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The Missionary Impulse
Digital History ID 690

Author:   To-Cha Lee and Chu Li-Oa

Annotation: In this document, two Cherokee chiefs describe the great strides that their people had made in acculturation. Yet despite this tangible proof that their people could meet the "test of civilization," they would be removed from their homelands during the 1830s.

Document: By the rapid progress of settlements in the western part of the United States, our country is now nearly surrounded by our white brothers....It is for the interest of all that harmony and good neighborhood should be preserved between us--and when from misunderstanding, or the disorderly conduct of individuals on either side, our harmony may have been temporarily interrupted, it gives you and us concern and uneasiness, because we cannot control the passions of men....

In former years we were of necessity under the influence of your enemies. We spilled our blood in their cause; they were finally compelled by your arms to leave us; they made no stipulation for our security. When those years of distress had passed away, we found ourselves in the power of a generous nation; past transactions were consigned to oblivion; our boundaries were established by compact, and liberal provision was made for our future security and improvement, for which we placed ourselves under the protection of the United States. Under these provisions, our nation has prospered, our population has increased.--The knowledge and practice of agriculture and some of the useful arts, have kept pace with time. Our stocks of cattle and other domestic animals fill the forest, while the wild animals have disappeared. Our spinning wheels and looms now in use by the ingenious hands of our wives and our daughters, enable us to clothe ourselves principally in decent habits, from the production of materials...of our soil. In addition to these important acquisitions, many of our youth of both sexes have acquired such knowledge of letters and figures as to show to the most incredulous that our mental powers are not by nature inferior to yours--and we look forward to a period of time, when it may be said, this artist, this mathematician, this astronomer, is a Cherokee....

Source: Niles Weekly Register, April 10, 1813, 96-97.

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