Act of Union celebrated at Capitol Square

BY JAMI MURPHY
Former Reporter
07/16/2014 08:30 AM
Video with default Cherokee Phoenix Frame
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Deputy Chief S. Joe Crittenden, left, and Principal Chief Bill John Baker recognize the signing of the Act of Union of 1839 by planting a dogwood tree on July 8 at the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square in Tahlequah, Okla. The 1839 act unified all Cherokees living in Indian Territory as on political body. JAMI MURPHY/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
BY JAMI MURPHY
Reporter

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – On July 12, 1839, Cherokee people known as the “Old Settlers,” who relocated west prior to the Trail of Tears, and the “Eastern Cherokees,” who were forced into Indian Territory on the Trail, signed the Act of Union unifying all Cherokee as one political body.

To celebrate the act’s 175th anniversary, Cherokee Nation officials and others gathered July 8 at the Capitol Square to discuss the history behind the signing and plant a dogwood tree to commemorate it.

According to CN Communications, the dogwood holds cultural significance to Cherokees as it can be found as far east as Tennessee and Georgia, across the Trail of Tears, as well as in northeast Oklahoma.

During the event, CN Attorney General Todd Hembree asked how was it possible to discuss a peaceful union during a “state of upheaval that the Cherokee people found themselves 175 years ago.”

“History tells us what our ancestors did. They forged ahead. They found a way. This Act of Union was not born out of a desire for good government. It was born out of necessity,” Hembree said. “Because if we didn’t come together at that point in time, under those circumstances, all that we fought to preserve could have been lost. It was not just advantageous to unite, it was essential. And that is what happened here, 175 years ago.”

He said two branches of Cherokee family became one again.

“One government, one people. As the act states, ‘we agreed to form ourselves into one body politics, under the style and title of the Cherokee Nation.’ Just as it was forged 175 years ago, it remains true today. The Cherokee Nation is here, we are strong and we are one,” Hembree said. “One hundred seventy-five years later in some ways we are still not united. This should change. We should learn from our ancestors and embrace the sense of community and respect that was so eloquently put forth in document we celebrate today. We should think like Cherokees, but more importantly, we should act like Cherokees.”
Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the day the Cherokee people came together to sign the Act of Union is an important day we celebrate because we remember our ancestors.

“As a people and as a government, the Cherokee Nation rebuilt itself in Indian Territory after our forced removal. Our ancestors suffered abuse and loss 175 years ago, yet they never lost the will to endure,” he said. “In our new home – present-day Oklahoma – the Cherokee people rebuilt a sophisticated society with a court system, a government administration, educational institutions and successful commerce. Today, we are a thriving sovereign government with a living culture because our ancestors were strong enough and visionary enough to ensure the Cherokee Nation would survive.”

He added that the Cherokee people are stronger together than they are separated, and the Act of Union helped to put aside the differences of the Eastern and Western Cherokees.

“It was when they came together and said ‘we are one. We’re going to create a government for all Cherokee.’ And it was with that union that came the greatness of the Cherokee people,” Baker said.





Act of Union of 1839

WHEREAS, our fathers have existed as a separate and distinct Nation, in the possession and exercise of the essential and appropriate attributes of sovereignty, from a period extending into antiquity, beyond the records and memory of man; and whereas, these attributes, with the rights and franchises which they involve, remain still in full force and virtue; as do also the national and social relations of the Cherokee people to each other, and to the body politic, excepting in those particulars which have grown out of the provisions of the treaties of 1817 and 1819, between the United States and the Cherokee Nation, under which a portion of our people removed to this country, and became a separate community, (but the force of circumstances have recently compelled the body of the Eastern Cherokees to remove to this country, thus bringing together again the two branches of the ancient Cherokee family) it has become essential to the general welfare that a Union should be formed and a system of government matured, adapted to their present condition, and providing equally for the protection of each individual in the enjoyment of all his rights.

Therefore, we, the people composing the Eastern and Western Cherokee Nation, in national convention assembled, by virtue of our original unalienable rights, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree to form ourselves into one body politic, under the style and title of the CHEROKEE NATION.
In view of the Union now formed, and for the purpose of making satisfactory adjustments of all unsettled business which may have arisen before the consummation of this Union, we agree that such business shall be settled according to the provisions of the respective laws under which it originated, and the courts of the Cherokee Nation shall be governed in their decisions accordingly. Also, that the delegation authorized by the Eastern Cherokees to make arrangements with Major General Scott, for their removal to this country, shall continue in charge of that business, with their present powers, until it shall be finally closed. And, also, that all rights and titles to public Cherokee lands on the east or west of the river Mississippi, with all other public interests which may have vested in either branch of the Cherokee family, whether inherited from our fathers or derived from any other source, shall henceforth vest entire and unimpaired in the Cherokee Nation, as constituted by this Union.

Given under our hands, at Illinois Camp-ground, this 12th day of July, 1839.

By order of the National Convention. GEORGE LOWREY, President of the Eastern Cherokees.
GEORGE GUESS, his {X} mark, President of the Western Cherokees.

EASTERN CHEROKEES
R. TAYLOR, V.P. JAMES BROWN, V.P. TE-KE-CHU-LAS-KEE, V.P. GEORGE HICKS, JOHN BENGE, THOMAS FOREMAN, ARCHIBALD CAMPBELL, JESSE BUSHYHEAD LEWIS ROSS, EDWARD GUNTER TE-NAH-LA-WE-STAH, STEPHEN FOREMAN, DANIEL McCOY, By order of the National Convention,
JOHN ROSS Principal Chief, Eastern Cherokees.
GOING SNAKE Speaker of the Council.

WESTERN CHEROKEES
TOBACCO WILL, V.P. DAVID MELTON, V.P. JOHN DREW, V.P. GEORGE BREWER, THOMAS CANDY, MOSES PARRIS, JAMES CAMPBELL, LOONEY RILEY, CHARLES GOURD, LEWIS MELTON, YOUNG WOLFE, CHARLES COODY, AH-STO-LA-TA, JACK SPEARS, LOONEY PRICE,By order of the National Convention, August 23d, 1839.

JOHN LOONEY, his [X] mark. Acting Principal Chief, Western Cherokees. The foregoing instrument was read, considered, and approved by us, this 23d day of August, 1839.

AARON PRICE, MAJOR PULLUM, YOUNG ELDERS, DEER TRACK, YOUNG PUPPY, TURTLE FIELDS, JULY, THE EAGLE, THE CRYING BUFFALO,

And a great number of respectable old settlers and late emigrants too numerous to be copied.
ᏣᎳᎩ

ᏓᎵᏆ, ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ. – ᎦᏰᏉᏂ ᏔᎳᏚᏏᏁ, ᏁᎳᏚ ᎢᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᏦᏍᎪ ᏐᏁᎳ ᎤᏕᏘᏴᏌᏗᏒᎢ, ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎨᎪᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏎ “ᎠᏁᎯᏯ,” ᎾᎿ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏎ Ꮟ ᏂᏗᎨᏥᏰᎳᏫᏗᏍᎬᎾ ᏥᎨᏎ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏚᎾᏠᏱᎸ ᏣᏃᏎᎰᎢ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᎿ “ᎧᎸᎬ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ,” ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎬᏥᏱᎳᏫᏛᎮ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎤᎾᏕᏗ ᎨᎦᏑᏯᎡᎸ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎦᏅᏅ ᏧᏂᏂᎶᏎᎢ, ᎤᏃᏪᎳᏅ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏳᎾᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎠᏂᏱᎵᏙᎲ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏌᏊ ᏫᏄᎾᎵᏍᏔᏂᎯᏍᏗᎢ.

ᎠᎵᎮᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᏧᏕᏘᏴᏓ ᎠᎾᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬᎢ, ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏂᏐᎢ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏌᏅ ᎫᏰᏉᏂ ᏧᏁᎵᏁ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎤᏪᏘ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏧᏂᎳᏫᏍᏗ ᎠᏓᏁᎸᎢ ᎾᎿ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏃᏪᎳᏅ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎪᏗ ᎧᏅᏏᏔ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏅᏓᏗᏍᏙᏗ.

ᏚᎾᏙᎵᏤᎸ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏗᎾᏓᏛᎪᏗᏍᎩ ᎤᎾᏙᏢᎯ, ᎾᎿ ᎧᏄᏏᏔ ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎪ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏒ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᏂᎶᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏩᏛᏗ ᎾᎿ ᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᏔᎾᏏ ᎠᎴ ᏣᏥᏱ, ᏚᏂᎾᏗᏫᏒ, ᎤᏠᏯ ᎾᎿ ᎤᏴᏢᎧᎸᎬ ᎢᏗᏢ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ.

ᎾᏍᏳᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ, ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏔᎾ ᏗᏘᏲᎯᎯ Todd Hembree ᎤᏛᏛᏅ ᎦᏙᎲ ᎡᎵᏊ ᎢᎦ ᎧᏃᎮᏗ ᎤᏓᏅᏓ ᎾᎿ ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅᏅ “ᏂᎦᎵᏍᏗᏍᎬ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏓᏁᎸ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ.”

“ᎧᏃᎮᏍᎩ ᎪᏪᎵ ᎧᏃᎮᎯ ᏄᎾᏛᏁᎸ ᏗᎦᏤᎵ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ. ᎤᎾᏂᎩᏎ ᎢᎬᏱ ᎠᎦᏘ. ᎤᏂᏩᏛᎮ ᏫᎦᎶᎯᏍᏗᎢ. ᎯᎠ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏅ Ꮭ ᎤᎾᏚᎵᏍᎬ ᏱᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗᏍᎨᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Hembree. “ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏂᎦᏛᏁᎸᎳ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏟᎢᎵᏒ ᎨᏒ, ᎾᎿ ᏄᏍᏗᏓᏅ, ᏂᎦᎥ ᎤᎦᏟᎸ ᎢᎦᎵᏏᏅᏙᏗ ᎢᎩᏲᏎᎲᎢ. ᏝᏃ ᎠᏜᏅᏓᏗᏍᎬ ᏱᎨᏎ ᏌᏊ ᎢᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ, ᎠᏎᏍᎩᏂ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦᏛᏗ ᎨᏒᎢ. ᎾᏍᎩᏃ ᏄᎵᏍᏔᏁᎢ ᎠᎭᏂ, ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ.”

ᎤᏛᏅᏃ ᏔᎵ ᎾᏂᎾᏍᏓᏢ ᎾᎿ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᏏᏓᏁᎸ ᏌᏊ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏔᏅᎢ.

“ᏌᏊ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ, ᏌᏊ ᏴᏫ. ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᏯᏛᏗ ᎪᏪᎸ, ‘ᏙᎦᏓᏁᏤᎵ ᎣᎦᏓᏟᏐᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏌᏊ ᎢᏲᎦᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏗᎧᎾᏩᏛᏍᏗ ᎧᏁᏥᏓᏍᏗ ᎣᎩᎲᎢ, ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᏄᏍᏛ ᎠᎴ ᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ .’ ᎾᏍᎩᏯ ᎦᎶᏄᎮᏓ ᏧᏃᏪᎳᏁ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, Ꮟ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏄᏍᏗ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ. ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎾᏍᎯ ᎤᏙᏢᎭ, ᎢᎦᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎠᎴ ᎢᏗᏌᏊᎢ,” ᎤᏛᏅ Hembree. “ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏊᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᎣᏂ ᎢᎦᏓ ᎾᏍᎩ Ꮟ ᎤᏠᏯ Ꮟ ᏕᎦᏓᏂᏴᏗ. ᎯᎠ ᎠᏎ ᎤᏓᏁᏟᏴᏍᏓ. ᎢᎦᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏗᎩᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᎠᎴ ᏗᎦᏓᏂᏴᏗ ᎾᎿ ᏄᏍᏛ ᏍᎦᏚᎩ ᎠᎴ ᎦᎸᏉᏙᏗ ᏙᎯᏳ ᎨᏒ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎪᏪᎳᏅ ᏥᏓᎵᎮᎵᏍᏗ ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ. ᏙᎯᏳ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᎾᏓᏅᏖᏗ ᎢᎦᏓᏅᏖᏗ, ᎤᎪᏛᏃ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏗᏴ, ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎢᎦᏛᏗ.”

ᎤᎬᏫᏳᎯ Bill John Baker ᎤᏛᏅ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎢᎦ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᎾᏓᏟᏌᏅ ᎤᏃᏪᎳᏗ ᏌᏊ ᎢᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᎨᏒ ᎤᎵᏍᎨᏓ ᎢᎦ ᎢᏓᎵᎮᎵᎪ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏕᏓᏅᏓᏗᏍᎬ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏗᎬᎾ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎢᏗᏴᏫ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏰᏟ ᎤᏙᏢᏒᎢ, ᎾᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᎯᏌᏅ ᎤᏩᏌ ᎠᏂᏴᏫᏯ ᎤᏂᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎾᎿ ᏤᎩᏱᎶᏢᎢ. ᏗᎦᏤᎵ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᏗᎬᏂ ᎤᏂᎩᏟᏲᏨ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᏲᎱᏎᎸᏁᎸ ᏍᎪᎯᏧᏈ ᎦᎵᏆᏍᎪ ᎯᏍᎩ ᎾᏕᏘᏯ ᏥᎨᏒᎢ, ᎠᏎᏅ Ꮭ ᎢᎴᎯᏳ ᏳᏂᏲᎱᏎᎴ ᎠᏢᏲᎵᏍᏗ ᏗᏓᏲᎯᏍᏗ,” ᎤᏛᏅ. “ᎾᏅ ᎢᏤ ᎢᏗᏁᎸ-- ᏃᏆ ᏥᎩ ᎣᎦᎵᎰᎹ--- ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᎤᏃᏢᎯᏌᏅ ᎤᏂᏲᎱᏎᎸ ᏂᎨᏒᎾ ᎠᏂᏏᎾᏌᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏧᎾᏓᏱᎵᏓᏍᏗ ᏚᏃᎷᏁ, ᎠᏰᏟ ᏚᏃᏢᏁ ᏧᏂᎸᏫᏍᏓᏁᎯ ᎾᎿᎢ, ᏧᎾᏕᎶᏆᏍᏗ ᏧᎾᏕᏲᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏂᎦᎷᎶᎬᎾ ᏚᎾᏓᎾᏁᎢ. ᎪᎯ ᎢᎦ, ᎤᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎢᏓᎢ ᏧᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎠᎨᎵ ᎤᏙᏢ ᎾᏍᎩ ᎬᏃᏓ ᏂᏧᎵᏍᏔᏅᏍᏔᏅ ᏅᏗᎦᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏗᎩᎦᏴᎵᎨ ᏧᎾᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᎴ ᏩᏂᎦᏛ ᎠᏂᎪᏩᏘᏍᎨ ᎡᎵ ᎢᏳᎵᏍᏙᏗ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᏗᎦᎵᏍᏔᏂᏒᎢ.”

ᎤᏁᏉᎥ ᎾᏍᎩᎾ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ ᏧᎾᏟᏂᎩᏓ ᏳᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᎾᏃ ᏧᎾᎦᎴᏅᏓ ᏱᎩ, ᎠᎴ ᎢᏳᎾᏛᏗ ᎤᎾᎵᎪᎯ ᎤᎾᎵᏍᏕᎸᏗ ᎢᏴ ᎢᏳᏅᏗ ᎪᎱᏍᏗ ᎡᏍᎦ ᏱᎩ ᎾᎿ ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏢ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏕᎵᎬᎢᏗᏢ ᎠᏁᎯ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ.

“ᎾᏍᎩᎮᏅ ᏂᎦᏓ ᏌᏊ ᏓᏂᎷᎬ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏂᏫ ‘ᎢᏗᏌᏊᎢ. ᏓᏙᏢᎾ ᎠᏰᎵ ᏂᎦᏓ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎤᏅᏙᏗ.’ ᎠᎴ ᎾᏍᎩ ᏌᏊ ᏄᎾᎵᏍᏔᏅ ᎾᎿ ᏓᏳᏓᎴᏅ ᎣᏍᏓ ᎨᏒ ᎠᏂᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ,” ᎤᏛᏅᎢ Baker.

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