http://www.cherokeephoenix.orgThe signing of the Treaty of New Echota on Dec. 29, 1835, is depicted at the New Echota Historic Site in Calhoun, Georgia. The signers are shown signing the treaty in the parlor of former Cherokee Phoenix Editor Elias Boudinot. COURTESY
The signing of the Treaty of New Echota on Dec. 29, 1835, is depicted at the New Echota Historic Site in Calhoun, Georgia. The signers are shown signing the treaty in the parlor of former Cherokee Phoenix Editor Elias Boudinot. COURTESY

Dec. 29 marks Treaty of New Echota’s 182nd anniversary

BY WILL CHAVEZ
Assistant Editor – @cp_wchavez
12/29/2017 08:00 AM
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – “The Cherokee Nation hereby cede, relinquish and convey to the United States all the lands owned claimed or possessed by them east of the Mississippi River.”

Those fateful words are a part of the Treaty of New Echota signed Dec. 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia, by 21 Cherokee headmen and two government officials. The signing, 182 years ago, ended nearly 20 years of efforts by the U.S. government to push the Cherokee people west beyond the Mississippi.

When the tribe first entered into treaties with the British in 1721 its estimated holdings included slightly less than 80 million acres. By 1817, the tribe held less than 15 million acres of its original lands.

An 1825 census revealed a population of 13,563 Cherokee, 220 whites and 1,277 slaves within the tribe’s borders. In the 1820s, the CN claimed 7.8 million acres in what is now eastern Tennessee, eastern Alabama, western North Carolina and northern Georgia. The tribe’s capital was located in New Echota.

On July 26, 1827, perhaps to strengthen its position against Georgia claims on their lands, the CN adopted a constitution. As expected, Georgia immediately resented and condemned the document.

Though they didn’t realize it, the results of the 1828 national election sealed the future of the Cherokee people. The new president, Andrew Jackson, had already made it clear he wanted all tribes living in the southeast to move west, and the Georgia legislature interpreted Jackson’s election as a mandate to move ahead with its plans to extinguish Indian claims in the state.

In December of 1828, Georgia lawmakers passed a bill that stated after June 1, 1830, the Cherokee people would be under the jurisdiction of Georgia law. Perhaps the most stinging of all the bills Georgia enacted was the one stating, “That no Indian or descendant of an Indian residing within the Creek or Cherokee Nations of Indians shall be deemed a competent witness in any court of this state to which a white person may be a party.”

Cherokee leaders hoped the situation had turned in their favor on March 3, 1832, when the U.S. Supreme Court led by Judge John Marshall declared in Worcester v. Georgia that the United States had assumed the treaty relationships, which Great Britain had set up before 1784.

“The Cherokee Nation, then,” the opinion read, “is a distinct community, occupying its own territory, with boundaries accurately described, in which the laws of Georgia can have no force.”
Jackson reacted and was reported to say: “John Marshall has made his decision: Now let him enforce it.”

In his annual message to Congress in December 1833, Jackson said: “…tribes can not exist surrounded by our citizens is certain. They have neither the intelligence, the industry, the moral habits, nor the desire to improvement, which are essential to any favorable change in their condition.”

The following year, CN leaders began to divide on the removal issue. Chief John Ross and his followers stood against removal, but it became evident that a band of Cherokee leaders were beginning to favor escaping what had become an uncomfortable position. The removal faction, led by Major Ridge, his son John Ridge and his nephew Elias Boudinot, negotiated a treaty on June 19, 1834, which called for removal of the tribe to the west. Despite protests from the Ross faction, the treaty was presented to the U.S. Senate but was not ratified.

In February 1835, both Ross and John Ridge led their delegations into Washington. Sensing an agreement between Ridge and federal authorities, Ross’ group made a proposal to the government, which called for removal on the basis of a $20 million allowance for the Georgia lands. Because of the large sum requested, the offer was not considered and a counter offer of $5 million was offered to Ross.

Federal authorities were also in touch with the Ridge faction and appointed the Rev. John F. Schermerhorn to act as government negotiator.

The tribe’s council met in October 1835 at Red Clay, Tennessee, in the CN and followed Ross’ advice to reject the Ridge treaty. Ridge and Ross had apparently reached some understanding on the matter. The council approved Ross’ plan to return to Washington and press for a different treaty.

Before the council at Red Clay adjourned, Schermerhorn served notice that a similar meeting would be held at New Echota in December to reopen the treaty issue. He ordered news of the meeting distributed throughout the CN and added Cherokees not in attendance would be assumed to favor any treaty that might be negotiated there.

A committee was chosen to negotiate with Schermerhorn on Dec. 23, and for five days the group discussed the $5 million figure mentioned by various senators when Ross’ earlier proposal was rejected.

Schermerhorn, Major Ridge, John Ridge, Andrew Ross (John’s brother), Elias Boudinot and 17 other tribal men signed a conditional treaty on Dec. 29. The document called for a grant of $5 million for the ceded lands and a guarantee of 7 million acres of western territory. The removal was to begin within two years after the treaty was ratified by the Senate.

John Ross denounced the treaty and returned to Washington to protest its provisions and fight against its ratification. He went to the capital with a protest signed by 12,714 Cherokees, but Jackson let it be known that the federal government would no longer recognize any existing government among the Cherokees.

The New Echota Treaty was ratified May 23, 1836. The actual removal of Cherokee people then became the military’s problem to solve.

The Ridge family left the old CN in March 1837. Government records show about 700 Cherokees removed themselves to Indian Territory that year. In early 1838, 250 more Cherokees headed west.

In May 1838 those Cherokees who had refused to give up their lands began to be rounded up by U.S. soldiers for the forced removal west. Many of them may not have understood the treaty that sold their lands, but they were now going to suffer the consequences of it.

Sources:

Wilkins, Thurman, “Cherokee Tragedy – The Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People,” University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.

Rutland, Robert, “Political Backgrounds of the Cherokee Treaty of New Echota,” Chronicles of Oklahoma
About the Author
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M.

He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life.
He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association.

Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.
WILL-CHAVEZ@cherokee.org • 918-207-3961
Will lives in Tahlequah, Okla., but calls Marble City, Okla., his hometown. He is Cherokee and San Felipe Pueblo and grew up learning the Cherokee language, traditions and culture from his Cherokee mother and family. He also appreciates his father’s Pueblo culture and when possible attends annual traditional dances held on the San Felipe Reservation near Albuquerque, N.M. He enjoys studying and writing about Cherokee history and culture and writing stories about Cherokee veterans. For Will, the most enjoyable part of writing for the Cherokee Phoenix is having the opportunity to meet Cherokee people from all walks of life. He earned a mass communications degree in 1993 from Northeastern State University with minors in marketing and psychology. He is a member of the Native American Journalists Association. Will has worked in the newspaper and public relations field for 20 years. He has performed public relations work for the Cherokee Nation and has been a reporter and a photographer for the Cherokee Phoenix for more than 18 years. He was named interim executive editor on Dec. 8, 2015, by the Cherokee Phoenix Editorial Board.

News

BY LINDSEY BARK
Reporter
07/23/2018 10:15 AM
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – According to Arkansas Ethics Commission records, Cherokee Nation Businesses has again donated to a group that’s attempting to get casinos in Arkansas by placing it on the ballot. AEC records show that on June 25 CNB gave $525,300 to the group Driving Arkansas Forward, which is attempting to get on the November ballot a proposal to put four casinos in the state. Driving Arkansas Forward Chairman Don Tilton said if the proposal makes the ballot and passes then Oaklawn Racing & Gaming in Hot Springs (Garland County) and Southland Park Gaming in West Memphis (Crittenden County) would be grandfathered in as full-fledged casinos. Both are currently limited on what gaming they offer, Tilton said. He added that the group would also have casinos in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) and Russellville (Pope County) authorized. Garland County is in central Arkansas, and Crittenden County is in northeastern Arkansas. Jefferson County is in south central Arkansas, and Pope County is in north central Arkansas. CNB CEO Shawn Slaton said CNB contributed the money to help “protect Cherokee jobs.” “A significant portion of our market originates in northwest Arkansas, and if an operator other than Cherokee Nation were to gain a foothold, that would threaten jobs at Cherokee Casinos West Siloam Springs and Roland. It could also decrease, for the first time ever, revenue that ultimately funds health care, housing, education and other tribal services. CNB will always go to whatever lengths necessary to protect Cherokee jobs and not only preserve, but continue to increase the dividend paid to the Cherokee Nation, which funds critical services for Cherokee Nation citizens,” Slaton said. CNB officials said the donation was to help with expenditures such as campaigning and advertising to get the proposal placed on the ballot. With the help of CNB and the Quapaw Tribe, Driving Arkansas Forward has raised more than $1.2 million, according to its July 16 AEC filing. However, Driving Arkansas Forward isn’t the only group trying to get casinos in Arkansas. On March 27, Arkansas Wins in 2018 filed with the AEC its ballot question statement seeking authorization to build casinos in Benton, Boone, Miller and Pulaski counties. Benton and Boone counties are in northwest Arkansas. Miller County is in southwestern Arkansas, and Pulaski County sits in the middle of the state. Benton County also sits across the state line from Cherokee Casino West Siloam Springs in Delaware County, Oklahoma. Less than two ago, the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down a ballot initiative to build three casinos in Boone, Miller and Washington counties because of language containing references to sports wagering, which is illegal in Arkansas under federal law. CNB contributed more than $6 million for advertising campaigns for the 2016 initiative. After the measure was struck down, CNB was given back approximately $1.5 million. If the ballot had passed, Cherokee Nation Entertainment would have operated a casino, hotel and entertainment venue in Washington County. At that time, Slaton said the decision to support the 2016 ballot was based on what was best for the Cherokee Nation, CNE employees and the revenue stream that funds vital CN social services and programs.
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
07/22/2018 10:00 AM
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina car dealership has taken down a 23-foot fiberglass statue of a Native American that has drawn complaints over its 50-year history. The Asheville Citizen Times reports that Harry's On the Hill was prompted to take down the statue known as "Chief Pontiac" partly because of a bad experience by a female customer who's a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The newspaper said an employee was fired after sending an offensive text message to the customer in June. Even before that, some Native Americans had complained about the statue. The statue was removed Friday with a crane. It's being donated to the Pontiac-Oakland Transportation Museum in Michigan. Pat Grimes, owner of Harry's, said he received offers to buy the statue but felt that the museum was best for it.
BY TRAVIS SNELL
Assistant Editor – @cp_tsnell
07/21/2018 02:00 PM
TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Phoenix has selected Cherokee artist Nathalie Standingcloud’s design for its 2018 holiday T-shirt, which goes on sale July 1 at the Cherokee Phoenix’s office and Cherokee Nation Gift Shop. In 2016, the Cherokee Phoenix commissioned Cherokee artist Buffalo Gouge to design its initial T-shirt, one that differed from the tribe’s Cherokee National Holiday shirts. For the 2017 T-shirt, the Cherokee Phoenix sought entries from Cherokee artists and chose Daniel HorseChief’s concept. This year, the Cherokee Phoenix selected Standingcloud’s design, which she said features a southeastern-style phoenix shield with a seven-pointed star surrounded by seven gourd masks that represent the tribe’s clans. Above the design in the Cherokee syllabary are the words “Cherokee Phoenix.” Below the image in English are the words “CHEROKEE HOMECOMING” as well as “2018” and Standingcloud’s signature. Also, the Cherokee Phoenix logo will be on a sleeve. “I hope when someone looks at this, whether they’re Cherokee or not, that they acknowledge the symmetry and symbolism that makes up the entire design. And if they are Cherokee they can find their clan and feel like they are being represented,” Standingcloud said. “When I started this design I had to draw a phoenix to represent our strong Cherokee people overcoming all that they went through during colonization. I also kept in mind the sacred numbers and symbolism that we use in our culture like the masks and seven-pointed star. I chose simple colors so I could use others to bring out the uniqueness of each clan.” She said the fact her submission was chosen made her feel “accomplished” and brings “honor” to her family. She added that she plans to submit another concept for the 2019 T-shirt and encourages up-and-coming Cherokee artists to do the same. “I urge young artist to doodle every day, and just because you don’t finish some amazing, elaborate or perfect piece doesn’t make you any less of an artist,” Standingcloud said. “So I want to tell all the Cherokees out there to have courage and get creative for next year’s T-shirt submission.” The black shirts are short-sleeved with adult sizes ranging from small to 3XL. The Cherokee Phoenix is also offering a youth medium size this year. The shirts are priced at $20 plus tax each. To order online, visit <a href="http://cherokeegiftshop.com" target="_blank">http://cherokeegiftshop.com</a>. The Cherokee Phoenix office is in the Annex Building (Old Motel) on the Tribal Complex. The gift shop is also on the complex. Staff members will have shirts available at the Cherokee Phoenix booths at the Capital Square and Tribal Complex during the Cherokee National Holiday. The Cherokee Phoenix will also have T-shirts featuring the previous two designs at discounted prices at the booths. The Cherokee Phoenix plans to continue contracting with Cherokee artists to create the annual holiday T-shirts. CN, United Keetoowah Band and Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizens who are interested in submitting T-shirt concepts can email them to travis-snell@cherokee.org. The deadline for submissions is midnight on Jan. 1. For more information, call 918-207-4975 or email <a href="mailto: phoenix-subs@cherokee.org">phoenix-subs@cherokee.org</a>.
BY KELLY BOSTIAN
Tulsa World
07/20/2018 08:30 AM
OAKS – The future of a historic parcel of land appears secure as the Cherokee Nation closed on the purchase of the Delaware County property, where clearing had already begun for construction of a chicken farm. The effort not only saved the property from development but helped galvanize a community that is concerned about poultry operation expansion in the area. The 60.81-acre parcel, adjacent to the Oaks Indian Mission at Oaks, was purchased to help preserve and protect the area, which also abuts a historic cemetery known as God’s Acre. The CN closed on the purchase July 2. The tribe said there are no immediate plans for what will be done on the property. “The tribe believes in protecting sites that are historically significant as well as preserving it for the betterment of our tribal citizens and environment,” Principal Chief Bill John Baker said. “The Cherokee Nation is also stronger for the future when we add land within the jurisdiction of the tribe to our land base.” Members of the Spring Creek Coalition first raised concerns about potential impacts of the planned poultry operation, which would have housed 300,000 chickens at the headwaters of one of Oklahoma’s most pristine streams. The community effort soon intensified as people connected with the Oaks Mission and learned more about the historic significance of the site, a recognized arrival location on the Trail of Tears in the 1830s. Poultry farm operators Tran Tran LLC had cleared land in preparation for building the houses for production for Simmons Foods before many area residents realized what was happening. After environmental attorney David Page of Barber & Bartz in Tulsa contacted Simmons, the operators agreed to halt construction and offer the land for sale. Spring Creek Coalition member Emily Oakley spearheaded the effort and created a GoFundMe page to raise money for possible down payment on the land if a single buyer had not come forward. The page notes that if a buyer did come forward, the money would go to the nonprofit coalition for preservation efforts. The page was closed this week with just over $9,100 raised. “It’s super, unbelievably exciting that this worked out the way it did,” Oakley said. “I am grateful that (the Cherokee Nation) got it, incredibly appreciative and relieved. I’m sure whatever they decide to do with it, it will be the perfect thing for that property.” The history of the site near the Oaks Mission begins with Moravians, a pietistic German sect who settled in North Carolina in the mid-1700s and were the first to do Christian missionary work with the Cherokees. Since 2008 the CN has been supporting work in the Moravian Archives in North Carolina for creation of a book series translation of Moravian diaries, hand-written in old German, that are said to be the earliest and longest-running written account of daily life among the Cherokees. During the Cherokees’ forced relocation in the 1830s, the Moravian missionaries established a new mission in eastern Oklahoma. Remnants of the Spring House still stand near the present-day Oaks Mission at the headwaters of Spring Creek. The Moravians ultimately closed the mission, but it was reopened as a Lutheran mission in 1902. Today the Oaks Indian Mission is a residential school for children. The nearby cemetery contains grave sites, many unmarked, of the early missionaries as well as Cherokees who endured the forced relocation. Oaks Mission Executive Director Don Marshall said he was “almost giddy” at hearing news of the land sale to the Cherokee Nation. “It’s really incredible, given where things stood just a month ago,” he said. “Our heads are spinning with the turn of events here. We are incredibly happy and grateful.” Both Oakley and Pam Kingfisher, who created the Facebook group Spring Creek Guardians, said the experience at Oaks has ignited a new awareness about poultry house construction in Delaware County. Kingfisher said she was out of town when she learned about developments at the site and immediately sent messages about the poultry house plans to Facebook friends. “I got such a response that I immediately created the group,” she said. Within 24 hours it had 150 members and now has about 380, she said. People have noticed what seems like an uptick in poultry house construction in Delaware County, with a Simmons Foods poultry production plant expansion planned nearby in Arkansas. People have turned to the Facebook page to share concerns and organize, Kingfisher said. Both Kingfisher and Oakley recognized Tran Tran and Simmons Foods for being sensitive to the community’s concerns around the Oaks property. With more construction ahead, however, people now have learned that they are not alone in their concerns, Kingfisher said. “There has been a general uplifting of environmental awareness and awareness about the water and actual things to do and how to be active in positive way,” she said. “We’re not here to take away anyone’s livelihood, but they need to be aware and we need to be aware so we all can co-exist.”
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/17/2018 12:00 PM
ADA – For 70 years, campers representing more than 50 Indigenous tribal nations from across North America gather for Indian Falls Creek Baptist Assembly in Ada. This family camp provides Bible classes, training, a health fair, recreation, fellowship and worship services for all ages. The opportunity to attend with the entire family and people of all ages makes IFC an annual event for many churches. Some campers have attended IFC since childhood and now make it an annual tradition for their children and grandchildren. Prayer Walk Warriors start the morning early and join the daily sunrise service. Later in the week walkers and runners participate in the annual 5k Hot and Sweaty Run. More than 500 preschoolers and children attend classes and Vacation Bible School each day and campers 6 to 11 years old attend Children’s Church twice daily. Class sessions for youth, young adults and adults are also offered and vary in topics. A nursery is provided during morning youth and young adult services and evening family services. IFC officials said they want to meet the needs seen throughout Native American and First Nations communities by providing training that helps campers engage others in their communities. Suicide prevention, literacy training and health classes supplement the Biblical and leadership development training offered to campers. Other opportunities include blood donations and a bone marrow registry at the health fair. The Silver Fox Fellowship provides a time for senior campers to relax and meet in a cool place, if they are not watching or participating in recreational activities. Highlights during recreation are the watermelon eating contest, youth art contest, Bible drills, children’s Olympics, stickball games and the golden frybread/steaming meatpie contest. Each day, different Indian Nations are invited to sing traditional hymns in their tribal languages during the worship services. The 71st Indian Falls Creek meeting is July 29 through Aug. 2. For more information, visit <a href="http://www.IndianFallsCreek.org" target="_blank">IndianFallsCreek.org</a>.
BY STAFF REPORTS
07/17/2018 10:30 AM
TAHLEQUAH – The United Keetoowah Band will distribute clothing vouchers and gift cards for exclusive UKB students beginning at 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on July 21 in the Education Building at 4547 S. Whitmore Lane. Students ages 4-12 will receive $100 vouchers and backpacks, while students ages 13-18 will receive $100 gift cards. Students must present their tribal ID card and proof of enrollment or last semester’s report card to receive funds, which can be used at Walmart to purchase items including clothing, shoes and school supplies. For students who cannot attend, vouchers and gift cards can be obtained by visiting the UKB offices beginning on July 23. Students ages 4-12 will need to visit the Henry Lee Doublehead Child Development Center at 18771 W. Keetoowah Circle. Students ages 13-18 will need to visit the Community Services building at 18263 W. Keetoowah Circle. District representatives can also obtain cards for students if needed. Parents and guardians can pass along the required verification items and district representatives will sign before returning all items to them. Disbursement of funds is also not dependent upon income guidelines. “We don’t income guideline it because it’s a one-time thing. It’s not a monthly program. We don’t do income guidelines, and the only goal of that is to help our children,” UKB Tribal Secretary Joyce Hawk said. The event coincides with the Keetoowah Strong event that will take place at 8 a.m. on July 21. Free physicals and haircuts will also be available for children.