Much has been written about the forced removal of thousands of Cherokee Indians to present-day Oklahoma in the 1830s. Many of them died on the Trail of Tears. But until recently historians have largely ignored the tribal remnant that avoided removal and remained in North Carolina. John R. Finger shifts attention to the Eastern Band of Cherokees, descended from that remnant and now numbering almost ten thousand, most of whom live on a reservation adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cherokee Americans is, ironically, the first comprehensive account of the twentieth-century experience of a band that is known to and photographed by millions of tourists. This book is a sequel to The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819–1900 (1984) by John R. Finger, who is a professor of history at the University of Tennessee.
Cherokee history did not end with the "Trail of Tears." As John R. Finger demonstrated in his earlier work, The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984), those Cherokees who remained in the East used their geographic isolation and economic marginality to maintain political and cultural integrity. In the twentieth century, however, the Eastern Band became increasingly drawn into a market economy, and some Cherokees began to advocate individualism, assimilation, and detribalization. Conflicts over ideology, life-style, and even worldview gave rise to a tribal debate that provides a window on Cherokee social and political dynamics. These conflicts are the focus of Cherokee Americans: The Eastern Band of Cherokees in the Twentieth Century. Yet the issues raised by this debate are not exclusively Cherokee. Finger's meticulous research and thoughtful analysis provides a model that may prove applicable to the study of other native peoples. -- Theda Perdue & Michael D. Green
The Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina's scenic Smoky Mountains has attracted millions of visitors in the 20th century. In the first comprehensive account of the Cherokee Band's modern history, the author demonstrates how they have integrated the burgeoning tourist economy into their overall plans for economic development. Cherokee leaders, while often internally factionalized, have consistently manipulated federal and state policies to the overall advantage of the Band, keeping their tribal land base and federal services when threatened. This book complements the author's The Eastern Band of Cherokees, 1819-1900. It is a valuable addition to modern Indian studies. -- Mary B. Davis, Huntington Free Lib., Bronx, New York (From the Library Journal 4/15/84)
Available at the Family History Library.