Whereas, a crisis of the utmost importance, in the affairs of the Cherokee people has arrived, requiring from every individual the most serious reflection and the expression of views as to the present condition and future prospects of the Nation; and whereas a portion of the Cherokees have entertained opinions which have been represented as hostile to the true interest and happiness of the people, merely because they have not agreed with the Chiefs and leading men; and as these opinions have not heretofore been properly made known, therefore,
Resolved, That it is our decided opinion, founded upon the melancholy experience of the Cherokees within the last two years, and upon facts which history has furnished us in regard to other Indian nations, that our people cannot exist amidst a white population, subject to laws which they have no hand in making, and which they do not understand; that the suppression of the Cherokee Government, which connected this people in a distinct community, will not only check their progress in improvement and advancement in knowledge, but, by means of numerous influences and temptations which this new state of things has created, will completely destroy every thing like civilization among them, and ultimately reduce them to poverty, misery, and wretchedness.
Resolved, That, considering the progress of the States’ authorities in this country, the distribution and settlement of the lands, the organization of countries, the erection of county seats and court houses, and other indications of a determined course on the part of the surrounding States, and considering, on the other hand, the repeated refusal of the President and Congress of the United States to interfere in our behalf, we have come to the conclusion that this nation cannot be reinstated in its present location, and that the question left to us and to every Cherokee, is, whether it is more desirable to remain here, with all the embarrassments with which we must be surrounded, or to seek a country where we may enjoy our own laws, and live under our own vine and fig-tree.
Resolved, That in expressing the opinion that this nation cannot be reinstated, we do it from a thorough conviction of its truth; that we will encourage our confiding people with hopes that can never be realized, and with expectations that will assuredly be disappointed; that however unwelcome and painful the truth may be to them, and however unkindly it may be received from us, we cannot, as patriots and well-wishers of the Indian race, shrink from doing our duty in expressing our decided convictions. That we scorn the charge of selfishness and a want of patriotic feelings alleged against us by some of our countrymen, while we can appeal to our consciences and the searcher of all hearts for the rectitude of our motives and intentions.
Resolved, That, although we love the land of our fathers, and should leave the place of our nativity with as much regret as any of our citizens, we consider the lot of the exile immeasurably more to be preferred than a submission to the laws of the States, and thus becoming witnesses of the ruin and degradation of the Cherokee people.
Resolved, That we are firmly of the opinion, that a large majority of the Cherokee people would prefer to remove, if the true state of their condition was properly made known to them. We believe that if they were told that they had nothing to expect from further efforts to regain their rights as a distinct community, and that the only alternatives left to them is either to remain amidst a white population, subject to the white man’s laws, or to remove to another country, where they may enjoy peace and happiness, they would unhesitatingly prefer the latter.
Resolved, That we were desirous to leave of Chiefs and leading men to seek a country for their people, but as they have thought proper not to do any thing towards the ultimate removal of the nation, we know of none to which the Cherokees can go as asylum but that possessed by our brethren west of the Mississippi; that we are willing to unite with them under a proper guaranty from the United States that the lands shall be secured to us, and that we shall be governed by our own laws and regulations.
Resolved, That we consider the policy pursued by the Red Clay Council, in continuing a useless struggle from year to year, as destructive to the present peace and future happiness of the Cherokees, because it is evident to every observer that while this struggle is going on, their difficulties will be accumulating, until they are ruined in their property and character, and the only remedy that will then be proposed in their case will be, submission to the laws of the States by taking reservations.
Resolved, That we consider the fate of our poor brethren, the Creeks, to be a sufficient warning to all those who may finally subject the Cherokees to the laws of the States by giving them reservations.
Resolved, That we will never consent to have our own rights and the rights of our posterity, sold “prospectively” to the laws of the States by our Chiefs, in any compact or “compromise” into which they may choose to enter with the Government; that we cannot be satisfied with any thing less than a release from State Legislation; but, while we do not intend to have our own political interests compromised, we shall not oppose those who prefer to remain subject to State laws.
Resolved, That we were disposed to contend for what we considered to be our own rights, as long as there was any hope of relief to the nation, but that we never can consent to the waste of our public moneys in instituting and prosecuting suits which will result only to individual advantage.
Resolved, That it is with great surprise and mortification we have noticed the idea attempted to be conveyed to the minds of our people that the nation can be relieved by the courts of Georgia; that we regard the appealing to those Courts, by the nation, for redress, as an entire departure from the true policy maintained by the Cherokees in their struggle for national existence.