The United States Constitution

A forum for discussing the meaning of the United States Constitution for our political process.

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Location: Middleton, Massachusetts, United States

I am concerned about the direction of the United States economy and politics, and about our declining influence in the world. I feel we are losing our moral and ethical bearings.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Legal Status of an Indian Tribe

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Yesterday, I chanced on an interesting article in the business section of my local paper.  The Seminole Indians purchased the Hard Rock Cafe for $965 million.  That's a pretty large amount of money.  That got me to thinking - how did the Seminoles get all that money?  Are all Indian tribes that rich?  And in what capacity - as a nation or a corporation - did the Seminoles make the transaction? Are the individual Seminoles shareholders in the Seminole Corporation, citizens of the Seminole nation, or both?   And how does a group become certified as an Indian tribe?  Could I gather a few friends, maybe some of my 6,000+ MySpace friends, declare that we're a tribe, and go into the casino business?  So, salivating over the prospect of casino riches, I decided to do a little research on how, exactly, an Indian tribe is set up.  There's a long and winding road associated with the answer to the question.


As I mentioned in my article about the legal basis of Indian ethnic cleansing, the Constitution grants to Congress, in the Commerce Clause, the power to regulate commerce with the Indian tribes.  There's also another area in which our government has dealt with Indian tribes - as a nation, like England or France.  In that capacity, the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, has concluded many treaties with Indian tribes, as nations.  The idea that Indian tribes were nations was, at the time of the ratification of the Constitution, so self-evident that the tribes are not singled out as separate from a nation when the Executive is given the treaty making power.  It was just assumed.


As an early example, from the administration of George Washington, the United States government signed a "treaty of peace and friendship" with the Iroquois nation, on November 11, 1794.  The treaty is known either as the Pickering Treaty, the Calico Treaty (because calico cloth was the official method of payment), or the Treaty of Canandaigua (for the location, near Rochester, New York, where the treaty was signed.  I quote from the Preamble and the first two articles.



The President of the United States having determined to hold a conference with the Six Nations of Indians, for the purpose of removing from their minds all causes of complaint, and establishing a firm and permanent friendship with them; and Timothy Pickering being appointed sole agent for that purpose; and the agent having met and conferred with the Sachems, Chiefs and Warriors of the Six Nations, in a general council: Now in order to accomplish the good design of this conference, the parties have agreed on the following articles, which, when ratified by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate of the United States, shall be binding on them and the Six Nations.


Article I.  Peace and friendship are hereby firmly established, and shall be perpetual, between the United States and the Six Nations.


Article II. The United States acknowledge the lands reserved to the Oneida, Onondaga and Cayuga Nations, in their respective treaties with the state of New York, and called their reservations, to be their property; and the United States will never claim the same, nor disturb them or either of the Six Nations, nor their Indian friends residing thereon and united with them, in the free use and enjoyment thereof: but the said reservations shall remain theirs, until they choose to sell the same to the people of the United States who have right to purchase.



You can read the entire text of the treaty here.


The Pickering Treaty has been formally observed continuously since then.  Every year the Six Nations in New York receive calico as payment, and the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin receives a check for $1,800, in accordance with its terms.  The signing ceremony was reenacted on November 11, 2006 in Canandaigua.  None of this, however, prevented the United States government from flooding 10,000 acres of Allegany Seneca Reservation land and the traditional Seneca religious building, the Cold Spring Longhouse, by the Kinzua Dam, in 1965, in violation of the 1794 Pickering Treaty.  Apparently, when it comes to treaties with Indian nations (by some estimates, there have been over 400 of them solemnly sealed over the years), they are only enforced when it is convenient for the government.  Imagine if the Indians wanted to flood midtown Manhattan and St. Patrick's Cathedral because they didn't think that the $24 payment in wampum was enough compensation for Manhattan.


The Pickering Treaty terms seem pretty clear.  The Iroquois nation has a fee simple title to the land, complete with the "free use and enjoyment thereof", with the right to sell on terms agreeable to them, just like any landowner.  Well, that was the plain meaning of the treaty in 1794.  When the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Marshall, (Johnson v. M'Intosh, 1823) actually ruled on whether the Native Americans could sell their land to a private party, the unanimous decision was that they could not because ultimate title belonged to the United States of America. Indians only had the "right of occupancy" because the Court held that the land was "discovered" by the European powers.  Here's how Marshall stated it:



It is supposed to be a principle of universal law, that, if an uninhabited country be discovered by a number of individuals, who acknowledge no connexion with, and owe no allegiance to, any government whatever, the country becomes the property of the discoverers, so far at least as they can use it. They acquire a title in common. The title of the whole land is in the whole society. It is to be divided and parcelled out according to the will of the society, expressed by the whole body, or by that organ which is authorized by the whole to express it.


            If the discovery be made, and possession of the country be taken, under the authority of an existing government, which is acknowledged by the emigrants, it is supposed to be equally well settled, that the discovery is made for the whole nation, that the country becomes a part of the nation, and that the vacant soil is to be disposed of by that organ of the government which has the constitutional power to dispose of the national domains, by that organ in which all vacant territory is vested by law.



In other words, the land was uninhabited until the white Europeans discovered it and it was only put to use when the white Europeans settled it.  The native Americans became, by legal magic, invisible and unproductive.


If the Indian tribes were a nation, they were certainly a curious nation.  They did not own their land.  In an 1831 case, Cherokee Nation v Georgia, the Marshall court defined the Cherokees as a "domestic, dependent nation", as opposed, I guess to England, which was an international, independent nation.  In Worcester v Georgia, an 1832 case, the Marshall Court held that only the Federal government, not the states, could negotiate treaties with Indian tribes.  The Treaty of New Echota, made by the United States government with a few dozen Cherokees, many of whom were assassinated by the other 17,000 Cherokees who opposed it, which made "official" the removal of the Cherokee nation to Oklahoma, was a formal treaty, negotiated by the President and ratified by the Senate, in line with the ratification procedure for any treaty.  By the terms of that treaty, the Cherokee Nation was supposed to be able to set up their independent government in Indian territory (present day Oklahoma), forever, without any interference from the white man.  White settlement in Indian Territory was expressly forbidden.


This arrangement worked until enough whites wanted to steal the land promised to the Indian "forever".  By the eve of the Civil War, each tribe that was "relocated" to Indian Territory had its own fragment of land.  The land intended for the Cherokee Nation and other relocated tribes was already occupied by other Indian tribes, principally the Osage and the Qawpaw, as the official Oklahoma history Web site explains.  By a treaty of 1808, amazingly, the Osage were promised the entire state of Oklahoma in return for relocating from Kansas.  In other words, far from being empty, uninhabited prairie, Indian Territory was already populated.  The tribes from the east were given land stolen from the tribes already living in Indian Territory.  A competition for food and land among the relocated tribes and the tribes already living their ensued.


When the white Europeans, such as ranchers, farmers, and mining companies, discovered that Oklahoma land and resources were valuable, the government needed to come up with a legal way to circumvent the inconvenient treaties they had made with the various Indian tribes.  The most important law passed by Congress was the Dawes Act, enacted in 1887.  Section One authorizes the President to survey Native American tribal land and divide the arable area into allotments for the individual Native American. It says that the head of any household will receive 160 acres (647,000 m²), and each single individual above the age of 18 and each orphan will receive 80 acres (324,000 m²), and each minor will receive 40 acres (162,000 m²).  In other words, native American tribal land was converted to individual homesteads for each Indian who could prove to the satisfaction of the United States Government that he or she was a proper member of the tribe.  The result of the Dawes Act was to destroy the tribal rights, negotiated by treaties, that the government was supposed to preserve.  The Dawes Act also destroyed the Indian tribal culture.  Each Indian had to enroll in the Dawes Roll, and, in a process hauntingly similar to what the Nazis did in Germany, prove that they had the required amount of Indian blood.  By the way, if you were of mixed Indian ancestry - say 50% Cherokee and 50% Osage - you had to choose, which meant that you were deprived of the tribal rights of the other tribe.  Hitler had similar rules about percentage of Jewishness to make you eligible for the gas chamber.  The idea of dealing with the tribes as sovereign nations was dead as a doornail.  In fact, in 1871, Congress passed a law which forbade the President from negotiating any more treaties with Indian tribes.


Check out this collection of documents related to the Dawes Act from PBS.


In my US history textbook published in the 1950s, I remember a picture of the famous Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889.  There were all those wagons and horses lined up at the Oklahoma border, waiting for the starter to give the signal to occupy the empty land across it.  In reality, the land was overcrowded with Indians trying to survive.  The land was not empty - it was stolen from the Cherokees and other tribes who had solemn treaty obligations to it.  The government pressured the tribes to cede "unassigned lands" - those lands where there were no formal Indian settlements - for white settlers - for minimal compensation.  So the Oklahoma Land Rush should more properly be called the Oklahoma Land Theft.


With each Indian reduced to his own homestead, and with little knowledge of this contorted history, unscrupulous white land agents took advantage of the Indians, effectively stealing whatever allotment was supposed to be available, and impoverishing those who still remained.  This Indian privatization scheme was disastrous to the native Americans.


This situation was partially relieved only in the New Deal era, with the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (also known as the Wheeler-Howard Act or the Indian New Deal).  The terms of the Act allowed the Indian tribes to organize as a tribe, appoint legal counsel, and negotiate contracts.  A tribe could adopt its own "constitution", subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior.  Although the Act did not fully restore Indian tribes to complete nationhood, it did provide the legal foundation for contracts such as the Seminole contracts with gambling casinos.


Although there have been various twists and turns - a potentially disastrous twist occurred during the 1950s, in the Eisenhower administration, when the policy of "terminating" Indian tribes, basically returning them back to the Dawes Act era, was tried and failed - the Wheeler-Howard Act is the basic document underpinning the legal status of Indian tribes.  Termination was nearly a disaster for the Menominee tribe (the government wanted to make a state park out of the Menominee tribal land) and the Colville River tribes.  So can I get a group of my friends together, declare ourselves as a tribe, and get in on the casino action?  Not exactly.  We have to prove that we're biologically and genetically Indian, get the historians and anthropologists in on the action to prove that our ancestors acted as a tribe, and then apply to the US government for certification.  Some tribes, like the Lumbee in North Carolina, have been trying for over 100 years.  Maybe there's a loophole somewhere - can I be adopted by an official tribe?  Any of my native American MySpace friends, please contact me (ira@irakrakow.com) - I'm available!



Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Native American Source for the Declaration and the Constitution

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In the standard high school history textbooks, the primary sources of the ideas behind the Constitution are almost entirely from western Europe.  We read about English common law, laws from ancient Greece and Rome, and French civil law.  Then, by some sort of magic, the Framers added their original genius, ideas about democracy, separation of powers, federalism, and so on, to the mix and, behold, the Constitution was created.


All well and good.  Certainly ancient Greece and Rome, medieval England, and the minds of Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and others were vital contributions to the ideas of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  But one source, hiding in plain sight, so to speak, is frequently overlooked.  This is the contribution of native Americans, particularly the Iroquois, to the mix.  The Iroquois constitution, called the Great Law of Peace, or Gayanashagowa, contains many echoes of our Constitution, and in a number of respects, is more advanced in thought than the Constitution that resulted from the Convention of 1787.


This is not something I made up.  If you read the original documents from the time, from people like Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, you will easily see that they deeply acknowledged their debt to the Iroquois and other native Americans.   It's no accident that the protestors at the Boston Tea Party chose to disguise themselves as Indians.  They did this out of respect for the democratic and free nature of Indian society - something they were trying to establish in the face of what they considered British tyranny.


Who were the Iroquois?  Here's how the Wikipedia article on the Iroquois describes it:



The Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee, also known as the League of Peace and Power, Five Nations, or Six Nations, mostly Six nations now a days) is a group of First Nations/Native Americans. It was made up of six tribes: the Mohawks, the Oneidas, the Onondagas, the Cayugas, and the Senecas. A sixth tribe, the Tuscarora, joined after the original five nations were formed. They are also sometimes called the people of the Long house. They are often referred to as Iroquois, a term that some members of the group consider derogatory.


The Union of Nations was established prior to major European contact, complete with a constitution known as the Gayanashagowa (or "Great Law of Peace") with the help of a memory device in the form of special beads called wampum that have inherent spiritual value (wampum has been inaccurately compared to money in other cultures). Most anthropologists have traditionally speculated that this constitution was created between the middle 1400s and early 1600s. However, recent archaeological studies have suggested the accuracy of the account found in oral tradition, which argues that the federation was formed around August 31, 1142 based on a coinciding solar eclipse (see Fields and Mann, American Indian Culture and Research Journal, vol. 21, #2). Some Westerners have also suggested that the Great Law of Peace was written with European help, although some dismiss this notion as racist.



The Iroquois were not simply passive observers of the conflict between the French and British.  They were a formidable military power.  In fact, they held the balance of power in the West for the 17th and 18th centuries.  According to Francis Parkman, the famous 19th century historian, the Iroquois were at the height of their power in the 17th century, with a population of around 12,000 people. Our image of native Americans comes mainly from those John Ford westerns, that they were savages who scalped innocent white settlers who just wanted to farm on the empty prairie.  This is not how Benjamin Franklin, who negotiated a treaty with the Iroquois, saw them.



"It would be a strange thing if six nations of ignorant savages should be capable of forming a scheme for such a union and be able to execute it in such a manner as that it has subsisted ages and appears insoluble; and yet that a like union should be impractical for ten or a dozen English colonies.



At the time, Franklin proposed a plan, called the Albany Plan of Union, based on the Great Law of Peace, to unite the colonies.  About 40 Iroquois representatives, led by Chief Hendrick of the Mohawk, urged such a union because it had worked so well for the Iroquois.  The white "savages", unfortunately, could not agree.  A number of historians cite the Albany Plan as a predecessor to our Constitution.  They don't always mention that its basis was a native American constitution that had been functioning continuously for hundreds of years.


On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress, in the midst of debating the text of the Declaration of Independence, formally invited visiting Iroquois chiefs into the meeting hall.  Read about it here.  There a speech was delivered, in which they were addressed as "Brothers" and told of the delegates' wish that the "friendship" between them would "continue as long as the sun shall shine" and the "waters run." The speech also expressed the hope that the new Americans and the Iroquois act "as one people, and have but one heart."  After this speech, an Onondaga chief requested permission to give Hancock an Indian name. The Congress graciously consented, and so the president was renamed "Karanduawn, or the Great Tree."  Like I said, I'm not making this up.


Recent historians have taken note of the Iroquois contribution to our political thought.  At a conference at Cornell University in 1987, the 200th anniversary of the Ratification of the Constitution, 200 historians and scholars gathered to examine how the Great Law of Peace was indeed the source of the Constitution.  Here's how it was described:



Faithkeeper Oren Lyons, an Onondaga, states The Great Law of Peace includes "freedom of speech, freedom of religion, [and] the right of women to participate in government. Separation of power in government and checks and balances within government are traceable to our Iroquois constitution—ideas learned by colonists."


The central idea underlying Iroquois political philosophy is that peace is the will of the Creator, and the ultimate spiritual goal and natural order among humans. The principles of Iroquois government embodied in The Great Law of Peace were transmitted by a historical figure called the Peacemaker. His teachings emphasize the power of Reason to assure Righteousness, Justice and Health among humans. Peace came to the Iroquois, not through war and conquest, but through the exercise of Reason guided by the spiritual mind. The Iroquois League is based not on force of arms or rule of law, but spiritual concepts of natural law applied to human society.


At the planting of a Tree of Peace in Philadelphia in 1986, Mohawk Chief Jake Swamp explained, "In the beginning, when our Creator made humans, everything needed to survive was provided. Our Creator asked only one thing: Never forget to appreciate the gifts of Mother Earth. Our people were instructed how to be grateful and how to survive.


"But during a dark age in our history 1000 years ago, humans no longer listened to the original instructions. Our Creator became sad, because there was so much crime, dishonesty, injustice and war.


"So Creator sent a Peacemaker with a message to be righteous and just, and make a good future for our children seven generations to come. He called all warring people together and told them as long as there was killing there would be no peace of mind. There must be a concerted effort by humans for peace to prevail. Through logic, reasoning and spiritual means, he inspired the warriors to bury their weapons and planted atop a sacred Tree of Peace."



Here's a description of the Great Law of Peace, from the Official Six Nations Web Site.  Peace was more than the absence of war - the Iroquois considered it as harmony with nature, one's surroundings, and one's brothers.


Here's the text of the Great Law of Peace.


You can read the excellent book Forgotten Founders, by Bruce Johansen, online, for free.  Mr. Johansen examines not only the Great Law of Peace, but also other native American influences on the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  The Great Law was far more democratic than either document.  Women had full equality - in fact, they sort of ran the show.  The men turned in all their assets, except for their guns and arrows for fighting, to the women to manage.  The long house was a true democracy, where everyone could speak their mind.  Ideas such as free speech, later incorporated into the Bill of Rights, were first written down here.  The idea of separation of powers and federalism was not only written down but practiced.  Each nation preserved its own sovereignty but also agreed to the rights of the Iroquois nation for matters such as defense.  The Iroquois didn't have to wrestle with the "peculiar institution" of slavery because it was unknown.  A modern historian, faced with all the facts, could easily conclude that the Constitution was based on this native American document and then was debased by the fierce political horsetrading that occurred at the Convention in 1787.  Maybe this is too extreme a position.  At the least, however, the contributions of the native Americans to our fundamental documents should be both acknowledged and celebrated, instead of being invisible.



By the way, the thing about scalping - it was a European invention.  The British placed a bounty on the scalp of an Indian.  The Indians considered scalping as barbaric and only resorted to it out of self defense.  Makes you think about who the savages really were.



Friday, December 01, 2006

How the Seminoles Resisted Ethnic Cleansing From Florida

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After you read this post, you won't look at a 20 dollar bill - the one with Andrew Jackson's face on it -  the same way again.  When you think of the wars in American history, a standard list - including the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq - come to mind.  What about the Pequot War,   King Philip's War, Pontiac's Rebellion, the Creek War, or the Black Hawk War?  These were also wars we fought (King Philip's War was the bloodiest, pound for pound, in our history), but they're  invisible.  The reason - the "enemy" was native American.  In this episode, I will discuss how the Seminole Indians fought three wars in Florida, holding the United States Army at bay for nearly 4 decades, resisting the Indian removal policy.  The Seminoles, in fact, were never defeated in the field.


In the last episode, I discussed how the Cherokee nation was forcibly "removed" to Oklahoma in the 1830s, along paths which are now known collectively as the Trail of Tears.  The driving force behind this ethnic cleansing was Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States, known as Sharp Knife because of his lifelong dedication to Indian ethnic cleansing, by lies and deception if possible, by force if necessary.  Congress gave President Jackson the authority to relocate the Indians to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) by passing the Indian Removal Act of 1830.  The Cherokees, who had built a nation according to the white man's ways, decided to work through the legal system, and did not resort to armed resistance.  In this episode, I will discuss the Seminoles in Florida, who resisted fiercely, fighting three wars against the full might of the United States army, wars lasting 4 decades, in guerrilla fashion - hiding out in the mosquito and rat infested swamps of the Everglades, until both sides essentially tired of the struggle.  The Seminoles were never defeated on the battlefield.  At the end, the remnant bands retired to the remote parts of the Everglades until well into the 20th century, when the crush of development forced the Seminoles to settle more into the white man's ways.



Who are the Seminoles?  According to the white man, they're one of the Five Civilized Tribes, the others being the Creek (also called Muskoki), Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Choctaw.  By "civilized", the white man's view is that, unlike all the other Indian tribes, such as the Plains Indians, they adopted the white man's ways.   This of course is blatant nonsense.  Many of the tribes east of the Mississippi, such as the Iroquois, were as "civilized" as any white groups.  Foods like corn, squash, beans, and succotash, that we eat on Thanksgiving and in daily life, are of Indian origin.  Many Indians were farmers, some were large landowners.  Nevertheless, in spite of their civilized ways, they were for the most part "relocated" west of the Mississippi.  The reason had nothing to do with civilization.  Instead, it was the white man's hunger for land and, in the case of the Cherokees, gold.  They were forced to relinquish their land and other assets for land in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) with the promise that the area would be theirs exclusively, with white settlement banned.   In the next episode, when I explain the real story behind the "Oklahoma Land Grab", I'll set the record on that score straight.


According to the Official Seminole Tribe Web Site, the ancestors of the Seminole tribe have lived in the southeastern states (Florida and Georgia mainly) for 12,000 years.  When the Spanish "discovered" Florida in 1513, about 200,000 Maskoki speaking peoples lived there.  The origin of the word Seminole is obscure.  One theory is that it is a corruption of the Spanish word "cimarrones", which means free people.  The Seminoles are closely related to the Creeks and concentrated along the border between Florida and Georgia.


We tend to think of the War of 1812 as a fight between Great Britain and the United States.  Of course, they did fight each other, in such events as the Battle of Lake Erie, the seige of Fort McHenry (Baltimore), the burning of Washington, DC, and the Battle of New Orleans.  But relatively unnoticed, a large part of the war consisted of fighting Indian tribes along the western and southern frontier.  One of these tribes was the Creeks.  The Creek War (1813-1814) started out as a civil war between those Creeks who wanted to remain living in traditional ways (the Red Sticks), and those who wanted to become more "civilized", according to the ways of the White man (the White Sticks).   On August 30, 1813, at Fort Mims, Alabama, the Red Sticks killed 500 people in the Massacre of Fort Mims. This event prompted the United States to become involved on the side of the White Sticks, with the goal of clearing Alabama for white settlement.  Under the command of Andrew Jackson, eventually the United States army prevailed, at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend (March 27, 1814).  According to the terms of the Treaty of Fort Jackson (August 9, 1814) - did you ever hear about this treaty in your history classes? - the Creeks gave up much of what is now the State of Alabama, and a chunk of south Georgia bordering Florida.


During this period, Florida was a Spanish territory.  The Florida-Georgia border was considered insecure, especially for southern slaveholders, because Florida was a haven for runaway slaves.  Some of the Creek bands who escaped from the Creek War wound up in Florida,  building towns, and sheltering runaway slaves.  In addition, our government considered Spain as a security threat.


As I mentioned earlier, the official White House biography is silent on what Andrew Jackson was doing between his victory in the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and his inauguration as President in 1828.  He didn't just retire to the Hermitage and sip mint juleps.  Most of the time he was fighting Indians, including the Seminoles.  The First Seminole War erupted over forays staged by U.S. authorities to recapture runaway black slaves living among Seminole bands, who stiffly resisted. In 1818, Major General Andrew Jackson was dispatched with an army of more than 3,000 soldiers to Florida to punish the Seminole. After liquidating several native settlements, then executing two British traders held for reportedly encouraging Seminole resolve, General Jackson captured the Spanish fort of Pensacola in May 1818 and deposed the government.  Jackson did more than fight the Seminoles.  He instigated a crisis between the United States and Spain, making war without any authorization from Congress or the President (Monroe at the time).  His strategy worked, because in 1819, as a result of the Adams-Onis Treaty, Spain ceded Florida to the United States.


The Seminoles continued to be a problem for the United States.  In 1823, under the terms of the Treaty of Moultrie Creek - another one you've probably never heard of - some of the Seminoles agreed to relocate to a reservation area in central Florida.  This still didn't stop conflict between Seminoles and whites over the treatment of runaway slaves.


After the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed, the official United States policy under President Jackson was relocation to Oklahoma.  I already discussed how the Cherokees were relocated.  They went peaceably, with horribly tragic results.  The government expected the same scenario with the Seminoles.  In 1834, by the Treaty of Payne's Landing - another treaty that I'm sure is on the tip of your tongue - the Seminoles were ordered to relocate to Indian Territory in 1835.  In 1835, President Jackson ordered the Seminoles to start moving west.  Here's how the Wikipedia article describes it:



In March 1835 Thompson (Jackson's agent) called the chiefs together to read a letter from Andrew Jackson to them. In his letter, Jackson said, Should you ... refuse to move, I have then directed the Commanding officer to remove you by force. The chiefs asked for thirty days to respond. A month later the Seminole chiefs told Thompson that they would not move west. Thompson and the chiefs began arguing, and General Clinch had to intervene to prevent bloodshed. Eventually, eight of the chiefs agreed to move west, but asked to delay the move until the end of the year, and Thompson and Clinch agreed



Five important chiefs resisted the order.  One young warrior, Osceola, said:



The white man shall not make me black. I will make the white man red with blood; and then blacken him in the sun and rain ... and the buzzard live upon his flesh.



Osceola made good on his threat.  Although about 3,000 Seminoles voluntary relocated to Indian Territory following their version of the Trail of Tears, Osceola's band of 300 to 500 insurgents managed to hold off a sizeable fraction of the United States Army from 1835 to 1842.    One estimate of the cost of the Seminole War was $30,000,000 to $40,000,000 - a huge sum for its time.  At its height, the Army had 9,000 soldiers pursuing the Seminole bands.  There were significant battles in what is now Dade and Broward Counties in South Florida.  The Second Seminole War was the most expensive Indian war in United States history, lasting longer than any war the United States fought between the American Revolution and Vietnam.


The story of Osceola's capture by deceit was considered a black mark in American military history at the time.  Here's the story from the Wikipedia article about Osceola:



On October 21, 1837, on the orders of U.S. General Thomas Sidney Jesup, Osceola was captured when he arrived for supposed truce negotiations in Fort Payton. He was imprisoned at Fort Marion, St. Augustine, Florida. Osceola's capture by deceit caused uproar even among the white population and General Jesup was publicly condemned. Opponents of the contemporary administration cited it as a black mark against the government. The next December, Osceola and other Seminole prisoners were moved to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. There painter George Catlin met him and convinced him to pose for him for two paintings. Robert J. Curtis painted an oil portrait of him. These pictures inspired a number of other prints, engravings and even cigar store figures. Afterwards numerous landmarks, including Osceola Counties in Florida, Iowa, and Michigan, have been named after him, along with Florida's Osceola National Forest. Osceola died of malaria on January 20, 1838 less than three months after his capture, and was buried with military honors.



By 1843, both the Seminoles and the US army were exhausted.  No formal treaty ended the war.  The Seminoles are the only tribe that never signed a peace treaty with the United States government.  The remnants of the Seminoles retreated to the Everglades and the Army units withdrew.  Peace reigned for a while.  Florida entered the Union as a slave state in 1845.  The government tried to remove the remaining Seminoles from Florida, prompting a third Seminole war from 1855 to 1858.  Scattered bands of Seminoles lived off the land until well into the 20th century.


In recent years, the Seminoles of Florida have recovered.  The tribe runs a number of profitable enterprises, such as gambling casinos, eco-tourism, cheap tobacco shops, and resorts, as a visit to their Web site shows.  If you're ever in Hollywood, Florida, not too far from Fort Lauderdale, pay a visit to their headquarters on Stirling Road and I-441.  The logo of the Florida Seminoles features Chief Osceola - it has the official seal of approval of the Seminole tribe.  There are also about 3,000 Seminoles in Oklahoma.