Rebecca B. “There is a scanty instance of African mixture with the Cherokee blood, but that of the white may be as 1 to 4, occasioned by intermarriages which has been increasing in proportion to the march of civilization.”
[One might begin a dissertation on the salience of race in the American experience by quoting the above sentence. Kerri cites this same sentence. Lisa cites a complementry passage.]
“This heaven was adorned with all the beauties which a savage imagination could conceive: An open forest, yet various, giving shade & fruit of every kind; Flowers of various hues & pleasant to the Smell; Game of all kinds in great abundance, enough of feasts & plenty of dances, & to crown the whole, the most beautiful women, prepared & adorned by the great Spirit, for every individual Indian that by wisdom, hospitality & Bravery was introduced to this happy & immortal region.”
“To stop this evil, it was necessary to pass a law considering all slaughters of this kind in the light of murder, which has effected the desired remedy. There [are] yet among us who pretend to possess powers of milder character, Such as making rain, allaying a storm or whirlwinds, playing with thunder & foretelling future events with many other trifling conjurations not worth mentioning, but they are generally living monuments of fun to the young and grave Ridicule for those in maturer years.”
“And many a drunken, idle & good for nothing Indian has been converted from error & have become useful Citizens: Portions of Scripture & sacred hymns are translated and I have frequently heard with astonishment a Cherokee, unacquainted with the English take his text & preach, read his hymn & sing it, Joined by his audience, and pray to his heavenly father with great propriety & devotion. The influence of Religion on the life of the Indians is powerful & lasting.”
“We attempted to pass a law regulating marriage, but as nearly all the members of our Legislature, tho' convinced of the propriety, had been married under the old existing ceremony, [and] were afraid it would reflect dishonor on them, it failed.”
“Besides this, some of our most respectable people have their children educated at the academies in the adjoining states. Two cherokee females have recently completed their Education, at the expense of their father, at a celebrated female Academy in Salem, North Carolina. They are highly accomplished & in point of appearance & deportment; they would pass for the genteel & wellbred ladies in any Country.”
“A National Academy of a high order is to be soon established by law at our seat of Government. The edifice will be of Brick & will be supported by the Nation. It is also in contemplation to establish an English & Cherokee printing press & a paper edited in both languages at our seat of Government. In our last Session, $1500 was appropriated to purchase the press and regulations adopted to carry the object into effect. We have also a Society organized called the "Moral & Literary Society of the Cherokee Nation." A library is attached to this Institution…”
Francis: John Ridge talks about the changes that the Cherokee made to become “civilized.” He explained that the natives adopted what he considered “key features of white culture” while abandoning many of their own traditions. John Ridge, a Cherokee, changed his name from Kahmungdaclegeh to Ridge. Listed below are the following changes Cherokee made in order to become civilized:
1) The Cherokee cooperated in a census of the Nation in 1825. The census, dating at least back to ancient Rome, was a highly sophisticated means of figuring our how much property and how many taxable people resided in the Nation. The census revealed that there were over 13,000 native citizens, 147 white men married in the Nation, 73 white women, and over 1,000 African slaves.
2) The Cherokee resorted to an agrarian society instead of hunting. Both the men and women have specific roles they adhere to around the house and living. They are aided by the use of African slaves to work the land. Ridge states that the Cherokee are similar to the southern white farmers as they hold slaves to help them with their daily work, eat regular meals during the course of the day, have servants to attend to their needs, and their house is always decorated and maintained in a civilized manner.
3) Concerning religion, the Cherokee never believed in superstition like other uncivilized tribes. In fact, they believed in one Good and one Bad entity who were always engaged in spiritual warfare. However, they believed that the Good force would ultimately become the superior force and they looked forward to Heaven. On the contrary, they recognized a Hell-like state as well where people would reside in hunger, hostility, and eternal darkness. Apparently, there were some similarities between the Cherokee religion and that of the Christian faith in which they eventually embraced.
4) The white men were instrumental in converting and civilizing the Cherokee people. First, they establish eight churches where the Gospel was preached on the Sabbath. They also constructed religious missions which were supported by various Christian groups – the Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. According to Ridge, all of the people within these churches were good and pious people who preached the Good News with strong convictions. Second, the whites introduced African slaves to help out the Cherokee people, produce higher yields of products, and stimulate their farming economy. Thirdly, they transformed the drunken, idle, and worthless Indian into a useful, pious citizen. Ridge’s uncle, who fit the description of the useless Indian gave up his vices to abandon his material possessions, devoted his life to working hard, and became an “honest praying Christian.”
5) Even though the Cherokee could not converse in English, one of the natives, named George Guess, devised an 86 character system in which natives could easily communicate with one another. Over a short span of time, the Cherokee people, as a group, became highly literate. Once they became literate, they could correspond with their neighbors in Arkansas.
6) Although polygamy was still legal for the Cherokee, the most respectable portion of the females adhered to the teachings of Christianity. The Indians, who had been portrayed as extremely violent and a people who desired retribution, were actually not as addicted to revenge as the stereotype had presented them. Rather, they were ready to forgive if the people who committed acts of wrong against them were truly sorry for their actions. Overall, Ridge described the Cherokee women and men as truly honorable and progressing towards the ideals of civilization.
7) The last greatest change the natives have worked on was education. The schools established by the missionaries contained over 250 students. Among these students were two females, who became highly accomplished and considered high class ladies in society. They could use their education to help other people within the community as well. As mentioned before, the missionaries taught the native people all about the goodness of God, how to live life according to the Christian message, etiquette, and how to become productive citizens within their communities.
C J: - In the third paragraph, Ridge endorses Christianity to save the embarrassment that the rain dancers and other seemingly magic rituals performed by the former religion’s “wizards and witches.” Also, he says that many drunkard Cherokees, like his uncle, have changed their ways because of Christianity. Finally, he says it helps assimilate Cherokees who can’t speak English into American culture by singing the hymns, etc. in English.
- He endorses the passage of marriage laws against polygamy, citing it as an “ignorant vestige” of the old Cherokee culture, and not in harmony with American culture.
- He speaks out against alcoholism in his culture, and points out that temperance is on the improve.
- He endorses the increase of education in his culture, particularly an American-style education. He tells of plans for a “National Academy,” I’m assuming for higher education. He raves about students attending American academies, and finally advocates for the inception of a Cherokee-American newspaper, further assimilating his culture into the Americans’.
- He mentions slavery right away in the first paragraph of the letter. The society of the American South was largely influenced, obviously, by slavery, and by owning slaves, and for that matter property, the Cherokee saw themselves (at least Ridge did) melding with their white counterparts. Even though Ridge doesn’t go very far into the importance of slavery, it is a key factor in showing how much improvement the Cherokee Nation was seeking by imitating white culture. This move may also have been seen as competition with American plantation owners, and may ultimately have been a determinant that caused the suppression of the Cherokee in the years to come.
- As I stated above, the missionaries were a large factor in the assimilation and improvement of Cherokee culture. Non-English speakers learned at least some of the language by singing the hymns and partaking in church rites. Drunkards were shown the path to recovery by the missionaries. And finally, Christianity was viewed by Ridge especially as a mark of improvement over the old religion; he condemned the rain dances and magic rituals of wizards and witches as foolish, and Ridge claimed those vestiges were embarrassing to those who wanted the more civilized religion of their American overlords.
Emily B.: -The Indians and the half breeds all had slaves.
-They own land and farm it just like the whites do.
-When they eat, they have servants to attend to them. Their tables are covered with tablecloths and they use silverware.
-There was a new law that passed that stated that if anyone killed a ‘witch or wizard’ that they were to be tried as a murderer.
-In the missionary stations, they preach the words of the gospel and have converted many of the Indians ‘from error & have become useful Citizens’.
-The Indians are now going to colleges and finishing up with their educations. He states how two young ladies finished their education and ‘they are highly accomplished & in point of appearance & deportment; they would pass for the genteel & wellbred ladies in any Country.’
-They are trying to get both Indian and American writing and translation in the government.
The missionaries changed the natives with the way they taught their religion to the natives. They usually forced the natives to convert and stated that what the native believed in was not the way of the lord.
The whites had a huge impact with the changes that the natives made. They were the ones who were the role models on how the natives should act and talk. In many parts of the article Ridge compares the natives to the whites saying how much they were now alike.
1.) Mixture of Cherokee and White blood “may be as 1 to 4”
2.) Cherokee citizens can sew, weave, spin, and cook.
3.) There are 8 churches in the Nation where the gospel is preached on Sabbath days --
Missionary stations supported by the Merovians, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists
are set up.
5.) Missionaries set up 13 schools in the Nation.
6.) 1/3 of the Cherokee citizens can read and write in the English language.
Although one mark of civilization is slavery, it does not fit in with the others. A
major part of the civilization process centered around religion and education. The fact that slaves were dominant in a Nation where churches and missionaries are being established seems contradictory. On one side, you stress the conversation to a religion that emphasizes compassion and justice and on the other side, you allow and encourage the inhumane act of enslaving people for the benefit of others.
Subsequently, Missionary stations (churches) were created by the Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. According to Ridge, the influence of religion on the life of the Indians is powerful and lasting. With that in mind, he has observed Indians reading and singing hymns and praying to the heavenly father with great devotion. Hence, the white’s had a great influence on the Indian’s because they set-up churches in the Nation that stressed the importance of converting to Christianity.
John: -Intermarriage between Cherokee and whites, “which has been increasing in proportion to the march of civilization.”
-Slavery is conducted in the same style as the southern white farmers of equal ability in point of property.
-The Cherokee have their regular meals as the whites, Servants to attend them in their repasts, and the tables are usually covered with a clean cloth and furnished with the usual plates, knives and forks.
-Superstition is a portion of all uncivilized Nations. Witches or wizards were supposed capable of transforming themselves in the beasts of the forest and fowls of the air and take their nocturnal excursions in pursuit of human victims, particularly those suffering from disease. However, after a while these witches had a bad time of it. They were often on suspicion butchered or tomahawked by the enraged parents, relatives or friends of the deceased. To stop this evil, it was necessary to pass a law considering all slaughters of this kind in the light of murder, which has effected the desired remedy.
-Christianity is increasing as the Cherokee become further civilized. Many drunken and good for nothing Indian has been converted from error and have become useful citizens. There are about 8 churches where the Cherokee preach and pray to the heavenly father.
-Although there is no law for marriage the most respectable portion of our females prefer to be united in marriage attended by the solemnities of the Christian mode.
-Drunkenness is no longer allowable for chiefs during their official labors without being expelled.
-There are about 13 schools established by missionaries in the Nation and may contain 250 students.
-One third of our Citizens can read and write in English.
-A National Academy of a high order is to be soon established by law at our seat of Government.
-We have also a Society organized called the “Moral and Literary Society of the Cherokee Nation.”
Sarah: In John Ridge’s letter to Albert Gallatin, it is clear that the pervading presence of the white men played an influential role in the “civilization” of the Cherokee. Many of the areas which Ridge highlights seem to be imitations of the mannerisms and customs practiced by the Europeans. A few of the key areas include:
Ridge outlines a body of government which appears to parallel to those of the British settlements. He first mentions the “order of the [Nation’s] Council” to conduct a census; these numbers are presented after a thorough description of the land as dictated by the boundaries of the white man’s states. In the end of the letter, Ridge looks forward to the future endeavors of the government, which include a National Academy, an English and Cherokee printing press, and a “Moral & Literary Society of Cherokee Nation.” It’s hard to imagine that these ventures would have been priorities to the Cherokee prior to the arrival of the Europeans.
The Role of Women [Emily V. also highlighted this.]
Ridge seems intent on countering what he may have felt was the white man’s interpretation of the Cherokee woman. Although he acknowledges that women do occasionally work on the family’s farm, “the hardest portion of manual labor is preformed by the men.” Near the end of the letter Ridge makes a point of mentioning two females from respectable families who have led the pack in acquiring formal schooling “at a celebrated female Academy.” Ridge seems particularly proud of the outcome of this schooling, which is that each “would pass for the genteel & wellbred ladies in any Country.”
Here Ridge spends a considerable amount of time outlining the various transformations the Cherokee Nation have undergone in their progress toward civilization. First, however, he is quick to dismiss any idea of idolatry, defending that “the Cherokees in their most savage state, never worshipped the work of their own hands.” Even his description of the heaven and hell the Cherokee believed in years ago seems to mirror Christian versions. The influence of the missionaries is quite clear as Ridge continues to discuss the more current Cherokee beliefs, which include a vehement dismissal by Ridge of any participation in witchcraft or wizardry. In fact, he says that the few who still make such claims “are generally living monuments of fun to the young and grave Ridicule for those in maturer years.” Finally, Ridge heavily emphasizes the conversion among the Cherokee and the saving effects such Christianity has had on the tribe as a whole. Crediting the existence of Cherokee Christians which were “respectable in point of number and character,” Ridge praises the religion for allowing “many Indians have been [sic] converted from error & have become useful Citizens.”
Rebecca M.: - Cherokee Nation
-Tennessee, NC, Georgia, Alabama
-200 miles, 10,000,000 acres of land
-population: 13,583 natives, 147 white men (married in Nation), 73 white women, 1,277
- African mixture w/ Cherokee blood
- Intermarriages increasing
- no solitary Cherokee depends upon the chase for subsistence [a key point]
- every head of a familiy has house and farm [ another key point]
-hardest portion of labor performed by men [still another]
-women ocasionally lend a hand to the field
*mostly poorer class, sew, weave, spin, cook, etc.
- African slaves:
- mostly held by half breeds and full indians of "distinguished talents"
- farms are conducted in same style as white southern farmers
- regular meals: servants give them their meals; tables usually have tablecloaths and
furnished w/ plates, forks, knives, etc.
- Superstition in uncivilized Nations
- Cherokees used to believe in a "great first course" or spirit, and a spirit of all evil
- good spirit superior to evil one
- had a heaven
-open forest, flowers, game, feasts, dances, and the most beautiful women
- hell was a part of heaven; wretched, live in hunger hostility and darkness. they could hear the happiness, but there was no possiblity of reaching it
- witches/wizards existed
-pretended to have supernatural powers and intercourse with devil/bad spirit
-capable of transforming themselves
-killed humans, especially the sick; if anyone who had an illness died unexpectedly, the
family of the victim would attack/butcher/tomahawked suspicious sorts who could be
witches or wizards
- 8 churches; gospel is preached on the Sabbath day
- missionary stations supported by Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists
- hymns and scripture have been translated into Cherokee; many indians can be heard
- religion is having a "powerful and lasting" influence on the lives of the indians
- many drunken, idle and good for nothing Indians have been converted from error and became useful citizens
- Marriage: no law regulating it. polygamy is allowed
- many men and women have increasing morality and respect for marriage
- attempted a law regulating it, but it failed
- they are a nation on the improve
- females aspire to gain affection of moral and correct acting men.
- 13 schools, containing 250 students
- most respectable people have their children educated
- 2 Cherokee females have recently completed their education; highly accomplished; they
would pass for the genteel and wellbred ladies of any country
- 1/3 of the citizens can read and write in the english language
- George Guess: didn't know english, so he created 86 characters so Natives can read and write in their own language and can correspond with friends in other states
- Goals: establish cherokee and english printing press and a paper edited in both languages; $15,000 was presented for the purchase of this printing press
- also, they have a society called "Moral and Literary Society of the Cherokee Nation". there is a library attached to this Institution.
Amanda: One key point that John Ridge talks about is how uncivilized nations worship things, such as water, fire, the land, etc, instead of a spirit. Ridge states that “the Cherokees in their most savage state, never worshipped the work of their own hands-neither fire or water nor any one or portion of splendid fires that adorn heaven's Canopy above” meaning that they worship a spirit. He states that the Cherokees had a heaven, just as the white settlers did and they also had a bad place, which was the reverse version of the their heaven. Everything that Ridges says in regard to what the Cherokees believe in is very similar to what the white settlers believed in. Since the two have similar views on their beliefs and the Cherokees do not worship objects, it makes them civilized.
Another thing that makes the Cherokees civilized is their schooling. Ridge says that some of their (the Cherokees) most respectable people have children in school at the time he wrote his letter. He also says that two females have had their education at a highly celebrated school in Salem, North Carolina. At this time, the only people in the United States who were receiving an education were the students who were better than the rest. The Americans would sort through their students and only allow the smartest to go on after so long. Ridge says that some of the Cherokees are at this accomplished level and that “they would pass for the genteel & wellbred ladies in any Country.” Ridge also states that some of the Cherokees have learned the English language, meaning that they have a level of intelligence. A Cherokee named George Guess has also created his own language without knowing any of the English language.
When Ridge talks of slavery he talks about how only the Cherokees of “distinguished talents” are the ones who hold slaves, just like the Americans. The Americans who held slaves were of high class and had money, meaning they were in the government or inherited money and were able to afford slaves. The Cherokees tried to make their lives as similar to the white settlers by having slaves, having a religion similar to what the settlers believed in and also by learning their language and making their own. They tried to make their lives as similar to the American’s lives as possible. They would add whatever they needed to to their lifestyle in order to make it in the new world.
Christina: The article talks about how Cherokee's abondended their religion because white people saw it as being scary. Also they thought that it caused some deaths and murders. They also stopped practicing diffirent tradtional rituals because the white people didn't like them.
"There [are] yet among us who pretend to possess powers of milder character, Such as making rain, allaying a storm or whirlwinds, playing with thunder & foretelling future events with many other trifling conjurations not worth mentioning, but they are generally living monuments of fun to the young and grave Ridicule for those in maturer years. "
Another issue that they come into contact with is the marriage laws. The writer wanted to adapt the white peoples legal ideas of marriage but was afraid that old marriages would no longer be valid.
attempted to pass a law regulating marriage, but as nearly all the members of our Legislature, tho' convinced of the propriety, had been married under the old existing ceremony, [and] were afraid it would reflect dishonor on them, it failed. Time will effect the desired change in this system & it is worthy of mention, even now, that the most respectable portion of our females prefer, tho' not required by law to be united in marriage attended by the solemnities of the Christian mode"
Kerri: “There is a scanty instance of African mixture with the Cherokee blood, but that of the white may be as 1 to 4, occasioned by intermarriages which has been increasing in proportion to the march of civilization.”
“In this class the principal value of property is retained and their farms are conducted in the same style as the southern white farmers of equal ability in point of property. . . . They have their regular meals as the whites, Servants to attend them in their repasts, and the tables are usually covered with a clean cloth & furnished with the usual plates, knives & forks &c”
“In respect to marriage, we have no law regulating it & polygamy is still allowed to Native Cherokees. Increase of morality among the men, the same among the women & a respect for their characters & matrimonial happiness is fast consuming this last vestige of our ignorance.”
“I suppose that there are one third of our Citizens, that can read & write in the English Language. George Guess, a Cherokee who is unacquainted with the English has invented 86 characters, in which the cherokees read & write in their own Language and regularly correspond with their Arkansas friends. This mode of writing is most extensively adopted by our people particularly by those who are ignorant of the English Language.”
Emily V.: -“The hardest portion of manual labor is performed by the men, & the women occasionally lend a hand to the field, more by choice and necessity than any thing else…they very contentedly perform the duties of the kitchen and that they are the most valuable portion of our Citizens. They sew, they weave, they spin, they cook our meals and act well the duties assigned to them by Nature as mothers”
-“They have their regular meals as the whites, Servants to attend them in their repasts, and the tables are usually covered with a clean cloth & furnished with the usual plates, knives & forks”
-“Bravery was introduced to this happy & immortal region.”
-“After the people began to be a little more courageous, these witches had a bad time of it.”
-“even now, that the most respectable portion of our females prefer, tho' not required by law to be united in marriage attended by the solemnities of the Christian mode.”
-“Two cherokee females have recently completed their Education, at the expense of their father, at a celebrated female Academy in Salem, North Carolina.”
-“establish an English & Cherokee printing press & a paper edited in both languages at our seat of Government.”
Kayla: Ridge indicates in his letter that there were many things that led to the civilization of the Cherokee's. One that is mentioned right away is that they number of Cherokee's that are getting married to white women in increasing. He also talks about how more and more Cherokees are owning slaves. It says that the men do most of the work in the fields while the women are very helpfull in the house. he also points out that there were a respectable amount of Christians. This waas a sign on civilization. Another sign of civilization would be that there were 13 schools with about 250 students. Women were even becoming educated, which was huge because women were not respected at all back then. There is talk of the Cherokees making a newspaper which was what almost all white communities did.
Slavery was considerd a huge mark that showed civilization. I think that the other ways of showing that the Cherokees were civilized were not as barbaric as slavery. That should not be a way in which they show off.
Missionaries were the ones who started the schools in the Cherokee land. They were even allowing women to go to school. Ridge made it sound like they were proud that so many of them were now being educated. This education could be what leads to the newspaper that they want to put out because more and more of them are becoming educated.
Kevin: - Key Terms in Ridge’s letter include the areas of family, education, and religion. Ridge discusses how every head of a family has his house & a farm. He also mentions how they, the Cherokees, have their regular meals as the whites at tables, usually covered with a clean cloth & furnished with the usual plates, knives & forks. Ridge proclaims that many drunken, idle, and good for nothing Indians have been converted from error & have become useful Citizens.” He concludes his letter talking about how two Cherokee females recently completed their Education, at the expense of their father, at a celebrated female Academy in Salem, North Carolina. He said how highly accomplished they were, and in point of appearance and deportment, they would pass for well-bred ladies in any Country. One mark of civilization was slavery, which was as common a practice in the south around 1815 as anything. The role of whites in Ridge’s letter was extremely significant. Whites were to be the standard of civilized people. Christianity, monogamy, and speaking the English language, were all qualities to which the one uncivilized natives were to aspire to. Missionaries, according to Ridge, were essential in the process to civilize the Cherokees. “There [are] about 8 churches, where the gospel is preached on sabbath days within the Nation. They are missionary stations supported by Moravians, Presbyterians, Baptists and Methodists and each of these churches have a goodly number of pious & exemplary members and others, not professors, attend to preaching with respectable deportment. I am not able to say the precise number of actual Christians but they are respectable in point of number & character.” Missionaries were key to a Christian conversion and a transformation into civilization.
Lisa: “The African slaves are generally mostly held by Half breeds and full Indians of distinguished talents.” The fact that slaves were held by “Half breeds” (assuming those are the half Indian-half whites, and by those Indians who would be equivalent in status to upper class whites also provides the sense that without interaction with whites not only would Indians probably not even have slaves, but that they also have a similar style in how they manage them.
“They have their regular meals as the whites, Servants to attend them in their repasts, and the tables are usually covered with a clean cloth & furnished with the usual plates, knives & forks &c…” This quote portrays a dining etiquette that is similar to the whites, which probably transpired through relations with them such as intermarriage.
“There are about 13 Schools established by missionaries in the Nation and may contain 250 students.” The whites had developed school systems among themselves, not only does Ridge say that some Indians went to those schools but that the Cherokee were able to eventually develop their own, which I don’t think would have necessarily happened if the whites didn’t have their education system. Along with this, it became more popular for the Cherokee to read and write in English rather than their own language. Ridge even mentions the possibility of “establishing an English & Cherokee printing press & a paper edited in both languages at our seat of Government.” This is not to say that schools and news papers wouldn’t have eventually been a part of the Cherokee culture, but I feel as though the whites certainly sped up the process.
Ridge suggests the idea of a “Government” and “laws” that the Cherokee have begun to impose within their Nation. This is a clear indication of white influence.
The mention of “churches” and “Christianity” are another indication. This and the establishment of schools by missionaries suggest the role that missionaries played in Cherokee development. Schools and churches are possibly the two most influential institutions a Nation could have as faith and education are what seem to allow individuals to develop more fully. Therefore, the missionaries’ role was instrumental in this process of change.
There were several changes that John Ridge had described in his letter, which showed the Cherokee’s transformation. The first deals with the Cherokee home. Ridge depicts the Indian families as having “regular meals as the whites.” He says that they have servants, and tables that are covered with a cloth along with plates, knives, and forks. This shows how they have modeled themselves after the whites. He also says that the Cherokee all have farms and permanent homes. They are no longer living off the land and following herd animals.
The next major change that occurred deals with the superstitions the Cherokee believed in. Ridge explains how they “never worshipped the work of their own hands-neither fire or water nor any one or portion of splendid fires that adorn heaven’s Canopy above.” This just shows how the Cherokee believed everything came from God and that nothing that ever happened was the result of their own doing or natures. God was the source of all events in the world. He also says that they believed in witches or wizards. There was a sense of good and evil, with good being superior. The change comes when they build churches where they preach the gospel on Sabbath days. Ridge explains the impact the church has had on the Indian population and how many “good for nothing” Indians have been “converted from error & have become useful Citizens.”
The last major change seems to be with education. Ridge explains how there were two young women whom graduated from the female Academy in Salem, North Carolina. He professed them to be highly accomplished and that they would pass for “genteel & well-bred ladies in any Country.” The next major issue with education deals with how many Cherokee can speak English. He claims that many citizens are fluent in English and the ones whom had not, learned how to write in their own language. The changes that occur show what the whites believed to be valuable and what made a person civilized. The Cherokee changed their ways of living because of the treatment they received from the whites. They tried to model their lives after them and this resulted in their communities resembling their white neighbors.
1. The Type of Society. Ridge states that none of the
Cherokee are engage in the hunter gatherer lifestyle
anymore. Each now relies on a house and farm for
sustenance, as is the accepted and civilized way of
2. Male dominated Society. Ridge implies that only men
could be head of the house. Also, he pointed out that
the Cherokee women’s role was inside the home and that
the women would only help with manual labor by choice
or out of necessity. Perhaps a male dominated society
would be interpreted as more civilized during the
3. Class System Society. The Cherokee also had a class
system. The poorer class engaged in jobs like weaving,
spinning, cooking, and general servant work. Many of
the upper classes had servants and even slaves.
4. Slavery. The upper class Cherokee, namely “Half
breeds and Indians of distinguished talents,”
typically owned slaves. This did seem to fit in with
the others. The Cherokee seemed to be embracing the
same notion of “civilized” as the southern whites.
Therefore, the upper class owning slaves is just
another step in what the white plantation owners would
undoubtedly see as the right step towards
5. Equivalent Lifestyle. Ridge details a lot of the
upper white lifestyle and indicates how the Cherokee
mirror that way of living. (ex. Regular meals,
servants, covered tables, silverware, etc.)
6. Religion. Ridge first points out that not only did
the Cherokee not believe in superstition at this time,
they had not believed in it even “in their most savage
state.” They believed in the basic struggle between
good and evil, Heaven and Hell, God and the Devil, the
same idea embraced by the Christians. Also, in terms
of witchcraft, like the white people and civilized
societies before them, the Cherokee were against
witchcraft and sought to end its presence mostly by
7. Missionaries. Ridge states how there are about
eight churches within the Cherokee Nation. Some of
these churches include Moravians, Presbyterians,
Baptists, and Methodists. According to Ridge, the
missionaries played a large part in helping the bottom
rung of Cherokee society take the right steps towards
civilization. Christianity had taken lives wrought
with sin and put them back on the road to
righteousness. In Ridge’s opinion the missions
created to convert the Indians had a “powerful and
lasting” effect. Perhaps it did help to make the
Cherokee more “civilized” in the Western sense because
Christianity was the accepted religion at the time.
8. Marriage. Due primarily to the influence of
Christianity many of the younger Cherokee men and
women were opting to get married in the Church, but
the law to regulate polygamy in marriage was not
passed because the older generations felt that it
would dishonor their own marriages. Ridge remained
hopeful that the law would pass in the not so distant
9. Intemperance. This is not tolerated in the Cherokee
community even though it had long since been a
tradition after official labors. Now, if any engage
intemperate behavior they would be expelled from the
Council. This is the same fight that whites had been
struggling with for years. Perhaps appearing to have
the same issues as the whites would make the Cherokee
appear more civilized.
10. Education. There were13 schools with 250 students.
The missionaries help set up these schools to aid in
the civilization process. Since these schools are not
supported by the United States, however, some Cherokee
students opt to attend school in adjoining states. For
example, the two girls who attended the female Academy
in Salem, North Carolina are now well educated and
would “pass for genteel and well bred ladies in any
Country.” This also indicates the increasing literacy
rate of the Cherokee at this time.