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Family and nation: Cherokee Orphan Care, 1835-1903.

On November 17, 1903, fifteen miles from the nearest railway station and fifty miles northwest of the capital of the Cherokee Nation in Tahlequah, a fire engulfed the Cherokee Orphan Asylum. The inferno threatened the lives of the 149 resident orphans, many of whom were feverish and bedridden from measles. Despite the dire possibilities, every person in the building survived. The stately three-story structure built on the banks of the Grand River in Salina had housed Cherokee orphans for thirty-one years. After the fire the Cherokee Nation relocated the homeless children to the nation's Insane Asylum in Tahlequah, where Sequoyah School stands today. (1) The fire occurred as allotment threatened Cherokee sovereignty, tribal landholdings, and Cherokee-controlled political, legal, and social institutions, including the orphan asylum. The assumption of orphan care by the nation coincided with the development of political and social institutions in the years after Cherokee removal from the Southeast just as the destruction of the orphanage paralleled the demise of the late-nineteenth-century Cherokee Nation. The orphan asylum demonstrated the nation's ability to transform ancient familial responsibilities into modern social institutions in a way that adhered to Cherokee cultural values while meeting the needs of the modern world.

Superficially, the Cherokee Orphan Asylum fits a pattern of orphan care that emerged in non-Indian communities. The first North American orphan asylum opened in New Orleans in 1739, but the growth of orphan asylums exploded in the period after the Civil War. (2) Civil War deaths, particularly of soldiers, forced states, communities, and organizations to rethink their responsibilities to orphans and half-orphans (children with only one living parent). Mothers faced a precarious employment situation, and domestic service, one of few opportunities for poor women, often required live-in arrangements that kept mothers away from their children. (3) Homes for the orphans of soldiers emerged to aid the large number of children left half-orphaned by war. Industrialization, urbanization, and immigration exacerbated the problem of even two-parent families, many of whom became incapable of providing for their children as a result of dislocation and poverty. From the 1830s to the 1880s orphan asylums constituted the most popular means to care for children whose parents could not raise them, whether as a result of death or circumstances. Trustees, reformers, and social workers aimed to create "homelike" institutions based on the middle-class "cult of domesticity," which privileged the importance of the domestic sphere and the role of mothers in establishing a proper environment in which children could develop into productive citizens. (4) Because most orphanages were private and responded to the specific needs of religious and ethnic groups, no two asylums were alike in form or practice. (5) The Cherokee Orphan Asylum, established by the Cherokee Nation in 1872, came out of similar historical circumstances, but the cultural and political base from which it emerged was uniquely Cherokee.

Before removal in the 1830s Cherokees lived in the valleys of the southern Appalachian Mountains, where they constructed towns and organized themselves socially by a clan system. Clans were large extended families that traced their kinship to an ancient ancestor. Towns had members from all clans, and clans provided the mechanism for town government and ceremonial life, since clan members participated in both as distinct entities. Clans were matrilineal; that is, they traced their kinship through women. The permanent residents of a household were women of the same clan. Unmarried brothers and sons lived with their mothers and sisters, and, when married, they moved into their wife's house but maintained their mother's clan, irrespective of their wife's clan. A woman's brother, or her maternal uncle if she had no brothers, held the most important male role in children's lives, the equivalent of fathers in European American society. Uncles were clan kin, fathers were not.

Clans organized virtually every aspect of Cherokee life--where one lived, whom one married, where one sat in ceremonies, the prayers one said, and the relationship one had with all other people. Cherokees depended on clans to protect them, exact retribution for wrongs done them, and avenge their deaths so that their souls could go to the darkening land. Membership in a Cherokee clan made a person a Cherokee, so clan identity provided a national identity. Clans also ensured that no child became an orphan in Cherokee society. Maternal aunts acted as mothers, providing a home, food, and education and linking motherless children to their clan network. Any woman of a child's clan had maternal responsibilities for that child, just as any male member of the clan offered protection and assumed other masculine roles in the family. Even if a child were a stranger to these clan relatives, the mutual obligations defined by clan and kin insured familiarity and security. These rules of kinship, rooted in the clans, rendered the order and harmony that defined Cherokee society. (6)

Historian William McLoughlin's Cherokee Renascence details the early nineteenth century as the Cherokees faced increased pressure from white settlers and federal "civilization" programs, a centralized republican government gradually replaced the political role of clans, and the nation began maintaining internal order, offering protection from enemies, and providing national identity. Social organization also changed. Contact and intermarriage with non-Indians led to new kinds of families that were headed by men and nuclear. The traditional connection between kinship and politics shifted as Cherokees moved from a government in which matrilineal clans played a significant role in shaping a consensus to an elected national council endowed with delegated political power. Articles of government in 1819 provided for electoral districts with lines drawn irrespective of town and clan. Each district selected its representatives to represent its interests in council. Rather than government that emanated from the Cherokees' social organization and decisions made by consensus, the new Cherokee National Council reflected a move of power away from towns, a reduction of the role of clans, and the emergence of new political forms. In 1827 the Cherokees adopted a constitution and a republican form of government for the nation that made no provision for the kin-based social organization that had structured Cherokee life. (7)

Despite political changes, family issues remained a central concern for the nation, and the emerging national government did not ignore the kinship obligations that lay at the heart of eighteenth-century Cherokee political organization. The earliest written laws enacted by the Cherokee National Council defined responsibilities to children under the new family structure. The first written law, enacted in 1808, gave men the right to pass property after their death to their wives and children. (8) This law expanded definitions of children's kin to include fathers, who, under traditional rules of kinship, were not clan kin of their children and had no obligation to provide support or security for them; that had been the responsibility of the children's mother's brother, who were the children's clan relations.

This law, however, did not dismantle matrilineal practices. In 1819 a law recognized "the improvements and labors of our people by the mother's side [as] inviolate during the time of their occupancy," a confirmation of matrilineal descent. (9) These laws continued to support the matrilineal definitions of kin while simultaneously expanding the role a father might play in the lives of children. Cherokee law also weakened the link between clan and citizenship so that children of a non-Cherokee mother could be citizens of the Cherokee Nation. In 1826 the council also acknowledged the citizenship of the children of the highly respected warrior Shoe Boots by his African American slave. (10) The next year the council enacted a law that "the children of Cherokee men and white women, living in the Cherokee Nation as man and wife, be ... hereby acknowledged, to be equally entitled to all the immunities and privileges enjoyed by citizens descending from the Cherokee race, by the mother's side." (11)

Missionaries, who first entered the Cherokee Nation in the 1760s, encouraged the reconfiguring of Cherokee families. They sought nuclear, male-headed families that forced men to become primarily responsible for their children, but the Christian family also limited the number of adults responsible for children and made "orphans" more likely. By the time of removal, Moravians, Baptists, the American Board of Commission for Foreign Missions, and Methodists supported missions in the Cherokee Nation. (12) All except the Methodists operated residential schools, but these Protestant denominations did not care for most parentless children. Rather, kin continued to provide for them. The children who did attend the mission schools tended to be those of well-to-do and politically prominent Cherokees rather than impoverished orphans. The children of chiefs Charles Hicks and John Ross, for example, attended mission schools for the advantages of an English-language education rather than out of necessity.

Few parents needed to surrender children, but if they did, they turned them over to missionaries reluctantly. A poor Cherokee widow took her eight-year-old daughter to the Brainerd Mission in Tennessee to acquire the food, clothing, and education that Brainerd offered. Despite assurances from the mother that she would not remove the child from the mission, eight days later she returned and did exactly that. (13) Missions, therefore, might serve as an occasional safety net for children, but they were not orphanages.

Removal in 1838-39 disrupted mission schools and jeopardized the stability of the Cherokee Nation, yet the removal treaty strengthened the Cherokee government's ability and commitment to provide for orphans. The Treaty of New Echota, in addition to mandating removal, included a provision for an increase in the school fund investment from the $50,000 provided by earlier treaties to $200,000. The nation planned to use the annual interest on these investments to establish a common school system and a "literary institution of a higher order." Of the school investment, $50,000 "constitute[d] an orphan fund" for the "support and education of orphan children as are destitute of the means of subsistence." (14) The treaty placed fiscal control of education and orphan projects with the Cherokee Nation, not with the missionaries, who until that time had provided the only academic education available to Cherokee children. (15)

Cherokee attitudes toward missionaries shifted in the wake of removal. In 1839 the nation passed legislation that prohibited missionaries from entering the nation without first obtaining a license. (16) This act reflected dismay at the close relationship between members of the Treaty Party and some missionaries, particularly the Moravians, who were close to the protreaty Ridge family. After removal, the nation thwarted attempts by the Moravians to establish a mission school by opening a public institution "at [their] door." (17)

Antimission sentiments, however, only partly explain the shift to public education. Growing Cherokee nationalism encouraged the nation to assume primary responsibility for education, even when it cooperated with missionaries. In 1842 the Cherokee Nation considered a partnership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, to establish a manual labor school for the "exclusive" use of orphans. Although a committee comprised of both Cherokees and Methodists drafted a plan for the Orphan Institute, in 1849 the Cherokee National Council rescinded its collaboration until a more suitable plan could be developed. (18) Missions cared for orphans only by individual arrangement. (19) For example, from 1852 to 1861 Missionary Jerusha Swain housed a succession of four young women in her home, including ten-year-old orphan Nancy Watts, whose uncle arranged for her care. (20) Furthermore, fellow missionary Elizur Butler housed "one orphan Cherokee girl, who ha[d] learned to read and write." (21) Entrusting orphans to missionaries, however, was not national policy.

In the aftermath of the dislocation and destruction caused by removal, Cherokees preferred that Indian families care for orphans, and the nation financially supported these efforts. In December 1841 Principal Chief John Ross approved the Public School Act, which established a national school system and placed orphan children in each school district in a "good steady family convenient to the school." (22) The public school system administered this program. Initially, every common school received a two-hundred-dollar allocation for its orphans. In 1842 the total amount was $2,200 for the eleven schools in operation. (23) As the number of schools expanded, so did the budget. By 1847 the annual appropriation for orphan care had reached $3,600. (24)

Ideally, the superintendent of schools distributed orphans equally over the common schools, but in actuality, the number of orphans assigned to each school varied. Occasionally, school district budgets failed to meet the needs of orphans. In 1843, for example, two families that boarded orphans attending the Skin Bayou School, taught by Robert Benge, requested additional funds from the Cherokee National Council. The households of John Benge, who boarded two orphans, and Michael Waters, who kept one, needed additional support in order to care for these children, and the council authorized $24 and $12 for the men. (25) The council also moved to make those caring for orphans more fiscally accountable to the nation and specified that the cost to board an orphan could not exceed $4 per month. This amendment to the Public School Act required the superintendent to include the "names and condition of the orphan children" in the annual reports. (26) The superintendent, a paid employee of the Cherokee Nation, became a quasi-social worker whose responsibilities now included monitoring the orphans funded by the nation.

Throughout the 1840s the nation continued to expand its involvement with and commitment to its children. Traditional Cherokee family practices required extended matrilineal kin to care for children in the event of the mother's death, but the council deviated from this practice when it made either surviving parent the guardian of the children in the event of the other parent's death. In the eyes of the law, a father's responsibilities to his motherless children replaced those of matrilineal kin. The council further specified that if a parent "shall be incompetent to discharge the duties devolving upon them as guardian, then the children shall be dealt with as the law directs." (27) The council asserted a right to intervene in matters of guardianship and assumed the responsibilities of parents by assigning children without competent parents to families who "regularly sent [them] to school." (28)

In the 1850s, as part of a larger financial crisis, the Cherokee Nation began to cut back on services to children. The Cherokee Nation had experienced remarkable growth in the years immediately after removal. In addition to the development of its common school system and its orphan services, which received dividends from investments of the school fund and orphan fund, the nation built a courthouse, reestablished a national newspaper, opened male and female seminaries, and developed three bustling towns. The expansion of government services, coupled with the financial losses resulting from removal, taxed the nation's resources. The nation relied on credit secured by the anticipated payment of funds owed under the removal treaty, but the U.S. government refused to make payments until the Old Settlers, the Treaty Party, the North Carolina Cherokees, and the Removal Party settled their disputes. Resolution was slow in coming, and the various fiscal demands on the nation collided in the 1850s. (29) Although the nation attempted to sell the Cherokee Outlet, a separate piece of Cherokee lands that ran the length of Indian Territory and bordered Kansas, to stave off financial ruin, negotiations broke down repeatedly, first among Cherokee officials, then between Cherokee delegates and Congress. Financial ruin threatened.

In 1856 the Cherokees closed their seminaries in order to protect funding for their common schools. The same year the Cherokee National Council required parents or guardians to pay the cost of food for students in the public schools, but it did not ignore the nation's responsibility for orphans. Accepting its obligation to the most vulnerable, the council emphasized the "duty" of the board of directors for each school district to request funds from the council for the costs of food for "orphans or of children or youth whose parents are very poor." Nevertheless, the council mandated that Superintendent of Schools Walter Adair Duncan reduce the number of orphans to eighty-three and allocate them equitably among all the public schools. (30) Throughout the 1850s the number of orphans served under the law fluctuated between 110 and 120, but this mandate reduced services to 34. The council did not advise Duncan how to make these reductions. The next year Duncan reported a decline in services to orphans, but he explained that at "some of the schools the people agree among themselves to put in more orphans than are required by law, and for four of them to be reported and paid for as the law provides, and the money to be divided pro rata among all the orphans at the school. (31) Children denied services or relocated for the purpose of equalization almost certainly faced disruption of their daily lives, but there was little the Cherokee government could do under the circumstances. Despite the council's attempts to operate a family-based system of care administered by public officials, budgetary constraints hindered its ability to act as surrogate kin.

With the seminaries closed, debts unpaid, and orphan care reduced, the Cherokee Nation faced another crisis. The U.S. Civil War reopened old wounds, and an internal war devastated the nation. As early as 1862 Superintendent for Indian Affairs for the Southern Superintendency W. G. Coffin reported that two thousand men, women, and children were "entirely barefooted, and more than their number have not rags to hide their nakedness." (32) The war left the seminaries in disrepair, the schoolhouses burned, and the people destitute. (33)

Unlike removal, when disease disproportionately claimed the lives of the old and the young, the Civil War ravaged all age groups, particularly Cherokee men, who served on both sides during the conflict as well as in irregular units at home. "Marauding parties," Col. George Harlan reported, "murdered all the old men and boys large enough to aid their wives and mothers in raising a crop whom they could catch, and threatened the women with a like fate if they did not abandon their crops." (34) As Harlan suggests, soldiers were not the only casualties; famine and disease as well as violence took a heavy toll on noncombatants. The war left 1,200 children orphaned, ten times that served annually in the common schools between removal and the war. (35)

The treaty of 1866 between the United States and the Cherokee Nation designated 15 percent of the annual income from the Cherokee Nation's investments for the orphan fund, and the council resumed orphan care in families. As the prewar experience reflected, however, foster families did not provide the most cost-effective system of care. The number of orphans and the destitution of the Cherokee Nation at the end of the war rendered such a system even more unsatisfactory, but a solution remained several years away. (36)

In the meantime, the Cherokee Nation struggled to care for orphans in the prewar fashion. In 1866 the council appointed a committee to "arrange and negotiate" with churches to establish an orphanage, but such an institution never materialized. In 1867, in an effort to evaluate the specific conditions of orphan children, the Cherokee National Council authorized a census to determine the number of orphans between the ages of five and fifteen for the purpose of establishing an asylum. (37) The time-consuming nature of a census prevented any immediate action, but it secured the necessary information for the development of an orphanage. The council continued to appropriate funds for clothing and boarding orphans through the common schools even as it moved forward with its plans for an asylum. (38) In 1871 the superintendent of the common schools reported: "There are now 236 orphans provided for in private families by means of the orphan fund." (39) Responding at last to the enormous need, the council appropriated $20,000 for the construction of a new facility or the purchase of an existing building large enough to accommodate two hundred children. (40)

The orphans could wait no longer. Finally, in March 1872 the Cherokee Orphan Asylum opened with fifty-four students in the Cherokee Male Seminary. This provided a temporary site until a permanent facility could be located. (41) The institution's population increased rapidly. In 1873 the asylum served ninety students, forty-three boys and forty-seven girls. Ultimately, the council chose the Lewis Ross plantation located along the Grand River as the site of an orphanage. Lewis Ross, one of the wealthiest men in the Cherokee Nation, had died in 1860, leaving behind a three-story brick house and a collection of farm buildings and slave cabins. The asking price of $28,000 exceeded the appropriation. Adding to concern over the purchase, Principal Chief William P. Ross, as the executor of the Lewis Ross estate, stood to profit from the sale of the property. The price and the political controversy delayed acquisition of the property, but in 1875 the asylums board of directors finalized arrangements for the purchase of the Lewis Ross estate and an adjoining tract.

The property totaled 340 acres, a sufficient acreage for a manual labor school. Nevertheless, the structures on the Ross plantation required modification. The red brick house underwent renovations that added east and west wings. The west wing addition alone cost approximately $8,000. (42) Construction included accommodations for staff: the matrons' quarters ranged from "small but comfortable" to "large" and "fine." (43) The impressive facade conveyed a sense of permanence and attested to the high priority the nation assigned to the care of its orphans. Pillars framed the front of the house, and a granite porch lined the exterior. Workers converted the former slave quarters into a blacksmith's shop. (44) A granite spring house, the only trace of the facilities that exists today, provided water to the asylum. In 1877 the asylum installed a pump with the ability to supply water directly to the main building. The amenities the asylum offered far exceeded those of most Cherokee families, but the model for the asylum remained the family.

Cherokee life centered on the household, and this tradition continued in the nineteenth century. The home was a physical dwelling, but it was also the primary unit of production. Because the Cherokee Nation held land in common, families could establish homesteads with extended family and farm communally. Families subsisted on farms that ranged in size from five to several hundred acres and produced the staples of corn, beans, oats, peas, pumpkins, and squash. Many families owned pigs, horses, and cattle. (45) The entire family participated in planting and harvesting, but the daily maintenance continued to be a pursuit of mothers, children, and any elderly family members living with them. Some men wholly adopted agricultural pursuits as a legitimate means of supporting their families, but others hired laborers or rented their lands. Hunting and fishing, certainly not the mainstays they had been in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, still contributed to the subsistence of families.

All family members had to work together to support themselves, an economic reality that formal education often jeopardized. School separated children from their families if they did not live close by and placed an economic burden on families. Even parents living within the vicinity of a school often sent their children sporadically because they needed their labor. The educational effects of child labor had long been a concern of both missionaries and common school officials, but both acknowledged the economic need. (46) They also understood that children's lives remained rooted in the home, and the needs of the household came first. For the asylum to resonate with Cherokees, it needed to replicate the activities and relationships of home as well as the value placed on the community rather than the individual.

The council selected Walter Adair Duncan to serve as the first superintendent of the Cherokee Orphan Asylum, and Duncan recognized that the asylum would need to "supply the place of home and parent to the orphan." Duncan's philosophy reflected the importance that both he and the Cherokee Nation placed on families as more than simply close biological kin. (47) Duncan had arrived in Indian Territory as a boy on the Trail of Tears. Like many citizens of the Cherokee Nation, including Principal Chief John Ross, Duncan was associated with the Methodist Episcopal Church. Duncan served the Indian Conference as an itinerant parson throughout the Cherokee Nation and Indian Territory and knew well the educational projects of the Methodists in the region, which included several manual labor boarding schools. In addition to his service to the church and to the Cherokee Nation, Duncan served a one-year appointment to the Methodist Honey Hill School. (48) From 1873 until 1882 the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, made Duncan parson for the Cherokee Orphan Asylum. (49)

In his philosophy of education Duncan linked agricultural labor, academic endeavors, and nationalism, but these pursuits rested on the family. "In the order of nature, home precedes the school," Duncan wrote. "Society has always adjusted itself in accordance with those conditions, and by consequence, as a general rule, the sphere of the school works entirely outside the circle of home." But Duncan saw no reason why this should be the case. Duncan envisioned the asylum as a place where orphans found a home, parents, and the affection that emanated from the family as well as the responsibilities that family entailed. The asylum would be a home that included labor, a common dwelling, and shared meals as well as a school where children received an academic education.

These features mirrored other manual labor schools in both Indian Territory and the United States, but of critical importance was the asylum's place in the Cherokee Nation. Not only did the asylum's buildings reside within the Cherokee Nation's borders, but the Cherokee National Council and its appointed officials managed the asylum's operation. As a superintendent employed by the Cherokee Nation, Duncan controlled the day-to-day operations of the asylum. With the input of the asylum board of directors, Duncan assessed the expenditures and sought budgetary approval from the council. Negotiations over curriculum, finances, and authority took place within the Cherokee Nation, not between the nation, mission boards, and Indian agents. The Cherokee Orphan Asylum was truly a public institution and an expression of Cherokee nationalism.

The children's education at the asylum offered curricular features similar to those at the Cherokee common schools and the seminaries. The common schools served younger children and were the modern equivalent of an elementary school; seminaries provided a high school curriculum and preparation for professional work or university training. In 1878 Duncan placed an order for arithmetic, grammar, and geography books as well as for slates, crayons, and pencils. (50) Students studied English grammar, geography, arithmetic, algebra, history, and physiology, and a few students completed Robinson's New Geometry and Trigonometry. (51) In the mid-1880s the asylum employed a music teacher. (52) Like the common schools, the asylum hired qualified teachers who passed the necessary examinations administered by the Teacher's Institute held annually at one of the Cherokee Nation's common schools. The three-day Teacher's Institute featured lectures and discussions from members of the board of education and school personnel. Asylum superintendents participated in the institutes. In 1872 Duncan contributed to the discussions of grammar education.

Many of the teachers in the Cherokee Nation's schools were non-Indian. The seminaries, in particular, often selected teachers recruited from the eastern schools outside the nation. The asylum also hired staff and teachers from the East but eventually employed more graduates from its own seminaries than from eastern colleges. In its first year of operation the asylum employed three teachers, two of whom were Cherokee, and one matron, who was a widow from Delaware. (53) By 1876 teachers and matrons totaled seven, the majority of whom were Cherokee. (54) Other staff, who included cooks, farmers, and washerwomen, was Cherokee. Most of the employees lived on-site. As compensation, J. T. Adair, secretary of the board of education, offered Iowa teacher Emma Dunbar "fifty Dollars per month, board, lodging, washing, and room furnished free." (55) As was the case with the orphans, the asylum provided its employees with a home, employment, and a community.

Language presented a problem in all Cherokee educational settings. Enrollment of children from Cherokee-speaking families required the use of some Cherokee in the classrooms, a great difficulty for the schools that employed teachers who spoke only English. (56) A student's ability to read, write, and speak English made common school education much more accessible to them. Those termed "full-bloods," usually as a result of command of the Cherokee language, often felt discriminated against in the public schools and even more so in the seminaries, which made few concessions for students who spoke Cherokee as a first language. (57) As late as 1900 a little over 17 percent of those designated full-bloods in the Cherokee Nation remained monolingual in Cherokee. The asylum, because of its bilingual staff and its large number of Cherokee-speaking children, employed the Cherokee language with fewer obstacles and less resistance than either the common schools or the seminaries. Many students spoke only Cherokee when they entered the asylum, so it seems unlikely that all students progressed at the same rate. Rather than deny children their language, teachers employed Cherokee to communicate with them, and students used Cherokee freely in the classrooms.

Language barriers, however, did exist. Emma Dunbar, recounting her first experience in an asylum classroom, remembered one Cherokee-speaking child who "stamp[ed] her foot and exclaim[ed]--'I-tee-see-col-ee' meaning I can't understand you." (58) Even Cherokee faculty and staff did not necessarily speak their tribal language. In an article for the Cherokee Advocate Duncan lamented, "I do so much wish that I could speak the Cherokee well enough to converse in it; I could explain many things pertaining to the nature of our public institutions." (59) In contrast to the students who attended the seminaries, full-blood children comprised the majority of the students at the asylum. (60) Duncan's public statements and Dunbar's private observations indicate that the asylum managed to maintain key aspects of Cherokee culture while melding them with an English-language formal education.

The asylum gave children an opportunity to acquire skills and to express themselves. In 1881 Duncan acquired a printing press, and children learned how to set type. Under Duncan's direction the students began to publish the Children's Playground, a supplement to Duncan's Orphan Asylum Press, which printed Cherokee Nation political news as well as news from the states and from abroad. The Children's Playground, which resembled publications of the male and female seminaries, featured students' short poems and compositions and charted their academic progress, thus offering a glimpse into the children's world during this period. In its first publication the editors, Lizzie Stinson and William Cobb, appealed to the Cherokee National Council to erect a monument to Sequoyah, who had invented a system for writing Cherokee, as a measure of their love and admiration for both the Cherokee Nation and its institutions. Another article heralded the asylum as an
   institution ... founded upon a proper basis. It is as truly a part
   of the design to teach suitable branches of industry as it is to
   impart a knowledge of the ordinary academic course. Manual skill is
   to be made as creditable as it is often more useful than the
   ability to conjugate a verb or read a line in Greek. (61)

Some elements of the paper mimicked Duncan's own attitudes about the asylum; other sections focused on youthful concerns. The asylum students exchanged papers with other institutions, including the Circular of Information of the Bureau of Education, the Indian School at Carlisle Barracks, the Vacation Colonies for Sickly Children, and Progress of Western Education in China and Siam. (62) Each issue included the regular column Guess My Subject or Guess Who It Is, descriptions of students written by classmates. Sallie Walker asked:
   Who wears ribbons round her neck and a bow on her hair, and is
   good-looking. She wears her ear-rings every day and I think they
   look well on her. She has black eyes, black hair and dark skin. Her
   ruffle is lace; her bask is white; her dress-skirt is black. I love
   to see her with a white bask and a black dress-skirt. Her sleeve
   ruffles are wide.

Even more descriptively, Mary Riley wrote:
   She is a little girl about 12 or 13 years old. She is good and kind
   to all of the girls and we love her very much. Her complexion is
   dark. She has black hair and eyes and is about as tall as Ida
   Langley.... She knows a great deal about work to be so small. She
   has a very sweet voice and sings nicely. She seldom gets scoldings
   like some of the girls, for she always attends to her own work. She
   is never idle; she is either reading or employed in something else
   equally as useful.

These guessing games reinforced ideal behaviors for the group, yet they also celebrated the physical characteristics associated with Indian peoples. Further, the games, amusing perhaps to outsiders, could only be played by asylum residents, since they alone would be able to solve the puzzles. The games contributed to a common sense of identity for the participants as both Cherokee children and asylum residents.

The paper featured a wide variety of student authors. Some articles took a moralistic tone. Lizzie Stinson contributed a composition entitled "If We Could Mind Our Own Business." In it she rebuked gossip and reminded classmates: "We should all get along much better if we would mind our own business, and escape much trouble and hard feeling. We would make more friends and fewer enemies." She also warned that examinations would expose those who had heeded her advice and those who had not. Many of the articles offer brief descriptions of various objects, perhaps composed as part of a longer writing assignment, but in these the children revealed their individual views of events, both exceptional and mundane, and of asylum life. Jennie Duncan mourned the loss of a tree to a storm: "All of the other trees look like they are crying about it. Every body seemed to like to sit under it. I miss the tree very much." (63) Annie Mills wrote: "Little girls like to play under the trees. The boys like to climb trees. I like to play under trees in summer." (64) M. E. Pitcher, in an article entitled "Country Life," revealed not only his own love for that lifestyle but also that "Lizzie Stinson and I are going to live in the country, when we leave the Asylum." Perhaps Lizzie would have preferred that he mind his own business.

Because of articles coming from and related to the asylum, the orphanage became a regular part of public discourse. Duncan submitted a series of articles to the Cherokee Advocate that celebrated the asylum as a mark of advancement of the Cherokee Nation. Duncan wanted the Cherokee people to look upon the asylum with affection and "build it up." (65) In an article entitled "The Nature of the Cherokee Orphan Asylum," Duncan rhetorically asked: "What is the real basis of a public enterprise? It should be founded in the affection and confidence of the people. The people are the ultimate sovereigns." Duncan reassured families skeptical of the value of education that the asylum provided the most important aspects of home as well. One Cherokee who visited the asylum reportedly commented that the conditions of the asylum were so prosperous that his own children would be better off if he were dead. (66)

The asylum contributed to its public presence through the events that welcomed visitors. Church services opened the institution's doors to nonresident Methodist congregants, and the asylum advertised examinations and invited the public. The most important events at the asylum were the opening and closing ceremonies, which resonated with Cherokee traditions and promoted Cherokee nationalism. (67) In traditional Cherokee society summer ushered in a series of key rituals that led to the Green Corn Ceremony, which celebrated the arrival of the new corn and required a thanksgiving feast, ritual cleansing, and important cosmological and social lessons. For Green Corn, men and women worked to refurbish and purify public spaces, and people erected temporary structures to accommodate kin who traveled to attend the ceremonies, play ball, and dance. The Green Corn Ceremony reconciled and revitalized the community. (68) These rituals brought the community together and reminded kin of their obligations to maintain harmony and right relationships with each other. Framing the summer, the chief ceremonies of the asylum occurred in September and May, respectively. Although such events were common in non-Indian schools, their timing and their observance introduced an element of familiarity and made Cherokees, especially more culturally conservative Cherokees, feel comfortable in what could have been an alien environment.

The festivities' duration encouraged a thorough examination of the asylum by Cherokees and non-Cherokees alike. More times than not, "the exercises on the occasion of the opening of the Orphan Asylum occup[ied] the greater part of the day," refreshments were kept on hand, and a basket dinner was provided. By the 1880s the
   annual commencement at the Cherokee school was an occasion of
   absorbing interest. Preparations for the event went on for weeks.
   From cellar to garret the house was scoured. People came in crowds
   and stayed for days, many bringing their tents and camping on the
   grounds. Then there were great barbecues in order to provide
   sufficient meat for the guests and other provisions in proportion
   were prepared. It was a time of great merriment. (69)

Closing ceremonies included the erection of a Maypole, which for many Cherokees was analogous perhaps to the ball pole located on Cherokee ceremonial grounds. The children dressed up in their finest clothes, and students received recognition. The principal chief, council members, the U.S. agent to the Cherokees, writers for local papers, teachers from the East, ministers, and Cherokee citizens attended the events, gave speeches, and reported on the festivities. (70) Students graduated, some returned to surviving families, and others continued living at the asylum until they were ready to leave.

The annual ceremonies celebrated academic accomplishments, but manual labor formed an important part of day-to-day life. Although he served one year as the superintendent of public schools, Duncan's credentials for overseeing manual labor equaled those for implementing an academic curriculum. Duncan's early life included pursuits "divided mainly between filial service on the farm and solitary effort in pursuit of mental culture." (71) This was the sort of experience he sought for children at the asylum, and he continued to labor as well as to teach. When the hired farmer left, Duncan assumed his duties, and the council later approved his permanent role as both superintendent and farmer. (72) Duncan maintained membership in the Indian International Agricultural Society and supported the Cherokee Nation's participation in the International Fair, an annual event held in Muskogee, Creek Nation, to highlight the "civilization" of the Five Tribes. (73) As early as 1856 Duncan advocated the manual labor model for orphans and argued: "All cannot live here without manual labor. Each cannot be a professor, lawyer, doctor, preacher, school-master. The means, opportunities, and occasions are wanting." (74) Therefore, he determined to prepare students to be farmers and skilled workers.

Duncan's previous experience prepared him for this task. The Methodist Episcopal Church, through its partnerships with and work in Indian Territory, operated a wide range of seminaries, manual labor schools, and academies. The curriculum in many of the schools included a combination of industrial training, Christian instruction, and English education, all elements of the federal government's "civilization" policies for Indians. Within the Methodist Episcopal Church Indian Conference Duncan and his successor, Joseph Franklin Thompson, served, respectively, as superintendents for the Honey Hill School and the Asbury Manual Labor School. As ordained elders, both understood the financial strains faced by church schools, the management challenges within national schools, and the responsibilities heaped on superintendents in their roles as "farmers, contractors, government agents, sawmill builders and operators, log cutters and haulers, blacksmiths, carpenters and general mediators between the Indians, their chiefs, and the United States authorities, both civil and military." (75) As Cherokee citizens and officials, they also understood the educational needs and challenges faced by the Cherokee Nation.

The asylum, like many of the Methodist schools, combined academic education with manual labor. Duncan and the hired hands used the acreage for orchards, grazing, and crops. The asylum, like Cherokee farms, cultivated corn as a staple. The fifteen-acre garden also produced "an abundant supply of vegetables, lettuce, mustards, peas, beans, cabbage, parsnips, onions, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, melons, and turnips." (76) Fruit trees, including the eight hundred ordered in 1880, supplied food as well as writing topics for the children. (77) Despite efforts to grow apples, the asylum supplemented the crop with purchased fruit, but Duncan rarely bought vegetables or milk, presumably because the asylum provided these. The cultivation of ninety acres of corn, wheat, oats, and garden crops probably explains their absence from the account books as items that were purchased, since these crops would have fed both animals and people. (78)

The children worked in the fields, but they were not responsible for the cattle. Cherokees in general had not adopted commercial cattle herding, but the asylum kept a few animals, for whom they hired a herder. Cattle, unless fenced, threatened acreage under cultivation, so perhaps administrators feared entrusting the task of keeping cows out of fields to children. The asylum reaped sustained benefits from the cultivated acreage; the fluctuating number of cattle produced a less reliable yield. The cows sometimes supplied dairy products, but the nine kept during the winter of 1885-86 failed to produce any milk at all. The asylum never slaughtered its cattle, and so Duncan ordered beef at regular intervals. (79)

Staff members theoretically provided role models, and they tried to teach gender-appropriate behavior. As part of their manual labor instruction boys learned to farm and cut wood, and the matrons taught the girls to sew using the fabrics, needles, buttons, and pins purchased by the asylum. (80) Christmas presents for the girls included wax-faced dolls, bought "in vain," since a number of the girls inexplicably chewed the dolls' faces off. (81) But eastern urban gender norms did not always serve the needs of largely rural Cherokees, so there was considerable fluidity. Both male and female students participated in "almost daily hunting exhibitions" for small game. Even white teacher Emma Dunbar acquired a six-shooter and participated in the hunts. (82) In addition to the women killing game, the men at the asylum nurtured crops. Even Duncan seemed to assume an almost maternal role in his daughter Jennie's description of his efforts to replace a large tree: "There are plenty of little maple trees coming up. Papa is trying to take care of them. In a few years they will be big and beautiful." (83) Unlike the seminaries, which separated male and female students and staff, the asylum provided a coeducational institution with less rigid boundaries dictating gendered behavior.

Asylum staff and students formed social and familial relationships. The families of employees usually lived with them at the school and set the tone for interactions. Because Superintendent Duncan's own children attended the asylum school, he was, in fact, a "papa," a role he extended to the orphans. In a history of Duncan's life the anonymous author described how the superintendent "sheltered [the orphans] under the care of a father." (84) Green Brier Joe, who knew Duncan when "[their] locks were burnished," commended Duncan in a letter for "hug[ging] the Asylum to his bosom as a mother her young and tender infant." (85) Perhaps because the niece of Rev. and Mrs. Joseph Franklin Thompson was enrolled as a resident, the children referred to them as "Uncle Joe" and "Aunt Ellen" when Thompson replaced Duncan. Matrons and washerwomen often received the title "aunt," and, with the exception of the teachers, the title of "aunt" or "uncle" applied to nearly all the men and women who worked with the children on a daily basis. (86)

The children adopted familial terminology to interact with the people who shared their "home." Occasionally, even teachers became fictive kin. The widow Katherine Caleb, who came from Delaware, brought her daughter Florence with her. Florence attended the asylum as a pupil, and Caleb became a "mother" to other students as well. In one situation, an orphan left at the door of the asylum grew fond of Emma Dunbar. The child christened herself Agnes Dunbar, but Joseph Thompson renamed the child Agnes Thompson. (87) Whether this was an exercise of patriarchal authority or simply a desire on Thompson's part to maintain the child's Cherokee identity is unclear. The incident points to antagonism between asylum officials and teachers from outside the community and an effort to delineate between Cherokee family and non-Indian teachers.

Students developed a variety of relationships with the adults in their lives at the asylum. The superintendent and teachers exercised authority over the children in ways that cooks and washerwomen did not. Staff occasionally subverted that authority. Jim Stearns, a cook known for his generosity to both staff and students, packed a sack of food for a child who ran away. (88) On the other hand, attempts by teachers to discipline children sometimes resulted in hard feelings. Children often preferred the outdoors to the classroom, as was the case with Jack Young Wolf, whom the principal teacher caught "going out the window." (89) The asylum's regimen, which emphasized academics and agriculture for the boys, deviated from traditional expectations of Cherokee men. Traditionally, women controlled the agriculture, and only young children assisted. Some youths no doubt had difficulty adapting. When boys became "obstreperous" and refused "to respect the authority of their teachers," asylum officials reestablished "quiet and control" through the expulsion of the "turbulent and disorderly spirits." One woman suggested to the Advocate that the boys' behavior served to undermine the reputation of the institution among the public, so such harsh treatment might have been necessary. (90)

These incidents and others like them suggest the asylum served the interests of female students better than their male counterparts. Girls "profit[ed]" from their education and became "educators either in the home or school." The asylum's benefits for boys were less clear: "Some of them engage in active business life, others follow the example of their forefathers, lounge, hunt, and fish." (91) In the 1880s national leaders questioned the merits of academics alone for male seminary students, articulating the views Duncan had expressed in the 1850s:
   Our education is useful, but it does not go far enough. The pursuit
   of agricultural or other industries and the occupations of domestic
   life will be the lot of nearly all who are here and to send them
   forth ignorant of their duties and, many of them, to places not
   supplied with the abundance, the comforts, and the guardian care
   thrown around about them, without means and ability to acquire a
   livelihood, will be an experiment full of trial and danger, to both
   themselves and their people. (92)

Dissonance existed between imparting an academic education to young men and meeting the need for farming, industrial, and subsistence skills essential to life in the Cherokee Nation. The vast majority of Cherokees found work as farmers and mechanics. (93) One asylum resident remarked: "I think a life in the country is the pleasantest life there is. We can raise such fine crops; and have good gardens, such as we have at the Asylum; which is in the country, but there are so many children and officers, that it seems more like a town." (94) Unlike the boys at the seminary, groomed for a life of "abundance," the boys at the asylum received an education complete with agricultural skills.

Like any community, the asylum had its share of romantic entanglements. The superintendents, teachers, and matrons socialized with each other, and love sometimes blossomed. Most of the teachers and matrons were unmarried, and the confined nature of institutional living limited their opportunities for relationships outside the asylum. After the death of his second wife, Walter Adair Duncan courted and married the widowed teacher Katherine Caleb at the asylum in 1878. Joseph Thompson, after the death of his wife, Ellen, married the widow of the asylums physician, Dr. Walter Thompson Adair. Teacher and superintendent E. C. Alberty also married at the asylum. Male seminary graduate and asylum teacher Bruce Garrett married fellow teacher Cherrie Edmonson. As students came of age they, too, pursued relationships with each other. Taylor Eaton, a former student employed by the asylum after graduation, married Ida Cornstalk while she was still a student. Thompson performed the ceremony and provided provisions for the young family. James Duncan, a teacher, married Lucinda Buffington, a student. (95)

Friendships as well as marriages stood the test of time. In 1934 Emma Dunbar, who served briefly as a kindergarten teacher, maintained friendships and correspondence with fellow teachers Cora and Ada Archer as well as Annie Elliot. Bluie Adair, a teacher, continued to correspond with Emma Dunbar as well. Bluie Adair and Fannie Parks, another former teacher, belonged to the Tulsa Daughters of the Confederacy and reported to Dunbar on former student Mary Riley, also a member of the Tulsa group. (96)

Death was also a part of life at the asylum. Throughout his tenure as superintendent Duncan's annual expenses included the purchase of coffins. The children acknowledged the deaths of the students and staff at other institutions. In the wake of James Vann's death the "meeting of the officers and pupils" published condolences to the "bereaved relatives and to the teachers and pupils of the Male Seminary" in the Cherokee Advocate. The asylum also faced near constant threat of disease. In 1874 the Advocate reported: "All [orphans] doing well so far" during a measles outbreak. Disease forced quarantines when the community at large or the asylum experienced an outbreak. No one at the asylum was immune: Duncan suffered the loss of his eldest son and his second wife while he was superintendent. The summer of 1877 proved especially deadly. In May Lewey Downing, son of the former principal chief and asylum pupil, died at the home of his brother. Two weeks later fourteen-year-old Mary Watts died. In September an accidental shooting claimed the life of one brother at the hands of the other. A year later Duncan reported "two deaths of inmates." (97)

Death revealed the extent to which the orphanage had assumed the traditional responsibilities of kin, since obituaries listed survivors. Lewey Downing had lost his parents before he died, but other relatives, including a brother, survived him. Nevertheless, the Cherokee Nation, through the asylum, cared for him. The asylum committee shared their loss of Mary Watts with her "relatives at home." (98) Some students even had a living parent. The death of a classmate prompted one student to write: "My Dear Mother, I take my pen in my hand to tell you how I am getting along one of our school mates died here a while a go they will beary him to maraw.... Mother ples excuse my bad writeing I feale very sad today about the boy that dide." (99)

Although the Cherokee Nation assumed familial obligations for some citizens, it did not do so for all. (100) The treaty of 1866, which extended citizenship to Cherokee freedmen, did not make freedmen kin. In 1873 Cherokee freedmen complained to missionaries that the asylum failed to serve their children. A year later they petitioned the council "to provide support and education of our Orphan Children." (101) The Cherokee Nation pointed out that so many children had needs that the asylum could not possibly serve them all, but the council did make plans for a separate building for the children of freedmen at the asylum's permanent location in Salina. (102) The effort stalled when the council and the board of education deadlocked over who bore responsibility for the orphans of freedmen. (103) Many Cherokee citizens either ignored or feigned ignorance of the need for orphan care for freedmen children. Hearings conducted in 1885 by the federal government to evaluate the Cherokee Nation's fulfillment of its treaty obligations asked pointed questions about orphan care:

Q: Is there an asylum in the Cherokee Nation for colored people?

A: I do not think there is.

Q: Are there colored people in your asylums?

A: I do not think there are.

Q: They do not have any orphans, do they?

A: I do not know.

Q: What becomes of their orphans?

A: I cannot say. (104)

The freedmen presented a unique challenge to the Cherokee people's understandings of citizenship versus kinship: they were willing to admit freedmen to citizenship but not acknowledge kinship, although some were biological kin. Cherokees tried to reconcile the two by meeting the minimal needs of freedmen. In the 1880s the freedmen obtained a high school within the Cherokee Nation, and a number of common schools for freedmen existed. In 1895 the high school, underfunded compared to the Cherokee schools, established a residential primary department to provide a home and education to its orphaned and indigent children. (105)

Despite segregated schools, teachers, irrespective of color, attended the Teacher's Institute, but their presence did not mean that Cherokees acknowledged their equality. Before beginning her position at the asylum in 1885, Emma Dunbar attended the Cherokee Teacher's Institute. She observed that "the Indian considers the negro far beneath him. And when a well educated colored teacher rises to make a few remarks, a large majority of the Cherokee teachers leave the building." (106) The role of the freedmen in the Cherokee Nation continued to be a controversial issue, and the nation only grudgingly accepted any responsibility for them. (107) The nation conceptualized itself as family, and it excluded those with whom it refused to recognize kin ties, even though biological and political bonds remained.

Eventually, children left the asylum. In his 1877 annual report Duncan inquired at what age orphans "should be received into the asylum, how long they should remain within its walls, and at what age this connection with the asylum should cease." Age of admission varied from year to year. Some years, the asylum received students as young as five, and other years, they were as old as seven. Although residence usually ended at eighteen, on rare occasions students remained until nineteen or twenty. (108) Some graduates married and established their own households; others went to live with relatives. At least one, Taylor Eaton, found employment at the asylum. Thompson gave Eaton and his wife, Ida Cornstalk, both graduates of the asylum, a wheelbarrow filled with provisions, and he continued to provision them in their first year of marriage. (109) The asylum did not simply release other children into the world without resources. During the 1876 school year the "orphans discharged" totaled twelve, and each received a payment of $10. (110)

Many former students maintained a close relationship with the asylum. Eaton and Cornstalk hosted their teachers in their home after they married. (111) Based on the correspondence of former teacher Emma Dunbar and others, many of the residents maintained contact with each other and their teachers well beyond the years they spent in Salina. (112) The asylum remained a fond memory for many graduates. Mary Riley, who contributed her article "Trees" to the Children's Playground in 1881, published an article entitled "Cherokee Orphan Asylum Was Established in Year 1873" in the American Indian in 1929. The article recounted a brief history of the Cherokee Orphan Asylum from its opening at the Salina location until it burned down in 1903. (113) Her first experiences with a printing press and journalism almost certainly occurred at the asylum, and they provided skills that served her beyond her years at the asylum.

For the teachers, especially, the asylum provided advancement to other positions. E. C. Alberty, graduate of the male seminary, taught at the asylum; he then served as superintendent from 1902 to 1903, the year it burned down. (114) Duncan, after his years of service at the asylum, became a vocal opponent of the allotment policy and testified before Congress on several occasions. (115) A. H. Norwood, teacher at the asylum, became an attorney. Cora Archer, a graduate of the female seminary and teacher at the asylum, married Ross Shackelford, who later served as a local judge. (116) Stephen Parks, another male seminary graduate, taught at the asylum and served as principal teacher. He went on to receive his law degree from Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee, and became the Cherokee Nation attorney. (117)

Despite its many successes, the asylum fell prey to the same pressures that threatened the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation in the post-Civil War years. At the end of the Civil War the orphan fund derived its income from investments made in railroads, a circumstance that joined the economic well-being of the asylum to that of the railroads. The treaty of 1866 granted rights-of-way to railroads through the Cherokee Nation, and in 1870 the first rail line entered the nation. Congress had promised the railroads land grants, but the land was not Congress's to give. It still belonged to the Cherokee Nation. The promise of land motivated railroads to press for the dissolution of the Cherokee Nation and other Indian tribes. The railroads brought with them another problem--white intruders who were not subject to Cherokee law. Federal officials did little to deter them from entering Indian Territory. The jurisdictional nightmare they presented led residents of neighboring Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, and the Oklahoma Territory to clamor for the opening of Indian Territory to white settlement, the allotment of tribal land to individual Indians, and the dissolution of tribal governments. (118) In 1887 Congress passed the Dawes Severalty Act, which exempted the Five Tribes, but the Curtis Act of 1898 applied its terms to the Cherokee Nation and the other four southern tribes. Under its terms the federal government allotted Cherokee land, suspended the Cherokee national government, and assumed control of Cherokee institutions, including the asylum.

As the Cherokee Nation resisted allotment, Cherokee officials defied efforts by the federal government to limit their educational endeavors. In 1899 the annual report from the board of education to the federal government highlighted the higher than usual expenses at the asylum "on account of the United States authorities withholding our funds for some time, which were appropriated for their support." (119) Under the 1898 Curtis Act the control of funds shifted from the Cherokee Nation to the secretary of the Department of the Interior. Instead of disbursing these funds, as Cherokee Council acts required, the Department of the Interior withheld the funds, which forced the schools to operate on credit. A debate ensued between Principal Chief Mayes, the school supervisor, and the Department of the Interior. Chief Mayes argued that the "secretary [of the interior] has no more authority over funds than the Cherokee treasurer formerly had.... [T]he Secretary is the Nation's banker and must disburse the Nation's money in accordance with tribal law." (120) The 1903 fire forced the Cherokee Nation to relocate the asylum to Tahlequah. Because the building was underinsured, the building's destruction added further financial strain to its operation. Despite Chief Mayes's written and verbal "deliberation[s]" of the Curtis Act with federal officials as it related to educational projects, federal officials manipulated the act to further undermine the nation's legal and educational rights. Although federal authorities took total control of the facility in 1914, the Cherokee Orphan Asylum never ceased to exist.

When teachers and students served the Cherokee Nation, they fulfilled the reciprocal obligations that family members had for each other. By assuming responsibility for orphans, the nation had become family. In 1876 Duncan wrote: "This Nation reached [advancement], we think, when the proposal takes its indigent orphan children and become indeed a mother to them, was practicably adopted, in the shape of an Orphan Asylum with its four square miles of grounds attached." (121) The nation's acceptance of its familial role marked a departure from traditional culture in which clans took care of their own, but the government grounded this new role in ancient values of kinship and collective responsibility. Cherokees did not prosper as a result of individual initiative; they succeeded because they helped each other. When clans could no longer provide support for orphans, the nation stepped in and embraced them. The orphans, like all Cherokee children, were the nation's future, and the familial fold of the asylum linked them to the past and to a nation that had become their family. In 1907, when Oklahoma entered the Union, the future of the asylum, like that of the Cherokee Nation, was uncertain. The nation ultimately emerged from the ashes of allotment, the asylum transformed. The nation sold the facility to the Department of the Interior, which changed its name in 1925 to the Sequoyah Orphan Training School in honor of the inventor of the Cherokee syllabary. With other minor name changes, it operated as an Indian boarding school under the BIA until 1985, when the Cherokee Nation once again assumed control. Today the school serves as a "mother" to American Indian students from across the United States, a fitting legacy of the Cherokee Orphan Asylum.


(1.) N. B. Johnson, "The Cherokee Orphan Asylum," Chronicles of Oklahoma 44 (Winter 1966-67): 275-80.

(2.) Nurith Zmora, Orphanages Reconsidered: Child Care Institutions in the Progressive Era (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1994), 9, 15; Timothy A. Hasci, Second Home: Orphan Asylums and Poor Families in America (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 27.

(3.) Judith A. Dulberger, "Mother Donit for the Best": Correspondence of a Nineteenth Century Orphan Asylum (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1996), 3-4.

(4.) Hasci, Second Home, 4, 65-66; Dulberger, Mother Donit for the Best, 17, 23.

(5.) Zmora includes three Baltimore case studies, including the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, established in 1872, the Samuel Ready School, a Protestant-run facility opened in 1887, and the Catholic Dolan's Aid Society, founded in 1874 (Orphanages Reconsidered, 20, 26, 32). Dulberger traces trends in New York's State Board of Charities developed in the 1860s (Mother Donit for the Best, 1-23).

(6.) John Phillip Reid, Law of Blood (New York: New York University Press, 1970); Theda Perdue, Cherokee Women (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 41-59.

(7.) William McLoughlin, Cherokee Renascence in the New Republic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986).

(8.) "Whereas, fifty-four towns and villages have convened," October 26, 1819, Laws of the Cherokee Nation: Adopted by the Council at Various Periods (1852; Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1973), 5. Hereafter cited as LCN 1852.

(9.) "Resolved by the National Committee and Council," November 10, 1825, LCN 1852, 10.

(10.) Tiya Miles, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 125-28. Miles pointed out that this extension of citizenship to Shoe Boots' children was due, in part, to the goodwill the council felt toward Shoe Boots and because of legal loopholes, which the council addressed just two weeks after ruling on Shoe Boots' petition.

(11.) "Resolved by the National Committee and Council," 57.

(12.) William McLoughlin, Cherokees and Missionaries, 1789-1839 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1984), 239-66.

(13.) Entry of November 14, 1818, in The Brainerd Journal: A Mission to the Cherokees, 1817-1823, ed. Joyce B. Phillips and Paul Gary Phillips (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998), 92.

(14.) Treaty with the Cherokee, 1835, article 10, in Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties, vol. 2, Treaties, ed. Charles J. Kappler (Washington, DC: GPO, 1904), 443,

(15.) Entry of April 11, 1815, in The Moravian Springplace Mission to the Cherokees, vol. 2, ed. Rowena McClinton (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007), 66. In rare cases Cherokee elites secured private tutors for their children instead of sending them to the missions.

(16.) "An act relative to schools," September 26, 1839, LCN 1852, 30-31.

(17.) H. D. Reese to Col. George Butler, September 4,1853, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, H. Doc. 1, 33rd Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington, DC: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854-55), 330.

(18.) Sidney Henry Babcock and John Y. Bryce, The History of Methodism in Oklahoma: Story of the Indian Mission Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (Oklahoma City, 1937), 99-100.

(19.) "A bill on the subject of an Orphan School," December 19, 1842, LCN 1852, 75.

(20.) Meg Devlin O'Sullivan, "Missionary and Mother: Jerusha Swain's Transformation in the Cherokee Nation, 1852-1861," Chronicles of Oklahoma 83 (Winter 2005-6): 452-65.

(21.) Elizur Butler to P. M. Butler, June 19, 1843, Cherokee Agency, 1836-80, Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-80, M234, reel 87, frames 81-82, Record Group 75: Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, National Archives and Record Services, Washington, DC. Hereafter cited as M234.

(22.) "An act relative to Public Schools," December 16, 1841, LCN 1852, 59-61.

(23.) "An act for Public School Appropriation," December 23, 1842, LCN 1852, 76-77; P. M. Butler to T. Hartley Crawford, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, September 30, 1843, M234, reel 87, frames 49-72.

(24.) "Enacted by the National Council," November 22, 1847, LCN 1852, 165; "An act making appropriation for the support of Public Schools for the year 1849 and for other purposes," November 10, 1848, LCN 1852, 186.

(25.) "An act for the benefit of John Benge--for $24.00," December 19, 1843, LCN 1852, 101; "An act for the benefit of Michael Waters" January 8, 1844, LCN 1852, 105.

(26.) "An act further to amend an Act relative to Public Schools," December 23, 1843, LCN 1852, 101-2.

(27.) "An act relative to guardians" November 18, 1847, LCN 1852, 164-65.

(28.) H. D. Reese to Col. George Butler, September 4, 1853, Annual Report (185-455), 330.

(29.) William G. McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears: The Cherokees Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839-1880 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993), 59-67.

(30.) "An act to reduce the numbers of Orphans attending Public Schools," October 23, 1856, 1830, reel 6, frames 623-24, Cherokee Nation Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Libraries, University of Oklahoma, Norman.

(31.) Walter Adair Duncan to George Butler, September 18, 1857, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, H. Doc. 2, 35th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1857-58), 505.

(32.) W. G. Coffin to W. P. Dole, February 13, 1862, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, H. Doc. 1, 37th Cong., 3rd sess. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1862-63), 289-91.

(33.) J. Harlan to E. Sells, October 1, 1865, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, H. Doc. 1, 39th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1866), 468-70.

(34.) Harlan to Sells.

(35.) McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 241.

(36.) Treaty with the Cherokee, 1866, article 23, in Kappler, Indian Affairs, 2:949.

(37.) "An Act Authorizing the Principal Chief to appoint agents to take the Census of the Orphans," December 10, 1867, Laws of the Cherokee Nation Passed during the Years 1839-1867 (1868; Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1973), 183. Hereafter cited as LCN 1868.

(38.) "Making an appropriation for the Support of the Public Schools for the year 1868," December 14, 1867, LCN 1868, 186.

(39.) John B. Jones to F. A. Walker, September 1, 1871, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, H. Doc. 1, 42nd Cong., 1st sess. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1871-72), 616-21.

(40.) Cherokee Advocate (Tahlequah, Cherokee Nation), April 18, 1874.

(41.) "An act authorizing orphan institutes" October 23, 1866, LCN 1868, 65; Jones to Walker.

(42.) Office of the Asylum Board of Trustees to the Honorable Charles Thompson, October 13, 1877, reel 6, frame 684, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(43.) "In the fall of 1885," MS 120, Emma Fleming Papers, Cherokee Heritage Center Archives, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

(44.) Mary Riley Roberts, "Cherokee Orphan Asylum Was Established in Year 1873," American Indian, November 1929, 12.

(45.) V. A. Travis, "Life in the Cherokee Nation a Decade after the Civil War," Chronicles of Oklahoma 4 (1916): 16-30.

(46.) "Whereas much inconvenience and expense," October 26, 1820, LCN 1852, 2-3.

(47.) "History of an Old School now extinct From Facts Gathered by James R. Carselowey," 102, 416-22, Indian Pioneer Papers, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma Library,

(48.) Babcock and Bryce, History of Methodism, 86.

(49.) Babcock and Bryce, History of Methodism, 341-68, 390-402. Walter Adair Duncan and Joseph E Thompson received appointments by the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, as parsons to the asylum for twenty-one of its thirty years of operation at the Salina location.

(50.) Book order from Robert D. Patterson & Co., March 6, 1878, reel 7, frame 713, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(51.) Cherokee Advocate, July 6, 1878.

(52.) J. T. Adair to Emma Dunbar, October 9, 1885, Fleming Papers.

(53.) Jones to Walker.

(54.) "Payments totaling," December 19, 1876, reel 6, frame 658, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(55.) Adair to Dunbar.

(56.) W. A. Duncan to George Butler, September 25, 1856, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, S. Doc. 5, 34th Cong., 3rd sess. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1856-57), 690-94.

(57.) Devon A. Mihesuah, Cultivating the Rosebuds: The Education of Women at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1851-1909 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993), 80-84.

(58.) "The Cherokee at School."

(59.) Cherokee Advocate, August 12, 1876.

(60.) Mihesuah, Cultivating the Rosebuds, appendix A, 117; Cherokee Advocate, July 6, 1878.

(61.) Asylum Press, October 7, 1880, reel 7, frame 744, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(62.) Asylum Press, October 7, 1880.

(63.) Children's Playground, June 9, 1881, 1-3, Special Collections, Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

(64.) Children's Playground, May 5, 1881, 1-3, MS 154, folder 15, Duncan Collection, Cherokee Heritage Center Archives, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

(65.) Cherokee Advocate, March 11, 1876, August 24, 1872.

(66.) Cherokee Advocate, February 14, 1874.

(67.) Cherokee Advocate, June 23, 1877, April 27, 1878.

(68.) Charles Hudson, The Southeastern Indians (1976; Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2007), 365-75.

(69.) "Two Years with the Cherokees."

(70.) Cherokee Advocate, July 22, 1877, July 6, 1878.

(71.) "History of Rev. WA Duncan," MS 154, folder 16, Duncan Collection.

(72.) Annual board of education report, January 11, 1878, reel 7, flame 715, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(73.) Cherokee Advocate, March 1, 1876. For a complete description and explanation of the International Fair, see Andrew Denson, Demanding the Cherokee Nation: Indian Autonomy and American Culture, 1830-1900 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), 149-71.

(74.) Duncan to Butler, September 25, 1856, 692.

(75.) Babcock and Bryce, History of Methodism, 93.

(76.) Board of Trustees to Thompson.

(77.) Office of the Board of Education to the Honorable D. W. Bushyhead, April 6, 1880, reel 7, frame 742, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(78.) Board of Trustees to Thompson.

(79.) "Supply Expenses 120 days at Orphan Asylum," January 31, 1879, reel 6, frame 704, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(80.) Estimates of expenditures, September 30, 1878, reel 6, frame 702, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(81.) "The Cherokee at School."

(82.) "Two Years with the Cherokees."

(83.) Children's Playground, 5 May 1881, MS 154, folder 15, Duncan Collection.

(84.) "History of Rev. WA Duncan."

(85.) Children's Playground, 5 May 1881.

(86.) Kathleen Garrett, The Cherokee Orphan Asylum (Stillwater: Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical College, 1953), 30-31.

(87.) "Two Years with the Cherokees."

(88.) Garrett, Cherokee Orphan Asylum, 27.

(89.) "The Cherokee at School."

(90.) Cherokee Advocate, December 20, 1873, February 14, 1874.

(91.) "The Cherokee at School."

(92.) William P. Ross Collection, box 2, folder 9, Phillips Collection, Cherokee Documents, Western History Collections, University of Oklahoma, Norman.

(93.) Summary of the Cherokee Census, 1880, table C, in Report of the Committee on Indian Affairs, United States Senate, on the condition of the Indians in the Indian Territory, S. Rpt. 1278, 49th Cong., 1st sess., 46.

(94.) Children's Playground, 9 June 1881, Special Collections, Northeastern State University.

(95.) Garrett, Cherokee Orphan Asylum, 34-35.

(96.) Cora Archer to A. E. Baldridge, July 5, 1937; Ella May Covil to Emma Fleming, September 23, 1934; and Bluie Adair Lawrence to Emma Fleming, July 3, 1934, all in Fleming Papers.

(97.) Cherokee Advocate, February 1, 1879, September 19, 1874, November 18, 1876, June 13,1877, June 27, 1877, September 19, 1877, April 6, 1878.

(98.) Cherokee Advocate, June 27, 1877.

(99.) "My Dearest Mother," March 26, 1878, privately owned document, Don Franklin Papers, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.

(100.) Rose Stremlau, "In Defense of 'This Great Family Government and Estate': Cherokee Masculinity and the Opposition to Allotment," in Perspectives on Manhood in the South since Reconstruction, ed. Craig T. Friend (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2009), 65-82.

(101.) "To the Honorable Senate and Council in General Council Convened," October 31, 1874, reel 6, frame 635, Cherokee Nation Papers.

(102.) McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 340-41.

(103.) Daniel F. Littlefield Jr., The Cherokee Freedmen: From Emancipation to American Citizenship (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1978), 55-56.

(104.) "Investigation of Condition of Indians in Indian Territory," Report of the Committee on Indian Affairs, 38-39.

(105.) Littlefield, Cherokee Freedmen, 57-58.

(106.) "In the fall of 1885."

(107.) Tim Gammon, "Black Freedmen and the Cherokee Nation," Journal of American Studies 2 (1977): 357-64. For a more thorough discussion of the controversies and inequities surrounding education, citizenship, and per capita payments, see Katja May, African Americans and Native Americans in the Creek and Cherokee Nations, 1830s to 1920s (New York: Garland Publishing, 1996); Celia E. Naylor, African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008).

(108.) Board of Trustees to Thompson.

(109.) Garrett, Cherokee Orphan Asylum, 34-35.

(110.) Cherokee Advocate, July 15, 1876.

(111.) Garrett, Cherokee Orphan Asylum, 35.

(112.) Archer to Baldridge; Covil to Fleming; Lawrence to Fleming.

(113.) Roberts, "Cherokee Orphan Asylum," 12.

(114.) Garrett, Cherokee Orphan Asylum, 35.

(115.) To the Honorable Cherokee Commission, August 10, 1897, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, H. Doc. 5, 55th Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington, DC: GPO, 1897), 143-45.

(116.) Covil to Fleming; Lawrence to Fleming.

(117.) "Historical Statement by Mrs. R. L. Fite," 103, 118-24, Indian Pioneer Papers.

(118.) H. Craig Miner, The Corporation and the Indian: Tribal Sovereignty and Industrial Civilization in Indian Territory, 1865-1907 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1976), 97-117; McLoughlin, After the Trail of Tears, 367-80 Angie Debo, And Still the Waters Run (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989), 17-30.

(119.) "Annum Report of the National Board of Education Cherokee Nation," October 13, 1899, box 97.53, T. L. Ballenger Collection, Oklahoma History Center, Tulsa.

(120.) From Principal Chief S. H. Mayes to Hon. B. S. Coppock, School Supervisor, June 22, 1899, box 83-17, folder 1, John D. Benedict Papers, Oklahoma History Center, Tulsa.

(121.) Cherokee Advocate, March 11, 1876.
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Author:Reed, Julie L.
Publication:The American Indian Quarterly
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2010
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