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Traditionally, no tribal government or chief held authority over all the Cherokees.But in 1721, South Carolina colonists succeeded in persuading the Cherokees to choose a principal chief for the entire tribe to negotiate selling some of its hunting grounds.During the American Revolution, the Cherokees sided with the British.
Many Americans believed that the Cherokees as allies of the British had forfeited all rights to their land.
Henry Knox, President George Washington’s secretary of war, disagreed.
The mission schools soon adopted Sequoyah’s writing system and taught it along with English.
Within a decade, probably a greater percentage of Cherokees could read and write in their native language than Southern whites could in English.
After the French and Indian War, the British tried to ban any further white settlement on Native American lands west of the Appalachian Mountains.
But colonists kept moving into Cherokee and other Indian lands.
By the 1820s, most Cherokees were living in family log cabins, cultivating fields on tribal land. A few borrowed from Southern whites the idea of establishing large cotton plantations complete with a mansion and black slaves.
The Cherokees also welcomed white Christian missionaries to set up schools to teach English and agricultural skills.
Instead, he concluded that they and all the Indian tribes were sovereign nations.
He believed they eventually would have to give up their lands to the inevitable tide of white settlement, but only voluntarily through negotiated treaties.