Responses to Removal
Digital History ID 670
A Cherokee leader educated in white schools in North Carolina and Connecticut, Boudinot served as the first editor of the first Cherokee newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix. Initially, he was a bitter opponent of removal, but when the state of Georgia began distributing Cherokee lands to whites, he began to view removal as the only way for the Cherokee to survive as a unified people. In 1832 and 1835 he signed treaties of removal, and was assassinated in 1839 for alienating Cherokee lands.
What is an Indian? Is he not formed of the same materials with yourself? For "of one blood God created all the nations that dwell on the face of the earth." Though it be true that he is ignorant, that he is a heathen, that he is a savage; yet he is no more than all others have been under similar circumstances. Eighteen centuries ago what were the inhabitants of Great Britain?
You here behold an Indian, my kindred are Indians, and my fathers sleeping in the wilderness grave--they too were Indians. But I am not as my fathers were....I have had greater advantages than most of my race; and I now stand before you delegated by my native country to seek her interest...and by my public efforts to assist in raising her to an equal standing with other nations of the earth....
My design is to offer a few disconnected facts relative to the present improved states, and to the ultimate prospects of that particular tribe called Cherokees to which I belong....At this time there are 22,000 cattle; 7,600 horses; 46,000 swine; 2,500 sheep; 762 looms; 2,488 spinning wheels; 172 wagons; 2,943 ploughs...18 schools [in my nation]....Yes, methinks I can view my native country, rising from the ashes of her degradation, wearing her purified and beautiful garments, and taking her seat with the nations of the earth....
I ask you, shall red men live, or shall they be swept from the earth? With you and this public at large, the decision chiefly rests. Must they perish? Must they all, like the unfortunate Creeks, (victims of the unchristian policy of certain persons) go down in sorrow to their grave?
They hang upon your mercy as to a garment. Will you push them from you, or will you save them? Let humanity answer.
Source: An Address to the Whites (Philadelphia, 1826).
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