AND INDIANS' ADVOCATE
Wednesday April 15, 1829
Vol. II, no. 5
Page 2, col. 5a.
We are glad to present to our readers the letter of the inhabitants of Aquohee District on the subject of emigration, as it contradicts the assertion made by many, that the common people of this country are under the sway of the chiefs, who prevent their emigration to the west, from selfish motives. This assertion made & repeated by Wofford, McKenney, Mitchell and others, we have in several instances, in our paper, stated to be unfounded, yet, we believe, we have not had the fortune of gaining credit. For why is a military force recommended to defend the will of the people? What we have stated in regard is the supposed despotism of the chiefs, we know to be facts, whether the world will believe us or not. The editor of this paper can have no interest in deceiving his readers, for he is not a chief, nor does he expect ever to be. In the present case the people will speak for themselves.
TO MR. ELIAS BOUDINOTT.
BELOVED BROTHER.- we ( who are this day assembled at the Town House Hiwassee, Aquohee District, being neither chiefs not white men; but common citizens of the country,) wish to speak that our brethren may hear.
We have listened, with attention to the proposals of our white brethren, on the subject of emigration, towards the setting sun, to a good land, free from the troubles which perplex us here. We have considered the plan; and we do not approve of it.
Our creator gave us the lands we possess, long before the memory of man. He kindled our fires and fixed our homes, and among these healthful mountains and clear waters, our minds are at peace. If we leave the inheritance, which we have received from our Creator, we shall never find a home again.
Some of our brethren have gone towards the setting sun. What is their situation? Their fires are put out; their homes are unsettled; they are not at peace.
Here, the land is good, the water is healthy, and the timber abundant. We can fence our fields, raise our own corn and meat; and support our wives and children; by the labour [sic] of our hands. We do not wish to become hunters; nor to have our children become such. We are attached to our country; our houses are become comfortable; our farms are flourishing; our young men are acquiring habits of industry; our women are becoming skilled at spinning, weaving and needlework; a great portion of our population can read; and the Phoenix furnishes them with some useful information every week. We have Hymns printed in our own language, in praise of our Redeemer; and the laws of our Creator are made known to us; and many are following them. Our old men, behold our growing prosperity with delight; and their minds are calmed with peace. In this, their own land, they wish to lay their bones; and desire, that their latest posterity, may venerate and guard their dust.
It is said by those who wish to drive us away, and to possess our lands; that the country towards the setting sun is very good; and that it would be very advantageous to us to remove to it. There is something in this saying which we do not understand. Our white brethren have more knowledge than we have; and they are better skilled in travelling and commencing new settlements; why, then do they not go and possess that good land themselves?- We hope it is not the design of our elder brethren to destroy us; driving us further and further till they push us into the sea.
But Brethren, Cherokees, hear us. That land is not good. It has no wholesome springs, nor mill streams, nor has it sufficient timber for fencing much less for buildings and fire. We cannot entertain the most distant thought of parting with our homes, to go towards the setting sun; where our children would become involved in the darkness of ignorant and uncivilized neighbors; where we should have to drink out of muddy pools, and most of us perish for want. We are grieved to hear the false reports which have been circulated about us, charging us with the want of love to our country, and a desire to be gone towards the setting sun; asserting that we are restrained from removing only by our Chiefs. We hereby contradict all such unfounded accusations; and we unanimously declare that we possess as strong an attachment to our lands as the Chiefs do. It is said also, that we are overawed and oppressed by the Chiefs. It is not so. We are not afraid of our Chiefs. We meet them as fathers and brothers, and as long as they act well, we will give them due honor. We rejoice to find that our Chiefs are true men; firmly attached to their country and to the interest of their brethren; and we are determined to the utmost of our power to support them in their patriotic course. And for the information of those who are anxious to save us from the tyranny and oppression of the Chiefs we affirm that we are governed just as we wish to be; that we hold the power in our own hands, and whenever it becomes necessary we will use it to redress our own grievances.
We conclude by declaring unanimously that we the common people of Aquohee
District are firmly and unalterably attached to our country; and that we never
will consent to part with it. And we earnestly appeal to our benevolent
friends all over the United States to support us in these our just determinations.
Signed on behalf of the whole.
(Eleven names in Cherokee)