The first American Indian newspaper, the Cherokee Phoenix, was published at the old Cherokee Capital in New Echota Georgia. Made possible by Sequoyah's "Talking Leaves," the first issue rolled off the press in, both Cherokee and English, on February 28, 1828. The first editor was Elias Boudinot (Buck Oowatie), who had been educated at Cornwall, Connecticut.
The newspaper was the official voice of the Cherokee Nation for seven years in New Echota, and then it was silenced by the infamous Georgia Guard. This was at the time of the Indian Removal and the Trail of Tears.
Today the Phoenix is a free newspaper published monthly in Tahlequah, celebrating 178 years of Native American Journalism. It still features articles in both Cherokee and English, with community news, dialogue, culture and history.
This monument, placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, stands directly in front of the Cherokee National Capitol building. It is a reminder that the Cherokee Nation was an ally to the Confederate States of America during the War Between the States. Although the war was waged several decades before Oklahoma became a state, the independent-minded Cherokees felt a much stronger affinity with the Confederate ideals of libertarianism and states rights than they did to the all-powerful federal government being advocated by Abraham Lincoln. Like the Confederates, the Cherokees held dear the principles of limited government and decentralized power guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
It amazes me that less than four decades after the gruesome injustice dealt the Indians in the infamous Trail of Tears, many hundreds of them would volunteer to fight - and many would die - for the Confederacy.
In truth, most Cherokees wanted little or nothing to do with the "white man's war." They would rather just be left alone. However, when the time came to choose, the Cherokees sided with the Confederates. The Cherokee Nation fielded several units of Confederate soldiers. One of those soldiers, Chief Stand Waite, rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the Confederate army.
General Waite was faithful to the "Lost Cause" to the bitter end. He became the last Confederate General to surrender to the Union on June 23, 1865. This was more than two months after Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee effectively ended the war by laying down his own sword to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, April 5, 1865.
Why the Cherokee Nation Allied Themselves with the Confederate States of America in 1861.
This small monument on the grounds of the Cherokee Capitol Building, commemorates the fact that Tahlaqueh was the site of the first telephone service in the Oklahoma Territory. When telephones were installed here in February, 1885, it was the first telephone service in the Mississippi Valley, west of St. Louis.
What I found interesting about this is that my own ancestors who lived in Atlanta, Georgia at that time, were not as technologically advanced as some of the Cherokees. In the late 1800s the Conn Family, like most people in America, were still many years away from having basic conveniences such as telephones, electricity, running water or indoor toilets.