The "Real" Cherokee Strip


        Under treaties made in 1828 and 1883 with the Federal government, the Cherokee tribe of Indians exchanged their homelands in the southeastern part of the United States for land in present northeastern Oklahoma and southwestern Kansas and "a perpetual outlet west," lying across southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma between the 96th and 100th meridians. In 1837 the federal government authorized Reverend Isaac McCoy to survey the boundaries of all the Cherokee lands. This survey showed the northern boundary of the Cherokee domain to be the southern edge of the Osage Reserved Lands in the territory that became the State of Kansas, i.e., a line 2.46 miles north of the 37th parallel.

        On May 30, 1854, when the United States Congress passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the southern boundary of Kansas was established at the 37th parallel, thereby including a narrow strip of Cherokee land in the new territory. The Cherokees reported the matter to the Secretary of the Interior and asked that the southern boundary of the Kansas Territory be so modified so as to make it coincident with the northern boundary of their lands. No correction was made and in 1861 Kansas was admitted as a state.

        Following the Civil War, the Federal government made a treaty with the Cherokees under which the tribe ceded in trust to the United States the 2.46 miles wide strip north of the 37th parallel and agreed that it should become a part of the State of Kansas. On May 11, 1872, Congress opened this "Strip" to white settlers.

        The Cherokee Outlet is mistakenly called the "Cherokee Strip." The western limit of both tracts was the 100th meridian, otherwise the two areas differed in width and length. The Outlet was 226 miles long and 58 miles wide. Its eastern boundary was the 96th meridian. The "Strip" was 276 miles long by 2.46 miles wide. Its eastern boundary was the Neosho River. The Outlet contained approximately 13,000,000 acres, the "Strip" about 435,000. After 1866, the Outlet was all in Oklahoma, the "Strip" in Kansas.

Erected by the Cher-Ok-Kan Gateway Association, December 8, 1979.
Caldwell Story on back.

Sumner County  
Pink granite engraved marker
U.S. 81, between MP 0 and MP 1
Roadside rest area, east side
Sumner County
 

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Marker text sent by Robert Walter, Pittsburg, KS


August 29, 2000 / Bob Walter / Wichita, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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