Here are a few quotes from people of Cherokee ancestry.
“Cherokee blood, if not destroyed, will win it’s course in beings of fair complexions, who will read that their ancestors became civilized under the frowns of misfortune, and the causes of their enemies.”
— John Ridge
creator of The Cherokee Phoenix and
son of The Ridge, Cherokee Warrior
“…I will eat and drink with my white brothers, and will expect friendship and good usage from them. It is but a little spot of ground that you ask, and I am willing that your people should live upon it. I pity the white people, but they do not pity me…. The Great Being above is very good, and provides for everybody…he gave us this land, but the white people seem to want to drive us from it.”
— Cherokee Chief Attakullakulla,
writing to John Stuart, British agent
“The white man…is not satisfied with the land beyond the mountains, or the land beside the Watauga, or the land along the Nolichucky. Now he wants still more. And what we do not give him, he will take away until our whole Nation is gone from this earth….”
— Dragging Canoe, Chickamauga Chief
son of Cherokee Chief Attakullakulla
“Many proposals have been made to us to adopt your laws, your religion, your manners and your customs. We would be better pleased with beholding the good effects of these doctrines in your own practices, than with hearing you talk about them”.
“You say, for example, “Why do not the Indians till the ground and live as we do?” May we not ask with equal propriety, “Why do not the white people hunt and live as we do?”
— Principal Cherokee Chief Old Tassel, November 18, 1785
Hopewell treaty discussion with the United States.
“. . . If I can once see the Cherokees admitted into the Union as a State, then I am satisfied. Until then, whether I win laurels as a writer in a distant land, or whether I toil in the obscurity of some mountain village over the dull routine of a small legal practice, winning my way by slow and painful steps to wealth and influence in this far-off state (California), I will bear that holy purpose in my heart of hearts. . . And if I fail in all that I undertake, and lie down to die, with this great purpose unfulfilled, my last prayer shall be for its consummation, and the consequent happiness of the Cherokee People!!!. . . . . “
— John Rollin Ridge, October 5, 1855
“I have always believed that the Great Creator had a great design for my people, the Cherokees. I have been taught that from my childhood up and now in my mature manhood I recognize it as a great truth. Our forces have been dissipated by the external forces, perhaps it has been just a training, but we must now get together as a race and render our contribution to mankind. We are endowed with intelligence, we are industrious, we are loyal and we are spiritual but we are overlooking the Cherokee mission on earth, for no man nor race is endowed with these qualifications without a designed purpose… Our Mixed-bloods should not be overlooked in this program of a racial awakening. Our pride in our ancestral heritage is our great incentive for handing something worth while to our posterity. It is this pride in ancestry that makes men strong and loyal for their principal in life. It is this same pride that makes men give up their all for their Government.”
— Redbird Smith, stated in early 1900.
(Grandfather of Principal Chief Cherokee
Nation, OK, Chadwick ”Corntassel” Smith)
“The Cherokee legacy is that we are a people who face adversity, survive, adapt, prosper and excel.”
“And to fulfill this legacy, we must ask the questions…
“Where will we be as people five, ten, fifty or one hundred years from now?
“Do we brag about our full blood ancestor or do we brag about our Indian grandchildren?
“Do we live in the past or do we focus on the future?
“Is being Cherokee a novelty or a way of life?
“Is being Cherokee a heritage or a future?”
“Our ancestors who walked the grounds of this capitol building resoundingly cry,
“‘Don’t forget the legacy we passed on. Don’t let it lapse. Pass it on, stronger and stronger to your children. Let the “Cherokee language laugh, speak and sing again. Let our history be known and discussed. Live by our wisdom. Don’t let us “die as a people. If you do then all our sacrifice will be for nothing and you will lose those things that fulfill your life.'”
— Chadwick ”Corntassel” Smith
Principal of the Cherokee Nation,
State of the Nation Address
September 1, 2001
“It should be remembered that hundreds of people of African ancestry also walked the Trail of Tears with the Cherokee during the forced removal of 1838-1839. Although we know about the terrible human suffering of our native people and the members of other tribes during the removal, we rarely hear of those black people who also suffered.”
— Wilma Mankiller ~ Autobiography Mankiller: A Chief and Her People