal and subsistence stipulated in the Eighth Article of the Treaty of 1835, as commutation money in those cases in which the parties entitled to it removed themselves, shall be adopted, and as it affects the settlement with the "Western Cherokees" there shall be no deduction from the fund before mentioned in consideration of any payment which may hereafter be made out of said fund; and it is hereby further understood and agreed, that the principle above defined shall embrace all those [8] Cherokees West of the Mississippi, who emigrated prior to the Treaty of 1835. [struck: and who are not entitled to participate in the personal benefits of that Treaty]
In the consideration of the foregoing stipulation on the part of the United States the "Western Cherokees" or "Old Settlers" hereby release and quit claim to the United States, all right, title, interest or claim they may have to a common property in the Cherokee lands East of the Mississippi river and to exclusive ownership to the lands ceded to them by the Treaty of 1833 West of the Mississippi [inserted: including the outlet west,] consenting and agreeing that the said lands together with the eight hundred thousand acres ceded to the Cherokees by the Treaty of 1835 shall be and remains the common property of the whole Cherokee people themselves included.
Art. 5th. It is mutually agreed that the per capita allowance to be given to the "Western Cherokees," or "Old Settlers" upon the principle above stated, shall be held in trust by the Government of the United States and paid out to each individual belonging to that party, or head of family or his legal representative, first deducting there from the sum of fifty thousand dollars to be paid to the delegation of that portion of the Cherokee people who are parties to the Treaty to defray the expenses of prosecuting their claims against the Government of the United States, [inserted: including the late Capt. John Rogers.] And it is further agreed that the per capita allowance [9] to be paid as aforesaid shall not be assignable, but shall be paid directly to the person entitled to it, or to his heirs or legal representatives, by the agent of the United States authorized to make such payments.
And it is further agreed that a Committee of five persons shall be appointed by the President of the United States from the party of "Old Settlers" whose duty it shall be in conjunction with an Agent of the United States, to ascertain what persons are entitled to the per capita allowance provided for in this and the preceding article.
Art. 6th And whereas many of that portion of the Cherokee people known and designated as the Treaty Party, have suffered losses and incurred expenses in consequence of the Treaty of 1835, therefore, to indemnify the Treaty Party, the United States agree to pay to the said Treaty Party the sum of One hundred and fifteen thousand dollars, of which, the sum of Five thousand dollars shall be paid by the United States to the heirs or legal representatives of Major Ridge, the sum of five thousand dollars to the heirs or legal representatives of John Ridge, and the sum of five thousand dollars to the heirs or legal representatives of Elias Boudinot, and the balance being the sum of one hundred thousand dollars, which shall be paid by the United States in such amounts and to such persons as may be certified by a committee to be appointed by the Treaty Party, and which Committee [10] shall consist of not exceeding five persons and approved by an Agent of the United States to be entitled to receive the same for losses and damages sustained by them, [struck: they] or by those of whom they are the heirs or legal representatives. Provided, That out of the said balance of One hundred thousand dollars, the present delegation of the Treaty Party may receive the sum of Twenty five thousand dollars to be by them applied to the payment of claims and other expenses. And it is further provided, that if the said sum of One hundred thousand dollars should not be sufficient to pay all the claims allowed for losses and damages, that then the same shall be paid to the said claimant pro rata, and which payments shall be in full of all claims and losses of the said Treaty Party.
Art. 7th. The value of all Salines which were the private property of Individuals of the Western Cherokees and of which they were dispossessed provided there be any such shall be ascertained by the United States Agent and a Commissioner to be appointed by the Cherokee Authorities, and should they be unable to agree they shall select an umpire whose decision shall be final, and the several amounts found due shall be paid by the Cherokee Nation, or the Salines returned to their respective owners. [11]
Art. 8th. The United States agree to pay to the Cherokee Nation the sum of Two Thousand Dollars for a printing press, materials and other property destroyed at the time, the sum of five thousand Dollars to be equally divided among all those whose arms were taken from them previous to their removal West by order of an Officer of the United States, and the further sum of Twenty thousand dollars in lieu of all claims of the Cherokee Nation as a Nation of all kind whatsoever, against the United States prior to the Treaty of 1835, except all lands reserved by treaties heretofore made school funds.
Art. 9th. The United States agree to make a fair and just settlement of all monies due to the Cherokees and subject to per capita division under the Treaty of 29th December 1835, which said settlement shall exhibit all the money properly expended under said Treaty, and shall embrace all sums paid for improvements, fences, spoliations, removal and subsistence, and commutation therefor, debts and claims upon the Cherokee Nation of Indians for the additional quantity of land ceded to said Nation, and the several sums provided in the several articles of the Treaty to be invested as the general funds of the Nation, and also all sums which may be hereafter properly allowed and paid under the provisions of the Treaty of 1835. The aggregate of which said several sums [12] shall be deducted from the sum of Six Million Six hundred and forty seven thousand and sixty-seven dollars, and the balance thus found to be due, shall be paid over per Capita, in equal amounts to all those Individuals, Heads of families or their legal representatives entitled to receive the same under the Treaty of 1835, and the supplement of 1836, being all the Cherokees residing East at the date of said Treaty and the supplement thereto.
Art. 10th. It is expressly agreed that nothing in the foregoing Treaty contained shall be so construed as in any manner to take away or abridge any rights or claims which the Cherokees now residing [struck: in the State of North Carolina] [inserted: in States east of the Mississippi river], had or may have under the Treaty of 1835 and the Supplement thereto.
Art. 11th. Whereas the Cherokee Delegations contend that the amount expended for the one years subsistence after their arrival in the West of the Eastern Cherokees is not properly chargeable to the Treaty fund. It is hereby agreed that the question shall be submitted to the Senate of the United States for its decision, [struck: who] [inserted: which] shall decide whether the subsistence shall be borne by the United States or the Cherokee funds, and if by the Cherokees, then to say whether the subsistence shall be [13] charged at a greater rate than Thirty three 33/100 Dollars per head-and also the question whether the Cherokee Nation shall be allowed interest on whatever sum may be found to be due the Nation, and from what date, and at what rate per Annum.
Art. 12th. The Western Cherokees called "Old Settlers" in assenting to the general provisions of this Treaty, in behalf of their people, have expressed their fixed opinion that in making a settlement with them upon the basis herein established, the expenses incurred for the removal and subsistence of Cherokees after the 23rd day of May 1838, should not be charged upon the five millions of dollars allowed to the Cherokees for their lands under the Treaty of 1835, or on the fund provided by the 3rd Article of the Supplement thereto-and that no part of the spoliations, subsistence or removal provided for by the several Articles [struck: be charged] of said Treaty and the Supplement thereto, should be charged against them in their settlement for their interest in the Cherokee Country East and West of the Mississippi river. And the Delegation of "Old Settlers" or "Western Cherokees", propose that the question shall be submitted with this Treaty to the decision of the Senate of the United States of what portion if any of the expenditures made for removal, subsistence & spoliation under the Treaty of 1835, is properly and legally chargeable [14] to the five million fund, and they will abide by the decision of the Senate.
In testimony whereof the said Edmund Burke, William Armstrong and Albion K. Parris, Commissioners as aforesaid, and the several Delegations aforesaid & the Cherokee Nation and people have hereunto set their hands and seals at Washington aforesaid, this Sixth day of August in the year of our Lord. One Thousand eight Hundred and forty six.
Edmund Burke
Wm. Armstrong
Albion K. Parris
Delegation of the Government Party
John Ross
W. S. Coody
R. Taylor
C. V. McNair
Stephen Foreman [15]
John Drew
Richard Field

Delegation of the "Treaty Party"
Geo. W. Adair
J. A. Bell
S. Watie
Joseph M. Lynch
John his X mark Huss
Brice Martin
By J. M. Lynch his Attny.

Delegation of the "Old Settlers"
John Brown
Wm. Dutch his X mark
John L. McCoy
Rich'd Drew his X mark
Ellis F. Phillips

In presence of
Joseph Bryan of Ala.
John P. Wolf
Secretary of Board
W. S. Adair

[docket] Treaty of August 6th 1846 with the United States

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources