Cherokee Phoenix

For the Cherokee Phoenix

Published July, 24, 1830

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For the Cherokee Phoenix


The law of the state of Georgia, which extends its jurisdiction over that portion of the Cherokee nation, said to lie within its limits, prohibiting Indian testimony in the state courts, has been exercised and executed to the signal success and exultation of the Georgians. When the first day of June arrived, the day fixed for the operation of this law over the Cherokees, and officer of Habersham County (whether he was a Sheriff or Constable is not known) made his appearance in Tahquohee District, and served a bail writ on James M'Gray, a Sheriff of said District, who was owing a small sum of money to a Georgia citizen. The officer ascertaining that the property of M'Gray could not be obtained to secure the amount set forth in the writ, the Indian Sheriff was abandoned. The laws of Georgia recurring to the officer, that no Indian in any case could obtain redress under the statute, he found an Indian possessed of some cattle, who was as innocent of the affair as a Chinese in Tartary, to answer to Georgian's claim. On him the officer fell with his official power. This was done by driving off the poor Indian's cattle to Georgia, and a return was made to the magistrates court.--In the meantime the rightful owner, Bear's Paw by name, was on close pursuit and arrived in time to see the court dispose of his rights. He made known to the magistrate that he was the proper owner; protested against the sale, but as the statute of Georgia over the Indians is the only title of justice, the honorable distributor of the rights of persons informed the Indian that the law of Georgia could not hear his prayer. The cattle were accordingly sold, notwithstanding his entreaties and cries for the restoration of his property.

These are the calamities under which we have fallen by the policy of the present administration and the laws of Georgia; and for what end has this mighty work of desolation commenced? To call things by their right names, it is to expel the Cherokees west of the Mississippi; to take possession of our gold mines and our country. The secret moving principle is to obtain our country. What country? The very clod Sir, which covers our forefathers,-the very country, the title of which is derived from a higher source than the authority of men; it is derived from the first cause of all things, the GREAT SPIRIT. This is the country too that President Jackson's plighted faith is pledged to support in our occupancy. But all these paramount claims, once the respect of the great men of the United States are attempted to be overruled by the complicated relations of necessity and expediency.

If the leaders of the American people obtain their objects of pursuit by departure from their plighted faith on this side of the Mississippi, what proofs will be left us of their honesty, humanity,and integrity towards us when they will have expelled us west of the Mississippi. The alternative is left us to flee or breast the storm,' patiently wait for a political change before we can see redemption come. Let this our motto be, 'no sell the land.' One political existence is menaced, but our ship is still sailing,and if our political father withdraws his protecting care, which we have good reasons to believe he is about doing, and suffers the Cherokees, his subjects in war, his friends in peace, to sink in destruction, our departed spirits will cry aloud to our father in the chancery of Heaven.