Documents of American Indian Removal
by Donna Martinez
December 2018, 266pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-5419-4
$94, 79€, A135
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-5420-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Bloody and illegal deeds were hallmarks of American Indian removal and evidenced states’ willingness to eliminate whole civilizations of people in order to take possession of their land.

This powerful collection of documents illumines the experiences of the original people of the United States during American Indian removal, offering readers a unique standpoint from which to understand American identity and the historical processes that have shaped it.

The Indian Removal Act transformed the Native North American continent and precipitated the development of a national identity based on a narrative of vanishing American Indians. This volume is a probing look into a chapter in American history that, while difficult, cannot be ignored. Sweeping in its coverage of history, it includes deeply personal accounts of American Indian removal from which readers may discern the degree to which the new national identity of the United States was influenced by bigotry and dependence on the corporate economy.

The book is organized into six sections that collectively provide the full scope of American Indian removal policies that began with the founding of the United States. The sections trace the evolution of federal government policies; the rhetoric of Indian removal in public debates; removal experiences; ethnic cleansing through overtly racist laws; responses to removals; and the question that reigned in the aftermath: Who owned the land? The chronological organization allows readers both to approach Indian removal through the framework of ongoing injustice in the colonial system that existed for the first 150 years of the United States, from the 1770s through the 1920s, and to draw connections from this legacy to the seizures of Indian lands and resources that continue today.


  • Deepens understanding of historical events by providing primary sources including archival material, removal journals, treaties, public speeches, and firsthand accounts of the responses of tribal members who faced removal and the whites who witnessed it
  • Provides context for documents through introductions and chronological organization that together clarify how the land sales of confiscated Indian homelands built the economic base of the United States
  • Gives readers an intimate and provocative look at the larger story of a racially and economically changing nation through tribal voices and those of their white supporters and foes
  • Offers a compelling view of the struggle for a segregated non-native political and social structure in the founding of the United States
Donna Martinez (Cherokee), PhD, graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington in political science. She is professor and chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is the author of five books, including 50 Events That Shaped American Indian History, Urban American Indians: Reclaiming Native Space, and Native American Worlds. She is currently working on an adult biography on Chief Wilma Mankiller.


"A valuable resource for any history collection, particularly academic and research-oriented ones."—Booklist, February 10, 2020

"This title is recommended for high school, public, and undergraduate libraries requiring a reasonably priced collection of primary sources on the topic." —ARBA, March 1, 2019

Eyewitness to History

ABC-CLIO’s Eyewitness to History series provides primary documents accompanied by invaluable contextualizing information to help readers understand historical developments, events, and individuals. The books’ format allows for a remarkable range of documents that showcase a wide variety of perspectives, including personal narratives, letters, and first-hand accounts; newspaper stories, op-ed pieces, and contemporary reactions and responses; and government and legislative documents, such as laws, speeches, and court testimony.

Each title in the series offers a fascinating documentary history devoted to a significant era, event, or social movement. The carefully curated primary sources give the actual words of people who lived through these past times, empowering today’s readers and researchers to consider the topic critically, fairly, and intelligently.
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