Cherokee Indians

Research by Zach Payne, Griffin Daughtry, and Justin Kidd

1. Treaty with the Cherokee

October 14, 1768 Governor Tyron issues the Treaty with the Cherokee. Memories of the French and Indian War were still fresh in the minds of the colonists which caused tensions between the Native Americans and the colonists. There were conflicts between the Native Americans, and Lord Hillsborough wrote to Tryon in April 1768 claiming that fraud and abuse were factors that shaped how the Indians viewed the colonists. The treaty placed a boundary that required the colonists to live east of the boundary. The boundary with the Cherokee was put into place by Governor Tryon in efforts to control trade disputes and resolve conflicts between the colonist and the Native Americans.

To view the complete document, click here.

2. Letter from William Moore to General Rutherford, November 18, 1776

Shortly after returning from the initial expeditions against the Cherokee people in the fall of 1776, General Griffith Rutherford called upon Captain William Moore to lead a second expedition to the Cherokee Middle Town of Sticoe. Moore’s account of the expedition describes the brutal killing and scalping of dead Cherokees, the raiding and burning of towns and villages, and the selling of captured Cherokee women as slaves. His letter delineates the violence of frontier war.

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To view the full text click here.

3. Map of Cherokee Land Cession, 1777

This document is a map presented at a congressional meeting in May 1777 of all the land given up by the Cherokee over the course of the past few decades. The Cherokee alone lost approximately 1.7 million acres.

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For more details about this map, click here.

4. Excerpt from The Virginia Gazette, August 1, 1776

This issue of The Virginia Gazette from August 24, 1776 included a letter sent in from North Carolina. The letter was dated August 1, 1776, and it mentioned the Indians had committed “outrages”, including murder. This document is interesting because the word choice or rhetoric used by this newspaper illustrates how the Native Americans were portrayed as savages. Even as American forces committed vicious and violent crimes against the Cherokee in western North Carolina, newspaper coverage portrayed the violence of Indian “enemies” in particularly vivid and brutal language.

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To view the whole document, click here.

5. Corntassel’s Speech at Treaty of Long Island negotiations, 1777

In the Treaty of Long Island on Holston in 1777, the Cherokee ceded some of their land in western North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia to the United States. Corntassel of the Overhill Cherokee spoke out in resistance to the further land cessions. He is particularly eloquent when arguing that US law does not have authority over Indian land rights.

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To read the full text of the speech, click here.