Civilized Efforts of the Cherokee in Indian Georgia
The Cherokees seemed to be moving rapidly in the direction of civilization. Some had adopted the farming practices of the southern plantation owners by building elegant houses and using slaves to labor in the fields. They felt this would endear them to their white counter parts and elevate their social and economic structure.
The Cherokees exported livestock, dyes and grains to the Americans and had produced enough corn and cotton calicos for their own domestic use. They owned and ran business establishments along side the whites they had allowed to remain in the nation including ferries, inns and shops for travelers along the various roadways, especially the Federal Road, running through their lands that Chief Vann had finished paying for when the government ran out of money.
Instead of sending their children back east, many enrolled their children in the mission schools or the state appropriated “Poor Schools”. These schools were cropping up inside the Cherokee Nation and no doubt many mixed blood children attended them as well. The mission schools often included the children of the white tradesmen sent to the Nation to teach their people the trades of blacksmithing, metal-work, woodwork, spinning and more. County reports enumerated children attending the Poor Schools system from the years 1836-1838.
Cherokee Parents had hoped education would serve two purposes, keep their children nearer while being educated and perhaps lessen the outside influences upon their treasured cultural ways. All had hoped this effort would create a bridge between the white man and the red nation.
“When history is erased, people’s moral values are also erased.” –Ma Jian