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Government impact on the Cherokee nation - Essay Example

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The Story of Self Interest: Federal and Local Government Effect on the Cherokee Nation The Cherokee Nation has had a long and troubled relationship with the various offices of the US government they have had to deal with since the founding of the United States in 1776…
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Government impact on the Cherokee nation
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Download file to see previous pages The federal government of the United States has always followed policies towards the Cherokee that were in the government’s best interest, occasionally supporting the group but more often oppressing them, whereas local governments were almost universally fought against the Cherokee Nation and allowed their slaughter. John Ehle in his Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation describes the contact between the Cherokee, other native tribes, the United States government and other European groups from the middle of the eighteenth century through the nineteenth century. He uses a narrative approach, attempting to connect the reader to the text by bringing out the character of historical people. In this way it reads half way between a historical fiction and a work of non-fiction, with elements of detail that would be possible to glean from historical documents such as a particular person having “soft hair, instead of the Idian’s more coarse, straight hair”1 followed immediately by factual and historical information about the languages and dialects spoken by the Cherokee people.2 It tries to take a balanced approach, spending as much time as possible focusing on both the Cherokee and American points of view, but occasionally indulges in elements of stereotyping, depicting all Cherokee men as tall, proud warriors or mystical shamans, for instance, removing a lot of the humanity that would connect the reader to the subjects of the book. This book makes excellent use of primary sources, providing long in text quotations for important documents and events, ranging from presidential proclamations to journal entries of people involved in those events. It also does an excellent job weaving historical information and information about Cherokee culture and practice throughout its narrative structure, both entertaining and informing in equal measure. Ehle also uses endnotes to add further historical explanation and outline sources of information; a full bibliography provides excellent material for further reading as well as understanding which elements of Ehle’s work are complete historical facts and which have been elaborated upon by the author. The relationship between the United States Federal government and the Cherokee nations shifted drastically between the 1776 and the middle of the nineteenth century, usually depending on the way the Cherokee could be useful or exploited by the government. As Ehle points out, members of the early federal government “fully intended to honor” both Cherokee land claims and any treaties that the Cherokees made with the government.3 In cases where white Americans violated the rights of Cherokee people, the federal government responded forcefully; in one case in 1792, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson signed a presidential proclamation offering a reward of “five hundred dollars” for the apprehension of a group of white Americans who “invaded, burned and destroyed a town belonging to the Cherokee Nation.”4 When these measures proved less than completely successful, military officers were eventually used to apprehend people who had attacked a Cherokee group at a peace conference (along with the Federal government staff staying with them).5 Clearly, the US federal government once had the role of defending the Cherokee’s against the government’s own people and settlers, interacted with the Cherokee natio ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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