DAHLONEGA, GA—Authorities issued a warrant for the arrest and forced relocation of local carpenter and half-blooded Cherokee Indian Jonathan Palmer Monday, when he was found to be in violation of the federal Indian Removal Act of 1830.
"Mr. Palmer is in violation of federal law," said Col. Jack Kippler, who is leading the Bureau of Indian Affairs case against Palmer. "For this reason, he was taken into custody, and he is currently awaiting forcible resettlement on a Cherokee reservation in Oklahoma by the U.S. Army."
Once in Oklahoma, Palmer and his wife and two children will be permanently housed in a trailer home.
According to Palmer's lawyers, the Cherokee Indian did not realize he was living in violation of the 175-year-old act signed into law by Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the U.S.
"When I told my wife that, under American federal law, we were going to have to leave everything behind and start over in Oklahoma, she was furious," Palmer said. "I blame myself: I totally blanked on the Indian Removal Act of 1830 when looking for a place to live."
The BIA is currently fielding applications from families who would like to live on Palmer's former land. According to Kippler, the Palmers' two-story, 1,600-square-foot house, valued at $145,000, would make an excellent home for a white family.
"It's a nice house," Kippler said. "They've taken very good care of the place, really shown it a lot of love. It has one and a half baths and a very nice finished basement with a TV den."
Army personnel say the Palmer will be given sufficient time to pack their belongings into the trunk of a police cruiser before they are escorted to their new and federally mandated homeland. Additionally, the U.S. government has taken responsibility for euthanizing the Palmers' dog, Spunky.
"I don't see the kids taking this too well," Palmer said. "Already, they're worrying about making new friends in Oklahoma… But what are you going to do? The law is the law."
"They'll be in tears the whole car ride there, I expect," he added.
Palmer told reporters that his forcible ejection under armed guard could not have come at a worse time.
"We just ordered a new couch from Ikea," Palmer said. "Who's going to get that? The new white family? Maybe I can cancel the order."
Mark Twoblood, an attorney with the National Native American Bar Association, has reviewed Palmer's claim to the land and home he purchased in 1997, and he says there is little he can do under the existing law.
"I've submitted Palmer's case to the Supreme Court, but it is very unlikely that they will add it to next term's docket," Twoblood said. "I have done what I can. I would like to wish him and his family good luck in their new home."
Twoblood reportedly gave the Palmer a decorative dreamcatcher as a housewarming gift.