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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 Origins of the Cherokee Diaspora

The Origins of the Cherokee Diaspora

(p.27) One The Origins of the Cherokee Diaspora
The Cherokee Diaspora

Gregory D. Smithers

Yale University Press

This chapter explores the origins of the Cherokee diaspora, with particular emphasis on the Cherokee oral traditions that seek to make sense of their historical origins and of travel and migration. It begins with an overview of Cherokee Country prior to the Cherokee people’s dispersal before turning to a discussion of the challenges faced by the Cherokee people during the latter half of the eighteenth century with respect to their established modes of life, including the matrilineal and matrilocal social structures that gave Cherokee life its meaning and purpose, due to an overlapping series of imperial political, commercial, military, and cultural pressures. It then considers the major social and political changes that reshaped Cherokee life during this period, and how the Cherokee became Indigenous agents of settlement and resettlement. It also examines the diasporic Cherokees’ self-conscious struggle to maintain a sense of Cherokee identity rooted in traditional town and matrilineal kinshipties.

Keywords:   migration, Cherokee diaspora, oral traditions, travel, Cherokee Country, Cherokee, social structures, settlement, resettlement, Cherokee identity

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