The Confederate Cherokees
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Cherokee history and culture
April 28, 2005
The Confederate Cherokees
This paper is about Cherokee nation during the time of the Civil War. To be more exact it is more keyed towards the confederate Cherokees and the most prominent confederate Cherokee, Stand Watie. I will discuss the politics involved in Cherokee nation during the Civil War, the thoughts and beliefs of Stand Watie and general information about Stand Watie.
Slavery had always existed in Cherokee nation, maybe not among all but it did exist. It was practiced mainly by the mixed blood Cherokees whose traditional beliefs were not as strong as that of the full blood Cherokee. The mixed bloods believed that slavery was necessary for the material development of Cherokee nation. The slaves could bring great knowledge to the Cherokee people.
The fact that they were slaveholders and the location of Cherokee nation made them a great ally for the South. Cherokee nation would be a great final frontier for the South. It would be a very pivotal battle grounds for the South. The south also believed that the Cherokee would supply a considerable number of troops for service among the borders of the South. The South also thought that Cherokee nation would be a great supplier of cattle that would be a great source of food for the confederate troops. Cherokee nation led by their chief John Ross pledged to stay neutral. John Ross believed that Cherokee nations duty was to allow no interference in their internal affairs from any external source. (wardell)
The Confederate states tried to make the decision to join them better. The other four tribes which included the Creeks, Choctaws, Seminoles and Chickasaws had already signed with the South. The South did a much better job of reaching out to the Cherokees. They sent commissioners to the Indian nations to try to persuade them to side with the South. The Cherokees were once from the southeast and was deeply endowed in southern culture, this gave them a stronger connection to the South. Many of the Cherokees had already made up their mind to side with the South.
After the trip to the Indian territory by Albert Pike, the commissioner to the five civilized tribes appointed by President Davis, and the signing of the treaties by the other four tribes John Ross decided that Cherokee nation could not stand alone in their position. In October of 1861 Ross allied with the Confederate states. With this treaty the Confederate States of America would assume all obligations owed to the Cherokee nation by the government of the United States. They agreed to give them title to their lands. They agreed to protect the Cherokees from invasion and to supply them with ammunition to protect themselves. Cherokee nation was to be allowed to have one delegate to the Confederate congress and could enlist soldiers into the confederate army but were not to be called upon to fight outside of Indian Territory.
One if not the greatest confederate, and most true to the cause, generals was Stand Watie. Stand Watie was assigned a group of Cherokees when the Cherokees signed the treaty with the South. By the provisions of the treaty there were to be two regiments of Cherokees. One of the regiments was the First Regiment of Cherokee Mounted Rifles, commanded by Colonel John Drew. The second regiment issued by the Cherokees was the Cherokee Mounted Volunteers, who were put under the command of Colonel