Date of Award

2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Keri Holt

Abstract

Twenty-one years before the forced-removal of Cherokee people from their native lands east of the Mississippi, Cherokee people fought peacefully to maintain ownership of Cherokee-owned lands and attempted to preserve, at least in part, traditional Cherokee culture. Through the drafting of petitions, specifically written between 1817-19, Cherokee women pushed back against pressure to assimilate to Anglo-American culture and to cede Cherokee land to the United States Government. The five petitions that are present in this analysis were drafted in response to an ongoing Cherokee- United States land crisis.

This article looks at petitions written by female Cherokee and male Cherokee because, as I will argue, a comparative analysis of male-authored petitions and female-authored petitions shows the ways that Cherokees both acquiesced to Anglicized gender roles and how Cherokees resisted cultural assimilation. This comparative analysis will also show the similarities and the differences in the type of rhetoric that is used by male authors and female authors. While I am unable to discuss in detail, at this time, all of the differences between the two sexes' petitions, one major difference between the two types of petitions is that male authors used language of assimilation as a way to reach their larger audience of the U.S. government. Female authors also used language of assimilation but blended tha familial rhetoric with traditional Cherokee cultural values as a way to appeal to the Tribe and to the U.S. Government.

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