By Kevin Hillstrom
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Additional resources for American Indian Removal and the Trail to Wounded Knee (Defining Moments)
Deadly white-Indian clashes had flashed across the continent ever since Europeans landed in the New World. But this bloodshed became heavier following the French and Indian War, which began in 1754 and ended nine years later. The French and Indian War The French and Indian War brought the long-simmering conflict between France and England over control of the eastern half of the modern-day United 17 Defining Moments: American Indian Removal and the Trail to Wounded Knee States to a boil. Ever since they had arrived on the continent more than a century earlier, the two European powers had been jockeying for possession of its rich array of forests, rivers, and tillable lands.
By February 1830 both the Senate and the House of Representatives (which were led by Southerners at the time) passed bills calling for the removal of all Indians from lands east of the Mississippi River. Three months later Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. This ruthless piece of legislation opened up all remaining Indian territories in the South to white settlement—and it formally authorized the president to relocate all eastern tribes to reservations west of the Mississippi. Cherokee Removal Cherokee Chief John Ross waged a valiant—but ultimately unsuccessful— legal and political campaign to keep the Cherokee nation on their ancestral lands.
S. negotiators announced the signing of a major new treaty with leaders not only of the Lakota, but also of the Arapaho, Assiniboine, northern Cheyenne, Mandan, Shoshone, and other northern Plains tribes. Under this arrangement, the Indians agreed to stay away from the main settlers’ routes and accept new forts and other outposts in Indian territory. In return, the government would keep settlers out of large sections of the Great Plains and provide goods and equipment worth $50,000 a year for a fifty-year period (Congress reduced the terms of the contract to ten years when it approved the treaty).