CSA & Cherokee 1863 Treaty
At the start of the Civil War, Native Americans strongly supported the Confederate cause for several reasons. Some Native Americans were slave owners, many had a deep distrust for the Federal government, and the majority of Indian agents were from Southern states and exerted a strong influence on the tribes. In April 1861, Federal troops were ordered out of the Indian Territory, leaving it under Confederate control. Seeing an opportunity, Confederate Jefferson Davis sent Albert Pike and General Benjamin McCulloch to the Indian Territory in May 1861 to negotiate treaties with the tribes and recruit for the Confederate army. Pike was successful in negotiating with the Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Seminole, Wichita, Caddo and others; however, the Cherokee hoped to remain neutral.
After the Confederate victory at Wilsonâ€™s Creek on August 10, 1861, the Cherokees, along with the Quapaw, Seneca, Shawnee and Osage, signed a treaty with the Confederates on October 7, 1861.
The Cherokee Nation became divided, and on February 18, 1863, at Cowskin Prairie, Cherokee Nation, the National Council of the Cherokee Nation agreed to a treaty with the United States. It declared the treaty of October 7, 1861 with the Confederate States of America revoked and null and void. The treaty called for the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation to call a Convention of the Cherokee People as soon as practicable for the approval and ratification of the treaty. The treaty was signed by Lewis Downing for the United States and Thomas Pegg, Acting Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Image Courtesy Special Collections and University Archives, University of Tulsa