Jackson's original 'Trail of Tears' letter located

The letter that led to the removal of the Five Civilized Tribes from their homelands was recently located and sold to a private collector.

The 1829 letter urged the Choctaw and Chickasaw nations to move to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. He cited non-Indian settlement as one reason to leave.

"Where [they] now are, they and my white children are too near each other to live in harmony & peace," Jackson wrote.

Jackson promised the tribes that they would still be able to live by "their own laws" in Indian Territory and would be protected by the U.S. "am very respectfully yr. friend, & the friend of my Choctaw & Chickasaw brethren," he said.

Choctaw leaders rejected the move, prompting Jackson to sign the Indian Removal Act in 1830 that forced the removal of the Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, Chickasaw and Cherokee nations.

Get the Story:
Letter found that led to Indians' 'Trail of Tears' (The Philadelphia Inquirer 9/16)