The Cherokee Indians Essay Sample

Published: 2022-11-10 08:20:57
The Cherokee Indians Essay Sample
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories: History Community American history
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1810 words
16 min read
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The Cherokee Indians are among the American native tribes who originally resided in the southeast region of America (Cherokee Nation 1). The Cherokee Indians initially occupied regions such as Georgia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. However, during the year 1829, gold was discovered in Georgia; a factor that played a significant role in altering the original geographical location of the Cherokee Indians. The discovery of gold attracted outsiders into Georgia who began to covet the homelands of the Cherokee Indians. In addition, the American government created an Indian territory in Oklahoma and began to move all southeastern Native American tribes there. During this process, some of the Native American tribes agreed to move while others such as the Cherokee Indians defied the government directive in efforts to preserve their heritage (Indians 1). The current paper will examine the geographical location of the Cherokee Indians, their population, social structure, economy, language, religion and the current primary issues and challenges that they face. The paper will also compare the view of non-Cherokee authors with that of the Cherokee authors on issues regarding the community.

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According to Indians, the Cherokee Indians had a difficult time preserving their original geographical location against the interest of the American government (1). During the 17th century, outsiders invaded the southeastern part of America hence forcing the Cherokee Indians to surrender their land and property. In addition, the attempts of the American government to remove all Native American tribes from the southeastern part of the country further intimidated any efforts of the Cherokee Indians to preserve their geographical location and heritage. Although the tribe challenged the decision of the American government to evict them in court, their efforts were futile despite having secured a favorable ruling from Justice John Marshall (Indians 1). According to Indians, the then president of America, Andrew Jackson, defied an order from the Supreme Court that prohibited eviction of the Cherokee Indians from the southeastern part of the country (1). President Jackson claimed that although the Supreme Court had made its decision, it did not have the power to enforce it. Therefore, he ordered the army to evict the Cherokee Indians (Indians 1).

The Cherokee Indians were subjected to inhumane treatment by being forced to march along the Trail of Tears which was approximately 1000 miles long (Cherokee Nation 1). During the process, many Cherokees died in their encampments on their way while others escaped by hiding in the Appalachian hills and seeking for shelter from some of the sympathetic Caucasians. Moreover, some of those who survived the long journey up to the Indian Territory died due to its effects. The few who survived the entire ordeal continued to live in designated territory which is currently in Oklahoma (Cherokee Nation 1). Therefore, the eviction had severe impact on the tribe's population.

According to Crow, the most recent U.S Census revealed that the population of the Cherokee Indians is approximately 819,105. The census noted an increase in population of the group by 89,000 since the year 2010 (1). In addition, Indians explain that the population of the Cherokees would have been higher if they were not evicted from their original homeland. This is because of the fact that many Cherokees died in the process of their eviction due to the brutal treatment that they received from the American army under the orders of President Jackson. Many members of the tribe also succumbed to diseases on their way to the Indian Territory (1). In fact, according to Indians, the Cherokees who made it through the Trail of Tears to the Indian Territory were approximately 20,000 (1). However, the horrible ordeal did not disorganize the tribe's social structure.

In fact, the Cherokee has a well-defined social structure which is matrimonial in nature. First, the society follows the clan of their women in that when a man marries, he becomes a member of the clan of his wife. In addition, the society recognizes clan to be of a higher social group than a family. In this case, members of the same clan are considered to be brothers and sisters. In addition, the Cherokee culture forbids members of the same clan from marrying each other. Moreover, the Cherokee culture is highly receptive to other cultures as it recognizes people from different cultures has being equals and deserving fair treatment (Indians 1).

According to Sonian, the economy of the Cherokees is mainly defined by agricultural activities (1). In the society, men take part in clearing fields and planting beans and corn as well as rearing fish. On the other hand, women take part in harvesting of crops and trading. The community was traditionally known for trading products such as deerskins and other valuable commodities gotten from hunting. The frequent interaction with people from different cultures during trading influenced the Cherokees to learn English in addition to their native Cherokee language. This was achieved through taking their children to same schools as the Europeans in order to learn English (Cherokee Nation 1). According to Indians, the Cherokees have adopted English as a common language to point that they wrote their constitution in both Cherokee and English (1).

Nevertheless, the Cherokees are religious people who believe that their original land was at the center of the universe. They believe that the land is sacred, and everything in the universe, whether living or not, has a soul except the bear. The Cherokee constitution allows the freedom of worship hence making the tribe highly civilized (Crow 1).

Unfortunately, despite the civilization of the Cherokee tribe and its social as well as economic prowess, the group still faces grave challenges in the current era. Soap explains that the challenges of Cherokee arise due to the mismatch between their culture and the American social setting (1). First, despite that a significant percentage of Cherokee Indians are literate, very little percentage succeeds in the American job market especially in the healthcare setting. As a result, there occurs language barrier when the illiterate Cherokees go to seek for medical services in American hospitals hence affecting their welfare. In addition, the Cherokees have held on to their education system which they consider to be superior to the one set by the American government. However, the Cherokee education system is not aligned with the American market needs; a factor that has rendered many of their literate youths still jobless.

Analysis of Sources

Cherokee Nation. "Our History". Cherokee Nation, http://www.cherokee.org/About-The-Nation/History/Facts/Our-History. Accessed 17 January 2019.

This article is written by an organization known as Cherokee Nation addressing the members of the public regarding the history of the Cherokee Tribe and the struggles its members went through as well as its progress in the current era. The authors are Cherokees hence they address issue from the Cherokee point of view. Unlike Todd Crow and Charlie Soap who have only focused their articles of documenting the problems of Cherokee Tribe in regard to their eviction from southeast America and the epidemics of hunger and disease that the Cherokees faced, Cherokee Nation have paid attention towards explaining the struggle of the Cherokees in preserving their heritage and how the tribe still remains united despite the challenges it has faced. The article is very useful because it addresses a wide range of issues regarding the Cherokees such as their history, culture, governance and economy among others.

Crow, Todd. "Census Shows Increase in Cherokee Respondents". Cherokee Phoenix, https://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5990. Accessed 17 January 2019.

Crow has addressed his article to members of the public showing the difference in population among the Cherokees between the 2000 U.S Census and the 2010 U.S Census. Although the article is useful in that it traces the population change of the Cherokees over a decade, the author does not show the reasons associated to the population change. In addition, the author does not pay attention to the initial population of the Cherokees in the 17th century and how encroachment into their original land affected it.

Indians Organization. "Cherokee Indians". Indians.org, http://indians.org/articles/cherokee-indians.html. Accessed 17 January 2019.

This article is written by the Indians Organization which is not specifically composed of Cherokee authors. The authors have addressed members of the general public, and their main aim is to explain the culture of the Cherokees from an external point of view. The article is useful in that it traces the major cultural changes that have occurred among the Cherokees since the 14th century. The authors explain how interactions between the Cherokees and the American government as well as other outsiders have affected the tribe's culture.

Soap, Charlie. "Opinion: Pressing Issues Face Cherokee Nation in this Historic Election". Cherokee Phoenix, https://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/index/9227. Accessed 17 January 2019.

Soap addressed his article to the American political leaders highlighting the main problems that the Cherokee Nation face. The author presents healthcare, education and housing as the major challenges that the Cherokees face, and urges the American political leaders to pay attention towards addressing them. However, unlike Sonian and Cherokee Nation who recognize Cherokees as self-reliable people who embrace their culture and have strong social institutions, Soap portrays the Cherokees as primitive people who need help from the American government. Although his article is significantly useful in that it documents the problems caused by cultural mismatch between the Cherokees and the American setting, it ignores the fact that the Cherokees consider themselves as self-reliable.

Sonian, Smith. "Cherokee Days 2017 - Emergence in a Matrilineal Society". YouTube, uploaded by SmithsonianNMIA, 24 April 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVorfY6-_uE.

Sonian published this video on YouTube with the aim of addressing members of the public on issues concerning the culture of Cherokees as well as the various elements of their culture that they consider valuable. The video features mainly Cherokee narrators who present the matrimonial nature of the tribe. It takes a critical view of the cultural preservations of the Cherokee tribe as well as the harmony that exists among the people. The video is very useful in that it draws critical insights that help the viewers to understand how the Cherokees have managed to sustain a matrimonial society for many centuries despite being surrounded by patrimonial societies and existing in a country that advocates for gender equality.

Conclusion

The Internet can be said to be a good thing for the indigenous people because it provides an opportunity for them to tell their story. Despite the fact that the Internet contains a lot of distorted information about the indigenous people, it also has enough credible sources to help the readers to understand the realities of the indigenous people. In addition, it plays a crucial role in exposing the unfair treatments that the indigenous people face from governments hence helping in advocating for fair treatment.

Work Cited

Cherokee Nation. "Our History". Cherokee Nation, http://www.cherokee.org/About-The-Nation/History/Facts/Our-History. Accessed 17 January 2019.

Crow, Todd. "Census Shows Increase in Cherokee Respondents". Cherokee Phoenix, https://www.cherokeephoenix.org/Article/Index/5990. Accessed 17 January 2019.

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