History : Aug-Sep 2015
proclamations of national sovereignty particu- larly antagonized the removal advocates in Geor- gia, and in the late 1820s the state attempted to extend its jurisdiction over the Cherokee people and abolish Cherokee laws and institutions. In response, on July 26, 1827, the Cherokee nation adopted a republican constitution. Its ratification sent a strong message to Geor- gia, the rest of the United States, and the world that, as principal chief John Ross put it, the Cherokee nation had “always maintained sov- ereign jurisdiction over its territorial limits,” and had “never surrendered her right to self- government.” Georgia escalated its pressure on the govern- ment to remove the Cherokee. When Andrew Jackson was elected president in 1828, the state gained a powerful and popular ally who prom- ised to remove the Indian tribes from the East. In 1830 Congress, at Jackson’s behest, passed a bill authorizing the president to negotiate re- moval treaties with the Indian nations. In 1835 a small dissident Cherokee faction signed a re- moval treaty that required their entire people to move west within two years. In the fall and winter of 1838-1839 the Cherokee traveled along several Trails of Tears to what is now northeast- ern Oklahoma; perhaps as many as a quarter of the Cherokee population died as a consequence. Once in the West, however, the Cherokee re- stored their national institutions and reinvigo- rated their economy; there were many battles ahead, but they had overcome an existential challenge to their civilization through resilience, adaptation, determination, and courage. THREE FEDERALLY RECOGNIZED CHEROKEE NATIONS exist today. In Oklahoma the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians are descended from those who migrated west in the 19th century. A few Cherokees fled into the mountains of North Carolina and are now the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation. THE MODERN CHEROKEE MODERN CHEROKEE TAKING PART IN TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES TIM ALAN GARRISON GARRISON COMBINES HIS LEGAL AND HISTORICAL EXPERTISE TO EXPLORE THE ROLE OF LAW AND LEGISLATION IN NATIVE INDIAN HISTORY. BOOKS “Our Cause Will Ultimately Triumph”: Profiles in American Indian Sovereignty Tim Alan Garrison, Carolina Academic Press, 2014. A Demand For Blood Nadia Dean, Valley River Press, 2012. The Cherokee Nation and the Trail of Tears Theda Perdue & Michael Green, Penguin Books, 2008. Cherokee Basketry: From the Hands of our Elders M. Anna Fariello, The History Press, 2009. Learn more UNIVERSAL IMAGES GROUP/ALBUM M.JUÁREZLUGO/ZUMAPRESS/CORBIS/CORDONPRESS NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC HISTORY 89 The Cherokee attempted to fight their forced removal in the law courts, but to no avail. In 1838 the U.S. Army began evicting Cherokees at gunpoint. During the following fall and winter they traveled west along several Trails of Tears, a name that evokes their suffering.