While none of tribes were happy about this removal policy, simple demographics placed different tribes on different footing. Georgia, for instance, was the only one of the original American states in which Indians controlled the majority of the land on American independence (Anderson, 1991). Land allotments, therefore, would have defeated the purpose of removal. The status quo, in terms of land ownership, would have been preserved in large part. This, in addition to the discovery of gold in 1829 and the United States Supreme Court's refusal to treat the Cherokee as an independent nation, compelled a tougher stance. This tougher stance resulted in the Treaty of New Echota of 1835.
This treaty strategy was based on a simple land swap philosophy. The Cherokee would cede their lands in Georgia and receive new lands in Oklahoma. There was no provision made for land allotments and the treaty became a heated topic among the Cherokee. More particularly, the majority opposed the treaty and rejected removal while a minority supported the treaty. The treaty party left voluntarily in 1836 and resettled in Oklahoma; the majority, however, refused to leave Georgia (Wallace, 1993). As a result, military troops were called in and these Cherokee were forced at gunpoint to leave Georgia and to walk to their new lands in Oklahoma. The consequences were extraordinarily severe. This forced march, known as the Trail of Tears, took place in the winter and the Cherokee had inadequate food supplies and inadequate clothing and shelter. Many Cherokee died of hunger and disease. There was nothing flexible about the Treaty of New Echota, it was signed by an unrepresentative minority, and the consequences were devastating to many Cherokee.
Choctaw and the Land Allotment Strategy
The Choctaw also signed a treaty; significantly, however, this treaty provided a type of opt-out clause. This opt-out clause has come to be known as the land allotment strategy and it provided that under certain conditions the Choctaw, individually, could opt to receive certain land allotments in lieu of removal. Thus, some Choctaw could remain in the state of Mississippi as provided in Article Fourteen of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek:
Each Choctaw head of a family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so, by signifying his intention to the Agent within six months from the ratification of this Treaty, and he or she shall thereupon be entitled to a reservation of one section of six hundred and forty acres of land, to be bounded by sectional lines of survey; in like manner shall be entitled to one half that quantity for each unmarried child which is living with him over ten years of age; and a quarter section to such child as may be under 10 years of age, to adjoin the location of the parent. If they reside upon said lands intending to become citizens of the States for five years after the ratification of this Treaty, in that case a grant in fee simple shall issue; said reservation shall include the present improvement of the head of the family, or a portion of it. Persons who