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A Dirty Little Cherokee Secret

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the
Black History Quiz
A Dirty Little Cherokee Secret
By Jim Stroud • Issue #58 • View online
Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures.

John Ross was the first Principal Chief of the Cherokee nation. Two years after his election, the 1830 Indian Removal Act was passed by Congress. Ross was a strong opponent of Indian removal and lead the fight against it. Ross filed suit and won a Supreme Court ruling against white encroachment onto Cherokee lands but President Andrew Jackson refused to honor the Supreme Court decision
In 1835, a small group of less than 500 Cherokee signed a treaty which in effect sold the Cherokee lands to the United States. The group did not represent the majority of the Cherokee people. In response, Ross gathered 16,000 signatures of Cherokees opposed to the treaty, but President Andrew Jackson pushed the treaty through Congress. In 1838 the infamous “Trail of Tears” began and an estimated 2,000 Cherokees died along the way from Georgia to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) where the Cherokees were force to move. John Ross’ leadership during the trail of tears saved many lives, although his wife - Qatie died during the journey. 
Ross was a great leader for the Cherokee nation, helping them survive The Trail of Tears, the Civil War and the rebuilding of their community and government. For all the great things he did, John Ross had a dirty little secret; something that he and his fellow Cherokee all joined in. Do you know what it was? 
John Ross - 1st Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation
John Ross - 1st Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation
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Black History Quiz Answer
Believe it or not, Cherokee Indians owned BLACK SLAVES and they were with them on the “Trail of Tears.” Here’s a quote from the Smithsonian Magazine website.
“When you think of the Trail of Tears, you likely imagine a long procession of suffering Cherokee Indians forced westward by a villainous Andrew Jackson. Perhaps you envision unscrupulous white slaveholders, whose interest in growing a plantation economy underlay the decision to expel the Cherokee, flooding in to take their place east of the Mississippi River.
What you probably don’t picture are Cherokee slaveholders, foremost among them Cherokee chief John Ross. What you probably don’t picture are the numerous African-American slaves, Cherokee-owned, who made the brutal march themselves, or else were shipped en masse to what is now Oklahoma aboard cramped boats by their wealthy Indian masters. And what you may not know is that the federal policy of Indian removal, which ranged far beyond the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee, was not simply the vindictive scheme of Andrew Jackson, but rather a popularly endorsed, congressionally sanctioned campaign spanning the administrations of nine separate presidents.
These uncomfortable complications in the narrative were brought to the forefront at a recent event held at the National Museum of the American Indian. Titled “Finding Common Ground,” the symposium offered a deep dive into intersectional African-American and Native American history.
For museum curator Paul Chaat Smith (Comanche), who has overseen the design and opening of the widely lauded  “Americans” exhibition now on view on the museum’s third floor, it is imperative to provide the museum-going public with an unflinching history, even when doing so is painful.”
For further study PLEASE read:
How Native American Slaveholders Complicate the Trail of Tears Narrative | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine
Trail of Tears: Indian Removal Act, Facts & Significance - HISTORY
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Jim Stroud

Black History Quiz is a weekly celebration of the contributions and achievements of Africans and the descendants of the diaspora in the United States and around the world. PLEASE SHARE this newsletter and help spread the word about a proud people and their cultures. New issues post on Sundays. | www.blackhistoryquiz.com

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