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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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Colonialism, Christianity, and Cherokee Identity

Colonialism, Christianity, and Cherokee Identity

(p.58) Two Colonialism, Christianity, and Cherokee Identity
The Cherokee Diaspora

Gregory D. Smithers

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the impact of Christianity and colonialism on the Cherokees’ established modes of life. At the opening of the nineteenth century, the Cherokee struggled to rebuild their communities amid the devastation caused by the Revolutionary War. During this period, tribal nationalism was deeply influenced by the teachings of Christian missionaries. This chapter considers how the Cherokee people wrestled with the possible uses and limitations of both Christianity and nationalism in their quest to define Cherokee identity in terms recognizable not only to themselves but also to Euroamericans. It also explores how influential Cherokee leaders viewed education and literacy, as well as trade and economic prosperity, with respect to Cherokee identity and migration. Finally, it discusses the Cherokee syllabary as an example of cultural syncretism, along with issues of race and sex in relation to the Cherokee diaspora.

Keywords:   colonialism, Cherokee, Christianity, nationalism, Cherokee identity, education, literacy, migration, Cherokee syllabary, Cherokee diaspora

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