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Indians/Native Americans on the Cenus Other Records and Intermarriage with the Cherokee

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  • Clay Gullatt
    A little more history of the Cherokee and their relations with whites.   It is difficult to trace Indians/Native Americans on the census East of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 25, 2009
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      A little more history of the Cherokee and their relations with whites.
      It is difficult to trace Indians/Native Americans on the census East of the Mississippi due to the fact that in most states especcially the South it was illegal to be an Indian and was illegal for whites to marry one unitl the civil rights laws of the 1960s. So they most often where listed as White on the census. Some were listed as Mulatto which only means mixed race. Some were listed as Black especially if the census was taken in the summer where people had been working out in the fields and had a dark tan. I have found that true in just about every state that I have researched in and that is especially true of every southern state with the worst state being VA. The state of VA under its health director Pleckler from the 1920s through the mid 1940s actively tried to prove there were no Indians in their state, he went back and changed birth, marriage and other records of Indians/Native Americans to Mulatto or Black. This was part and parcel of their
      eugenics program. It was not until the 1960s that VA stopped this policy and in the 1990s the Governor applogized and the state enacted a law allowing Indians to change their birth, marriage and other records back to Indian or Native American at the state's expense but the federal census remains as it was.
      The only persons listed as Indian on the 1880 census in Jackson County that I have found are Martha Daniel and her children who are listed as "I" for Indian and John Smith is listed as "I" and his wife and 17 year old sister in law are listed as "M" for Mulatto (mixed race).
       The Dawes and Guion-MillerRolls are to be taken with a grain of salt, in some case they are a joke. There is a case in GA where a White man named Wiggs married a full blood Cherokee woman who died without issue, he then married a white woman and had a daughter by her. He applied to be placed on the Dawes Roll and was disallowed, he appealed in the white courts which ordered not on him to placed on the roll but also his white wife and daugher. None of the three had one drop of Cherokee blood. Many who were of Indian descent and clearly showed it by their facial features and skin tone were denied evern though they clearly were Indian or of Indian descent.
      The marriage laws enacted by the Cheroke were not out of hated for the whites who had abused them but to protect their Indianness, sovereignty of their nation and preserve their lands. The war with the Cherokee Nation ended in the 1790s and the Cherokee maraiage laws were not eacted until 1818 and later. These laws not only regulated Cherokee/white marriage but banned Cherokee/black slaves marriage(1819). Some white men married Indian women got their hands on their land then aboundened them. White courts in GA, AL and TN upheld divorce by aboundenment of Indian women by white men. I would assume this is the reason that the Cherokee Nation enacted the law that to marry a Cherokee you had to have the permission of the Tribal Council not just a just  license or a white civil/religious ceremony. Most of this was in vain as the whites were able to steal a great deal of their land in TX, AR and OK anyway.
      For those who would like to read more about this I would recommend "Mixed Race and the Law: A Reader" by Kevin Johnson parts of it is available on line at Google Books, google for Cherokee indian and white marriages, there you will see many more laws governing Cherokee/white marriages.

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