The idea of moving the Cherokee people and four other Indian tribes situated in the Southeastern States to the lands beyond the Mississippi River was brought about by the passage of the Indian Removal Act of 1830. However, the Cherokee people were against this movement and they wrote a petition to invalidate this step taken by the federal government.In their petition,aptly titled “Appeal of the Cherokee Nation (1830)” Cherokee leaders’ gave several reasons for their opposition to this movement. This paper is going to cover the various reasons that they gave for rejecting the decision to move them beyond the Mississippi River.
First,they believed that the land belonged to them and they had a perfect and original right to claim it without any form of interruption or molestation. The reason they presented was that their ownership of the land was supported by treaties and by the laws of the United States which were made in pursuance of treaties, guaranteeing their residence and their privilege and protected them against intruders.
Secondly, the Cherokee leadership had reservations about the new land. According to the Cherokee people, if they moved they could foresee a future that was in disintegrated and in ruin. They held that the land west of the Arkansas territory was unfamiliar and unknown to their people. They claimed that they had no form of ownership or tenure over that land and thus could not claim it as their land. They maintained that all the suitable and valuable parts of that region were already preoccupied by other Indiantribes to which it had already been allocated to and believed it would any interference would result to the other Indian tribes viewing the Cherokeepeople as trespassers and prowlers. This they believed would attract curses from these tribes.
Thirdly, the Cherokee people considered themselves to be a people involved in farming and cultivation but the land which they had been asked to relocate to had a scarcity of wood and water was deficient. This they held would obstruct their means of earning a living.
Fourthly, they were of the opinion that if they were moved together with the other Indian tribes, although their Indianneighbors would be geographically located close to them, they were very dissimilar when it came to their language and their traditions and practices were also very different. Therefore, moving them and making them live in close proximity to each other would in no way enhance their cohesion.
Fifthly, the Cherokee leaders claimed that the original owners of the land beyond the Mississippi River were roving bruteswho had been in constant fighting with each other and would lay in wait for prey in the vast territory. The Cherokee leaders argued that they would easily be a target of these people living in those regions.
The last reason that the Cherokee people gave for their opposition to the movement was that their current land, the Southeastern States, were the lands where they were born and raised and they held the lands with great affection. The Southeastern States also housed the scenes of their childhood and were a home to the graves of their fore fathers.
In conclusion, most of the reasons given by the Cherokee people were justifiable justified and valid. They were reasons backed by support. They were a people who simply wanted to dwell in a land in which they had been born and that held the good memories of their childhood.It was a land that they held with great affection and which they had buried their forefathers. The Southeastern States were also the lands where they could fend for their family, live in good harmony with their neighbours and above all the land belonged to them and they had a perfect and original right to it.
Various Cherokee Leaders. (1830). Appeal to the Cherokee Nation.
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