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14.  John Ross, Message to the General Council, [between 10 and 16] July 1830

Friends and Fellow Citizens

    The constituted authorities of Georgia having assumed the power to exercise sovereign jurisdiction over a large portion of our Territory, and our Political Father, the Chief Magistrate [Andrew Jackson] of the United States, having declared that he possesses no power to oppose, or interfere with Georgia in this manner, our relations with the United States are placed in a strange dilemma.   The grave aspect of this picture calls for your calm and serious reflections.   I have therefored deemed it my incumbent duty, on this extraordinary occasion, to convene the General Council of the Cherokee Nation.

    The prayers of our memorials before the Congress of the United States have not been answered. But it is gratifying to know that numerous similar petitions from various sections of the United States have been presented in favour of our cause by a large portion of the most respectable call in the community, and that our rights have been ably vindicated in Congress by some of the most distinguished statesmen.  But notwithstanding the unanswerable arguments which have been advanced, under these appeals,there seems to have been a settled determination, by a small majority in Congress, to make further efforts to bring about a removal of all the Indians east of the Mississippi, beyond that great river, by making the question a general one, and acting upon the principles of policy and expediency - the respective claims and rights of each tribe under existing treaties with the United States were viewed only as secondary consideration - consequently, an act has been passed "to provide for an exchange of lands with the Indians residing in any of the states or territories, and for their removal west of the river Mississippi."  The House of Representatives, however, by a very large majority, adopted this amendment which has been accepted by the Senate, "Providing that nothing in this act shall be construed as authorizing or directing the violation of any existing treaty between the United States and any of the Indian tribes."

    It is much to be regretted that we find in the reports of some of the acting Agents of the General Government and other designing and interested individuals, that our true motives, disposition and condition have been grossly perverted and misrepresented.  this may in part be attributed to a want of correct and full information upon the points of which they pretend to speak, and in some respects to an inclination to deceive the public with the view of effecting certain political ends.

    The fee simple title to our soil has been vainly asserted to be in the people of Georgia; and that state has arrogated to herself the power to exercise sovereign jurisdiction over us, and by legislative enactments, has declared all out laws, ordinances, orders, regulations, and usages to be null and void, and peremptorily demands submission to her proscriptive and oppressive laws, under the most degrading circumstances.  She has pointed to her jails, penitentiary and gallows for practising obedience to our own laws; and independent of all our treaties with the United States, and the acts of Congress which have been passed for the protection of our individual and national rights, the Chief Magistrate of the Union has warned us against any hope of interference on his part, with Georgia in the exercise of this power, yet, he says, that such power as the laws give him for our protection, shall be executed for our benefit, and this will not fail to be exercised in keeping our intruders; beyond this he cannot go. An officer commanding a detachment of U. S. Troops, who has been ordered into the nation, as it is said, for the purpose of removing intruders, has communicated to the Cherokees at the Gold mines the following notice:   "That an arrangement has been entered into, by which there will be a mutual assistance between the United States Troops and civil authority of Georgia in all civil processes, the jurisdiction of Georgia having been extended over the chartered limits, and all the natives are hereby advised to return to their homes and submit to the proclamation of the State authority.  E. TRAINER, Lieut. Com'g. P.S.  They cannot be supported any longer in any thing inconsistent with the laws of the State."

    Thus you will see that the rights and liberties of the Cherokee people are most grievously assailed.

    Our delegation were authorized, if it should become necessary, to consult and employ counsel to defend our cause before the Supreme Court of the United States, in which tribunal, as the conservatory of the Constitution, Treaties and laws of the Union, we can yet hope for justice, and to which we should fearlessly and firmly appeal.  I would, therefore, recommend the expediency of passing a law, authorizing some person to assert the rights of the Cherokee nation in all Courts of law and equity in the United States; also to address the President of the United States frankly, openly and respectfully, on the subject of our unhappy situation, and request his parental interference in all points as far as treaties and laws of the United States acknowledge and secure to us our rights; until the controversy at issue with Georgia be decided by the Supreme Court of the United States . . .

John Ross


14.  John Ross, Message to the General Council, [between 10 and 16] July 1830, in Gary E. Moulton, ed., The Papers of Chief John Ross vol. 1 (Norman, OK:  University of Oklahoma Press, 1985), 190-92.