Slavery in the Cherokee Nation

Slavery was an institution that existed on the Cherokee Nation both before and after Removal. Both John Ross (1790-1866) and Major Ridge (1771-1839) were wealthy plantation owners.

References to slavery can be found in the Cherokee Phoenix:

  • A notice was placed in the February, 1829 edition of the Cherokee Phoenix by one Joseph Wafford: “Is hereby given that some time in the last part of October last a black man came to my house, who says his name is MANUEL, and that he belongs to a man on Duck River in Tennessee, by the name of JOSEPH M’CONNELL…The owner is desired to prove his property, pay charges and take him away” (Vol. 1, No. 46).
  • An ad was placed in the June, 1829 issue of the Cherokee Phoenix for the sale of a slave: “Will be sold to the highest bidder, on the 17th July next, at New Echota, one negro man, named PETER, Invied on as the property of Edward Hicks, to satisfy a bond given by said E. Hicks to the National Treasurer” (Vol. 2, No. 12).

The Cherokee Nation abolished slavery in 1863. At this time, about 2% of Cherokee owned slaves.


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