EXCESSIVELY RARE COPY OF THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIAN ADVOCATE – DECEMBER 31, 1831. VOL. IV. NO. 25
EXCESSIVELY RARE COPY OF THE CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIAN ADVOCATE – DECEMBER 31, 1831. VOL. IV. NO. 25 CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIAN ADVOCATE Newspaper. New Echota (GA) – Saturday, December 31, 1831. Vol. IV, No. 25. 4 pgs., 12.75 x 21.25 inches. Newspaper title written in Cherokee syllabary above the English language version. The title encapsulates the emblem of the paper, a mythical phoenix rising to new life from ashes of fire, with the word “PROTECTION” printed in an overhead banner. The Cherokee Phoenix was the first Native American newspaper, plus the first bilingual newspaper publication in North America, thus allowing the Cherokee to read the news of their nation in their own language. Its first issue was printed on Feb. 21, 1828, in New Echota, Cherokee Nation, now the state of Georgia, with its editor being Elias Boudinot. It was printed bilingual, using the Cherokee syllabary which Sequoyah created in 1821. In October 1827, prior to the papers 1st issue, editor Boudinot had issued a detailed prospectus for the paper pledging to print the official laws and documents of the Cherokee nation, local and international news items, columns on the Cherokees’ progress in the “arts of civilized life,” and tracts on temperance and Christian living. Short works of fiction and columns reprinted from other newspaper also appeared routinely. The role of the CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIAN ADVOCATE was to keep the members of the Cherokee Nation united and informed. In mid-1820’s the tribe was being pressured by the U.S. government and Georgia in particular, to move to new lands west of the Mississippi River, or to dissolve their Cherokee tribal government and be under the complete jurisdiction of the U.S. government. Out of this choice developed the CHEROKEE PHOENIX with collaboration between the General Council of the Cherokee nation, Samuel Worcester, a missionary and Elias Boudinot who became its editor its first four and a half years. Boudinot had been educated at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. “The first issue appeared February 21, 1828. It contained five columns on each of its four pages. The editor announced that, because translation between English and Cherokee was slow, initially the paper would print only three columns each week in the Cherokee language. The first issue covered a variety of subjects. Samuel Worcester wrote an article praising Sequoyah’s invention of the syllabary, and Boudinot’s first editorial criticized white settlers wanting Cherokee land. As the issue of removal attracted attention throughout the United States, the newspaper arranged a fund-raising and publicity tour, which attracted new subscribers from almost all areas of the US and Europe. Boudinot gradually published mostly in English, trying to reach that larger audience.” (Wikipedia) By 1929, the name of the CHEROKEE PHOENIX had been changed to the CHEROKEE PHOENIX AND INDIANS’ ADVOCATE to reflect the expanding scope of the publication. The impending removal of the Cherokees from George was a closely watched issue nationally and as such the focus of the newspaper shifted to the removal crisis. The Indian Removal Act became law and was signed on May 28, 1830 by President Andrew Jackson. The law gave authorities the right to negotiate land-exchange treaties with Indian tribes living within the boundaries of the existing states. Boudinot had increasingly supported the voluntary removal of the Cherokees to land west of the Mississippi while the leadership of the Cherokees was against removal. Thus in August 1832 Boudinot was forced to resign and Elijah Hicks, an anti-removal Cherokee, became the editor of the PHOENIX. Georgia was the largest state at the time and where the Cherokees held the most land. Also, Georgia was the home to New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee nation. Georgia was especially interested in their removal and was involved in a contentious jurisdictional dispute between the two parties. On the front page of this offered newspaper under the title Extract From the Presidents Message, President Andrew Jackson is quoted “At the last session I had the happiness to announce that the Chickasaws had accepted the generous offer of the Government, and agreed to remove beyond the Mississippi and the western part of Alabama will be freed from Indian occupancy, and opened to a civilized population. The Treaties with these tribes are in a course of execution, and their removal it is hoped will be completed in the course of 1832. At the request of the authorities of Georgia, the registration of Cherokee Indians for emigration has been resumed, and it is confidently expected that one half, if not two thirds of that tribe, will follow the wise example of their westerly brethren.... But the removal of the Indians beyond the limits and jurisdiction of the States does not place them beyond the reach of philanthropic aid and Christian instruction. On the contrary, those whom philanthropy or religion may induce to live among them in their new abode, will be more free in the exercise of their benevolent functions, than if they had remained within the limits of the States, embarrassed by their internal regulations. Now, subject to no control but the superintending agency of the General Government, exercised with the sole view of preserving peace, they may proceed unmolested in the interesting experiment by gradually advancing a community of American Indians from Barbarism to the habits and enjoyments of a civilized life.” Just two columns over on the front page, an alternative view is offered, “Do not all the reason which have heretofore availed with the friends of the Indians, remain in full force? Is it not as true at this moment, as it was one year, or two years ago, that they have a right to the lands they occupy – that the peaceable possession of those lands has been guaranteed to them in numerous Treaties, to which the great Seal of the nation is affixed? Is it not as true now as it was then that the Indians are oppressed? ....Would it not be as calamitous now as it would have been then, for them to remove, with all their helpless and decrepit ones, a thousand miles into a barren wilderness?” Usual expected wear with minor toning, creasing and small tears not affecting text. Overall an excessively scarce paper in very good condition.
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