Treaty of New Echota (1835)

The Treaty of New Echota (Kappler Project) was signed on December 29th, 1835. It established the terms under which the Cherokee were to give up their territory and be moved west to Indian Territory (modern day Oklahoma). The treaty caused the Cherokee nation to split into factions—one led by John Ross and the other led by Major Ridge. Ross (the Principle Chief of the Cherokee) had already refused an offer of three million dollars from the Federal Government for the land when the Treaty was signed by the other faction of the Cherokee. Among the signers was Major Ridge who was executed in 1839 alongside Elias Boudinot and John Ridge under the Cherokee Blood Law. They were held responsible for the 4,000 deaths that occurred on the Trail of Tears and for  signing a treaty which falsely represented the will of the Cherokee peoples.

A much more detailed history of this period is contained in the Cherokee Nation’s biography of Samuel Worcester. The National Park Service also has an interesting reading which discusses Major Ridge’s support of the Treaty.

The treaty is mentioned in the 22nd Congress (Session 1): “Be it enacted…That the following sums be…according to the stipulations of certain Indian treaties…paid out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, namely…[list of various treaties]…[and] For the payment of improvements within the limits of Georgia…abandoned by Cherokee emigrants under the treaty of sixth May, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight.” Notice the use of the word emigrants here. The discussion of the forced removal of the Cherokee as their emigration to Oklahoma was very common during this time.

records of Congressional Sessions are available at


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