The Wright Perspective℠
Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠
A Blog by Gary Wright II
Accuracy of Rolls and Cherokee Equality
Sunday, January 10th, 2010
Sorry for so many posts today, but this topic doesn't seem to be going away. I was (again) asked to prove some of my claims so here it goes:
The rolls are inaccurate and incomplete. They are incomplete because not everyone was counted for various reasons. I don't think the rolls were intentionally inaccurate. It was common for a family member to provide the info for the rest of the family. Similar to immigrant data on Ellis Island, the record keepers wrote the names as they sounded to them which causes great confusion when researching genealogy.
As a real-life example specific to the Cherokee, consider one of their most important chiefs. Chief Ostenaco is also known as Cunne Shote, Cumna Catogue, and Stalking Turkey. He was often confused with his uncle who was Standing Turkey. According to the writings by John Mooney, his Cherokee name is "Aganstata."His tombstone in Chota, Tennessee says, "oconastota - Great Warrior of the Cherokees"
If the tribe can't agree on the correct name for someone that important - what chance do the regular citizens have in establishing their heritage through the same documentation?
Someone disputed another assertion: I stated that one of the greatest legacies of the Cherokee people is the fact they accepted everyone. I guess I should have qualified that remark by saying, "Prior to the Treaty of New Echota they accepted everyone."
For proof, consider the case of Samuel Worcester, He was a "white" missionary, yet his family was considered part of the tribe. When they made it illegal for whites to live among the Indians, Worcester went to jail instead of leaving the tribe. Would someone not "fully accepted" into the tribe make such a sacrifice? I think not.
Many Cherokee were slave owners, yet the slave families were also accepted into the tribe. Sadly, the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma recently chose to exclude the freedmen from their citizenship.
Another example of equality among the Cherokee is the role women played within their society. When preparing the Cherokee peace delegation to London, Lieutenant Timberlake was shocked that the Cherokee would "allow their women full liberty, without fear of punishment." Attakullakulla then asks, "Since white men, as well as red, were born of women, is it not the custom of the white people to also admit their women into the council?"
The elitist attitudes of many of the tribal leaders have now tainted that image of equality and acceptance. I find that both offensive and embarrassing.
-- Gary Wright II