Cherokee Nation
Kansas Native Americans

The Cherokee in the Cherokee language) are a people from North America, who at the time of European contact in the 1600s, inhabited what is now the Eastern and Southeastern United States.

(See below for a Contemporary History of The Cherokee Tribe in Kansas)


Most were forcibly moved westward to the Ozark Plateau. They were one of the tribes referred to as the Five Civilized Tribes. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, they are the most numerous of the 563 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.

Bands and naming
Several Cherokee Nations and Bands recognized by the U.S. government and representing Cherokees have headquarters in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (the Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians) and at Cherokee, North Carolina (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians).

A 1984 documentary, Spirit of the Fire, explored the history of the Keetoowah Nighthawk Society, and their preservation of traditional ceremonies and rituals practiced and maintained by the Cherokee after their arrival in Oklahoma. Redbird Smith was an influential Nighthawk member, and the group revitalized traditional spirituality among Cherokees, beginning in the early 20th century. Today there are seven ceremonial dance grounds in Oklahoma, and these belong either to the Keetoowah tradition or the Four Mothers Society.

The spelling "Cherokee" is believed to be from the Cherokee language's name, "Tsalagi" - this then may have been rendered phonetically in Portuguese (or more likely a Barranquenho dialect, since Hernando de Soto was Extremaduran) as chalaque, then in French as cheraqui, and then by the English as cherokee.

The word "Cherokee" is a derived word which came originally from the Choctaw trade language. It was derived from the Choctaw word "Cha-la-kee" which means "those who live in the mountains" – or (also Choctaw) "Chi-luk-ik-bi" meaning "those who live in the caves". The name which the Cherokee originally used for themselves, and some still use to this day is Ah-ni-yv-wi-ya (literal translation: "Principle People" or "these are all the human people"). Most American Indian tribes' names for themselves mean approximately the same thing. However, modern Cherokee call themselves Cherokee, or Tsalagi.

Prehistoric and Protohistoric periods
In describing the history of Indians living in the interior of the American southeast, scholars use the term prehistory for the time before the mid-1600s, when several Spanish expeditions journeyed through the southeast. After these expeditions the European historic record is silent until about 1700. The term protohistory is used for this period. The time after about 1700 is called the historic era.
Since historic documentation is generally lacking, Cherokee prehistory and protohistory has been studied via oral tradition, linguistic analysis, and archaeology.

Unlike most other Indians of the American southeast at the start of the historic era, the Cherokee spoke an Iroquoian language. Since the Great Lakes region was the core of Iroquoian languages, it is theorized that the Cherokee migrated south from the Great Lakes region. Linguistic analysis shows a relatively large difference between Cherokee and the northern Iroquoian languages, suggesting a split in the distant past.

The ancient settlement of Keetoowah or giduwa, on the Tuckasegee River near present-day Bryson City, North Carolina, is frequently cited as the original Cherokee City.

During the early historic era, Europeans wrote of several Cherokee town groups, usually using the terms Lower, Middle, and Overhill towns. The Lower towns were situated on the headwater streams of the Savannah River, mainly in present-day western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia. Keowee was one of the chief towns. The Middle towns were located in present western North Carolina, on the headwater streams of the Tennessee River, such as the Little Tennessee River, Hiwassee River, and French Broad River. Among several chief towns was Nikwasi. The Overhill towns were located across the higher mountains in present eastern Tennessee and northwestern Georgia. Principal towns included Chota and Great Tellico. It should be noted that these terms were created and used by Europeans to describe their changing geopolitical relationship with the Cherokee.

One of the earliest European-American accounts of the Cherokee comes from the expedition of James Needham and Gabriel Arthur, sent in 1673 by fur-trader Abraham Wood of Virginia to the Overhill Cherokee country. Wood hoped to forge a direct trading connection with the Cherokee in order to bypass the Occaneechi Indians who were serving as middlemen on the Trading Path. The two Virginians did make contact with the Cherokee, although Needham was killed on the return journey and Arthur was almost killed.

By the late 1600s traders from both Virginia and South Carolina were making regular journeys to Cherokee lands, but few wrote about their experiences. Much of the early trading contact period has only been pieced together by colonial laws and lawsuits involving traders. The trade was mainly deerskins, raw material for the booming European leather industry, in exchange for European technology "trade goods" such as iron and steel tools (kettles, knives, etc), firearms, gunpowder, and ammunition. Although selling alcohol to Indians was made illegal by colonial governments at an early date, rum and, later, whiskey, were a common item of trade.

18th century
Of the southeastern Indian confederacies of the late 1600s and early 1700s (Creek, Chickasaw, Choctaw, etc), the Cherokee were one of the most populous and powerful, and were relatively isolated due to their hilly and mountainous homeland. A relatively small-scale trading system was established with Virginia in the late 1600s. A much stronger and important trade relationship with the colony of South Carolina, based in Charles Town, began in the 1690s and overshadowed the Virginia relationship by the early 1700s.

Although there was some trading contact, the Cherokee remained relatively unaffected by the presence of European colonies in America until the Tuscarora War and its aftermath. In 1711 the Tuscarora began attacking colonists in North Carolina after diplomatic attempts to address various grievances failed. The governor of North Carolina asked South Carolina for military aid. Before the war was over, several years later, South Carolina had mustered and sent two armies against the Tuscarora. The ranks of both armies were made up mostly of Indians, with Yamasee troops especially.

The first army, under the command of John Barnwell, campaigned in North Carolina in 1712. By the end of the year a fragile peace had been established and the army dispersed. No Cherokee were involved in the first army. Hostilities between the Tuscarora and North Carolina broke out soon after, and in late 1712 to early 1713 a second army from South Carolina fought the Tuscarora. This army consisted of about 100 British and over 700 Indian soldiers. As with the first army, the second depended heavily on the Yamasee and Catawba. This time, however, hundreds of Cherokee joined the army.

The army's campaign ended after a major Tuscarora defeat at Hancock's Fort. All told, over 1,000 Tuscarora and allied Indians were killed or captured. Those captured were mainly sold into the Indian slave trade. Although the second army from South Carolina disbanded soon after the battle, the Tuscarora War continued for several years. Some previous neutral Tuscarora turned hostile, and the Iroquois confederacy entered the dispute. In the end a large number of Tuscarora moved north to live among the Iroquois.

The Tuscarora War altered the geopolitical context of colonial America in several ways, including a general Iroquois interest in the south. For the many southeastern Indians involved, it was the first time so many had collaborated in a military campaign and seen how different the various English colonies were. As a result the war helped to bind the Indians of the entire region together, enhancing Indian networks of communication and trade. The Cherokee become much more closely integrated with the region's various Indians and Europeans. The Tuscarora War marked the beginning of an English-Cherokee relationship that, despite breaking down on occasion, remained strong for much of the 18th century.

The Tuscarora War also marks the rise of Cherokee military power, demonstrated in the 1714 attack and destruction of the Yuchi town of Chestowee (in today's southeastern Tennessee). The English traders Alexander Long and Eleazer Wiggan instigated the attack through various deceptions and promises, although there was a pre-existing conflict between the Cherokee and Yuchi. The traders' plot was based in the Cherokee town of Euphase (Great Hiwassee), and mainly involved Cherokee from that town. In May of 1714 the Cherokee destroyed the Yuchi town of Chestowee. Inhabitants not killed or captured fled to the Creek or the Savannah River Yuchi. Long and Wiggan had told the Cherokee that the South Carolina government wished for and approved this attack, which was not true.

The governor of South Carolina, having heard of the plot, sent a messenger to tell the Cherokee not to attack Chestowee. The messenger arrived too late to save Chestowee, but played a role in the Cherokee decision not to continue and attack the Savannah River Yuchi. The Cherokee attack on the Yuchi ended with Chestowee, but it was enough to catch the attention of every Indian tribe and European colony in the region. Thus around 1715, after the Tuscarora War and the attack on Chestowee, the Cherokee emerged as a major power.

In 1715, just as the Tuscarora War was winding down, the Yamasee War broke out. Numerous Indian tribes launched attacks on South Carolina. The Cherokee participated in some of the attacks, but were divided on what course to take. After South Carolina's militia suceeded in driving off the Yamasee and Catawba the Cherokee's position became strategically pivotal. Both South Carolina and the Lower Creek tried to gain Cherokee support. Some Cherokee favored an alliance with South Carolina and war on the Creek, while others favored the opposite. The impasse was resolved in January of 1716, when a delegation of Creek leaders were murdered at the Cherokee town of Tugaloo. Subsequently, the Cherokee launched attacks against the Creek, but in 1717 peace treaties between South Carolina and the Creek were finalized, undermining the Cherokee's commitment to war. Hostility and sporadic raids between the Cherokee and Creek continued for decades.

The Cherokee nation was unified from a society of interrelated city-states in the early 18th century under the "Emperor" Moytoy, with the aid of an unofficial English envoy, Sir Alexander Cuming. In 1730, at Nikwasi, Chief Moytoy II of Tellico was chosen as "Emperor" by the Elector Chiefs of the principal Cherokee towns. Moytoy agreed to recognize the British king, George II, as the Cherokee protector. Seven prominent Cherokee, including Attacullaculla, traveled with Sir Alexander Cuming back to England. The Cherokee delegation stayed in London for four months.

The visit culminated in a formal treaty of alliance between the British and Cherokee, the 1730 Treaty of Whitehall. While the journey to London and the treaty were important factors in future British-Cherokee relations, the title of Cherokee Emperor did not carry much clout among the Cherokee, and eventually passed out of Moytoy's direct avuncular lineage. The unification of the Cherokee nation was essentially ceremonial, with political authority remaining town-based for decades afterward. In addition, Sir Alexander Cuming's aspirations to play an important role in Cherokee affairs failed.

Beginning at about the time of the American Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, divisions over continued accommodation of encroachments by white settlers, despite repeated violations of previous treaties, caused some Cherokee to begin to leave the Cherokee Nation. Many of these dissidents became known as the Chickamauga. Led by Chief Dragging Canoe, the Chickamauga made alliances with the Shawnee and engaged in raids against colonial settlements (see Chickamauga Wars). Some of these early dissidents eventually moved across the Mississippi River to areas that would later become the states of Arkansas and Missouri. Their settlements were established on the St. Francis and the White Rivers by 1800.

Pre 19th century society
Much of what we know about pre 19th century Cherokee history, culture, and society comes from the papers of American writer John Howard Payne. The Payne papers describe the memory Cherokee elder's had of a traditional societal structure based in a "white" organization of elders representing the seven clans, an organization which was hereditary and described as priestly. This group was responsible for religious activities such as healing, purification, and prayer. A second group of younger men were the "red" organization, which was responsible for warfare.

However, warfare was considered a polluting activity which required the purification of the priestly class before participants could reintegrate in normal village life. However, this hierarchy had faded by the Cherokee removal in 1838. The reasons have been widely discussed and may include a revolt by the Cherokee against the abuses of the priestly class, the massive smallpox epidemic of the late 1730s, and the inception of Christian ideas which transformed Cherokee religion by the end of the eighteenth century (Irwin 1992).

Ethnographer James Mooney studied the Cherokee in the late 1980s and traced the decline of the former hierarchy to the revolt (Mooney 1900, 392). By that time Cherokee the hierarchy of Cherokee religious practitioners was more informal and based more on individual knowledge and ability than the previous hereditary system. Further complicating this was that the Eastern Cherokee which had not participated in the removal and remained in the mountains of western North Carolina faced constant pressure from the U.S. government, who wished for their removal (Irwin 1992).

Another major source of early cultural history comes from the materials written in Cherokee by the didanvwisgi ), or Cherokee medicine men, after the creation of the Cherokee syllabary by Sequoya in the 1820s. These were initially only used by the didanvwisgi , and were considered extremely powerful (Irwin 1992). Later, these were widely adopted by the Cherokee people.

19th century
Eventually, there were such large numbers of Cherokees in these areas, the U.S. Government in 1815 right after the War of 1812 in which Cherokees fought on both the British and American armies, established a Cherokee Reservation in Arkansas, with boundaries from north of the Arkansas River up to the southern bank of the White River. Cherokee leaders who lived in Arkansas were The Bowl, Sequoyah, Spring Frog and The Dutch. Another band of Cherokee lived in southeast Missouri, western Kentucky and Tennessee in frontier settlements and in European majority communities around the Mississippi River.

John Ross was an important figure in the history of the Cherokee tribe. His father emigrated from Scotland prior to the Revolutionary War. His mother was a quarter-blood Cherokee woman whose father was also from Scotland. He began his public career in 1809. The Cherokee Nation was founded in 1820, with elected public officials. John Ross became the chief of the tribe in 1828, and remained the chief until his death in 1866.

Trail of Tears
Cherokees were displaced from their ancestral lands in North Georgia and the Carolinas in a period of rapidly expanding white population, a situation as well as a gold rush around Dahlonega, Georgia in the 1830s. Various official reasons for the removal were given. One was that the Cherokee were not efficiently using their land, and the land should be given to white farmers. Others disputed this, although some contest to this day that President Jackson's intentions toward the Cherokee in this policy was humanitarian. Jackson himself said that the policy was an effort to prevent the Cherokee from facing the fate of "the Mohegan, the Narragansett, and the Delaware". However there is ample evidence that the Cherokee were adapting modern farming techniques, and a modern analysis shows that the area was in general in a state of economic surplus.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling in their favor, many in the Cherokee Nation were forcibly relocated West, a migration known as the Trail of Tears or in Cherokee nvnadaulatsvyi. This took place after the Indian Removal Act of 1830, although as of 1883, the Cherokee were the last large southern Indian tribe to be removed. Even so, the harsh treatment the Cherokee received at the hands of white settlers caused some to enroll to emigrate west.

Samuel Carter, author of Cherokee Sunset, writes: "Then… there came the reign of terror. From the jagged-walled stockades the troops fanned out across the Nation, invading every hamlet, every cabin, rooting out the inhabitants at bayonet point. The Cherokees hardly had time to realize what was happening as they were prodded like so many sheep toward the concentration camps, threatened with knives and pistols, beaten with rifle butts if they resisted."

Ridge opposition
Among the Cherokee, John Ross led the battle to halt their removal. Ross's position was in opposition to that of a group known as the "Ridge Party" or the "Treaty Party". This was in reference to the Treaty of New Echota, which exchanged Cherokee land for land in the west and its principle signers John Ridge and his father Major Ridge.
On June 22, 1839, the prominent signers of the Treaty of New Echota were executed, including Major Ridge, John Ridge and Elias Boudinot by Cherokee extremists.

In the early 1860s, John Ridge's son, novelist John Rollin Ridge, led a group of delegates to Washington D.C. as early as the 1860s in a failed attempt to gain federal recognition for a Cherokee faction that was opposed to the leadership of Chief John Ross.

In 1848, a group of Cherokee set out on an expedition to California, looking for new settlement lands. The expedition followed the Arkansas River upstream to Rocky Mountains in present-day Colorado, then followed the base of mountains northward into present-day Wyoming, before turning westward. The route become known as the Cherokee Trail or the Rocky Mountain Trail, starting from Fort Smith, Arkansas that also extended northward to Montana all the way to the Canadian border near Cut Bank, Montana.

The group, which undertook gold prospecting in California, returned along the same route the following year, noticing placer gold deposits in tributaries of the South Platte. The discovery went unnoticed for a decade, but eventually became one of the primary sources of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush of 1859 and other gold rushes across the western U.S. in the 1860s.

Not all of the eastern Cherokees were removed on the Trail of Tears. William Holland Thomas, a white store owner and state legislator from Jackson County, North Carolina, helped over 600 Cherokee from Qualla Town (the site of modern-day Cherokee, North Carolina) obtain North Carolina citizenship. As citizens, they were exempt from forced removal to the west. In addition, over 400 other Cherokee hid from Federal troops in the remote Snowbird Mountains of neighboring Graham County, North Carolina, under the leadership of Tsali (the subject of the outdoor drama Unto These Hills held in Cherokee, North Carolina).

Together, these groups were the basis for what is now known as the Eastern Band of Cherokees. Out of gratitude to Thomas, these Western North Carolina Cherokees served in the American Civil War as part of Thomas's Legion. Thomas's Legion consisted of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. The legion mustered approximately 2,000 men of both Cherokee and white origin, fighting primarily in Virginia, where their battle record was outstanding. Thomas's Legion was the last Confederate unit in the eastern theater of the war to surrender after capturing Waynesville, North Carolina on May 9, 1865.

They agreed to cease hostilities on the condition of being allowed to retain their arms for hunting. This, together with Stand Watie's surrender of western forces on July 23, 1865, gave the Cherokees the distinction of being the very last Confederates to capitulate in both theaters of the Civil War. In Oklahoma, the Dawes Act of 1887 broke up the tribal land base. Under the Curtis Act of 1898, Cherokee courts and governmental systems were abolished by the U.S. Federal Government.

20th century
These and other acts were designed to end tribal sovereignty to pave the way for Oklahoma Statehood in 1907 . The Federal government appointed chiefs to the Cherokee Nation, often just long enough to sign a treaty. However, the Cherokee Nation recognized that it needed leadership and a general convention was convened in 1938 to elect a Chief. They choose J. B. Milam as principal chief, and as a goodwill gesture Franklin Delano Roosevelt confirmed the election in 1941 .

W. W. Keeler was appointed chief in 1949, but as the federal government adopted the self-determination policy, the Cherokee Nation was able to rebuild its government and W. W. Keeler was elected chief by the people, via a Congressional Act signed by President Richard Nixon. Keeler, who was also the President of Phillips Petroleum was succeeded by Ross Swimmer, Wilma Mankiller, Joe Byrd, and Chad Smith, who is, in 2006, the chief of the Nation.

The United Keetoowah Band took a different track than the Cherokee Nation, and received federal recognition after the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 . They are descended from the Old Settlers or Cherokees that moved west before Removal, and the tribe requires a quarter blood quantum for enrollment. The UKB members must descend from an ancestor on the Final Dawes Roll of the Cherokee.

Cherokee Recognition
Historically, race was not a factor in the acceptance of individuals into Cherokee Society, since historically, the Cherokee People viewed their self-identity as a political rather than racial distinction. Going far back into antiquity based upon existing social and historical evidence as well as oral traditions among the Cherokee themselves, the Cherokee Society was best described as an Indian Republic.

Theda Perdue recounts a story from "before the American Revolution" where a black slave named Molly is accepted as a Cherokee as a "replacement" for a woman who was beaten to death by her white husband. According to Cherokee tradition, vengeance for the woman's death was required for her soul to find peace, and the husband was able to prevent his own execution by fleeing to the town of Chota (where according to Cherokee Law he was safe) and purchasing Molly as an exchange. When the wives family accepted Molly, later known as "Chickaw," she became a part of their clan (the Deer Clan), and thus Cherokee.

Inheritance was largely matrilineal, and kinship and clan membership was of primary importance until around 1810, when the seven Cherokee clans began the abolition of blood vengeance by giving the sacred duty to the new Cherokee National government. Clans formally relinquished judicial responsibilities by the 1820s when the Cherokee Supreme Court was established. When in 1825, the National Council extended citizenship to biracial children of Cherokee men, the matrilineal definition of clans was broken and clan membership no longer defined Cherokee citizenship. These ideas were largely incorporated into the 1827 Cherokee constitution.

The constitution did, state that "No person who is of negro or mulatlo [sic]parentage, either by the father or mother side, shall be eligible to hold any office of profit, honor or trust under this Government," with an exception for, "negroes and descendants of white and Indian men by negro women who may have been set free" (Perdue 2000, 564-565). Although by this time, some Cherokee considered clans to be anachronistic, this feeling may have been more widely held among the elite than the general population. Thus even in the initial constitution, the Cherokee reserved the right to define who was and was not Cherokee as a political rather than racial distinction.

This principle of self-government and tribal sovereignty has not prevented controversy on the matter. According to the Boston College Sociologist and Cherokee Citizen, Eva Marie Garroutte, there are upwards of 32 separate definitions of "Indian" used in federal legislation as of a 1978 congressional survey (Garroutte 2003, 16). The 1994 Federal Legislation AIRFA (American Indian Religious Freedom Act) defines an Indian as one who belongs to an Indian Tribe, which is a group that "is recognized as eligible for the special programs and services provided by the United States to Indians because of their status as Indians."

The Congress of the United States, The Federal Courts, and State Courts have repeatedly upheld this sovereignty of Native Tribes and define their relationship in political rather than racial terms, and have stated such as a compelling interest of the United States. Federal prosecutors have asserted fraudulently claiming to be a member of an American Indian tribe violates Federal Law.

Many groups have sought recognition by the federal government as Cherokee tribes, but today there are only three groups recognized by the government. Cherokee Nation spokesman Mike Miller has discussed that some groups, which he calls Cherokee Heritage Groups, are encouraged. Others, however, are controversial for their attempts to gain economically through their claims to be Cherokee, a claim which is disputed by the three federally recognized groups, who assert themselves as the only groups having the legal right to present themselves as Cherokee Indian Tribes (Official Statement Cherokee Nation 2000, Pierpoint 2000).

Garroutte categorizes four facets of Indian identity: law, biology, culture, and self-identification. By law, membership in the Cherokee Nation is based in being direct blood descendant of a Dawes Act enrollee.

Modern Cherokee Nation
The modern Cherokee Nation in recent times has excelled and has experienced an unprecedented expansion in economic growth, equality, and prosperity for its citizens under the leadership of Principal Chief Chad Smith, with significant business, corporate, real estate, and agricultural interests, including numerous highly profitable casino operations. The Cherokee Nation controls Cherokee Nation Enterprises, and Cherokee Nation Industries, and Cherokee Nation Businesses. CNI is a very large Defense contractor that creates thousands of jobs in Eastern Oklahoma for Cherokee Citizens.

The Nation has constructed health clinics throughout Oklahoma, contributed to community development programs, built roads and bridges, constructed learning facilities and universities for its citizens, instilled the practice of Gadugi and self-reliance in its citizens, revitalized language immersion programs for its children and youth, and is a powerful and positive economic and political force in Eastern Oklahoma.

The Cherokee Nation hosts the Cherokee National Holiday on Labor Day weekend each year and 80,000 to 90,000 Cherokee Citizens travel to Tahlequah, Oklahoma for the festivities. The Cherokee Nation also publishes the Cherokee Phoenix, a tribal newspaper which has operated continuously since 1828, publishing editions in both English and the Sequoyah Syllabary. The Cherokee Nation council appropriates money for historic foundations concerned with the preservation of Cherokee Culture, including the Cherokee Heritage Center which hosts a reproduction of an ancient Cherokee Village, Adams Rural Village (a turn-of-the-century village), Nofire Farms and the Cherokee Family Research Center (genealogy), which is open to the public. The Cherokee Heritage Center is home to the Cherokee National Museum, which has numerous exhibitions also open to the public. The CHC is the repository for the Cherokee Nation as its National Archives. The CHC operates under the Cherokee National Historical Society, Inc., and is governed by a Board of Trustees with an executive committee. Current President of the board is Mary Ellen Meredith. Director Carey Tilley sees over the daily operations.

The Cherokee Nation also supports the Cherokee Nation Film Festivals in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and participates in the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah Many famous American Indian actors are members of the Cherokee Nation, such as Wes Studi.

Today the Cherokee Nation is one of America's biggest proponents of ecological protection. Since 1992, the Nation has served as the lead for the Inter-Tribal Environmental Council. The mission of ITEC is to protect the health of American Indians, their natural resources and their environment as it relates to air, land and water. To accomplish this mission, ITEC provides technical support, training and environmental services in a variety of environmental disciplines. Currently, there are thirty-nine (39) ITEC member tribes in Oklahoma, California, New Mexico, and Texas.

A Contemporary History of The Cherokee Tribe in Kansas
by William G. Cutler (1883)
A treaty of peace was made with the Cherokees of the Cumberland and Tennessee in 1785. In 1791, they commenced to cede their lands to the United States, which they continued to do, by frequent treaties, until 1808, with no grant of other lands in return. In the fall of 1808, deputations from the upper and lower Cherokee towns visited Washington, the first to declare to the President (Thomas Jefferson) their anxious desire to engage in the pursuits of agricultural life, and to establish fixed laws and a regularly organized government, and the latter to declare their wish to continue the hunter life, and to ask for a reservation to the west of the Mississippi, where game was more abundant.

The United States Government, by the President, answered the requests in the following affectionate terms: "The United States, my children, are the friends of both parties, and, as far as can be reasonably asked, they are willing to satisfy the wishes of both. Those who remain may be assured of our patronage, our aid and good neighborhood. Those who wish to remove are permitted to send an exploring party to reconnoiter the country on the waters of the Arkansas and White Rivers, and the higher up the better, as they will be the longer unapproached by our settlements, which will begin at the mouths of those rivers. The regular districts of the Government of St. Louis are already laid off to the St. Francis."

The Cherokees "of the lowers towns" accordingly explored the country on the rivers named, and, after making their selection, exchanged their Eastern for their new Western lands, the United States generously giving all the poor warriors of the emigrating tribe a gun, a blanket and a brass kettle, or, if they preferred a beaver trap to a brass kettle, they could have that instead, these articles "to be considered as a full compensation for the improvements which they may leave." In this and treaty of 1819, two years later, provisions were made for the permanent location of the remainder of the Cherokees east of the Mississippi.

In May, 1828, a tract of land forming a parallelogram of forty miles by three hundred, along the western border of the Territory of Arkansas, as it was then bounded, was ceded to the Cherokees, the property and possessions of the inhabitants being bought by the Federal Government, and compensation made to them for removal.

By the treaty of December 9, 1835, the United States agreed to convey to the Cherokee Indians "the following additional tract of land, situated between the west line of the State of Missouri and Osage Reservation: Beginning at the southeast corner of the same and running north along the east line of the Osage lands fifty miles to the northeast corner thereof, and thence east to the west line of the State of Missouri; thence with said line south fifty miles; thence west to the place of beginning--estimated to contain eight hundred thousand acres of land."

The northern portion of this reservation was in the southeast corner of the present State of Kansas. Three years after the treaty was made--in May, 1838--Gen. Scott, by order of Gen. Jackson, marched into Georgia with a military force and accomplished the removal of the Cherokees.

July 19, 1866, the tribe ceded to the United States the land in Kansas sold to them in 1835; also the strip of land in Kansas ceded to them by the same treaty, the lands to be sold at not less than $1.25 per acre. The Senate added a proviso to the treaty, allowing the lands to be sold at $1 an acre.

On the 30th of August, 1866, the Secretary of the Interior (Harlan) made a contract with the American Emigrant Company of Connecticut for the sale of so much of the tract ceded by the Cherokees (Cherokee Neutral Lands) as was "not occupied by actual settlers at the date of treaty," for $1 per acre.

Secretary Browning, who succeeded Mr. Harlan, regarding this sale illegal, made a contract, on the 9th of October, 1867, to sell the lands to James F. Joy, of Detroit, Mich. By a supplemental treaty made with the Cherokees, ratified June 6, 1868, it was agreed that the American Emigrant Company should assign its contract to Joy, the contract, so modified, being re-affirmed and declared valid. The contract between Secretary Browning and Mr. Joy was canceled.

All the missionary and other establishments of importance among the Cherokees have been outside the limits of Kansas.

Many of these pages have used information from Wikipedia as their basis. Other information has been added by site owners as it is found and as time permits . We also invite users to submit info to be added to the site.
Copyright Genuine Kansas 2007