WEDNESDAY, FEB.18, 1829.
Sometime ago we inserted a short notice as an advertisement, headed NEW ECHOTA ACADEMY. From this circumstance some of our friends have fallen into an error, in supposing that the NATIONAL ACADEMY had commenced its operation. The notice above referred to, was calculated to deceive those who knew that it had been the intention of the authorities of the nation to establish such an institution.
A Seminary of a respectable grade, such as one as was contemplated to be established in this place, is very much needed among us. We still hope that something will be done towards it. If the interest of the avails of the reservation expressly devoted to the support of education among the Cherokees, and which will probably be sold next fall, was laid out in the establishment and support of the contemplated Academy, we believe it would meet the wish of the nation. The nation has not otherwise any means of supporting it.- The power of applying the school fund in question, we believe is left, according to a treaty stipulation, with the President of the United States. He will no doubt be willing to gratify the wishes of his Cherokee children, more so as the funds properly belong to them.
We consider it high time for this nation to do something for themselves in encouraging and supporting education . We are glad, however, to testify to the public, that there is a commendable disposition in this respect in a large portion of our citizens.- The Cherokees as a nation have had sufficient time to learn and appreciate the advantages of knowledge; for what else distinguishes them from their brethren? What but a larger share of information makes them more respected? It becomes every citizen then, particularly every ruler, as a guardian of the nation's welfare, to do his utmost endeavor to forward education. It is this which will ensure respect. It is this which will preserve us from the common burial place of Indians-oblivion, in which many tribes are forgotten, ' to which many would suppose us to be hastening.
Most of our readers probably know what is meant by Indian clans. It is not more than a division of an Indian tribe into large families. We believe this custom is universal with the north American Indians. Among the Cherokees acre seven clans, such as Wolf, Deer, Paint, 'c. This simple division of the Cherokees formed the grand work by which marriages were regulated,and murder punished. A Cherokee could marry into any of the clans except two, that to which his father belongs, or all of that clan are his fathers and aunts, and that to which his mother belongs, for all of that clan are his brothers and sisters, a chid invariably inheriting the clan of its mother. This custom which originated from tie immemorial was observed with the greatest strictness. No law could be guarded and enforced with equal caution. I times past, the penalty annexed to it was not less than death. But it has scarcely, perhaps never been violated, except within a few years. Now it is invaded with impunity, though not to an equal extent with other customs of the Cherokees.
But it was the mutual law of clans as connected with murder,which rendered the custom savage and barbarous. We speak of what it was once,not as it is now,for the Cherokees, after experiencing sad effects fro it, determined to, and did about twenty years ago in a solemn council, abolished it. From that time, murder has been considered a governmental crime. Previous to that,the following were too palpably true, viz;
The Cherokee as a nation, had nothing to do with murder.
Murder was punished upon the principle of retaliation.
It belonged to the clan of the murdered to revenge his death.
If the murderer fled, his brother or nearest relative was liable to suffer i his stead.
If a man killed his brother, he was amenable to no law or clan.
If the murderer (this however is known only by tradition ) was not as respectable as the murdered, his relative, or a man of his clan of a more respectable standing was liable to suffer.
To kill, under any circumstance whatever, was considered murder,and punished accordingly.
Our readers will say, 'those were savage laws indeed.' They were, and the Cherokees were then to be pitied for the above were not mere inoperative laws, but most rigorously executed. but we can not way with pleasure, that they are all repealed, and are remembered only as vestiges of ignorance and barbarism.