DAY 1: Historical Overview of Cherokee History and the Place of Myths in Cherokee Thought

Morning lecture:

The opening lecture will begin with Native American History and the Cherokee Place in It.

Texts: Howard Meredith A Short History of the Native Americans in the United States. Participants should read entire book before first day. Concentrate on pp. 3-4, 9-13, 16-17, 20-29, 34-42, 44-47, which focus upon the Five Civilized Tribes, including Cherokee experiences leading up to the late 19th Century.

Afternoon: The Cherokee Language and Origin Myths.
Mooney, James. Myths of the Cherokee. Dover Publications, 1995. (Reprint of Mooney’s 1900 Nineteenth Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution: 1897-98.) “How the World Was Made,” p. 239-240.
Meredith, Howard and Virginia Sobral, editors. Cherokee Vision of Elohi. Oklahoma City: Noksi Press, 1997. p. 33-38.
Cherokee First Fire Stories --
Mooney., p. 240-241.
Hastings Shade. Myths, Legends, and Old Sayings -- Self-published text.
Kathi Smith Littlejohn -- Cherokee Legends I (audio recording) and text in Living Stories of the Cherokee, (edited by Barbara Duncan)
Gregg Howard -- audio and video recording (Rich Heape Productions)
Kilpatrick, Jack F. and Anna G. Kilpatrick. Friends of Thunder: Folktales of the Oklahoma Cherokees. Norman OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995.
p. 129-134. "A New Version of a Classic: The Origin of Corn." This story of first man and first woman. Selu (the Lucky Hunter) and Kanati (Corn), appear throughout Cherokee stories, ceremony, and artistic expression.
p. 50-56. "Uk'ten Stories: The Friendship of Thunder." Different versions illustrate nature of oral history.
p. 35-37. "Cherokee Uncle Remus: The Rabbit and the Image."
99-101. "Tseg'sgin' Stories: Falling for an Old Trick."

DAY 2: The European Thought Which Colonists Brought to North America and to the Revolution, and Early Post-Revolutionary Responses by the Cherokee

Morning lecture: "Religious, Philosophic, Political and Historical Views that the Colonists Brought to the North America and to the Revolution, and Cherokee and Native American Responses."

Exodus 1-4; 13:17-14:31; 19:1-20:21; Num 13 1-28; 33 50-56;
Locke, Second Treatise on Government, Chapter 5, Of Property, par 25-39;
De Tocqueville, Democracy in America, (Harper Collins) Author’s preface to mid p. 9-12, Chap 2, pp.31-36 mid; 38 mid to 47 top.
Review of p. 36-38 in Elohi.
Ehle’s, The Trail of Tears, Chief Old Tassel’s reply to demands by colonials for more lands, p. 18-19.
The Declaration of Independence.
Tecumseh in Meredith, Short History, p. 128;
Mooney, James. Myths…p. 108-114 a succinct, still accurate, summary of the development of Sequoia’s Cherokee language syllabary, the rise of literacy and newspapers among the Cherokee, the rise of Boudinot and Ross, and the development of a Constitution among the Cherokee.
The Cherokee Constitution of 1827.
George W. Hawkins (Choctaw), “Letter to the American People in the Niles Weekly Register,” v. 45, 25 Feb 1832, p. 480.
De Tocqueville, Democracy, “The Present State and the Probable Future of the Indian Tribes Inhabiting the Territory of the United States,” p.321-340, including an abridged version of the Cherokee petition to Congress of 1829 concerning the encroachment in Georgia upon Cherokee land.

Afternoon: Discussion sessions.

DAY 3, The Trail of Tears

Morning Lecture: "The Trail of Tears." A History based on the Chad Smith course taught at Dartmouth College. We examine the documentary history of events and judicial decisions that preceded the removal to Western lands, known as the Trail of Tears.

Texts: The legal documents preceding removal:
De Tocqueville, 1829 Cherokee petition to Congress (see above).
Selections from the Indian Removal Act of 1830, and Worcester v. Georgia (1832), in Meredith, Short History, 85-91.
Theodore Frelinghuysen, from New Jersey. Indian Removal Debate 1830; Theodore Frelinghuysen, Speech Before the Senate. Part 1.
President Andrew Jackson’s publicly and widely published letter to the Cherokee urging their removal from their lands, April 7, 1835, in Ehle, Trail of Tears, 275-278.
Wilkins, Thurman, Cherokee Tragedy: The Ridge Family and the Decimation of a People. Chapter 11 and first part of 12: “The Treaty of New Echota” and “Honey Creek,” pp 264-293 (29pp).
Perdue, Theda, ed. Cherokee Editor: The Writings of Elias Boudinot. Knoxville: The University of Georgia Press, 1983, 1996, "Selections from the Cherokee Phoenix" read p. 108-145. Includes Boudinot’s analysis of whether “nature” or social conditions in the United States are aiding or thwarting Cherokee attempts to adapt their way of life to “civilization.” Also, pp 162-174.
Archival materials at the Cherokee Heritage Center. All letters are believed to be heretofore unpublished. Post-1838 materials will pertain to the reverberations of the Trail of Tears within the post-removal Cherokee community.

  • Letter, Lewis Ross to John M. Ross (son), November 18, 1835, informing family of the arrest of John Ross and Payne.
  • Letter, Lewis Ross to sons, May 23, 1836, informing family of the ratification of the New Echota treaty.
  • Letter, Lewis Ross to John M. Ross (son), March 1, 1837, regarding vote on how to dispose treaty money.
  • Letter, Lewis Ross to John, Arminita, and Robert, June 27, 1837, discussing the “fraudulent” treaty with the hopes to change minds or get a new treaty.
  • Providence Journal, March 15, 1838, John Ross letter denouncing the treaty and insisting that he, John Ross, has no desire to cause the extermination of the Cherokee people.Contemporary testimony concerning the Trail of Tears removal:
    From the CHC Archives:
  • 6. Essex Register, May 31, 1838, Letter to the editor from Major Ridge and John Ridge regarding treatment of the Cherokees.
  • 7. Petition from the Cherokees to General Scott, June 11, 1838: “This thing just ain’t right!”
  • 8. Cherokee complaint against the conduct of Benjamin F. Currey, Superintendent of Cherokee removal.Rozema, Vicki, Voices from the Trail of Tears. Chapters 11-13, “Until the Sickly Season Should Pass Away, July 1838,” (letters of Chief John Ross, General Winfield Scott, and Resolution of Cherokee Nation), “For the Comfort and Well Being of this People, Summer 1838” (letters of John Page and list of physicians and steps employed in camps), “The Sadness of the Heart, August 1838,” (letter from Cherokee leader William Shorey Cooley to John Howard Payne on departure of a land detachment.)
    Butrick, Daniel S. Rev., The Journal of Rev. Daniel S. Butrick, May 19, 1838-April 1, 1839. Journal entries on the Trail crossing into Illinois and across the Mississippi, Thursday, December 13, 1838 to February 12, 1839.
    Journal entries of those on the Trail of Tears as found in Indian Removal (U. of OK Press, Norman, 1932, 11th printing 1989) Grant Foreman: the Rev. Evan Jones account, originally published in the contemporary Baptist Missionary Magazine of the round-up of Cherokee from their homes to collections centers.

Lectures, discussions and readings will be accompanied by touring the Trail of Tears exhibit at the Cherokee Heritage Center. And, the Trail of Tears drama will be staged in the evening.

Day 4: Reverberations and Recovery:

Morning Lecture: "Recrimination, and Rebuilding and Recovery"
Archival Materials from the CHC on the Ridge murders post-removal to Oklahoma:

  • 9. Lewis Ross to John M. Ross, February 9, 1841, regarding conspiracy to kill Ross faction leaders and appointment of guards.
  • 10. Eliza Jane Ross to John Ross, June 28, 1842, referring to “outrageous Stand Watie” with a negative outlook on his followers.

The Women’s Seminary and Importance of Education to the Cherokee:
Recollections drawn from the Oklahoma Indian-Pioneer Papers (a WPA project that collected accounts of the past in the late 1930s),
first-person narratives compiled by Maggie Culver Fry in her Cherokee Female Seminary Years: A Cherokee National Anthology (1988),
two videotape interviews conducted by historian Brad Agnew with seminarians about twenty-five years ago;
records and documents in the archives of the Cherokee National Historical Society and archives and special collections department of Northeastern State University, which include period newspapers, and correspondence, Cherokee and U.S. government records.
Selections Devon Mihesuah's, Cultivating the Rosebuds: The Education of Women at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1851-1909 (1993)
Ida Tinnin, “Educational and Cultural Influences of the Cherokee Seminary” Chronicles of Oklahoma, v 37, Sp., ’59, pp. 59-67; discusses shaping influences upon students of the seminary.

There are few recorded "family stories" of the Trail of Tears. However, in the 20h Century, historians began to examine the Trail of Tears, and one source of materials – aside from extensive written records – were tape recordings made in the 30’s and 70’s of descendants’ of the Trail who had received stories from their grandparents and great grandparents. Beginning in the 40’s and picking up steam in the 70’s, artists began to portray and narrate events of it. Quite truly, an important moment in this artistic cultural resurgence was the establishment of the Cherokee Heritage Center with the writing of the “Trail of Tears” drama.

Texts: Robert Conley’s novel, Mountain Windsong – a romance set in the backdrop of the Trail of Tears.
Selected poetry from: Echoes of Our Being, ed. by Robert J. Conley, published 1982 by Indian University Press, Bacone College, Muskogee, OK; contains poems by Robin Coffee, Pat Moss, Julie Moss, Wilma Mankiller

5th Day Contemporary Cherokee in the United States and Education for the Nation’s Future.

Lecture and Tour: "After the Trail: Contemporary Cherokee Visual Art"

Joan Hill. Painter – enrolled Muscogee Nation, Cherokee descent – Muskogee, OK. Bessie Russell. Basket weaver – Cherokee Nation – Rose, OK. Dorothy Sullivan. Painter – Cherokee Nation – Norman, OK. Willard Stone (1916-1985) – wood and bronze sculptor – NTA Cherokee – Locust Grove, OK.

Afternoon Lectures and Final Discussions: Cherokee Culture and Native American History in Liberal Arts Education