"Tribes" and Nations

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Feb 25 09:58:42 MST 2002

>There is no Cherokee "Tribe", but there remains a Cherokee "nation" composed
>of several "Tribes" in North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma and elsewhere.
>Among Blackfoot we have a Blackfoot "Tribe" or Band (Siksika) of the
>Blackfoot or Piikani nation. In some cases whole "Tribes" were wiped out
>such that what remains of a former nation, and now functioning as a nation,
>are former Tribes of a broader nation.
>This is not merely a matter of semantics; there are broad and profound
>implications in international law; the last refuge--along with constant
>struggle--for nations and tribes suffering extermination daily through all
>sorts of forms of "infected blankets."
>Jim Craven

This is a crucial point.

Wallace argues that the state of Georgia decided to move ahead with Indian
removal--with Jackson's blessing--shortly after the Cherokee began to
assert its nationhood:

>>The economic progress and increasing literacy of the so-called Civilized
Tribes was bad enough in the eyes of Southern whites. But worse than all
this, in Georgia's eyes, was a change in the form of government adopted by
the Cherokees in emulation of federal political institutitions [which I
might add where influenced strongly by the Iroquois constitution]. In 1817,
the Cherokees had established a bicameral legislature, a chief executive, a
judiciary, and a small army [and without having read Lenin!]. The
legislature passed dozens of laws regulating marriage, the tribal treasury,
the whiskey trade, legal contracts, and so forth. And in 1827, that
legislature adopted a new, written constitution adopted a new, written
constitution (including a bill of rights), modeled after the Constitution
of the United States. This constitution asserted that the Cherokee nation
was "sovereign and independent."<<

Louis Proyect
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