Indians of Arkansas
Arkansas tribes were removed to Oklahoma early in the 1830s.
Tribes and Bands of Arkansas
The following list of tribes is compiled from the Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico, by Frederick Webb Hodge, and The Indian Tribes of North America, by John R. Swanton, as well as others.
Caddo, Cahinnio, Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Illinois, Kaskinampo, Michigamea, Mosopelea, Ofo, Osage, Quapaw, Seneca, Seminole, Shawnee, Tunica, Tunica-Karoa, Yazoo
The Caddo Indians were farmers, ceded land and removed to Texas then removed to Indian Territory-Oklahoma
From the mid-1800s, the official policy of the United States government toward the American Indian 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.
The following list of reservations has been compiled from the National Atlas of the United States of America, the Omni Gazetteer of the United States of America, and other sources. Those reservations named in bold are current federally-recognized reservations, with their associated agency and tribe(s). Others have historically been associated with the state or are not currently recognized by the federal government. There are no current federally-recognized reservations in Arkansas.
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's Guide to Records in the National Archives Relating to American Indians, 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.
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 disolved 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
1834 Most of the Indians had been removed from Arkansas further west.
Family History Library
For a complete list of available records use the Family History Library Catalog search by Tribe, and Location
- Chickamauga Cherokee Tribal Enrollment. (6 Family History Library films starting with 1597951
- Southern Superintendency of Indian Affairs 1832-1970. (22 films Family History Library films beginning with 1602871.)
- Arkansas Superintendency 1824-1834. The Family History Library has no records at this time.
Arkansas-History for a calendar of events
- Hodge, Frederick Webb. Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of Ethonology, Bulletin #30 1907. (Family History Library film 1320577 item 1.)
- Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin #145.
- National Atlas of the United States of America -- Federal Lands and Indian Reservations Available online.
- 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.
- Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches, Clearwater Publishing Co., Inc. 1974. (Family History Library 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.)
- American Indians: A Select Catalog of National Archives Microfilm Publications. Washington DC: National Archives Trust Fund Board, National Archives and Records Administration, 1998.
- 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.
- Hill, Edward E. The Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880: Historical Sketches. New York, New York: Clearwater Publishing Company, Inc., 1974.
- Historical Sketches for Jurisdictional and Subject Headings Used for the Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1880. National Archives Microcopy T1105.
- Preliminary Inventory No. 163: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Services. Available online
- "Accompanying Pamphlet for Microcopy 1011", National Archives Microfilm Publications, Appendix.