Indigenous Peoples of Arkansas

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Online Resources[edit | edit source]

Tribes and Bands of Arkansas[edit | edit source]

Learn about the indigenous people of Arkansas, Tribes and Bands, agencies, reservations and records.

Arkansas tribes were removed to Oklahoma early in the 1830s.

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The following list of tribes is compiled from the Frederick Webb Hodge, and The Indian Tribes of North America Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1987. FHL film 1320577 Item 1 and Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin #145 by John R. Swanton, as well as others.

The Caddo Indians were farmers, ceded land and removed to Texas then removed to Indian Territory-Oklahoma

Agencies[edit | edit source]

Agencies and subagencies were created as administrative offices of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and its predecessors. Their purpose was (and is) to manage Indian affairs with the tribes, to enforce policies, and to assist in maintaining the peace. The names and location of these agencies may have changed, but their purpose remained basically the same. Many of the records of genealogical value were created by these offices.

The following list of agencies that have operated or now exist in Arkansas has been compiled from Hill's Office of Indian Affairs...

  • Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. FHL book 970.1 H551o
  • Hill, Edward E. (comp.). Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States Relating to American Indians. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, 1981. FHL book 970.1 H551g), and others.

A brief history of each agency and an explanation of the availability of at least some records for each, are listed on the page for the agency.

Records[edit | edit source]

The majority of records of individuals were those created by the agencies. Some records may be available to tribal members through the tribal headquarters.They were (and are) the local office of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and were charged with maintaining records of the activities of those under their responsibility. Among these records are:

Family History Library[edit | edit source]

1860 Federal Census of Arkansas, (Indian Territory) FHL film 002478 (pages 1147 thru 1223). Includes Creek Nation, Chickasaw District, Choctaw Nation, Seminole Country West. Mostly the Whites living among the Indians. The Seminole Nation also listed their slaves.

For a complete list of available records, use the FamilySearch Catalog and search by Tribe and Location.(sate and county)

FamilySearch Catalog Arkansas Native Races

Reservations[edit | edit source]

From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the Native Americans was to confine each tribe to a specific parcel of land called a reservation. Agencies were established on or near each reservation. A government representative, usually called an agent (or superintendent) was assigned to each agency. Their duties included maintaining the peace, making payments to the Native Americans based on the stipulations of the treaties with each tribe, and providing a means of communication between the native population and the federal government.

Sometimes, a single agency had jurisdiction over more than one reservation. And sometimes, if the tribal population and land area required it, an agency may have included sub-agencies.

The boundaries of reservations, over time, have changed. Usually, that means the reservations have been reduced in size. Sometimes, especially during the later policy of "termination," the official status of reservations was ended altogether.

A list of reservations has been compiled and included in the following:

  • Isaacs. Katherine M., editor. Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America. U.S. Data Sourcebook, Volume 11 Appendices, Bureau of Indian Affairs List of American Indian Reservations, Appendix E (Indian Reservations. Omnigraphics, Inc., 1991) FHL book 973 E5)
  • Reservation Map - - Indian Reservations - Federal Lands and Indian Reservations. by the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Geological Survey.

Superintendency[edit | edit source]

The Arkansas Superintendency was created in 1819 under the the Secretary of War, until 1824 when the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established. The superintendency was dissolved and the Cherokee Choctaw, Quapaw and other tribes living in the area west of Arkansas were placed in the new Western Superintendency.

Jurisdiction over the tribes: Cherokee, Quapaw, Choctaw, Osage, Shawnee, Caddo and Delaware.

There was a government Indian factory (trading post) established on the Arkansas river known as the Arkansas Post.

1825 An agency for the Choctaw living west of the Mississippi River, remained under the Arkansas Superintendency until 1828.

1825-1826: Most Quapaw were removed to the Caddo or Red River Agency on the Red River, west of Arkansas.

1832 Supervision of the Cherokee Indians only.

1835 The last Indian tribes had been removed from Arkansas to present-day Oklahoma. Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs have been transcribed in:

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

See also American Indian For Further Reading.

Click this button for links to databases, indexes, or sites that help you find a Native American ancestor by topic or tribe.