The Supreme Court's Role in Choctaw and Chickasaw Dispossession

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During the nineteenth century, Indian groups throughout the United States saw their lands taken from them through a variety of means, including land cessions and allotment. The Choctaw and Chickasaw, two of the Five Civilized Tribes of the southeastern United States, endured this process of dispossession. Although the U.S. Congress promulgated much of this dispossession through treaty-based territorial demands, the Supreme Court proved an able partner in the process by subverting treaty guarantees and expanding congressional power. The dispute over the area known as "Greer County" provides an example of the Supreme Court's role in Indian dispossession, for its ruling in 1900 extinguished the Choctaw and Chickasaw claim to most of southwestern Oklahoma, earlier treaty provisions notwithstanding.