"We are overwhelmed! Our hearts are sickened, our utterance is paralyzed, when we reflect on the condition in which we are placed, by the audacious practices of unprincipled men, who have managed their stratagems with so much dexterity as to impose on the [g]overnment of the United States, in the face of our earnest, solemn, and reiterated protestations." (Principal Chief John Ross)
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Tragically, the Cherokee is one of America's best-known tribes due to the trials and tribulations they suffered by being forcibly moved west along the "Trail of Tears", but that overlooks the contributions they made to American society well before the 19th century. The Cherokee began the process of assimilation into European America very early, even before the establishment of the Unites States, and by the early 19th century they were one of the "five civilized tribes".
However, it is ultimately unclear what benefits "civilization" brought to the tribe. Throughout the colonial period and after the American Revolution, the Cherokee struggled to satisfy the whims and desires of American government officials and settlers, often suffering injustices after complying with their desires. Nevertheless, the Cherokee continued to endure, and after being pushed west, they rose from humble origins as refugees, new to the southeastern United States, to build themselves back up into a powerhouse both economically and militarily.
©2012 Charles River Editors (P)2015 Charles River Editors