Resisting Removal

Resisting Removal

<em>1836 Protest Petition from Cherokee Nation to United States Government</em>. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses
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ᎠᎾᏓᏱᎲ ᏗᎨᏥᎧᎲᏍᏗᎢ

Resisting Removal

In the early 1800s the Cherokee began to face enormous pressures to all of their traditional homelands in the East and to move to other lands far away, west of the Mississippi River. The Cherokee people tried many strategies to avoid removal.

1836 Protest Petition from Cherokee Nation to United States Government. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses

Resistance

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Indian Removal Act

ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᏕᎨᏥᎧᎲᏒ ᎤᎵᏁᏨ

Indian Removal Act

In 1828, President Andrew Jackson set about pushing a bill through Congress calling for the removal of the southeastern Native American tribes to lands west of the Mississippi River.

The Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress on May 28, 1830, and quickly sent to President Jackson, who signed the act into law, effectively forcing all southeastern tribes to give up their traditional homelands.

Papers of John Ross

<em>John Ross</em>, ca 1846. Hand-colored lithograph on paper. Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society
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The Cherokee Nation, led by Principal Chief John Ross, resisted the Indian Removal Act, even in the face of assaults on its sovereign rights by the state of Georgia and violence against Cherokee people.
John Ross, ca 1846. Hand-colored lithograph on paper. Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society

Treaty of New Echota

<em>New Echota Historic Site</em>, Photograph by Cady Shaw. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses

ᎧᏃᎮᏛ ᏚᎾᏠᎯᏍᏔᏅ ᎢᏤ ᎢᏦᏛᎢ

Treaty of New Echota

A small group of Cherokee citizens began to believe they had no choice but to give up their land and move to the west.

New Echota Historic Site, Photograph by Cady Shaw. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses

New Echota Historic Site Image

<em>New Echota Historic Site</em>, Photograph by Cady Shaw. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses
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By the 1830s, the Cherokee Nation’s capital was located in New Echota, near present-day Calhoun, Georgia.
New Echota Historic Site, Photograph by Cady Shaw. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses

Treaty of New Echota Images

1 | <em>Portrait of John Ridge</em>, 1842. Lithograph by J.T. Bowen. Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society
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1 | Portrait of John Ridge

2 | <em>Portrait of Major Ridge</em>, 1837. Lithograph by J.T. Bowen. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution NPG.94.105
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2 | Portrait of Major Ridge

3 | <em>Portrait of Elias Boudinot, n.d.</em> Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society, Muriel Wright Collection
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3 | Portrait of Elias Boudinot

4 | <em>Portrait of Stand Watie</em>, Ambrotype. Courtesy of Cherokee National Archives, Cherokee Heritage Center
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4 | Portrait of Stand Watie

Though they had no legal right to represent the Cherokee Nation, some Cherokees signed the Treaty of New Echota with the U.S. government in December of 1835, all Cherokee lands in the East for lands west of the Mississippi River. The signers of the treaty became known as the Treaty Party, and included the prominent tribal members pictured here.
1 | Portrait of John Ridge, 1842. Lithograph by J.T. Bowen. Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society2 | Portrait of Major Ridge, 1837. Lithograph by J.T. Bowen. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution NPG.94.1053 | Portrait of Elias Boudinot, n.d. Courtesy of Oklahoma Historical Society, Muriel Wright Collection4 | Portrait of Stand Watie, Ambrotype. Courtesy of Cherokee National Archives, Cherokee Heritage Center

Principal Chief John Ross and a majority of Cherokee people protested the treaty as signed. They became known as the National Party. Even though most Cherokee fought against the Treaty of New Echota, it was ratified in the U.S. Senate by just one vote.

Principal Chief John Ross and a majority of Cherokee people protested the treaty as signed. They became known as the National Party. Even though most Cherokee fought against the Treaty of New Echota, it was ratified in the U.S. Senate by just one vote.

1836 Protest Petition

1836 ᏗᏂᎦᏘᎴᎩ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎤᏂᏢᏅᎢ

1836 Protest Petition

As a rebuttal to the illegal signing of the Treaty of New Echota, the Cherokee Nation created an official protest petition in 1836. It was signed by Principal Chief John Ross, Cherokee Nation council members, and 2,174 citizens of the Cherokee Nation.

1836 Protest Petition from Cherokee Nation

<em>1836 Protest Petition from Cherokee Nation to United States Government.</em> Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses
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“We are deprived of membership in the human family!”

The protest petition pleaded with the U.S. government to reject the Treaty of New Echota and to work with the true officials of the Cherokee Nation.

1836 Protest Petition from Cherokee Nation to United States Government. Courtesy of Cherokee Nation Businesses Original Text Opens in new window Paraphrased Version Opens in new window

Image of Great Smoky Mountain Clingmans Dome Sunset Panorama

<em>Great Smoky Mountain Clingmans Dome Sunset Panorama,</em> iStock.com

Principal Chief John Ross and other statesmen exhausted all options to protest removal. Intruders continued to encroach on Cherokee lands and became more forceful in taking Cherokee property. Emotions ran high and the outlook for Cherokee people turned from hopeful to bleak.

Great Smoky Mountain Clingmans Dome Sunset Panorama, iStock.com

Great Smoky Mountain Clingmans Dome Image

<em>Great Smoky Mountain Clingmans Dome Sunset Panorama,</em> iStock.com
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Some Cherokee had already moved west by the mid-1830s, but the pain of leaving their ancestral homeland weighed heavily on those Cherokee remaining in the East. Their removal became inevitable as the U.S. government made preparations to forcibly remove them.
Great Smoky Mountain Clingmans Dome Sunset Panorama, iStock.com

Division

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Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions

  • 1|
    What actions did leaders of the Cherokee Nation take to resist removal?
  • 2|
    What effect did the Treaty of New Echota have on Cherokee resistance to removal?
  • 3|
    What was the U.S. government’s response to the Cherokee petition against the Treaty of New Echota?