Transcript of Why Oklahoma Cherokees Do Not Live on a Reservation.
Finally Why Are There No Reservations in Oklahoma? Location and Land Status Why Oklahoma Cherokees Do Not Live on a Reservation. Prior to the removal of the Cherokee people to the current location in Oklahoma, the tribe had a land base of approximately 126,000 sq. mi. located in the southeastern part of North America. (1) Beginning in 1721 to 1819 the vast territory was reduced down to the mountainous areas of North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. In total, more than 120,000 sq. miles had been ceded by treaty to the growing United States. There were about 26 treaties that involved land sessions during this time period. Today, the tribal lands of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma span 124,000 acres or 7000 sq. mi. throughout 14 counties in northeastern Oklahoma.(2) Why Was So Much Land Lost? During the European conquest period, Native tribes often would give lands to Anglo settlers. They would often just share land in common with its own tribal people. Unfortunately, the European concept was to sign contracts or treaties that represented legal ownership. Cherokee people were forced to give up lands due to lost concessions suffered by the fact that the Cherokee’s decided to fight for the British crown during the American War of Independence. What other Influences Made Cherokee People Accept Assimilation Policies? Before the forced removal of the Cherokee people prior to 1838, many Cherokees had skills developed from education, farming, milling, blacksmithing, store ownership, and toll road operation. These skills allowed many of the Cherokees to develop wealth and owning plantations. Growing crops of corn, wheat, and cotton. Cherokee people had orchards of peaches and apples. The growing wealth of some of the Cherokee people allowed them to purchase slaves to work on their farms. Although they adapted to the mainstream concept of being “civilized’ they would never been seen as equals. Prior Treaties did guarantee them to be domestic dependent Nations; sovereign to some degree but when the colonists or states wanted to take land from their Cherokee counterparts, the Constitution at that time did not allow the transfer of Indian land without their permission. That is why treaties were used to legally negotiate from the Cherokee people land that had been guaranteed to them by previous treaties. There were 22 Treaties made with the Cherokee people from 1721 to 1819. It was through this process that land was reduced and in 1838 implemented a forced removal to Oklahoma. How Did the Cherokees Adapt after Such Land Loss? Before the massive land loss to the European settlers the Cherokees were heavily reliant upon trading with the Europeans. Many of the 50,000 deer skins that were used for trade in 1708 were used to purchase European goods; metal hoes and knives. By 1735 more than 1,000,000 skins were being traded, guns and ammunition were also part of what the Cherokee people purchased. (3) Stores were being built on tribal lands where credit was being extended to Cherokee people so that trading relationships continued. After the massive land loss Cherokee people continued to develop trading with the local economies going from hunters to farmers. They began to create their own methods of trading. Modeling their lifestyles and their economy to that of the white settlers. What type of Government did the Cherokee People have in the 1800’s? In 1817 Cherokees divided their land into eight electoral districts where each sent representatives to the national council. The officials came from the surrounding Cherokee townships in an effort to protect personal and common property rights. They also developed District courts to hear criminal cases to determine punishment for the convicted party. By 1822 they had even developed a supreme court to hear appeals from the district courts. By 1827 the Cherokee Nation even drafted and adopted their own Constitution. The National Council consisted of 32 democratically elected members. There was also a National committee consisting of 13 members. Although, the Cherokee people adopted schools, churches, and political institutions from Anglo-Americans, they used them to serve their own purposes. Going along with the U.S. assimilation policy was seen as a cultural revitalization process to them. (5) Works Cited:See the full transcript
2Tillers Guide to Indian Country 2005 pg. 808
3The Cherokees Indians of North America, author Theda Perdue 2005 pg. 21
5The Cherokees Indians of North America, author Theda Perdue 2005 pg. 43
6 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherokee_Nation_(19th_century) The establishment of a new life in Oklahoma continued with what many believed was the appropriate way of living; farming and the use of slaves. Geographically Oklahoma was considered a southern state therefore when Civil War broke out in 1861, the Cherokee had to accept the side of the south. Traditionalist wanted to abolish slavery but the current Chief, John Ross wanted the tribe to somehow stay neutral. In the end he had to sign a declaration for the Cherokee to be aligned with the South. As a result at the end of the war, the Cherokee Nation was seen as a sympathizer with the south and they were again required to forfeit more land and allotment was forced upon them so that all Cherokee land was held in private ownership. This act set the path for land held by private owners to be taken from the individual owner. (6) (4)