Eastern Band Cherokee Women

Cultural Persistence in Their Letters and Speeches

  • Author(s): Carney, Virginia Moore
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 2005-11-25
  • Status: Active
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For the first time, the voices of Eastern Band Cherokee women receive their proper due. A watershed event, this book unearths three centuries of previously unknown and largely ignored speeches, letters, and other writings from Eastern Band Cherokee women. Like other Native American tribes, the Cherokees endured numerous hardships at the hands of the United States government. As their heritage came under assault, so did their desire to keep their traditions. The Eastern Band Cherokees were no exception, and at the forefront of their struggle were their women.

Eastern Band Cherokee Women analyzes how the women of the Eastern Band served as honored members of the tribe, occupying both positions of leadership and respect. Carney shows how in the early 1800s women leaders, such as Beloved Nancy Ward, battled to retain her people’s heritage and sovereignty. Other women, such as Catharine Brown, a mission school student, discovered the power of the written word and thereby made themselves heard just as eloquently.

Carney traces the voices of these women through the twentieth century, describing how Cherokees such as Marie Junaluska and Joyce Dugan have preserved a culture threatened by an increasingly homogenous society. This book is a fitting testament to their contributions. Eastern Band Cherokee Women stands out by demonstrating the overwhelming importance of women to the preservation of the Eastern Band. From passionate speeches to articulately drafted personal letters, Carney helps readers explore the many nuances of these timeless voices.

Virginia Moore Carney is associate vice-president of academics at the Leech Lake Tribal College. She has a PhD from the University of Kentucky.