Tsalagi Tsulehisanvhi: uncovering Cherokee language articles from the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, 1828 - 1834

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Constance Owl (Creator)
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://library.wcu.edu/
Andrew Denson

Abstract: The Cherokee Phoenix is arguably the most significant product of Native American journalism. Published between 1828 and 1834, the newspaper was formed in direct response to thedeveloping territorial disputes between the Cherokee Nation and the state of Georgia. Aninvaluable linguistic and historical resource, the Phoenix stands as one of the most historically significant linguistic documents created by the Cherokee people with approximately thirty percent of the source written in the Cherokee language. Cited in nearly every major work concerning the Cherokee during this period, scholars who have incorporated the Phoenix intotheir studies have most often utilized only the English portions of the newspaper due to the factthat the Cherokee language content within it remains inaccessible to many. Historians and other scholars familiar with the Phoenix have generally accepted the assumption that what was printed in Cherokee was merely a word-for-word representation of partnering articles published in English. Because of this approach, the English portions of the newspaper have over time come todefine the character of the Phoenix as well as the community in which it served thus allowingscholars to neglect important questions about the Cherokee Phoenix and the role it played fortraditional Cherokee people in the years preceding their forced removal. Through providing a basic introduction to the Phoenix’s Cherokee content, this work reveals novel insights about both the meaning and motivation behind the use of Cherokee language within the newspaper as wellas the document’s significance within the broader story of the Cherokee Removal. In recognizingthe role the newspaper played within the Cherokee Nation’s defense of their government andterritorial rights, this thesis interrogates closely how knowledge of the Phoenix’s Cherokeecontent challenges traditional assumptions about the newspaper, its relevance to all levels ofCherokee society, and its significance to the community during their removal struggle.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2020
Cherokee language, Cherokee Phoenix, Cherokee Removal, Elias Boudinot

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