Inskeep discusses his book ‘Jacksonland’ at NSU
National Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep gives a lecture at Northeastern State University about his book “Jacksonland” on Feb. 18 in Tahlequah. MALLORY SEMROW/NORTHEASTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
Steve Inskeep, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition host, signs his book “Jacksonland” after he lectured on Feb. 18 at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. MALLORY SEMROW/NORTHEASTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
TAHLEQUAH – National Public Radio’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep on Feb. 18 visited Northeastern State University to discuss his research novel “Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab.”
The NSU Foundation selected Inskeep to be the speaker for the 2019 Larry Adair Lectureship. He was nominated because of the popularity of “Jacksonland,” which was published in 2015. The book examines the interactions between President Andrew Jackson and Cherokee Chief John Ross that led to the Trail of Tears and forced the Cherokee Nation to establish a government in Tahlequah.
“The Larry Adair Lecture was established to highlight issues in politics, government and public policy,” NSU Development Director Peggy Glenn said. “By exploring the Cherokee Nation’s past history and experiences with the United States government, we can better understand the issues of trust and tribal sovereignty that still impact public policy today.”
Principal Chief Bill John Baker introduced Inskeep to the audience, and Inskeep opened his presentation by saying his story would be about two men, Jackson and Ross, and American democracy.
“A character in the story that I would like to talk about is John Ross, and it’s my respectful suggestion that Ross and the Cherokee Nation he represented also added significantly to the American democracy and democratic tradition in their battle against Andrew Jackson,” he said.
As Inkseep’s book explains, before Ross was chief of the CN and before he met Jackson, he was a young man navigating his complex and perilous world on a wooden raft he would buy at age 22.
At the end of 1812, Ross sailed down the Tennessee River. His starting point being present day Chattanooga, Tennessee. There he would try to help stranded Cherokees on the river who had decided to move west before being forced to move.
Inskeep gave examples of how Ross and the CN influenced a self-governing nation and how for 27 years they fought America’s young political system to stay in what remained of their homelands in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and North Carolina.
“The Cherokees have become more prosperous and have adopted the ways of their white neighbors. Good and bad, Cherokees adopted European-style agriculture and adopted the ways of slavery to help with the fields,” said Inskeep. “The government still demanded that the Cherokees make room for new settlers coming in. Chief Ross gave (the U.S. government) other options such as going to Florida instead of Georgia, or even living amongst the Cherokees.”
Inskeep researched his book by going to Cherokee, North Carolina, and finding real estate receipts from Jackson in Georgia. He also visited the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to search for all the Cherokee-related documents he could find, even a copy of the original Cherokee Phoenix.
NPR hired Inskeep in 1996 to cover that year’s presidential primary in New Hampshire. He has gone on to cover the Pentagon, the Senate and the 2000 presidential campaign of George W. Bush. After the September 11, 2001, attacks, he covered the war in Afghanistan, turmoil in Pakistan and the war in Iraq. In 2003, he received a National Headliner Award for investigating a military raid gone wrong in Afghanistan. He has twice been part of NPR News teams awarded the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Silver Baton for coverage of Iraq.