This chapter focuses on the Cherokee people’s uncertain future in the wake of their forced removal and resettlement in the trans-Mississippi West during the late 1830s. It examines how the Cherokees worked hard to overcome the trauma of being separated from what they believed to be their ancient homeland in the Southeast of the American republic by forging a political homeland in Indian Territory. It considers how this new political homeland became an important symbol that reminded Cherokees living throughout North America and the Pacific that there was a geographical refuge from the settler colonial world, occupied and governed by fellow Cherokees. It also explores how feelings of distrust, suspicion, and a desire for vengeance pervaded Cherokee public life in Indian Territory; the reformation of Cherokee nationalism in relation to Cherokee diaspora; the effects of racial slavery on Cherokees living in diaspora; and the connection between what it meant to be Cherokee and the memory of forced removal.
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