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The Cherokee DiasporaAn Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity$
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Gregory D Smithers

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300169607

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300169607.001.0001

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The “Refugee Business”

The “Refugee Business”

Chapter:
(p.173) Six The “Refugee Business”
Source:
The Cherokee Diaspora
Author(s):

Gregory D. Smithers

Publisher:
Yale University Press
DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300169607.003.0006

This chapter examines questions related to Cherokee identity, social status, “blood,” and migration—what the prominent Cherokee leader W. P. Adair called the refugee business—in the trans-Mississippi West in the immediate aftermath of the American Civil War. More specifically, it considers the social, political, and economic problems caused by refugees who settled in and around Indian Territory after the Civil War. It also discusses the impact of frontier violence on people of Cherokee descent after the Civil War; the migration of North Carolina Cherokees to Indian Territory; and how the loss of land undermined the political homeland of the Cherokee diaspora. It shows how the migration of people of every race, religion, and ethnic background to the West following President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Homestead Act in 1862 affected the Cherokee Nation in terms of land ownership.

Keywords:   migration, Cherokee identity, trans-Mississippi West, American Civil War, refugees, Indian Territory, land ownership, Cherokee, Cherokee diaspora, Homestead Act

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