Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cherokee Nation vs Georgia - 1831

Interesting language out of this case, click on the case name above for the full text.....long since been eliminated from the National Conscious...basically this case said Georgia as a state couldn't enter and take Cherokee land - unfortunately Georgia just took it anyway...

30 U.S. 1

from the Syllabus:

The Cherokees are a State. They have been uniformly treated as a State since the settlement of our country. The numerous treaties made with them by the United States recognise them as a people capable of maintaining the relations of peace and war; of being responsible in their political character for any violation of their engagements, or for any aggression committed on the citizens of the United States by any individual of their community. Laws have [p2] been enacted in the spirit of these treaties. The acts of our Government plainly recognise the Cherokee Nation as a State, and the Courts are bound by those acts.

from Marshall's opinion in the case:

Though the Indians are acknowledged to have an unquestionable, and heretofore unquestioned right to the lands they occupy, until that right shall be extinguished by a voluntary cession to our government, yet it may well be doubted whether those tribes which reside within the acknowledged boundaries of the United States can, with strict accuracy, be denominated foreign nations. They may, more correctly, perhaps, be denominated domestic dependent nations. They occupy a territory to which we assert a title independent of their will, which must take effect in point of possession when their right of possession ceases. Meanwhile they are in a state of pupilage. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian.

They look to our government for protection; rely upon its kindness and its power; appeal to it for relief to their wants; and address the President as their Great Father. They and their country are considered by foreign nations, as well as by ourselves, as being so completely under the sovereignty and dominion of the United States that any attempt to acquire their lands, or to form a political connexion with them, would [p18] be considered by all as an invasion of our territory and an act of hostility.

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