95 pages 3 hours read

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Jean Mendoza, Debbie Reese

An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States for Young People

Nonfiction | Book | YA | Published in 2019

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Chapters 6-8

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 6 Summary: “Jefferson, Jackson, and the Pursuit of Indigenous Homelands”

In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase with France totaling 828,000 square miles west of the Mississippi River. He did this without Indigenous involvement and concocted policies to pressure them into schemes that caused them to incur massive debts. By restricting trading networks and building settlements in former hunting grounds, the US government forced nations like the Choctaws and Chickasaws into buying agricultural equipment and then selling land to pay the debt. Federal Indian agents like Benjamin Hawkins lobbied tribes to adopt European practices.

The Muscogee Nation fell into civil war in 1813 when traditionalists Upper Creeks, or Red Sticks, attacked Lower Creeks, who were collaborating with Hawkins. Andrew Jackson, a Tennessee militia leader, led 700 men and 600 Lower Creek and Cherokee allies to destroy the Red Sticks. At the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, Jackson’s forces captured 300 wives and children and killed 800 of 1,000 fighters, losing just 49 men in the process. Jackson mutilated Red Stick corpses for “souvenirs,” and the 1814 Treaty of the Creeks ceded 22 million acres of Muscogee homeland to the US, including Lower Creek lands (114). The remaining Red Sticks joined the Seminole Nation of the Florida Everglades, a nation of refugees and Africans who escaped slavery.

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