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Rivers of Sand

Creek Indian Emigration, Relocation, and Ethnic Cleansing in the American South

Christopher D. Haveman

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 02/2016
Pages: 432
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9780803284883


2017 James F. Sulzby Book Award from the Alabama Historical Association  At its height the Creek Nation comprised a collection of multiethnic towns and villages with a domain stretching across large parts of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. By the 1830s, however, the Creeks had lost almost all this territory through treaties and by the unchecked intrusion of white settlers who illegally expropriated Native soil. With the Jackson administration unwilling to aid the Creeks, while at the same time demanding their emigration to Indian territory, the Creek people suffered from dispossession, starvation, and indebtedness. Between the 1825 Treaty of Indian Springs and the arrival of detachment six in the West in late 1837, nearly twenty-three thousand Creek Indians were moved—voluntarily or involuntarily—to Indian territory. Rivers of Sand fills a substantial gap in scholarship by capturing the full breadth and depth of the Creeks' collective tragedy during the marches westward, on the Creek home front, and during the first years of resettlement. Unlike the Cherokee Trail of Tears, which was conducted largely at the end of a bayonet, most Creeks were relocated through a combination of coercion and negotiation. Hopelessly outnumbered military personnel were forced to make concessions in order to gain the compliance of the headmen and their people. Christopher D. Haveman's meticulous study uses previously unexamined documents to weave narratives of resistance and survival, making Rivers of Sand an essential addition to the ethnohistory of American Indian removal.  


Christopher D. Haveman is an associate professor of history at the University of West Alabama. He is the editor of Bending Their Way Onward: Creek Indian Removal in Documents (Nebraska, 2018), winner of the Dwight L. Smith (ABC-CLIO) Award from the Western History Association.  


"Christopher Haveman presents a much-needed and compelling narrative of the forced removal of the Creek Indians. In Haveman's hands, the inexorable weight of American expansion is felt as it played out on the ground in rampant and illegal land speculations, the forced signing of treaties, the invasion of Americans into Creek country, corrupt contractors, bitter intra-Creek disputes, and the subsequent suffering and grief of thousands of Creek men and women forced into exile from their homelands."—Robbie Ethridge, author of Creek Country: The Creek Indians and Their World

"Haveman offers an unflinching look at America's own ethnic cleansing in this carefully researched study of Indian removal. A powerful book that exposes the brutality of U.S. policy while never losing sight of the perseverance of Indian people."—Christina Snyder, author of Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America