Letter from Cherokee Chief John Ross "To the Senate and House of Representatives"
[Red Clay Council Ground, Cherokee Nation, September 28, 1836]
It is well known that for a number of years past we have been harassed by a series of vexations, which it
is deemed unnecessary to recite in detail, but the evidence of which our delegation will be prepared to furnish. With a view
to bringing our troubles to a close, a delegation was appointed on the 23rd of October, 1835, by the General Council of the
nation, clothed with full powers to enter into arrangements with the Government of the United States, for the final adjustment
of all our existing difficulties. The delegation failing to effect an arrangement with the United States commissioner, then
in the nation, proceeded, agreeably to their instructions in that case, to Washington City, for the purpose of negotiating
a treaty with the authorities of the United States.
After the departure of the Delegation, a contract was made by the Rev. John F. Schermerhorn, and certain individual
Cherokees, purporting to be a "treaty, concluded at New Echota, in the State of Georgia, on the 29th day of December, 1835,
by General William Carroll and John F. Schermerhorn, commissioners on the part of the United States, and the chiefs, headmen,
and people of the Cherokee tribes of Indians." A spurious Delegation, in violation of a special injunction of the general
council of the nation, proceeded to Washington City with this pretended treaty, and by false and fraudulent representations
supplanted in the favor of the Government the legal and accredited Delegation of the Cherokee people, and obtained for this
instrument, after making important alterations in its provisions, the recognition of the United States Government. And now
it is presented to us as a treaty, ratified by the Senate, and approved by the President [Andrew Jackson], and our acquiescence in its requirements demanded, under the sanction of the displeasure of the United States, and the
threat of summary compulsion, in case of refusal. It comes to us, not through our legitimate authorities, the known and usual
medium of communication between the Government of the United States and our nation, but through the agency of a complication
of powers, civil and military.
|Principal Cherokee Chief John Ross
|Cherokee Chief John Ross, 1835 Treaty of New Echota, and 1838 Trail of Tears Map
By the stipulations of this instrument, we are despoiled of our private possessions, the indefeasible property
of individuals. We are stripped of every attribute of freedom and eligibility for legal self-defence. Our property may be
plundered before our eyes; violence may be committed on our persons; even our lives may be taken away, and there is none to
regard our complaints. We are denationalized; we are disfranchised. We are deprived of membership in the human family! We
have neither land nor home, nor resting place that can be called our own. And this is effected by the provisions of a compact
which assumes the venerated, the sacred appellation of treaty.
We are overwhelmed! Our hearts are sickened, our utterance is paralized, when we reflect on the condition
in which we are placed, by the audacious practices of unprincipled men, who have managed their stratagems with so much dexterity
as to impose on the Government of the United States, in the face of our earnest, solemn, and reiterated protestations.
The instrument in question is not the act of our Nation; we are not parties to its covenants; it has not received
the sanction of our people. The makers of it sustain no office nor appointment in our Nation, under the designation of Chiefs,
Head men, or any other title, by which they hold, or could acquire, authority to assume the reins of Government, and to make
bargain and sale of our rights, our possessions, and our common country. And we are constrained solemnly to declare, that
we cannot but contemplate the enforcement of the stipulations of this instrument on us, against our consent, as an act of
injustice and oppression, which, we are well persuaded, can never knowingly be countenanced by the Government and people of
the United States; nor can we believe it to be the design of these honorable and highminded individuals, who stand at the
head of the Govt., to bind a whole Nation, by the acts of a few unauthorized individuals. And, therefore, we, the parties
to be affected by the result, appeal with confidence to the justice, the magnanimity, the compassion, of your honorable bodies,
against the enforcement, on us, of the provisions of a compact, in the formation of which we have had no agency.
|Cherokee Chief John Ross and Treaty of New Echota
|(Map) Treaty of New Echota resulted in Trail of Tears and life on a desolate reservation
Source: The Papers of Chief John Ross, vol 1, 1807-1839, Norman OK, Gary E.
Moulton, ed., University of Oklahoma Press, 1985
Recommended Reading: John
Ross, Cherokee Chief. Description: John Ross is one of the most revered Cherokee chiefs... it is impossible
to understand the Cherokee Nation and its people without the study of Ross. Author Gary Moulton gives splendid insight into
the life and times of one of the most complex and often misunderstood American Indians—Cherokee Chief John Ross. Ross,
a 1/8th Cherokee and 7/8th Scotsman, and framer of the Cherokee Tribal government, was well-known for
his harsh protest of the controversial 1835 Treaty of New Echota. Moulton does justice by presenting the Ross position and
the outcome that spawned a bloody-factional Cherokee feud--which continued into the American Civil War. Moulton’s
insight also includes recollections and the death of Ross in 1866.
Recommended Reading: The Cherokee Removal: A Brief History with Documents (The Bedford
Series in History and Culture) (Paperback). Description:
This book tells the compelling story of American ethnic cleansing against the Cherokee nation through an admirable combination
of primary documents and the editors' analyses. Perdue and Green begin with a short but sophisticated history of the Cherokee
from their first interaction with Europeans to their expulsion from the East to the West; a region where Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee,
and Alabama connect. Continued below...
is directed through a variety of documents commenting on several important themes: the "civilizing" of the Cherokee (i.e.
their adoption of European culture), Georgia's leading role in pressuring the Cherokee off their land and demanding the federal
government to remove them by force, the national debate between promoters and opponents of expulsion, the debate within the
Cherokee nation, and a brief look at the deportation or forced removal. Conveyed in the voices of the Cherokee and the framers of the debate, it allows the reader to appreciate
the complexity of the situation. Pro-removal Americans even made racist judgments of the Cherokee but cast and cloaked their
arguments in humanitarian rhetoric. Pro-emigration Cherokee harshly criticize the Cherokee leadership as corrupt and possessing
a disdain for traditional Cherokee culture. American defenders and the Cherokee leadership deploy legal and moral arguments
in a futile effort to forestall American violence. “A compelling and stirring read.”
Reading: Cherokee Proud, Second
Edition, by Tony Mack McClure. Description: Absolutely the "Bible" of Cherokee Genealogy. New, 336 pages, 2nd Edition. If
the information in this remarkable new book doesn't lead a person to proof of their Cherokee roots, nothing can! “It
is an A-to-Z on organizing and locating the requirements / qualifications for membership.” Continued below...
Are you Cherokee? Are you the individual that has always been told that you
are a Cherokee, but have no facts or records to prove it? To claim Cherokee membership means that you must prove it –
you must have the facts, so toss the doubt away, get the facts, and claim what is rightfully your heritage by blood quantum.
Now, are you ready to prove that you are a Cherokee? It’s not difficult if you take the time to locate the facts. Included
are proven resources for tracing your family genealogy, the family tree, roots, bloodline, and for researching your ancestors
to prove that you meet the blood requirements (qualifications) for Cherokee membership and tribal enrollment. Those that qualify
as “American Indians are American Indians” and are entitled to the rights and benefits of the tribe! Also includes
a proven “how to dos” written by the foremost expert in Cherokee history, genealogy and heritage. Cherokee
membership is not like joining a gym or paying dues, it’s your blood, so claim it. Are you remotely interested
in knowing that you are a “Cherokee Indian” or are you the individual that enjoys genealogy? Do you want to locate
and preserve your Native American ancestry? Finding information about ancestors for genealogy and heritage is also a lot of
fun. Moreover, you are preserving your own family history and heritage with your relatives and loved ones for generations
and generations… Take a look at exactly what is required to locate and organize and present your information to
prove that you meet the qualifications as a member of the Cherokee tribe. Cherokee Proud, by Tony McClure, is referred to as the "Bible for Cherokee
Genealogy." Cherokee Proud has also been rated a SOLID FIVE STARS by
every person that has read and rated it. To see if you meet the 'Cherokee qualification and requirement for membership',
then look no further -- purchase Cherokee Proud. Read the reviews and
see what people and organizations are saying about it.
is the very best book I have ever seen on tracing Cherokee genealogy." -- RICHARD PANGBURN, acclaimed author of Indian Blood,
Vol. I & II found in most libraries
loosens his journalistic standards for portions of this book which reach him too emotionally. Understood. Fascinating and
Among the people of this country are individuals in whose blood runs the proud heritage of a noble and resilient people whose
ways and talents rank with the finest civilizations the world has known. They are the " Tsalagi ". . . the Cherokee. This
book will help you learn if you are one of them. -- BOOK READER
of Cherokee Proud are exceptional - valuable information that can be used by so many readers and researchers who have Native
American (Cherokee) ancestry." -- DON SHADBURN, Famous Georgia historian and noted author of Unhallowed Intrusion and Cherokee
Planters of Georgia
guide is the best yet!" -- LAWTON CONSTITUTION
About the Author: Well known and acclaimed Cherokee author Dr. Tony Mack McClure,
a native of Tennessee, is a certified member of the Native American Journalists Association, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers
and Storytellers, and Committeeman for the Tennessee Chapter of the National Trail of Tears Association. His work has appeared
in numerous magazines, over 250 newspapers, on all major television networks and many cable systems.
Recommended Reading: Trail of Tears: The
Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation. Description: One of the many ironies
of U.S. government policy toward Indians
in the early 1800s is that it persisted in removing to the West those who had most successfully adapted to European values.
As whites encroached on Cherokee land, many Native leaders responded by educating their children, learning English, and developing
plantations. Such a leader was Ridge, who had fought with Andrew Jackson against the British. Continued below...
As he and other
Cherokee leaders grappled with the issue of moving, the land-hungry Georgia legislators, with the aid of Jackson, succeeded
in ousting the Cherokee from their land, forcing them to make the arduous journey West on the infamous "Trail of Tears." ...A
treasured addition for the individual remotely interested in American Indian history as well as general American
Recommended Reading: The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears: The Penguin
Library of American Indian History series (Penguin Library of American Indian History) (Hardcover). Description: Today, a fraction of the Cherokee people remains in their traditional homeland in the southern
Most Cherokees were forcibly relocated to eastern Oklahoma
in the early nineteenth century. In 1830 the U.S. government shifted its
policy from one of trying to assimilate American Indians to one of relocating them and proceeded to drive seventeen thousand
Cherokee people west of the Mississippi. Continued below...
Nation and the Trail of Tears recounts this pivotal moment in American history and considers its impact on the Cherokee, on
U.S.-Indian relations, and on contemporary society. Guggenheim Fellowship-winning historian Theda Perdue and coauthor Michael
D. Green explain the various and sometimes competing interests that resulted in the Cherokee’s expulsion, follow the
exiles along the Trail of Tears, and chronicle their difficult years in the West after removal.
Reading: The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900, by John R. Finger. Review from University of Tennessee Press: This volume presents the story of the Eastern Band of Cherokees during
the nineteenth century. This group – the tribal remnant in North Carolina
that escaped removal in the 1830’s – found their fortitude and resilience continually tested as they struggled
with a variety of problems, including the upheavals of the Civil War and Reconstruction, internal divisiveness, white encroachment
on their lands, and a poorly defined relationship with the state and federal governments. Yet despite such stresses and a
selective adaptation in the face of social and economic changes, the Eastern Cherokees retained a sense of tribal identity
as they stood at the threshold of the twentieth century. Continued below…
scholars, like most Cherokees, have tended to follow the Trail of Tears west with scarcely a backward glance at the more than
1,000 Indians who stayed behind in the North Carolina mountains. In this pathbreaking book, John
R. Finger combs federal, state, and local archives to tell the story of these forgotten natives.”
of Southern History
work is a significant contribution to the literature on this long-ignored group….Finger works [his] sources well and
out of them has produced a narrative that is readable and that puts the Eastern Band of Cherokees as a tribal entity into
a clear, historical perspective.”
John R. Finger
is professor of history at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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