Early Accounts of Cherokee Life in the East
From the time they established formal ties with Great Britain in 1730, the Cherokees had a rocky relationship with whites. They found grounds for dispute over trade practices, territorial control, and the complicated loyalties among the various Indian tribes and European powers. Over the years, the Cherokees struggled to maintain their ancient traditions as the tribe was assimilated into the white man’s culture. Cherokee Voices uses the participants’ own words to tell the story of early Cherokee life. The selections were gathered from journals, treaty records, and correspondence written by Cherokees or by Europeans or Americans who knew them. The excerpts begin with the 1730 visit of Alexander Cuming, who appointed an “emperor” for the Cherokees. Touching on matters as varied as the Cherokees’ oral tradition, their village life, their ball games, their treaties with whites, their famous Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, and their education in Christian mission schools, the chapters take readers from when the Indians were dependent on European trade to when they became self-sufficient farmers and tradesmen. Unlike most books about the Cherokees, written in the third person by authors who lived years after the events, this one recognizes that no one can speak more eloquently of their lives, trials, and customs than the people themselves.
Vicki Rozema is the author of Cherokee Voices: Early Accounts of Cherokee Life in the East and Voices from the Trail of Tears. Also an acclaimed photographer, she is a history professor at the University of Tennessee. The first edition of Footsteps of the Cherokees received an Award of Merit from the Tennessee Historical Commission in 1996.