The Choctaw 'Net Proceeds' Delegation and the Treaty of 1855
Keywords:Choctaw, Chickasaw, Wichita, Indian Territory, Treaty of 1855, land dispute, treaties, tribal authority
A period of intense three-way negotiation between the United States Government, the Choctaw Nation, and the Chickasaw Nation began April 10, 1855. The issues under consideration were the Choctaw's desire for the "net proceeds" from the sale of lands in Mississippi ceded to the United States in the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (1830), the political autonomy desired by the Chickasaws residing in the Choctaw Nation, and the lease of land in the western portion of the Choctaw Nation to the United States for "the permanent settlement of the Wichita and such other tribes or bands of Indians as the government may desire to locate therein."1 The purpose of this paper is to explore the interconnected nature of these three issues and their historical context, the relative weakness of the Choctaw's negotiating position vis-à-vis the United States and the Chickasaw delegation, and the culmination of these negotiations in the Treaty of 1855. As an example of the treaty-making process, the negotiations of 1855 reveal the legalistic fiction that was at the heart of the process; a process ultimately ended by Congress in 1871.