Cherokee Phoenix

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Published January, 15, 1831

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President's Message and the Indians. From the well known sentiments of President Jackson, in reference to a removal of the Indians beyond the Mississippi, few expected that his Message would contain anything favorable to their residence on the land which the Proprietor of the Universe has given the, and of which, against their own consent, no individual or government can divest them without gross injustice. Still we believe few anticipated the following remark.

'It gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements, is approaching to a happy consummation. Two important tribes have accepted the provision made for their removal at the last session of Congress; and it is believed that their example will induce the remaining tribes, also, to seek the same obvious advantages.'

If such has been the policy of the government, for nearly thirty years, without saying anything as to the benevolence of the policy, we may say, it has been known only to the government itself. The citizens of the United States, and least of all, the Indians who were most concerned in the policy have known nothing of it, until within a very few years. Again, if such has been the policy, the government has taken a very singular course in carrying it into effect. Within that period, treaty after treaty has been made with the Indians, in which their lands have been guaranteed to them by this government, while, if the President's message is to be credited, it was at the same time mediating a 'removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements.' For the honor of our country, we hope the President is mistaken. Examine these treaties. On the face of them they have every appearance of an honest intention that the Indians should reside on their lands, and not remove 'beyond the white settlements.' In 1817 a treaty with the Cherokees was signed by Andrew Jackson and the commissioners,' in which the Cherokees express 'their anxious desire to engage in the pursuit of agriculture and civilized life, in the country they then occupied,' not 'beyond the white settlements:' and they are told in the preamble of the treaty, in the language of President Jefferson, that those who remain in their country, may be assured of our patronage, our aid, ' good neighborhood.'' And this too, after they proposed, in the same preamble, 'to begin the establishment of fixed laws and a regular government.'on the ground they then occupied. If President Jefferson and the government were then meditating a 'removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements,' as the late Message assures us, what must foreign nations think of the sincerity and honesty of our government? What must be think of President Jefferson, who both in word ' act, seemed to be the warm, the undeviating friend of the Indians? In 1819 another treaty was made with the Cherokees, by which a permanent fund was created, the annual income of which was to be applied 'to diffuse the benefits of education among the Cherokee nation on this side the Mississippi.' And yet, all this while, if the late Message is correct, the government of the United States was meditating a 'removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements' to the other side of the Mississippi! Can it be that the government of our country has been pursuing this course which would have much of the appearance of double dealing with the Indians, for nearly thirty years' past? For the credit of our government we hope not. We might adduce other provisions of the treaties to the same effect -- but we forbear. We only ask each of our readers to put the question to his own heart and conscience, 'Have I no duty to perform in relation to the Indians who are throwing themselves on the justice and good faith of my country?' Con. Obs.