By Andrew Denson
Hard the Cherokee state examines nineteenth-century Cherokee political rhetoric to handle an enigma in American Indian historical past: the contradiction among the sovereignty of Indian international locations and the political weak spot of Indian groups. employing a wealthy number of petitions, appeals, newspaper editorials, and different public files, Andrew Denson describes the ways that Cherokees represented their humans and their kingdom to non-Indians after their compelled elimination to Indian Territory within the 1830s. He argues that Cherokee writings on nationhood record a decades-long attempt through tribal leaders to discover a brand new version for American Indian relatives during which Indian countries may possibly coexist with a modernizing United States.Most non-Natives within the 19th century assumed that American improvement and development necessitated the top of tribal autonomy, that at most sensible the Indian state was once a transitional country for local humans so that it will assimilation. As Denson exhibits, notwithstanding, Cherokee leaders came across quite a few ways that the Indian state, as they outlined it, belonged within the glossy international. Tribal leaders answered to advancements within the usa and tailored their protection of Indian autonomy to the good adjustments reworking American lifestyles within the heart and overdue 19th century. specifically, Cherokees in different methods discovered new justification for Indian nationhood in American industrialization.
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Additional info for Demanding the Cherokee Nation: Indian Autonomy and American Culture, 1830-1900 (Indians of the Southeast)
Unable to convince their countrymen that their position was correct, Treaty Party leaders proceeded to negotiate with the United States anyway. In 1835 they signed the Treaty of New Echota, which provided for the complete cession of all Cherokee territory in return for lands in the Indian Territory, transportation to the West, subsistence aid for a year, and a payment of ﬁve million dollars. Although the men who had made the agreement were clearly not the Cherokees’ recognized leaders, the Senate ratiﬁed the treaty in early 1836.
Americans simply had to remember who they were: Christians, citizens of a republic, and heirs to the founders. One more element of the Cherokees’ position should be emphasized here. When tribal leaders insisted that the policies of the early republic had been successful, they appealed to the ideas of humanity that had informed those policies. The Washington-era approach had proceeded from the expectation that Indians, when confronted with a civilized nation and aided by philanthropy, would quickly remake themselves, progressing from savagery.
61 In contesting the New Echota agreement, Ross and his remaining allies employed most of their established arguments and language. They continued to invoke the founding fathers, imploring Americans in the 1830s to remember the old friendship between the Cherokees and the United States. ”62 They drew up new lists of their people’s civilized achievements under the magnanimous policies of the early republic. ”63 At the same time, a stronger tone of fear and desperation entered the Cherokees’ antiremoval writings.