Indian Territory

Indian Territory

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Pre-European Contact   Colonial Period   Removals   Kansas Reservation   Indian Territory   20th Century 

Indian Territory


The provisions for the Citizen Potawatomi's move to Indian Territory were stipulated in a treaty signed on February 27, 1867. Signatories and the officials from the Office of Indian Affairs agreed that a delegation of Citizen Potawatomi travel to Indian Territory and select a tract of land, not exceeding 30 miles square. The treaty stipulated that they would buy the reservation with the proceeds from selling their "surplus" lands in Kansas at one dollar per acre to the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad.

In 1869, a party of Citizen Potawatomi traveled to Indian Territory and selected a tract of land that became the site of the Citizen Potawatomi reservation. They chose a section of land that encompassed 576,000 acres between the north and south forks of the Canadian River. The land lay just west of the Seminole reservation and had an eastern boundary at the Indian Meridian.

The earliest families to make the journey to their new reserve arrived in Indian Territory in 1872. Since they paid for the move themselves, these families were among the more affluent Potawatomi families who were able to move from Kansas and included members of the Anderson, Bourbonnais, Melot, Clardy, Pettifer, Bergeron and Toupin families. They were soon followed by more Potawatomi emigrants.

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After having arrived onto the Oklahoma reservation, the Citizen Potawatomi unwillingly participated in the allotment process implemented through the Dawes Act of 1887. With this Act, the Citizen Potawatomi were forced to accept individual allotments. In the land Run of 1891, the remainder of the Potawatomi reservation in Oklahoma was opened up to 'white' settlement. More than 20,000 anxious settlers gathered on foot, horseback and with wagons at a predetermined starting line, awaiting the sound of the bugle that would change their lives. This contest for recently relinquished Indian lands was one of seven land runs that occurred in Indian and Oklahoma Territories between 1889 and 1895.

 

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