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The Cherokee Embracing Civilization Essay

1238 words - 5 pages

The Cherokee Indians were arguably the most successful Indian tribe in the United States. The Cherokee depended on deer skin trading, farming, and hunting for the majority of survival. The tribe began struggling in the late 1700’s. With the United States beginning to take control of several different tribes, the Cherokees became concerned that their land may no longer belong to them. The United States were pushing the Cherokee tribe to become civilized. Many Cherokee Indians were against the civilization because they did not fully trust the United States, or its government. The Cherokee leader, Young Wolf, did not listen to those against civilization and chose to embrace civilization with the United States. The goal of embracing the civilization was to keep the land the Cherokee had, east of the Mississippi River. This plan seemed as if it could only help the Cherokee, but in fact it hurt them because of the greed of the United States to have all the land to themselves.
The start of the Cherokee civilization began with the first President, George Washington. Washington knew that the relationship with the tribe was not going too well, and that the Cherokee’s did not trust the United States. Henry Knox, secretary of war, was in charge of making a plan to assist the Cherokee with their civilization. This plan started out suggesting that the Cherokee attempt to plan other crops besides corn. It was suggested that the tribe attempt to plant crops such as wheat, cotton, and flax. These three crops were more widely used among United States citizens and would allow the Cherokee to widen their trade, which would in return boost their economy. The reason that the Cherokee needed to increase the crops they were growing was also due to the fact that the hunting that was once abundant had began to slow down. In The Cherokee Removal A Brief History with Documents President Washington in 1796 said, “you now see that the game with which your woods once abunded, are growing scarce, and you know that when you cannot find a deer or other game to kill, you must remain hungry.” (Green and Perdue 25). Washington was trying to warn the Cherokee that although hunting had assisted them in surviving up to this point, eventually the deer would run scarce and they would have to rely on farming a variety of crops. Washington also promised the Cherokee men plows to increase production and the women spinning wheels and looms to assist in making clothing (Green and Perdue 25). Washington’s efforts helped the Cherokee tribes to become more trusting of the United States and made becoming civilized more widely accepted among the tribes, but little did the Cherokee know it was a trick to get them to do what the United States wanted.
The United States did assist the Cherokee during the late 1700’s, but by the early 1800’s the United States true intentions began to become noticeable. The United States were less interested in helping the Cherokee and more interested in changing the...

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