The Odyssey of the Cherokees

The Odyssey of the Cherokees

Most Americans are familiar with the story of the Trail of Tears, the forced removal of the Cherokees from their homeland to Oklahoma. Probably few realize that this episode was part of a larger history of Cherokee migration that included Texas, California, Hawai’i and even Australia. In The Cherokee Diaspora: An Indigenous History of Migration, Resettlement, and Identity, historian Gregory Smithers explores the creation and re-creation of a Cherokee national identity from the 18th century to World War II. As colonialism caused social and political upheaval, Cherokees used stories of suffering, exile, and perseverance to maintain their identity as a united people—even as those people scattered across the country, ever in search of “home.”

Matthew Kruer, author of “‘Our Time of Anarchy’: Bacon’s Rebellion and the Wars of the Susquehannocks”

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