A map from 1885 depicting territories of various tribes 'removed' to the Indian Territory of Oklahoma.
Upon establishing an
Indian Territory in the West, Secretary of War James Barbour
stated: "the future residence of these people will forever be
undisturbed; there, at least, they will find a home and a resting
place; and being exclusively under the control of the United
States, and, consequently, free from the rival claims of any of the
States, the former may plight its most solemn faith that it shall
be theirs forever; and this guaranty is therefore given."
By now, all pretentions to
assimilation of the Indians into mainstream society had been cast
aside in favor of segregation and exile. When that failed and
resulted in Indian Wars later in the 19th century, the federal
government would once again champion the idea of assimilation, and
use that failed concept as a justification for illegally throwing
open Indian lands to white settlement during the Allotment