October 6, 2009
The Re-birth, Revolt, and Removal of the Cherokee
The Cherokee were forced into giving up most of their land in the eighteenth century. Through fraudulent treaties and unjust deals the Cherokee lost close to all of their land during this time. One of the biggest loses coming from "Henderson's Purchase", in Kentucky, 1775. In an effort to stop the complete takeover of all Indian land, the Cherokees go through a transformation in order to survive in a new world. "The great Cherokee renascence of 1794-1833 was the re-birth of that people in the image of the United States, yet with a difference." (McLoughlin, Preface)
The Cherokee renascence was an attempt to ...view middle of the document...
The laws that the natives had made, became more elaborate, and were put together as their constitution in 1827. The Cherokees became prime example of a developing Indian, and were labeled as, "the most civilized tribe in America." (McLoughlin, pg. 279) The Cherokees became self-sufficient and began competing with American traders, instead of having to rely on their goods to survive. Their newfound education also helped in their ability to reason, and bargain. Another important aspect in this renascence, that affected Indian education, was the emergence of mixed-blood Indians. The mixed-blood Indians brought a new blend of people who had the knowledge of both cultures and could better combine both ways of living into one that was better off.
They adopted many European customs while outlining American way of life, such as, a representative government, schools, churches, roads, and even styles of fashion. The Cherokee also took on American thoughts on slavery, and in many cases had slaves. Since the Cherokees homeland was in the Deep South, they thought it would be prudent politically to take the side of slavery. Taking on these new European customs has an adverse effect on traditional Indian ways. "They still celebrated some of their old festivals-the Green Corn Dance for Thanksgiving, the purification ritual, the lighting of the new fire at the start of the year, but other ceremonies died away."(Lippert, pg.115) For example, an elaborate set of eleven laws passed in the early 1820's replaced the traditional decentralized town government system in which there were chosen "headsman" who served as leaders. The natives also made a drastic change from hunters to agrarians. They begin to make their own food as agrarians, and step away from traditional hunting of furs, to trade for food. Some of the Chiefs in the Cherokee nation realized that men could not support their families on the sale of furs alone. This prompted the selling of some of the last of the Cherokee hunting grounds in 1805 and 1806. The money from these treaties would go to agricultural equipment, and harvest tools. The Cherokee started producing food very well, and Americans were jealous. The Cherokee tried to adapt to American ways in order to be accepted but this attempt only added to the
A number of Cherokee removals were attempted in subsequent years. The Creek War (1812-1814) was an attempt by Andrew Jackson to cheat the Cherokee out of 2.2 million acres of land. The hostility shown by the Indians in Mississippi Valley, and the failure to comply and cede their land makes it clear to Americans that the Indians cannot be trusted. "Once a savage always a savage" (Laduke, pg. 206). On top of this notion the Americans thought that the Indians were not using resources properly and were hindering the United States efforts of a manifest destiny, which was to become the most powerful nation. Andrew Jackson tried his best to rid Tennessee and Arkansas of the Cherokee from 1816-1819...