Don A. Gago
The Cherokee Nation had many traditions during the 17th – 19th century that was influenced by the southern white tradition. This Cherokee tribe and others were altered to adjust to white methods and approaches. These are some of the facts that lead to changes to the Cherokee Nation in the south.
Pre-Columbian traditions and ethnic structures were embedded in this time by the Cherokee Nation. The callings of Indians and the whites in the southern states had a number of shared benefits, customs, principles and even goals. The similarities were due to a close association established over periods and close contact, affiliations formed by the lively elements within the Cherokee??™s novel understanding and communication with their white neighbors and their beliefs.
The Cherokee assumed many forms and practices freely, others had to have them forced upon them and some were already in place. Some of the traditions in south were taken away from them in some form or fashion. Their traditional cultures of the Cherokee were threatened by the white traditions which over time they closely identified themselves just as southerners just as the whites did.
The Cherokee belief system was that there was a supreme being that could not be look upon, but as the creator the people would have their crops and animals blessed by the creator.
But as the southern counterparts that adopted the slave concept, was also adopted by the Cherokee Indians. The Cherokee also relied on a slightly different variation of oppression with slaves. The method that the Cherokee and other tribes in regards to the enslavement in which members of the opposite tribes apprehended in war were used in labor and agriculture was common among Indian tribes of North America long before interaction with Europeans.
???The tribe??™s dependence on the Southern tradition of African slavery became more integral to their economy and agriculture as time went on. Much like the southern white population, the vast majority of the Cherokee did not own any slaves. In 1809 there were 589 slaves owned by 125 families (less than 5%), 75 free blacks and 12,395 Cherokee (2,400 Households) living in the Cherokee nation??? (Bullard).
The United States Congress passed the “Indian Removal Act” in 1830. While several Americans were against this act, like the Tennessee Congressman Davy Crockett, the act passed anyway. Many of the Cherokee tried to fight the act in a legal manner, but at first it was ruled against the Cherokee nation. But in 1832 again congress ruled in favor of the Cherokee nation, but would have to agree to the removal to allotted land. With the ???Trails of Tears??? more than 4000 Cherokee died as part of the removal process.
Major Ridge was Born 1771, Hiwassee, Cherokee Nation and died June 22, 1839, White Rock Creek, AR. In his first war party meeting the upcoming member of the Cherokee Triumvirate witnessed the massacre of war. Cherokee??™s and settlers??™ engaged through the southeast Tennessee. Near present-day Maryville the Cherokee attacked settlers and turned on John Gillespies station, killing all the men in the jail.
Ridges leader, John Watts protected the lives of the 28 women and children that were house in the fort. Two more stations were attacked on the Holsten before heading for the Smoky Mountains. The upcoming governor of Tennessee John Seiver had taken by surprise the war party in vengeance for the settler??™s demises. Ridge fled, but injured knowing that 145 Cherokee??™s died that day.
Bullard, F.B. (n.d.). A Cultural and Political History of the Cherokees. Retrieved from http://www.sagespirit.net/nativeamericanhistory.html