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John Enle, who was a sixth generation North Carolinian, grew up in Penland, North Carolina on a land once used as hunting grounds by the Cherokee. He is the author of 14 highly acclaimed works such as The Winter People. The Winter People is being made into a major motion picture.
This book takes place over the periods of 1771 through about 1841. It takes place during the time when white settlers were trying to take over the Cherokee lands.
This whole book follows the life of Ridge, who was a Cherokee tat played a major role in this whole period of the white man and the Cherokees trying to come together on laws, culture and land. It tells how Ridge went from a hunter, to a warrior, to an Indian Chief and finally to a Major in the white mans government
It also covers Major Ridges families achievements including his son, John Ridge s, life and contributions in the Cherokee and U.S. nations. His brother Watie, and is brother s son, Buck, both who were important in the Cherokee councils and the U.S. negotiations.
John Russ was also a Cherokee leader who was important especially at the time just before the Trail of Tears in the year 1835. He was the Cherokee Leader who fought our government to leave the Cherokees in Georgia and to eventually take part in the removing of Major Ridge from the Cherokee council and have Major Ridge, John Ridge and Buck assassinated. He was the person who in the end dealt with the government on the removal of Cherokees from Georgia to Oklahoma, and who dealt with the price the government had to pay the Cherokees to buy their lands in Georgia. He was a greedy man who fought against Major Ridge to achieve power and wealth.
A major event in this book I felt was the federal government wanting to educate the Indians and Prepare them for full citizenship. President George Washington was the one who thought this idea was possible and in 1792 he got congress to give funds to teach the Cherokees to learn about agriculture and domestic arts. This was to teach Cherokee men to take up farming instead of hunting and war, and teach the women to plant cotton and learn to use spinning wheels to make clothing. In 1798 the federal government gave the Cherokees hundreds of plows, cotton cars and spinning wheels. The Cherokees seemed to enjoy these new ideas and were eager to learn. Also about that time the Moravians (a religious group) came to the Cherokee lands to teach about God and to also teach English, educate and instruct many young Cherokees such as John Ridge and Buck.
All of these things enabled the Cherokees to work with the government and help their won nation to move forward and to grow. One result of all this was John Ridge becoming a lawyer and Buck a newspaper editor.
Another important event was when General Jackson and Ridge went into battle together against the Red Sticks (another Indian tribe). This was to bring the U.S. and the Cherokee s together fighting against a common enemy instead of fighting against one another. This was also to bring General Andrew Jackson fame he didn t really deserve and make Ridge a Major in the U.S. forces.
The Trail of Tears of 1838 was the result of Ex-president Andrew Jackson wanting to purchase the Cherokees land in Georgia and moving them to Oklahoma giving them land there. Major Ridge was one of the Cherokee leaders to sign the treaty giving up their rights to the land in Georgia and excepting the offer of money and new land in Oklahoma. The move to Oklahoma was hard on the Cherokees and they lost 2000 of their people and slaves during the move. Many Cherokee s lost their families and their land and wept for them. The U.S. government was suppose to help with the move, but were very disorganized. All they wanted was to get the Cherokees off this land and they really did not care about the fair of the Indians.
Throughout the book it told how our government never tried to understand the Cherokees way and instead was more set on changing them. Even though they tried to change the Cherokee to make them U.S. citizens, it was almost like they ever intended to really except them, just use them. After reading this book you learn of how not only the white people brought the Cherokee to ruins, but also the Cherokee s own leaders.
My opinion on the whole book was it was all right. The author did a good job of trying to help you understand what was going on and it was clear that he did his research on learning about the ways of the Cherokees. If you get into this kind of stuff then I would say you might like this book. It may take an older reader to better understand it though.
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