Cherokee Phoenix

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Published January, 15, 1831

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NEW ECHOTA Jan 15, 1831.

CREEK PATH, Dec. 11, 1830.


Dear Sir, I regret to relate to you, a scene that I witnessed yesterday in this neighborhood. About forty Choctaw Indians passed my house on their way to Chah-che-te-nah-hah, (meaning Georgia,) and then on to Washington City, headed by two white men, for the vile purpose of exhibiting to the people of the United States, their old manners and customs; not that the philanthropist should receive a new impulse of humanity towards the Indians, or be brought to feel more sensibly, the injustice, the wrongs, the oppression, that the great American people have heaped on the Indian, -- or that the Christian and the benevolent, should be excited more earnestly to sympathize with us in our struggles for our aboriginal rights; or that the humane should deeply feel, and commiserate our wretchedness, under the solemn guarantee of the U. States. No; there is no such object in view. It is to prejudice the people against the Indian cause, and these Choctaws are sent out by some high authority, no doubt, as a libel on Christian community, and as an evidence of the moral wretchedness of the Indians in general.

I understand that in the enlightened neighborhood of Huntsville, Alabama, these Choctaws played ball, and danced for the amusement of the people, (not I hope for their instruction) and then the spectators rewarded them to the amount of $200, in merchandize, etc. not as an encouragement to become civilized and virtuous, but to go on in the laudable path of immorality and savagism, from which the good and human wish them to depart.

Such an exhibition, for such a purpose, of Indian ignorance, encouraged and rewarded, by citizens of an enlightened town, is humiliating even to a Cherokee, and it ought to meet the indignant disapprobation of all good citizens; but not only this, it presents the melancholy reflection, that the moral contrast is not very wide between the white man and the Indian.

I doubt very much whether one-fourth of the sum given in Huntsville, for the encouragement, and advancement of Indian savagism, could have been obtained from the same people, for their moral benefit and elevation in society. I have often heard it said that it was a bad rule that would not work both ways.

While we behold with pleasure and gratitude the exertion of the Christian community, using every energy in their power to civilize and improve the condition of the Indians, we see on the other hand, with deep sorrow, an influence put into motion to thwart the wishes and designs of the benevolent, for the worst of motives. An influence exercised for the basest purpose; to bring before the estimation of the world, the moral degradation of the Indians; and not only this, for another object is in view, more hazardous and destructive, the subversion of the fundamental principles of natural Justice! The disregard of which by the people of the United States will ultimately demolish the political existence of the Indians, and not only the Indians but all nations to refuse to do justly, in spite of remonstrance, and the voice of humanity. The success of all governments in political science depends altogether upon the improved state of morals among the people; and when political maxims are brought forward to answer the mere purposes of expediency, without any regard to justice, it must, and always has, and ever will have a tendency to corrupt the body politic, and then the political fabric must inevitably fall to ruin.

In haste, I am, dear sir, your obedient servant,


P.S. My apprehension as to the motive of these people, may be unfounded, but it does appear to me that there is some prejudicial design (connected with this business) against the Indian cause, especially at this stage of our political affairs.

We believe our correspondence, is correct in supposing that there is some evil design in taken (sic) forty ignorant Choctaws to the Seat of government at this season of the year. If the 'motive stirring movement' in this case does not proceed from a higher source than those immediately concerned, yet the intention is evident -- it is to exhibit a specimen of Indian civilization and Christianization. We are told the conductors of these Choctaws are open Infidels. They say the Mississippi Indians are not a whit better off for having Missionaries among them, and that the United States are in a worse condition for being religious. They are in a good keeping, and are now in their appropriate sphere of action. But will the Christian public believe them?