Cherokee Indains Essay, Research Paper
The Indians had many little confrontations with the white settlers and the white government. The Indians didn?t always get along with the white people. Even though the Cherokee Indians were a very peaceful tribe they had wars with the whites. All the wars that the Indians went through they lost land or something valuable to them like faith, homes, life styles and sometimes their life. The first major war with the white people the war between 1775 and 1795.( Fremon, Page 17) They lost all of the land which is now Tennessee. The Indians didn?t fight like the white traditional ways of fighting. They used a way of fight call guerrilla warfare of in other words hit and run. Since this war lasted for about twenty years there was a lot deaths. Many people called the Indians savages but in most ways they were more civilized than the whites. Many whites would sneak into the Indians? camps and scalped them.(Fremon page 17) Whites would kill women and children for not getting gold or valuables quick enough. When the war broke out between the French and the British the Cherokee Indians decided the help the British. They were afraid that if the French would beat the British then the white settlers would take more and more land (Brill page 18) There were many Indian tribes that helped the French. When some of the Cherokee Indians rode though Virginia, some white settlers thought that they were going to help the French. They attacked the Indians and kill twenty-five Indians. The rest of the warriors fought back and scalped many Virginians. They also burned houses, destroyed fields and stole horses and guns.( Brill page 19) This was very uncharacteristic of the Cherokee tribe but the Indians had enough of the white man.
The white man has done many things the change the life style of the Cherokee people. The act that changed the lifestyle the most was the Indian Removal Act. This act was passed in the U.S. supreme court in 1849. This act affected the Cherokee nation in many ways. Their land in Georgia was cut up into 160 acre lots. Any Indian had to move if the whites wanted their land. Most had to leave right away.(Fremon page 59-60) The Indians lost their homeland but they also lost a lot of money in gold. They lost 16.5 million dollar in gold. This deposits was found in 1830 in Georgia.(Fremon page 56-58) The Indian people viewed this act in many different ways. One of the most respected men in the Indian nation was Chief Old Tassel. He said ” if we have no land we should have fewer enemies.” (Fremon page 17) Chief Old Tassel had the right idea but it just didn?t work over the greed of the white man. The white man wanted more and more. There were many times of the Cherokee people tried to end the Indian Removal Act. The main leader of the Cherokees was a guy named Jon Ross.(Brill page 19) He led many groups to the Supreme court to try to get the government to reverse their decision. Ross and many other leaders felt that they were forced to sign the treaty that said that they had to go out west. The printer of the Cherokee paper The Phoenix was sent to prison because we was speaking out against the U.S. government. Even though it is okay if the white people speak out against the government because it is part of Constitution and it?s their right. The U.S. government didn?t consider the Indians citizens of the U.S. but they felt they had a right to control them through taxes and laws that the Indians had no control over. Most of the Cherokee Indians didn?t understand what was happening. They felt that the land was every one?s to share and to live on together. Ross and others just felt like the act was just wrong. Ross and the other Indians didn?t give up they went to the Supreme Court many times but unfortunately it didn?t help the white settlers liked the idea of getting more land so did the U.S. government.
The Indian Removal Act finally led to the total removal of all Cherokee Indians. The government gave the nation a little piece of the Oklahoma territory.(Brill page27) Many of the Indians refused to leave. Once again this refusal was led by Ross and the older Chiefs. They tried even harder to try to get the government to change. The Cherokee leaders hired a white lawyer to help them plea their case to the Supreme court. As the Indians found out the government didn?t deal with them in a fair way. The Supreme Court didn?t really listen to their case because they were Indian. The Indians had many different views about the land in the west but the view that was held by mainly everybody was that the west was evil. A young Cherokee girl said ” the west was so evil that the sun even died.” (Brill page 53) When the Supreme court finally said they had to leave one group of wealthy Cherokee went. They went willingly. They really like it out west. There was a lot of resources like buffalo, elk, deer, prairie dogs, squirrels, rabbits and a little bit of fertile land. They liked it to because there were no white people to take their land.(Fremon page 50-52) When some of the Indians liked it out west it scared the Indian nation back east. Ross and the other leader were afraid of losing all the support of trying to stay home. They felt like they were easier to control now because they were divided. Things back east weren?t going all to their plan. People in Georgia would force the Indians out. Many were force by gun point.(The Indians page 157) Whites burned barns, houses, and fields to try to get the Indians to leave. The Georgia government asked President Jackson to give them some military backing. Of course they got it. President Jackson also made all of the Cherokee?s land free to settle.(Fremon page 64) The Georgia people told the Indians if the didn?t leave they would not stop the killings or burning. The Cherokee Indians gave the government of Georgia an offer. Their offer was 2.5 million dollars and all the land in the west, they would also give up one half of the land in the east and all become U.S. citizens. Their offer was not accepted.(Fremon page 69) The government said “There will be nothing but complete removal.” (Fremon page 66) By this time the government was starting the removal of the Indians. The first couple of trips were made by flat boats. Since the government was paying for all the removals they found out that the river trip was too expensive. So the government found a different route. This route was by land. The last of the Cherokee Indians left on October first 1838 on a 12,000 mile journey.(American Heritage, Sept/Oct 1998 page 30) The Indians left with 13,000 men in 13 separate units. All together they took 645 wagons and 5,000 horses. If you weren?t with a family that had horses or a wagon you had to walk. The caravan was more than one quarter mile long. There were many disease that the Indians had to fight with. Whooping cough, influenza, dysentery, cholera, and small pox were the diseases that the Indians had to live. They went thought every day, every hour worrying about if they were going to get it. More than 4,000 men died. One white solider said ” Today?s campsite is tomorrow?s grave.” About 7,000 U.S. soldiers protected the Indians.(Fremon pages 72,84-86) The Indians may have lost their land and possession but they also lost their hope and faith. Which will never to be fully regained.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
These words from the Constitution of the United States of America every American lives by. That was not the same for the Cherokee people. They were torn out of their homes, beaten by whites and sometimes even killed because they were savages or was it because they were Indian and not like us. That question no one can answer. But why did the white do that. The Cherokee may have been the intelligent tribe out of the Indian nations. The Cherokee had their own alphabet and a form of government. For being not equal in the eyes of the white men the Cherokee people did influence the white greatly. There were even some Cherokee men in the Senate. The Cherokee people schooled their children and brought them up in much of the same way as the white children were brought up. For being so intelligent the whites destroyed the Cherokee nation in the eastern lands. Andrew Jackson thought that he had became god and able to tell the Cherokee people that they were not good enough to live with the whites. The United States felt they could tell the Cherokee people what to do and where they may and may not live. The Trail of Tears is one of the most well known Indians migration forced by the white.
All of this may not seem like such a big deal when its looked at with the eyes of the people of today. But it is, this may have been the first real act of racism which will plague the U.S. to years to come.
The Cherokee Indians Nation were judged by many white just because they were Indian. The white changed the Cherokees for life, in heart and in soul. The white used their racist attitudes to push the Cherokee Indians west.