Letter of Chief John Ross(Guwisguwi)of the Cherokee Nation to the House of Representatives of the United States of America[September 28th, 1836]

Chief John Ross, was the Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828–1866. Ross was born in Alabama. He was the son of a Cherokee mother and a Scottish father. He helped to establish the Cherokee national government. Ross was biased towards the Cherokee people and complaining about the treaty between the US government and the Cherokee people. He said, “…a treaty, ratified by the Senate, and …the President…and the threat of summary compulsion, in case of refusal.” In other words, the disadvantaged Cherokee people had no choice other than accepting the unfair treaty.

The point of Chief John Ross’s letter was to ask for help and to complain to the House of Representatives of the United States of America about the suffering of the Cherokee people. He said, “Our property may be plundered before our eyes; violence may be committed on our persons; even our lives may be taken away.” Ross believed that the actions of Andrew Jackson, served as the seventh President of the United States, by working with other tribes unofficially was injustice. Ross said, “A spurious Delegation, in violation of a special injunction of the general council of the nation, proceed to Washington City with this pretended treated, and by false and fraudulent representations supplanted in the favor of the Government.” Overall, Chief Ross has convinced me about the suffering of the Cherokee people. Since his parents came from Scotland and Cherokee, I expected him to be moderate. However, since his mother is Cherokee, I expected him to be also biased towards the Cherokee people. In addition, in terms of credibility, as the principal chief of the Cherokee nation, he was in a powerful position and expected him to be working on benefitting the Cherokee tribe. Ross could speak and write in English which allowed him to communicate with the US government as a representative from the Cherokee tribe. This letter made me think of the reading from last semester ‘Destruction of the Indies’ by Bartolomé de las Casas who talked about the suffering of the natives after the arrival of the European colonists since Chief Ross mentioned the suffering of the Cherokee people. Furthermore, the status of Ross reminded me of Garcilaso de la Vega since his father was a European nobleman and his mother was non-European. This also gave de la Vega the advantage to represent both sides.