Two Treaties, One Message: Move West

Neal McCaleb, Ambassador At-Large, Chickasaw Nation

Neal McCaleb, Ambassador At-Large for the Chickasaw Nation, recounts that the Choctaw tribe signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830, agreeing to surrender their homelands east of the Mississippi River in exchange for land in Indian Territory. In 1832, the Chickasaw Nation signed the Treaty of Pontitock, also agreeing to remove to Indian Territory.

The Choctaw Tribe signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in 1830.

Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek

September 27, 1830

The first treaty under the Indian Removal Act, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek moved the Choctaws to lands west of the Mississippi in what is now known as Oklahoma.

The treaty went into effect in 1831 and ceded 11 million acres of land in the Choctaw Nation (now Mississippi) for 15 million in the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). If Choctaw tribal members chose to stay in the lands ceded, they would have to adopt American policy as their own, and become U.S. citizens.

It was one of the largest land transfers ever agreed upon between the United States government and American Indians in a time of peace. This made the Choctaw the first of the Five Civilized Tribes to be removed from the southeastern United States. Those who stayed in the homelands to be assimilated were known as the Choctaw tribe. The members that moved to lands in Oklahoma were known as the Choctaw Nation.