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Native American Spaces: Cartographic Resources at the Library of Congress

Indian Territory

In the early nineteenth century a movement began in the United States to remove Indian tribes from their ancestral lands in the rapidly developing eastern states and settle them in the newly acquired lands west of the Mississippi River. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 established the government policy of relocating the eastern tribes to a separate, reserved "Indian Territory" on the Great Plains. A chronology of contemporaneous maps of the Indian territory reveals the continuous loss of portions of this reserved land, owing to the pressure from non-Indian settlers and the commercial interests in opening Indian lands for non-Indian use. By the 1870s, Indian Territory — which had once extended from the present Texas-Oklahoma border to the Nebraska-Dakota border — had shrunk to encompass only what is today most of the state of Oklahoma. The Geography and Map Division has a strong collection of maps, both federally and commercially published, which document the diminishing of Indian Territory. There is also good coverage of Indian and Oklahoma Territories from the post-Civil War period to 1907 (when the remaining portions of Indian Territory were incorporated into the newly formed state of Oklahoma), and maps of individual parcels of land, such as the "Cherokee Outlet," which were ceded to the United States and opened for non-Indian settlement.

Digitized Maps

The maps in this section have been digitized by the Library and are available for viewing and download online. Select the link on the map or in the caption to view a copy of the map that can be enlarge to view the detail.

 

Indian Territory of the Northern Mississippi River Basin, 1836

G. W. Featherstonhaugh, for the U. S. Topographical Bureau. A map of a portion of the Indian country lying east and west of the Mississippi River to the forty sixth degree of north latitude from personal observation made in the autumn of 1835 and recent authentic documents. ca. 1836. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

This map of the northern Mississippi River basin shows Indian occupied lands, lands ceded to the federal government, and lands assigned to Indians removed from the eastern United States.


Lands Assigned to Emigrant Indians West of Arkansas and Missouri, 1836

United States. Topographical Bureau. Map showing the lands assigned to emigrant Indians west of Arkansas and Missouri. Prepared at the [U.S. Army] Topographical Bureau [Washington, D.C.] 1836. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Shows boundaries of lands assigned to the individual tribes current with U.S. government treaty commitments of the 1830s. Also includes a checklist of tribes that had migrated west of the Mississippi River, the acreage assigned to each tribe, and the tribes remaining in the east, and population figures for both.

Learn more about this map on the Featured Maps page.


Map Showing Indian Territory After the Civil War, 1866

United States. Army. Corps of Topographical Engineers. Indian Territory, with part of the adjoining state of Kansas, &c. 1866. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Map is annotated to illustrate the reduction of Cherokee, Seminole, Choctaw, and Creek tribal territories resulting from Indian involvement in the Civil War on behalf of the Confederate cause.


Reservations in Indian Territory,1887

Geo. U. Mayo. United States General Land Office. Indian territory: compiled from the official records of the records of the General Land Office and other sources under supervision of Geo. U. Mayo. 1887. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

This map contains extensive cultural detail relating to the reservations composing Indian Territory. It has also been annotated to illustrate the boundaries of the formation of Oklahoma Territory within the Indian Territory.


Map of Indian Territory, 1889

Charles A. Maxwell. United States Office of Indian Affairs.Indian territory: compiled under the direction of the Hon. John H. Oberly, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, by C.A. Maxwell. 1889. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Map depicts the lands occupied by various tribes and includes details about land transfers and cessions.


Commercial Map of Indian and Oklahoma Territories, 1892

Rand McNally & Co. Map of the Indian and Oklahoma Territories. 1892. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

This map, issued by the major American map publisher of the late-nineteenth century, is an example of a mass-produced commercial map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories.


General Land Office Map of Indian Areas, 1894

Rand McNally & Co. Map of the Indian and Oklahoma territories, 1894; compiled from the official records of the General Land Office and other sources. 1894. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

General Land Office map depicting Indian areas, districts, treaty dates, roads and trails, the named railroads, drainage, and relief by hachures.


Fire Insurance Map of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, 1899

Sanborn Fire Insurance Company. Map from Tahlequah, Cherokee County, Oklahoma Feb 1899. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

This 1899 set of three sheets is the third of nine editions of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Tahlequah published between 1894 and 1949. Sanborn Fire Insurance maps provide detailed information about buildings in urban areas. This edition in the Tahlequah series depicts structures of significance to the Cherokee Nation, such as the Cherokee Male and Female seminaries, the Cherokee National Capitol, and the Cherokee National Penitentiary, as well as local homes and businesses.

Learn more about this map on the Featured Maps page.


Map of Choctaw Nation, 1900

R.L. McAlpine.Map of Choctaw Nation, Indian territory: compiled from official records of the United States Geological Survey. 1900. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

One of several maps appearing in the annual reports of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, this one indicates the progress of land allotments and selections, as well as approved coal leases under the Choctaw and Chickasaw agreement.


Map of the Creek and Seminole Nations, 1902

Compiled and Drawn by C. H. Dana. Department of the Interior, Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. Creek & Seminole Nations, Indian territory: compiled from the United States Survey. [1902]. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Map depicts the Creek and Seminole Nations, Indian Territory, just after the turn of the century.


Map of the Choctaw Nation, 1903

McApline, R. L. Map of Choctaw Nation, Indian territory, coal and asphalt segregation. Compiled and drawn by R. L. McAlpine. Department of the Interior, Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes. 1903. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

One of several maps appearing in the annual reports of the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, this one illustrates the coal and asphalt regions, with the portion shaded in red indicating the progress of the allotments made between April 15 and June 30, 1903.


Map of Eastern Oklahoma Depicting the State of Sequoyah, 1905

U. S. Geological Survey. State of Sequoyah. 1905. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Map of eastern Oklahoma (Indian Territory) depicts the state of Sequoyah, as proposed by the Sequoyah Constitutional Convention in 1905. Threatened by the breakup of tribal governments, delegates from the Five Civilized tribes attempted to draft a constitution and form a state out of Indian Territory as a way of retaining governance over their lands. Voters in the Territory approved the measures, but the petitions for statehood were defeated by a Republican-led Congress. A compromise joined Indian Territory with the Oklahoma Territory to form the State of Oklahoma. Map depicts the names of land owners, railroads, streams and rivers, and proposed counties. In the northwest corner of the map is an illustration of the proposed Great Seal of the State of Sequoyah 1905.


Cadastral Atlas of the Cherokee Nation, 1909

Indian Territory Map Co. Cherokee Nation.1909. Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

This atlas of 239 cadastral maps of townships identifies the names, statuses, and allotment numbers of the individual owners, as well as other geographical features, in the Cherokee Nation. Under a policy of assimilation and land-allotment, federal legislation promoted the break-up of tribal lands and the allotment of 160-acre parcels to the heads of Indian families. Unassigned properties could be purchased by or leased to non-Indians. The Cherokee refused to participate in the allotment program, but in 1898 Congress dissolved their tribal government and extended the policy to them. The inclusion of numerous Indian names on the various plates attests to the landownership by numerous Cherokee Indians.

The entire atlas is available through the Library of Congress Website.

Additional Maps in the Library's Collections

The following maps are only available at the Library of Congress in the Geography and Map Reading Room in the James Madison Building of the Library of Congress.

  • Map of the Delaware Trust Lands, Compiled from the U.S. Survey by Jos. L. McAleer, Surveyor & Civil Engineer, Leavenworth.Js. Hutawa, Lithr.(Leavenworth, Ks:s.n., 18--).Map, 53 x 77 cm.Scale not given.Filed at Kansas — Indians — [18--] — no scale — McAleer & Hutawa.
    This mid-nineteenth century map of the Delaware Trust Lands in Kansas depicts settlements, roads, streams, the public land survey system, and the boundary lines of Delaware Indian lands.It was engraved by Julius Hutawa, a map publisher and lithographer in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • [Map of the Western Territory Depicting Lands Assigned to Indian Nations.] Lieut. Steen, 1835.(s.l., s.n., 1835)Colored map, 50 x 89 cm.Scale 1 inch = 20 miles.Filed at United States — West — Indians — 1835 — no scale — Steen / U.S. Army.
    Map depicts boundaries of lands in the Western Territory assigned to the individual tribes current with U.S. government treaty commitments as of 1835.Also include villages, routes, rivers, tribal lands of western Indians, and hachured relief.
  • Plat of the Survey of the Ioway and Sauk Lands.W. S Donahoe, Surveyor, 1837.Manuscript map, pen-and-ink, on sheet 52 x 83 cm.Scale ca. 1:31,680,000.Filed at Lewis & Clark Collection "g" Vault.
    This survey delineates the boundaries of Iowa and Sac lands in Kansas below the Missouri, and provides partial coverage of Kickapoo lands to the south.Also identifies Sac and Iowa villages.It is one of several manuscript maps belonging to William Clark that were found at the Office of Indian Affairs in 1916, and subsequently transferred to the Library.
  • Map Illustrating the Plan of the Defences of the Western & North-Western Frontier, as proposed by the Hon: J. R. Poinsett, Sec. of War, in his report of Dec. 30, 1837. Compiled in the U.S. Topographical Bureau under the direction of Col J. J. Abert, U.S.T.E., by W. Hood.([Washington, D.C.]:[U.S. Topographical Bureau], 1877).Map, 55 x 39 cm.Scale 1:9,504,000.Filed at United States — West region — 1837 — 1:9,504,000 — Abert / Hood.
    Map showing the network of forts and garrisons proposed by the War Department in 1837 to establish a defensive frontier from the Mississippi River in Minnesota to the Red River in Texas.The three inter-related goals were to protect the emigrant tribes forcibly relocated from the east from more hostile tribes in the region, to maintain peace among the newly-settled tribes, and to segregate the tribes from White settlers in Arkansas, Missouri, and Iowa.Map depicts Indian reservations, cessions, forts, depots, White settlements, streams and rivers, and place names.
  • Map of the Nebraska and Kansas Territories, Showing the Location of the Indian Reserves, according to the treaties of 1854. Compiled by S[eth] Eastman, Captain, U.S.A.Philadelphia:Lippincott, Grambo & Co., 1854.Colored map, 61 x 91 cm.Scale 1:1,267,200.Filet at Nebraska — Indians — 1854.
    Depicts Indian reservations in the Kansas and Nebraska territories arising out of the series of treaties concluded in 1854.Also includes notes fromvarious treaties made in 1854 that describe the cessions.
  • Map of Eastern Kansas. E. B. Whitman & A. D. Searl, General Land Agents, Lawrence, Kansas.Boston:J. P. Jewett and Co., 1856.Colored map, 69 x 53 cm.Scale ca. 1:515,000.Filed at Kansas — 1856.
    Features the Indian reservations in Kansas, and also identifies trading posts, missions, post offices, forts, Indian villages, roads, and trails.An inset depicts the federal government reservation at Fort Riley.
  • Map of the Shawnee & Wyandott Lands in the Territory of Kansas.Compiled from the U.S. Surveys by Robt. J. Lawrence.Pittsburgh:Wm. Schuchman & Bros., 1857.Colored map, 68 x 71 cm.Scale ca. 1:85,000.Kansas — Indians — 1857.
    Map shows roads, missions. Indian agencies, and names of selected Shawnee and Wyandot settlers.Includes an inset of the Quindaro Townsite along the Missouri River, which was established in 1856 by Wyandot Indians, abolitionists. freedmen, and settlers of the New England Emigrant Aid Society.
  • Boundary of the Creek Country.Surveyed under the Direction of the Bureau of Topl. Engs.I. C. Woodruff, 1st Lieut., Topl. Engs. [1858].From House Exec. Doc. No 104, 35th Cong., 1st Sess.Map,61 x 94 cm.Scale 1:600,000.Filed at Oklahoma — Indians — 1858.
    Shows trails and Indian villages of the Creek lands in Oklahoma.
  • Map of the United States and territories showing the extent of public surveys, Indian and military reservations, land grant R.R.; rail roads, canals, and other details.(Washington, D.C.:United States, General Land Office, 1873).Colored map, 121 x 197 cm. on 6 sheets 63 x 69 cm. or smaller.Scale ca. 1:2,500,000.Call number G3700 1873 .U55.
    In 1873 the U.S. General Land Office began publishing intermittently a series of official maps of the United States based on their field surveys.The maps, issued in a fairly uniform format, depicted the disposition of Federal Land in the public domain, the extent of the public land surveys, railroad lines, land offices, cities and towns, state boundaries, Indian territory, and Indian and military reservations.This is the first edition in the series.Across the entire series one can trace the general diminution of Indian-controlled lands until 1944, when publication ceased.
  • Map of Indian Territory.Elias C. Boudinot, 1879.(Indian Territory?:E. C. Boudinot, 1879).Map, hand-colored, 38 x 56 cm.Scale 1:1,550,000.Filed at Oklahoma — 1879 — 1:1,550,000 — E. C. Boudinot
    This map of Indian Territory was compiled and drawn by Elias C. Boundinot, son of Elias Boudinot, leader of the Cherokee Nation.Following the Civil War, E. C. Boudinot continued to be active in politics in Indian Territory, supporting construction of railroads, and, with notoriety, opening Indian Territory to White settlement with passage of the Dawes Act. His 1879 map was drafted in response to an inquiry concerning the extent of public lands purchased by the United States from Indian tribes in 1866.It depicts the former Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Comanche and Apache lands as public lands opened for survey and settlement.Also includes the text of the March, 1879, correspondence between Boudinot and Congressman Augustus Albert Haredenbergh.
  • Indian Territory.Compiled from the official Records of the General Land Office and other sources by C. Roeser.(Washington, D.C.:Dept. of the Interior, General Land Office 1879).Colored map, 62 x 82 cm.Scale 1:760,320.Filed at Oklahoma — 1879 — 1:760,320 — C. Roeser / GLO
    This General Land Office map from 1879 indicates the many changes that transpired in Indian Territory during the 1870s, defined by the second major relocation occurring after the Civil War.Depicted are the Osage reserve, the reduction of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe lands to accommodate the Wichita, and lands set aside for the Kiowa, Pottawatomi, Ponca, Sauk & Fox, Ponca, Nez Perce, and Comanche and Apache peoples.Map also depicts the extension of the railroads through the Cherokee, Creek, and Choctaw nations; the extension of the Public Land Survey across the western part of the territory; and numerous settlements, streams, and rivers.
  • Rand McNally & Co.'s New Sectional Map of the Cherokee Outlet, to be opened to settlers at High Noon (Central Standard Time), Saturday, September 16, 1893.Chicago:Rand McNally & Co., 1893.Colored map, 49 x 112 cm.Scale ca. 1:310,000.Filed at Oklahoma — Cherokee Outlet — 1893.
    This is one of several real estate promotional maps illustrating lands ceded to the United States and opened for White settlement.
  • Trout & Wall's Map of the Ft. Sill Country.Duncan, Indian Territory. Trout & Wall, 1894.Colored map, 87 x 57 cm.Scale ca. 1:1,250,000.Filed at Oklahoma — Indians — 1894.
    Published in the cattle town of Duncan in Indian Territory in anticipation of the impending land rush, this map shows the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Wichita, Kiowa, Comanche, and Apache lands which were scheduled to be opened to White homesteading.
  • Map of the Indian Territory.Compiled from the official Records of the General Land Office and other sources under the direction of Harry King, C.E.(Washington, D.C.:Dept. of the Interior, General Land Office 1899).Colored map, 56 x 52 cm.Scale 1:760,320.Filed at Oklahoma — 1899 — 1:760,320 — Dept. of the Interior, GLO
    This map indicates the increase in surveying activity following the 1893 Dawes Commission, which pressured the Five Civilized Tribes to cede title to tribal lands and allot those lands in severalty.By 1899 Indian territory had been fully surveyed.Depicted are the township delineation associated with the Public Land Survey, settlements, place names, streams and rivers, and hachured relief.
  • Proposed State of Oklahoma.Act of June 16, 1906. Compiled from the official Records of the General Land Office and other sources under the direction of Frank Bond, Chief of Drafting Division, G.L.O.Compiled by A. F. Dinsmore and M. Hendges.Drawn by Charles J. Helm.(Washington, D.C.:Dept. of the Interior, General Land Office, 1906).Colored map, 55 x 108 cm.Scale 1:760,320.Filed at Oklahoma — 1906 — 1:760,320 — Chas. J. Helm, GLO
    Map depicts the newly proposed state of Oklahoma.County names are identified in the former Oklahoma Territory, whereas the thirty proposed counties of Indian Territory are numbered.The only people indicated as having retained any separate identity on the map is the Osage Nation.Map also identifies Indian, military, forest, and public purpose reserves; rivers and streams; and the locations of U.S. land offices.Also includes four insets of cities:Guthrie and Lawton, both in Oklahoma Territory, and Muskogee and McAlester, both in Indian Territory.
  • Trail of Tears National Historic Trail : comprehensive management and use plan.[Denver] : United States Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Denver Service Center, 1992.Atlas (106 pages), colored maps, 29 cm. Scales 1:100,000 and [ca. 1:2,500,000].Call number G1282.T7 U5 1992.
    Atlas includes a set of maps illustrating the water route and the three principal overland routes used during the removal of the Cherokee people in 1838-39.