Cherokee Phoenix


Published July, 30, 1831

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For the Cherokee Phoenix


There is, perhaps, no one species of fraud ' oppression practised upon the Cherokees which as caused more trouble and vexation than that arising from the intrusion of citizens of the United States upon their lands. Its origin I need not trace nor the motives which sanction the perpetration-they are familiar to all who are conversant with the history of Indian wrongs. My object is simply to give some idea of the extent of this growing evil, and the wanton neglect of the officers of the Federal Government to discharge the most imperative duties which they owe to the laws, themselves, and to the Indians.

Of the precise number of intruders I cannot speak with certainty, but there are several hundred families located within the limits of the Nation, bordering on the four surrounding states, viz: Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama; and may be classed under two heads, legalized, ' outlawed, yet are they all outlaws under the laws of the United States, but the nullifying marks of states rights made upon Indian lands entitle them to this distinction from the other class, who, although as reputable in point of character, have not the direct sanction of law for their outrages. It may be proper to show more clearly in what manner this first class are permitted to intrude.

In May 1828, a treaty was concluded at Washington City between the Government of the United States and the Arkansas Cherokees, in which was contained a provision, that to every individual Cherokee who would emigrate to the west from the Nation East of the Mississippi, the Government would make a just compensation for the property he might abandon. About five hundred individuals, induced to emigrate, were as was reported by Government Agents, of white, red and black, great and small, or as was incorrectly reported one hundred and fifty five families, and among them some who were never admitted, or considered by the Nation as citizens. Appraisers were appointed by the President to value the improvements which they claimed or possessed in the country. The total amount of valuations, I believe, was more than thirty seven thousand dollars, but the addition of other items of expenditures in the gratuitous removal of these few individuals cost not less than fifty nine thousand dollars! Many of the places left by the emigrants were situated within the magical chartered limits of Georgia, and it was not permitted by President Jackson to other citizens of the Nation to occupy them, and he directed the U. States Agent to issue to all the intruders who had pounced upon such places, like vultures upon an object suitable to satiate an unnatural appetite, permits to ensure their occupancy from molestation. He contended that the U. States had acquired an interest in the soil, which by the Compact of 1802, enured to the benefit of Georgia! and under an act passed by the last legislature of that state upon this absurd decision they were rented by her agent, Col. Sanford to white people for one year. It will scarcely be worth mentioning the gross absurdity of the idea of the Government and the Arkansas Cherokees, without the consent of this Nation, at any time obtained, abrogating, or rather nullifying the most solemn engagements contained in our treaties with the United States, and the provisions of the intercourse laws of the United States; and the still greater absurdity of the United S. acquiring an interest in the soil by such vague pretensions! The lands belong to the Nation and are so guarantied. and no other nation can cede these lands and in any manner far less can individuals

by the perfidious stratagem based upon the treaty before alluded to. This is a brief but correct statement of the manner in which a large portion of the intruders are legally let loose upon us, among whom are some of conspicuous character among the Poney Club, triumphing in the victories of midnight achievements.

The other class are less fortunate in some respects, as they have not the direct sanction of law to trample upon treaties ' acts of Congress, ' violate the solemn assurances of all the Presidents of the United States, but they are as deeply and as firmly established in the country. Who has not heard of the 'notorious old Dick Philpot,' and his generation, the Craddocks, Langfords, Yorks, Ramseys, Johnsons, Shipleys, Uptons 'c.. But I forbear.

A respectable Citizen of Creek Path Valley, on the Alabama frontier, asserts that, within the circumscribed limits of one mile around his residence, there are not less than fifty families of intruders. Along the frontier of Tennessee they are also numerous, and such has been their eagerness to settle upon Indian land, that many instances they have crossed the Tennessee River with their families ' stocks of cattle and hogs and located themselves in the woods and among the mountains, with no other shelter from the `pitiless storm,' ' `chilling blasts of winter' than a small camp made of clap-boards! while some have actually taken up their abode in caverns under the mountains!

(To be concluded,)