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National Archives Research - Cherokee Removal
A broad range of Trail of Tears historians have long recognized that large quantities of key historical information relating to the Cherokee Removal still lies in various historical archives. There was a general agreement that many of these "buried" records were located in the National Archives in one of its two major Washington, D.C. facilities. To locate the records, a team of five researchers from the Trail of Tears Association’s Oklahoma Chapter applied, in early 2006, for a Challenge Cost Share Program agreement, which would underwrite the travel and per diem costs associated with a week-long trip to investigate National Archives records. Working with recognized archival experts, this team scoured thousands of pages of manuscript materials — primarily from RG 217 Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury) and more specifically Entry 525 (Settled Indian Accounts, 1817-1922). The team photocopied many of these records, organized the copied records, and forwarded copies to both the NPS and to the Sequoyah Research Center at the University of Arkansas Little Rock. The team successfully reapplied for funds in both 2007-8 and conducted similarly successful research trips. After the 2008 season, team member Marybelle Chase prepared a brief trip report in which she noted the circumstances of each summer’s trip and, in three separate reports, detailed the specific boxes and file numbers that the team investigated.

Research Project of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association; Research at the National Archives, College Park, Maryland and Washington, D.C. (Research Report No. 1, for 2006-2008), August 2008 (46 KB Word)

Inventory RG 217-2006 (27 KB Word)
Inventory RG 217-2007 (37 KB Word)
Inventory RG 217 Entry 515 July 7-12, 2008 (98 KB Word)

 

National Archives Research - Indian Removal
This report describes the activities and findings of the Trail of Tears Association’s Oklahoma Chapter research team, which in August 2009 made a week-long trip to the National Archives for its fourth consecutive year. This report, similar to Research Report No. 1 (see above), briefly explains the nature and major accomplishments from the trip. This report also lists the various record groups, entry numbers, and box numbers that the team investigated. As the team notes, some boxes revealed more information than others, and many boxes contained information about tribes other than the Cherokee. The 2009 research investigated records in these groups: RG 75 (Bureau of Indian Affairs), RG 92 (Office of the Quartermaster General), RG 94 (Records of the Adjutant General’s Office), 192 (Office of the Commissary General of Subsistence), and RG 393 (Register of Correspondence with General Winfield Scott, part of Records of U.S. Army Continental Commands, 1821-1920) as well as RG 217.

Marybelle Chase, Research Project of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association; Research at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (Research Report No. 2, for 2009), September 2009 (46.5 KB Word)

 

National Archives Research - 2010

This report describes the activities and findings of the Trail of Tears Association's Oklahoma Chapter research team, which in July 2010 made a week-long trip to the National Archives for its fifth consecutive year. This report, which is also similar to Research Report No. 1 (see above), briefly explains the nature and major accomplishments from the trip. This report lists the various record groups, entry numbers, and box numbers that the team investigated. During this year's investigations, all research was directed at Record Group 217 — Records of the Accounting Officers of the Department of the Treasury. Within that record group, the team investigated five different entry numbers: 465, 481, 482, 525, and 660. The most rewarding entry, however, was Entry 525 — Settled Indian Accounts, 1817-1922. This year, the team was able to utilize a portable scanner, and given this more sophisticated technology, the team was able to scan and copy a relatively large number of appropriate records pertaining to the Trail of Tears Removal, the period immediately beforehand, and its aftermath.

Marybelle Chase, Research Project of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Trail of Tears Association; Research at the National Archives, Washington, D.C. (Research Report No. 3, for 2010), December 2010 (31 KB Word)

. . . and the large data set to which the report refers is available at: http://ualr.edu/sequoyah/index.php/home/research/trail-of-tears-primary-sources-from-the-national-archives-in-washington-dc/

Did You Know?

Elkhorn Tavern at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

After their removal to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) in the late 1830s, Cherokee people established tribal government headquarters in Tahlequah, developed a constitution, and maintained a bilingual school system. Their experiencess are commemorated on the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.