The first issue of the newspaper was printed on February 21, 1828 in New Echota, Cherokee Nation. It published all articles in both English and Cherokee (using the 86 character Cherokee syllabary developed by Sequoyah). This made it both the 1st newspaper published by a Native American tribe and the 1st newspaper to print articles in a Native American language. A much more complete history of the paper can be found here.
Chief John Ross, 1858
source: Cherokee Museum Archives
The following is a letter from interim Secretary of War George Graham (1816-1817) to General Andrew Jackson. He signed each of the three Treaties made with the Cherokee in 1816. The letter discusses the terms of the Treaty with the Cherokee, 1806 and the Treaty with the Chickasaw, 1816 (“late cession made by the Chickasaws”). The former outlines new boundaries to be drawn between the territory of the Cherokee and Chickasaw nations as “southward of the Tennessee river, viz. beginning at the mouth of Caney Creek…and to run up said creek to its head, and in a direct line from thence to the Flat Stone or Rock” (Article 3 of the 1806 treaty). However, the treaty promises only a negotiation of these boundaries between the United States and Chickasaw Nation. The actual cession of this land is negotiated under the 1816 treaty with the Chickasaw.
Sovereignty is a nation’s right to self governance. In the Supreme Court’s opinion on Worcester vs. Georgia (written by Justice Marshall), the Cherokee were recognized as a sovereign entity. The ruling cited previous treaties that were entered into, saying “[the] treaties the United States of America acknowledge…[the] Cherokee Nation by which that Nation was acknowledged to be a sovereign nation, authorized to govern themselves.” It specifically references the “the treaties of Hopewell and Holston” as being of particular force. President Jackson, however, refused to enforce this decision and he went ahead with Indian Removal.
The Treaty with the Delawares (also called the Treaty of Fort Pitt) was signed on September 17th, 1778 between the Lenape—or Delaware Indians—and the newly formed United States of America. It was the first of 374 ratified treaties between Native Americans and the government of the United States.
The treaty itself consisted of six articles. The first article called for the mutual forgiveness of all past hostilities. The second and third articles established a “perpetual peace and friendship” with an obligation of each party to assist the other in any “just and necessary war.” Specifically, the third article makes mention of the current war between the United States and the King of England (the Revolutionary War), giving American troops free passage through Delaware territory. The fourth article pertains to preserving the “security of the peace and friendship” by forbidding either party to inflict punishment on the other without just trial nor protect any enemy of the other. The fifth article established trade between the United States and Delaware nation. Finally, the sixth article solidifies the treaty by guaranteeing the “nation of Delawares, and their heirs, all their territorial rights in the fullest and most ample manner” as well as allowing the Lenape to form a confederation of tribes of which they are the head and have representation in Congress.
There is no ambiguity in this treaty about the sovereignty of the Delaware. In fact, this treaty represents the recognition by the Lenape of the newly formed—and still quite weak—government of the United States.
The Treaty of Hopewell was signed on November 28th, 1785 the Cherokee Nation (“Head-Men and Warriors of all the Cherokees”). The Treaty uses the same peace and friendship rhetoric that was characteristic of Treaties made before 1800. The first use of the phrase “peace and friendship” was in the Treaty with the Delawares (1778).